As a member of the CIPR Inside committee, I’ve been involved in planning the next annual conference on 4 October. This year’s theme is Closing the gap. This might mean different things to different people, depending on the organisation you work for and the role you’re in. So, all the committee members are sharing what Closing the gap means to them…
I’ve worked with organisations where the gap between internal and external comms is equivalent to the Grand Canyon. The view has been different audiences, so therefore different responsibilities (and budgets!). But recently, that’s begun to change as organisations are waking up to the power of employee advocacy.
Social media has changed the communication landscape, and employees and customers have a voice like never before. And as far as your employees, that could be hundreds or thousands of voices, each with networks of hundreds or thousands more voices.
But for employees to advocate honestly and authentically, the brand that you’re selling to your customers, needs to be the same brand that your employees are living. Your employees need to be a priority audience in any external communication plan, no one wants to find out news about the company they work for in the press.
But does this warrant a more collaborative relationship, or a complete merging of disciplines? By joining forces, would internal communications finally have a seat at the table when ideas and projects are being first discussed, rather than being invited in at the last minute and being told to ‘do a bit of internal comms’? Would marketing teams be able to save money by encouraging employees to share key messages, thinking and insights externally?
And do external comms even want to close the gap with us? As our more glamourous cousins, who can demonstrate direct links from what they do to increased sales and profit, do they need us?
Yes, I think so. In many ways, external comms teams have more to gain from a more collaborative working relationship with us – surely having thousands of ready-made brand advocates is a marketer’s dream. So, if we want to close the gap between external and internal, maybe we need to start by reminding external comms what’s in it for them?
What’s your experience? Can you relate to this, or did you close the gap between internal and external long ago? Or do you think they need to remain as separate functions? Come join the discussion on 4 October!
You can read other committee members’ blogs and book your place at the conference at www.ciprinside.co.uk. I look forward to seeing many of you there!