Commercialising internal communications

It’s easy to target ‘happy’ indices. It’s what some internal communications teams were set up for – their whole point. “Find a way of improving employee engagement” is a common challenge set to us at all levels, from the tactical campaign support, all the way up to a company re-brand and re-strategy.

But the question in my head rings… why? Why do business leaders want to make sure their employees are happy? The answer doesn’t require a genius. A happy employee is more likely to be more productive. We all know about the plethora of quotes from Branson wheeled out at any opportunity to sound progressive.

But surely as communicators we can go further than just making sure everyone’s having a nice time?

How do we make our content commercial? The answer lies in building brand, product and service advocation. Like my post on the future of communications, as long as the brand, product or service is strong enough, the advocacy will follow. Our job as internal communicators then isn’t to simply narrate the comings and goings of business in passive vernacular, but to sell the business’ wares to employees too. I’m a firm believer that communications teams have no place plugging the product, brand or service, even though you still see it in some instances, overly-zealous use of the adjectives: exciting, excellent, great, et al. Our place instead is to be the medium of discussion and collaboration.

As soon as you introduce a message with an underlying motive, the credibility vanishes. But that’s where people come in. Using experts in the subject will appear transparent to other people in the business. A project manager selling their project is believable and authentic. That’s where a communications team can have a voice – when someone else is speaking.