The importance of internal communications
Sometimes in marketing, brands are so focused on talking to their customers that they forget one important thing: talking to their staff. And we don’t mean just the annual Christmas email from the CEO, we are talking about a considered communication strategy with objectives, multiple touchpoints and impactful creative. If internal communication is executed correctly, it will benefit your brand, your staff and your customers, and this is why…
… It aligns the customer experience
It is important to remember that every single interaction a customer has with your brand counts. You may have your media assets perfect, PR coverage in all the major titles, and your website fully optimized. But what happens when your potential customer comes to talk to a person? Whether it is a sales rep, customer service manager, engineer, or whoever, that person is now part of the customer journey. As part of the customer journey, you need what they say to be aligned with all your other marketing collateral, including who your brand is, what they are selling and how it's positioned in the market. The key to preparing them for this is internal communications.
When planned correctly your internal communications are not just a tool for feeding your staff information, but a way to get them engaged with this content and excited to be a part of your brand. This is why you need to think outside the box. Don’t just opt for plain text emails with huge attachments, treat it like a customer journey; feed them information progressively, in manageable chunks, and bring it to life with colour, imagery and creativity.
By investing in your internal communications, it will help your staff take on the key information they need and enthuse them about what they are selling, thereby improving their interactions with potential customers.
… It can drive important objectives
Think about your internal communications the same way you think about talking to your customers. If you want your customers to do something you must provide them with the right information at the right time to lead them through the journey through to action. Your internal communications are very similar, albeit with different objectives and different ways to achieve them.
Just as with customer communications, by structuring your internal communications carefully, utilizing various channels at the right times, and employing creative techniques you can emphasize important messages and cut through the torrent of communications your staff receive every day. This is particularly useful if you have an objective in mind that you need your staff to complete, for instance completing a key training module. With careful consideration of your communications, you can plan their journey, framing the right content in the right way to resonate with your audience.
And just like with customer communications, depending on what channels you use, there are ways to measure results. If you are driving towards an objective then knowing how well you have performed is key, and we encourage you to employ measurement and results analysis to optimize toward that objective just as you would for a customer campaign.
… It builds culture
With most companies having adopted remote working in some form, the workforce has now become decentralized, making it harder to create that sense of community that is so important to making a cohesive team. This is why you need to make the most of your internal communications strategy. By using a “brand voice” to address your workforce it allows you to showcase your brand identity, values and vision just by the way it speaks and the things it speaks about.
Having one cohesive brand voice/identity also gives your staff something to unite under and you can build on this. One thing you may consider is creating a community hub where you can share internal news stories, generate excitement about upcoming company events, and encourage employee collaboration. You might even take this a step further and use your internal communications and brand voice for one-on-one communications to your employees offering them rewards and praise for good work.
The important thing when thinking about building culture is consistency, make sure it is all coming from one voice so that each ripple in the pond strengthens the next. That way no matter who comes and goes within your business the singular voice of your company’s culture remains the same.
… It opens up a dialogue
Talking to your staff also gives you a chance to invite them to talk back. You might do this in the form of polls, virtual suggestion boxes, or inviting them to submit their own questions to be answered by company leaders. Encouraging a conversation offers your staff an outlet for their opinions, concerns and ideas. This not only shows you appreciate what your staff can contribute to your business, but you may also glean some brilliant insights and inspiration.
However, it is important to make sure that the dialogue is productive. Plan the questions you want to ask your staff or give them specific topics you want feedback on to make sure you can get the most value from this process. Make sure it’s clear which communication channels are open so that staff know how to get in touch with you and you can control the flow of information; having too many options can lead to having to check various portals and places on a regular basis which can be time consuming. Also, if you are inviting questions, let your staff know what to expect in terms of how long you may take to answer their questions and how you will do this. All of this will encourage open and fruitful dialogue.
Making the most of your staff’s ideas and opinions can be a huge boon to your business, but it’s important to plan carefully how you will do this so that everyone feels heard and you remain in control of the information flow.
In summary, there is a lot to be gained from your internal communications, and it can bring benefits to you, your staff and your customers. The key to getting the best out of your communications is to plan them carefully and utilise appropriate tools and channels to maximise the impact of your messages.
If you’d like to find out how Clear can help you make the most of your internal communications, then please get in touch by emailing Rachel Arquati.