Most organizations recognize the value of internal communications in terms of employee retention and compliance. Many use employee engagement as a measurement of productivity. However, in an environment where everyone wears two or three hats, using internal communications as an extension of marketing brings additional ROI to your bottom line.
In recent months, I've seen more emphasis being put on tapping into employee assets and maximizing internal communications tools to advance marketing objectives. Frequent techniques being employed are:
Live the promise: Vision and values are often just a piece of paper or plaque on an employee's desk. Internal communications can bring values to life so employees deliver the brand promise to customers and achieve desired business outcomes. For example, if a value is to innovate, a “making a difference” employee recognition or reward campaign for successful innovations inspires others and offers a measurable result.
Ask me about it: Employees as brand ambassadors are nothing new. However, most brand ambassadors are people in customer-facing roles. While it's important to communicate the marketing platform to those employees with customer interaction, in this day of social media, ensuring all employees know the marketing platform is just as critical. Your back-office employees may have large fan bases or engage in conversations with influencers either on or off the job. As credible sources, every employee is a potential spokesperson who can add to or damage a corporate reputation and impact the P&L. YouTube employee news channels and internal blogs are a “must have” to keep employees up to date.
It is easy to see the impact of poor internal communications on recruitment, retention, and productivity. However, it can be difficult to measure missed opportunities created by failing to ensure every member of the organization is contributing to marketing's success. Clearly, the internal communications function offers a cost-effective, broad umbrella that leaps across silos to penetrate every corporate crevice. Expanding its charter beyond human resources and operational messages to support marketing is common sense, and case studies show it can deliver a “one-plus-one-equals-three” benefit to your ROI.
Christine Barney is CEO of rbb Public Relations.