Damn Good Communication: A Fun, Personalized Weather Forecast

Ali Murray Fun Stuff

Unless you’re Al Roker or my great-grandma, you probably don’t find the daily weather forecast all that thrilling. Checking it is probably a boring (if necessary) part of your morning routine, like brushing your teeth or shoving a granola bar in your face as you sprint out the door.

Enter Poncho–a weather app and email subscription service that sends you a tailor-made daily weather forecast, synced (by you) to align with when you leave the house for work, complete with pollen counts, chances of rain, and funny GIFs.

There are two things in particular we love about Poncho’s approach:

  1. It successfully makes something boring (a weather forecast) truly engaging. The language the writers behind Poncho use is conversational, legitimately charming and funny, and the GIFs included in every email do a great job of grabbing the reader’s attention and making them chuckle, without distracting too much from the actual message–the weather.
  2. It understands the power of personalization.

Poncho doesn’t just give you stats–it goes one step further to tell you what the weather means for your particular life that day. It warns you about weather-related transit delays tailored to your commute; it lets you know if you’ve got to worry about getting the sniffles from certain allergens; it reminds you if it even recommends a hairstyle based on how humidity and other weather conditions are likely to affect your ‘do. In other words, it does a very good job of answering the all-important question: What’s in it for ME? (Especially in marketing circles, this is known simply as WIIFM (pronounced: wiff-em)).

This approach, you might not be shocked to hear, is also super-effective in benefits communication. (We know because we use it ourselves in making ALEX.)

Let’s face it: Benefits topics, like “the weather”, can be boring, too. However! If you talk to your audience (aka your employees) in plain English, get them to chuckle a little (yes, GIFs in benefits emails are fair game), and explain how taking a certain action relates to their specific concerns (time, stress, money), as Poncho does so well, you’ll have a much better chance of getting them to listen, and avoid getting caught in the rain without an umbrella…metaphorically speaking.

(For a deeper dive into how “thinking like a marketer” can help boost employee engagement, especially during OE, check out our Open Enrollment Marketing Crash Course blog series.)


If you liked this Damn Good Communication post, you should also check out:

Damn Good Communication: A Library Receipt That Cleverly Shows Savings (blog post)
The Secret Ingredients that Make ALEX So Engaging to Employees (blog post)
The All-New 2017 Ultimate Open Enrollment Communications Playbook (eBook)
Transforming Boring Benefits Emails (video)