by Bettina Palazzo

(c) pic my own Galleria Borghese Roma, Damian Hurst exhibition 2021, Hydra and Kali

Most people realize that communication is essential if you want to get the buy-in of your people for your Ethics & Compliance, not so many have a winning compliance communication strategy.

This knowing-doing gap can be explained by 3 misconceptions:

1. We already communicate enough on Ethics & Compliance!

Interesting, tell me more?

You have a Code of Conduct? – Check!

You have a Compliance section on your website and the internet? – Check!

You run frequent Compliance live and online trainings? – Check!

You write emails with updates on policies and regulatory updates? – Check?

Spoiler alert! This is not enough! Communication science tells us that people forget 90% of what we communicate to them!


The golden rule of successful communication is therefore:

When you have repeated your core messages ad nauseam, it only starts to enter your audiences minds!

Consequently, you need a plan to consistently communicate on your compliance activities by using a variety of different channels.

Video, Teams channels, newsletters, events, quizzes, infographics, stories, interviews…

The possibilities are endless!

In creating this content use these powerful guidelines from the book „Contagious“ by Noah Berger:

People who care, share!“

You have to create positive emotions around a topic, if you want that people talk about compliance.

Top of mind, tip of tongue!

You need to create positive triggers that let people experience compliance in a positive way – as often as possible.

Built so show – built to grow!

People imitate the behavior of their leaders. But if your leaders do not show their commitment to compliance in a way that is publicly observable, this is virtually impossible. So you need to get your leaders to showcase their acts for compliance e.g. with interviews of your top corporate influencers.

News you can use!“

People share information they find interesting and useful. Preferably about ways how to save time and money!

2. Push instead of pull

Yes, I know you have all those regulations to bring across to your people.

And you are probably aware of one of the eternal laws of communication:

The more you push, the more resistance you will get.

With all that pressure from regulators it is understandable that compliance professionals can easily forget to consider the situation and the real-life challenges of their people.

Yes, it takes more time to go out an talk to your traget groups about the specific (and easy to understand!) requirements of a law and how they think they could best implement it or what their challenges in their everyday work are. But in the end this is how you create more pull than push.

The mantra to always keep in mind is

If I cannot make something important interesting, it is my fault!

If you turn around your approach from pushing as much information as possible towards your target groups into pulling in their interest, because you show them how you can help to successfully navigate the ethical and legal pitfalls of their jobs, you job will become so much easier and you will finally get the appreciation you deserve.

3. Doing it alone

When I talk to compliance professionals they often tell me „Yes, we need to communicate more, but we do not have the time!“ or „We do not have the budget!“

The thing is, nobody said you should do it all by yourself.

I do not mean the budget-sensitive help of a communication agency. I have seen time and again, that communication agencies are just not the right provider for compliance communication. Compliance is complex stuff and you need to be on a high level of insider knowledge about it, if you want to communicate on it in a way that is both engaging and serious.

The better solution is involving your internal partners like your communication department. Compliance has topics and the expertise – communications has the creativity, the tools, and the ressources. Of course, you need to sell them this cooperation in a convincing way.

You can also involve other departments like HR that have related topics to communicate like you.

In our modern world of hyper-connectivity it is essential to develop good communication skills and habits. If you want it or not, also when working in compliance, you need to learn how to win peoples voluntary cooperation (= selling and influencing).

One effective and fun way to do this, is participating in my new and exciting online program the „Compliance Influencer“. The big advantage there is that you get access to all of the super practical tools of modern communication in a way that is already tailored to the needs of compliance.

And, you get the support and inspiration of a group of peers.

Join me on this path to becoming a Compliance Influencer!

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