By Mike Klein for IC Beyond
Who’s the Internal Communication leader on the planet with the biggest following? The owner of the world’s biggest comms software company? The Chair of IABC? The top guy or gal on the UK or US conference circuit? Or a guy in Buenos Aires you have probably never heard of.
Enter Ale (pronounced ah-leh) Formanchuk. The guy from Buenos Aires. In recent years, almost completely under the radar of the great and the good of the Anglosphere IC world, the formidable Formanchuk has built a network of internal communication associations and events covering the whole of the Spanish speaking world.
First, there’s the Argentine Association of Internal Communication. Then the Ibero-American Federation of Internal Communication, CIFEST – which is actually the world’s largest live IC event, and his newest venture, the Bootcamp of COCREADA (Co-Created) Communication.
I first met Ale through the magic of LinkedIn in 2011. I was looking for IC folk in the larger world to endorse my book, “From Lincoln to LinkedIn: The 55 Minute Guide to Social Communication.” Ever since, I’ve marvelled at his rise and ever-increasing reach of an IC empire that stretches from Patagonia to Rome.
Beginning like the rest of us
While, he stumbled, like most IC pros, into his IC career – in his case as an administrative employee in a large company, while a communication student at the University of Buenos Aires, he did so because some things became patently obvious to him. “There were great problems that were generated due to incomplete, inaccurate messages, or because of rumors or low trust and credibility.”
From that point, Ale dedicated himself to improving communication in organizations.
Ale’s interest in comms, in turn, aligned with and ignited an entrepreneurial streak that’s led to success in business and on the organizational front.
In 2005, Ale founded his own agency, Formanchuk Communicacion Cocreada, which currently supports 300 companies in 20 countries in the Americas and Europe.
“One of the purposes of our agency is to get companies in the Americas to understand that investing in internal communication is investing in better results. I want our market to grow – for the benefit of all of the agencies in the region.”
Fast-forward to 2021. Over the last fifteen years, Ale has increased his reach across numerous social media platforms into the tens of thousands. “We have a community of 17,000 on instagram, 37,000 on Linkedin, and a new channel on Telegram with more than 1700 followers.” Ale matches that breadth of free social media reach with a menu of free and paid programming that makes him clearly the market leader in the Spanish-speaking IC world.
His main priority is the COCREADA internal communication model, which he is working to spread throughout Ibero-America. “We are going to open a boot camp so that thousands of internal communication professionals from throughout the Americas, can train in Cocreada and make a difference – not only to their companies but in creating a common approach working across company lines.”
COCREADA is built on six premises:
- All members of the organization participate in Internal Communication and not only the people who make up the Internal Communication Area. Internal Communication is a responsibility and opportunity for everyone.
- The people who lead are the main internal communicators. Nobody quits a company because they don’t like a newsletter or campaign. And neither does anyone believe, for example, in the values of a company just to see them posted on a wall.
- Everything that is said and done in an organization is a message. Especially actions and decisions. That is why Internal Communication is not done only through the classical media. It all means, everyone is a communicator, whether they know it or not.
- The Internal Communication Area cannot do magic. You cannot change a reality or solve a problem just by making a campaign or a video. We need the commitment and action of all leaders. We need co-created solutions.
- The Internal Communication Area should not be reduced to being an “Internal News Agency” whose sole function is to edit media and produce content. Making media is necessary but not sufficient to achieve effective Internal Communication.
- Internal Communication never stays “indoors.” The borders are porous. Doing Internal Communication is also doing external communication. And vice versa. What the company says outside is also heard inside.
- How do we better connect Latin America with the rest of the IC world?
Connecting with the larger world
From his base in Argentina, Ale has increasingly come to serve clients beyond the Americas, working with companies in the United States, Spain and Italy as well. But Ale’s interest in connecting with the global IC conversation are more than commercial.
“I personally feel very global because I’m a first-generation Argentine. My father was Polish, my grandparents Russian, and my mother’s family came from Italy and France. And I want internal communication to be global – reflecting both the needs and opportunities working with people in different countries and cultures represent.”
Soon, we will see an expansion of CIFEST, where Alejandro draws substantial crowds as he moves it between cities in Latin America and Southern Europe.
“Anything can happen if you put your mind to it.”
Ale and I were also among the co-authors of Disrupting The Function, a 2019 Gold Quill Excellence Winner from IC Kollectif. Looking forward to meeting him in person soon.
MIKE KLEIN is Principal at Changing The Terms and is a co-founder of IC Beyond. A 20-plus year veteran internal communicator, Mike has worked with large companies like easyJet, Barclays, Maersk, Cargill, Shell and Avery Dennison and his practice focuses on internal, social and political communication. Based in Reykjavik, Mike is an MBA graduate of London Business School and recently launched the #WeLeadComms initiative to recognize leadership in the communication profession.