My latest project is an Internal Communications gig, and it has got me thinking about Internal Comms and its place in the wider PR world.
Before I get into Internal Comms, I’ll just clarify what I mean when I talk about Public Relations – I don’t just mean media relations, but for me PR is the over arching term that incorporates public affairs, digital and social media, marketing, and IC. A decent PR strategy incorporates all of these.
But back to Internal Communications, it is often seen – certainly in my experience – as the lesser of these disciplines, a distant cousin, with less attention paid to it and certainly less budget.
I’ve seen it sit in completely different areas of the business – such as being a HR remit, and not with Comms/PR. I’ve seen Communications Director’s who barely pay it lip service and even ignore it completely.
Even when it is within the Communication or Marketing team, it’s often a separate, stand alone team (or just a single person). Often, Internal Communications practitioners only have IC experience, and likewise how many PR/media relations types have significant IC experience??
Obviously I’m generalising here, as I know one PR pro who has both media and internal experience (me! But I feel I’m more of an exception to the rule – not that i’m saying that I am exceptional…), but it is too often seen as a very separate discipline – not dissimilar to marketing in that respect. I wonder how many Integrated Campaign PR awards include Internal Communications?? (and I don’t know the answer to this so really am wondering; any ideas?)
But actually I believe that Internal Communications has to play a major role in any campaign, and needs to be a key part of any team’s remit. Your staff have to be seen as a key stakeholder, they are the ones who have to deliver your senior people’s visions and strategy. They are the ones who will be out there talking about your company or campaign to their friends, neighbours and family – the voice on the street if you like, and a channel that should be harnessed.
Whether your company has 50 staff or 50,000, a workforce who are onside, who feel part of the company and sign-up to its ethos are going to be more dedicated and more effective, but are also going to be better representatives of your organisation.
As industry we need to stop treating Internal Communications as a separate entity and treat it with the same passion and dedication we treat the rest of our work – I’m pretty confident the results would be significant.
As a side note, this Blog has been produced entirely on my new Blackberry Passport, and I have to say it is a great bit of kit. I know I am a Blackberry Geek, but for serious people who do a lot of work on the road it is peerless…