It’s always surprising to find that when it comes to strategic communication businesses completely discard an audience that should be made up of its most loyal followers; it’s employees.
It is very rare that we receive a PR brief which makes specific reference to internal communications, unless it includes a newsletter or the updating of an intranet service. So, why is it that brands which invest thousands of pounds into managing their most precious asset – their reputation – don’t consider their biggest advocates as a key audience?
Well, it’s simple really. Employees are, in some businesses at least, seen and not heard. In times where offices are busier, customers want more and time is ever of the essence, it is fair to suggest that the easiest audience to ‘ignore’ or push to one side would be those who are closest.
It’s like anything, when you have a task to do that is for your own brand or business you leave it until ‘later’ but later, like tomorrow, never seems to come.
We work with companies of all sizes to explain the importance of internal communications, and to explain why investing in this audience should become part of an organisations wider business strategy if they want to really succeed. Employees make a business, and they add to the personality of a brand, which is the one thing that competitors cannot replicate.
When you think about some brands and the experience that you have had, it won’t be the owner of that company that has given you that impression – good or bad – but the person that you deal with when you come into contact with that business. In most instances, when you think about leading global brands you will have no idea what the owner even looks like; what you are likely refer to is people you know who work for that company, or the attitude of the person who last called you from that particular business.
The simple truth is if you don’t invest in your team, whether they are customer facing or not, you can’t expect them to then share the positive values of your business with others. What will they be saying when they are down the pub with their mates or updating their latest Facebook post? What are they tweeting about and if it references your business, is it likely to be positive? It’s certainly worth considering in an age of ‘sharing’ content and expressing opinion.
Employees are an essential asset to any business, not just bums on seats. Perhaps it’s time that we all took a step back, considered those who should matter most and enthused them to want to share the good things about the company that they have chosen to work for.
Putting together an internal communications campaign, which educates and engages your staff, could give you the best return on investment of any marketing activity you have planned for 2014.