or, embracing the conversation
Ten years ago two worlds collided and yet, Internal Communications can sometimes forget the shift it created.
This was the opening of my speech at a conference in Amsterdam, in a room filled with the best Internal Communications experts in Europe.
My point was that social media triggered a seismic wave that caused internal and external environments to merge – and my implied call for action was that Internal Communications need to drop the first word of its label, as it has now lost its relevance.
Here is why:
1 – The conversation shift
Company staff is deep into social media conversations, either actively or passively. The tone and content of information has changed everywhere: from TV to paper, and online presence. Internal communications need to reflect this environment in order to keep being – or become – relevant. Beyond the traditional perception of Internal Communications being solely about employee engagement, our role has evolved to business and leadership communications and our remit goes way beyond information (the What) to dealing with the need for our brands to inspire (the Why, so essential to sharing the leadership vision) and shape the company culture.
2 – Brand as the real differentiator
Our brand is at the center of any competitive strategy – when most industries deal with the same set of cards, with innovative strategies or products easily and quickly replicable, the brand is the only area that can make us stand out in the competition. Being able to articulate why we exist provides our brand with its personality. FTSE’s now state their purpose and not a vision/mission: purpose lies at the heart of the social conversation -and it starts ‘at home’.
3 – Forget alignment
Alignment is a core principle for communications professionals – however we are already beyond the notion that alignment is within our control – it needs to become ‘ organic’. What we need more now is correlation, recognition of a common identity that merges internal and external conversations. For example, internal campaigns can often provide a great vehicle for the brand, beyond our walls.
There is nothing internal in our communications anymore. It is simply, not possible in the world that social media created. And it’s about time we re-invent ourselves and embrace it.
So, let’s ask ourselves: are we using these exciting synergies to their full potential? Or is our conversation still forcefully and artificially divided in two apparently distinct environments? Do we adapt our content not only to our audiences but to the world they actually live in? Are our communications channels adapted?
Are we RELEVANT?