Communicate internally and externally to succeed
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Communication internally and externally must work in harmony to succeed

Brand positioning, reputation and reach is vitally important to businesses. It’s how they present themselves to their markets, to their targeted audiences and potential customers. Building a strong brand story that showcases a business’s values, voice, and culture can help not only boost business products and propositions but increase profits and strengthen its scale and scope.

So, what does this mean inside a business?

Well put simply, if your people don’t understand what your business does or what its goals are for the future how to you expect the business to promote its brand positioning to its clients, suppliers, shareholders? If its people don’t even know, how can they share what your business does with others?

Let’s be clear. External communication is not the same as internal communication. They have very different purposes, audiences, message focus and channels. But they need to ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’.

 What’s your story?

First of you, you need to understand your business. Do you know how you want to be perceived by your customers, by your people, by the public? How has the business grown? Where did it all start? Where is it going?

All these questions need to be asked. You need to understand what your business means. What problem do you solve? Not what product or service you provide. But how do you make life easier for people? Do you make their day better? Do you help create a solution?

Don’t just focus on the business, instead focus on the impact your business has on people’s lives. Is it small, is it big, is it recurring, is it a one off?

Build your story from there.

Once you have this, look at breaking it down into strong key messages. How you want to share your story with your people, your customers, and the public.

Internal + External

The way you communicate internally is not going to be the same as you communicate externally.

I mentioned the key differences:

  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Message focus
  • Channels

Purpose

Internal communication focuses on employees. It’s all about listening to them and facilitating communication between employees in business.

My description of internal communication is:

It’s facilitating the sharing of communication within a business. It’s aligning communications with the business strategic objectives, aligning employees with the business direction, its objectives, purpose, and values. It’s concerned with employees, enabling employee engagement, driving innovation and change.

External communication focuses on potential and existing customers. It’s about capturing their attention and expressing the value your business can bring and how to connect with your customers and the greater public.  

Audience

Internally, your key audience are your organisation, your employees. It’s about reaching your people whether they are in offices, working remotely, out and about. Whether they’re senior leaders in the head office or front-line workers in shops and factories. They all need the same information and knowledge about the business direction, objectives, values, and outcomes from strategic decisions.

Rather than educating and informing people, external communication is all about raising brand awareness, sharing your brand story, inspiring and captivating future potential customers about who you are, as a company, your values, your purpose, your direction.

Message focus

Internally, you can be pretty flexible. It can be informal, relaxed, social, formal, corporate. The way messages are delivered on a myriad of ways; digital, printed, in-person, on the go.

External communication is far more formal. Messages are usually delivered from senior leaders through a set range of channels and followed up with official documentation as evidence-based proof.

Channels

Employees are able to share and communicate through a vast range of channels such as meetings, minutes, videos, teaser clips, podcasts, newsletters, articles, webinars, water-cooler conversations, one-to-ones, and Q&As.

External communication uses more pre-defined channels such as tv and radio appearances, newspapers and printed publications, white papers, tv advertising, social media, and annual reports.

These channels are much more formal, meaning a clear brand image is able to be maintained.

Your culture matching your brand

Now we’ve gone through the differences between internal and external communication, let’s discuss how they need to work in harmony.

For businesses to succeed, their external story needs to replicate internally. The brand message needs to be understood by your people.

What you need to think about first though is how you want your message to come across internally. Will it match how you want your business to be perceived? Are you wanting to become an innovative leader, a free thinker, a safe space for new graduates, a place for leadership, for role models? Are you wanting to feed on competition or embracing new ideas, promoting bravery and boldness?

Help create an internal culture that matches your brand identity, your messages, where you want to be in the future.

Communicating advocacy

What businesses need to understand is that by ensuring better understanding and knowledge of the organisation’s strategic direction, purpose and values, you help raise awareness, build engagement and ultimately employee advocates.

So, harmonise your internal and external communication. Make sure they are aligned, are communicating the same key brand messages. This will ensure your business not only improves employee engagement but drives higher profit and productivity.

Use your employees to further your brand message. Let them share your company’s brand values, vision and purpose. Share it with future employees, future customers, and the world

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Harriet Henderson

    Awesome!

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