P&O and Samsung - a sea change for internal PR professionals?

P&O called on customers to name its newest ship, while Samsung's CEO told his 489,000 employees the company must use the Galaxy Note 7 crisis as a chance to improve how the brand thinks about innovation. What is the connection?

Internal comms could prevent the next external disaster, argues Ian McVey
Internal comms could prevent the next external disaster, argues Ian McVey
To cries of ‘Boaty McBoatface’, the media celebrated P&O’s priceless PR coup. 

The true cost of Samsung’s problems will not be known until it can attach a value, not to the revenue, but to the trust it has lost.

For entirely different reasons, both companies have chosen to pivot away from ‘business as usual’. 

They are not alone. 

All organsiations are at different stages in their transformation journeys, bound by the realisation that today’s connected customers are increasingly unafraid to express themselves when their feedback is ignored.

The problem is that customers are transforming so quickly that many organisations are playing catch up. Younger consumers with little or no brand loyalty take innovation for granted. 

They are unlikely to be impressed with P&O’s illustrious heritage or Samsung’s aspirations to be everlasting, (‘like three stars in the sky’).

Neither firm can risk appearing remote or irrelevant when customers of all ages are benchmarking them against disruptive competitors, who are setting new standards for responsive, personalised service.

Internal comms professionals are key players in these challenging times. They have the mandate to help management protect their organisations from external disruption by rewiring them from within.

Their work is made easier because their HR colleagues are increasingly turning away from occasional interviews in favour of modern software with which to keep a regular pulse on employee sentiment.
It enables them to safeguard talent and involve far-flung silos, both physically and culturally. 

The same software is increasingly in vogue among their customer experience colleagues, who use it to research customers’ opinions and secure their feedback.

Once analysed and shared, this influx of context-rich data gives internal comms teams a robust platform on which to build communications strategy. 

It provides unprecedented, robust insight and organisational overview. Ideas are sought, people feel involved and management is connected with frontline staff. 

Customer insight and employee engagement become one and the same.  

In this age of super connectivity, firms that use modern tech to connect their employees with their customers, empower their people. Connected employees keep track of their customers, achieve sharper reactions and faster decisions across divisions. This is how to secure a future that befits their employers’ heritage.

Ian McVey is the UK Director of Qualtrics

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