Uncovering Internal Communication Channels
Have you seen the show “Undercover Boss”?
The premise is that a CEO or president dresses in disguise and works on the front lines in order to get an “in the trenches” view of what’s going on with the organization. Most of the companies featured are large hierarchical organizations with a leader who is somewhat elusive. In addition to the always entertaining disguises and heartstring-tugging employee stories (get your box of tissues), there is a common thread in each episode. All of these leaders want to expand communication with their employees because they know better communication means better business.
Why do so many of us connect with this concept? For us marketers, it’s proof that we are not alone in our quest to maintain open communication channels. From a traditional marketing perspective, we are typically engaging an external audience in an attempt to grow revenue, increase membership, enhance market knowledge, etc. But it’s worth remembering that we have internal customers as well…our sales team, corporate leaders and coworkers, for example…and that we would all benefit from an unhindered line of communication that ensures we understand our organization’s direction, goals, strategy and strengths.
If you can make that happen, you will have contributed to an organization that has a united vision of the future and a workforce capable of operating as a cohesive unit in order to get there. You might think that sounds like a marketer’s dream. You might also be thinking, “I design and execute direct marketing campaigns. Is this internal communication thing really my concern?” Perhaps not officially, but it’s a simple fact that we’re all in this boat together and we’ll get where we want to go faster and more efficiently if we all row in the same direction. In the end, helping our leaders effectively communicate their vision will inspire a unified organization well-prepared to help us achieve our marketing goals.
So, when you are creating your 2016 marketing plan, don’t forget the market that’s right outside your office door. I challenge you to develop an internal communication plan to help some of the most passionate people in your organization – your leaders – communicate their message and provide a method for them to receive input from your organization too. Show off your marketing skills! The same multi-channel tactics that work for an external audience are in play here as well. Consider your internal audience when designing the message and the channels for communicating it. Emails, videos, round table meetings, printed information…they all have a place in your plan.
How will you know if you’ve succeeded? That’s simple. If your CEO can easily communicate with your front line employees without having to go undercover in a silly disguise, you’ve done your job.