Just Doooo Eeeet!
No matter hard hard they try, many security awareness teams can end up sounding like they are trying to force their colleagues to comply with corporate policies.
This is completely understandable, because management expects certain behaviours from people.
The most direct way to accomplish this is to tell people what they are supposed to do. You know, just like they communicate every other policy and procedure in the organisation. This is a tried-and-true messaging model that management, and everyone else in an organisation, is accustomed to.
This is also a reason why this type of messaging model fails.
Instead of using a “management directive” messaging model, try a different model. Try “inspiration“.
The problem with the “management directive” model is that there is always a hint of threat. If someone does not follow the directive, management will be unhappy (whatever that means in your organisation).
By using an “inspiration” model, you help to create new positive associations in your audience’s mind with doing what you say. You can help them see the better version of themselves that they could be if they followed your advice or took advantage of what you are offering them. People will be more likely to remember that message, and be more willing to follow it.
The best way to sell gym memberships? Get your potential customer to imagine what they could accomplish if they had access to the experts and equipment in your gym. Security awareness is very similar.
Everyone wants to be better. No one wants to be under threat. Even an unspoken threat.
How to doooo eeeet
Take a look at the title of this post. Read it with and without the last line and you can see a crude way how an “inspirational” shift can change how a message reads. Sometimes, all it takes is a couple words.
So, change your security awareness messaging model to be more inspiring. Add a subtext of how the person will be a champion in the presence of the organisation’s training, tools, and security processes. And then, back it up by working your butt off to make champions.