Corporate, Corporate communicationsLeave a Comment on Demystifying the corporate creative

Demystifying the corporate creative

There is a legend about a mystical creature. It cannot be tamed, no one really understands it. It can’t be touched and it strikes when you’re least expecting it – maybe during the night, or during your shower. 

That creature is creativity. And it’s one of humanity’s most desired skillsets.

But the myth remains that creativity can’t be understood, can’t be learned and that it is just something that’s born with its claws already in you.

It’s time to demystify this creature.

What does it mean to be a creative?

Being a creative is something not to be sniffed at. Inspired ideas. Insightful concepts. Masterful creations. Art, fashion, campaigns, food, performances and more. Each uniquely manifested from a thought sparked by any number of internal and external influences. Something so exceptional, they say you’ve either ‘got it’ or you haven’t. 

But what exactly is ‘it’? 

And is our perception of what ‘it’ is, the very thing that’s holding us back from achieving our full creative potential in the workplace?

While having the right talent in the right seat is incredibly important, perhaps even business-defining, has putting creative skillsets on a pedestal somewhat restricted the inner visionary in each of us?  

Often when people think of a creative they picture a designer or artist. It’s a visual thing.

But a piece of web code that creates a new function is creativity.

And the way that code is built into a website is all part of a creative process.

Even the colour coding on the spreadsheet that’s managing that website build is creative, granted on a smaller scale.

Creativity is there at all different levels in everyday life and in business. It’s about connecting things. Finding solutions. Looking at something in a new light. And often, it’s just a matter of unlocking it. Or recognising it. And then nurturing it.

One thing’s for sure – creativity is a product of imagination, so it’s free to anyone who has one. Which means everyone.

Are constraints holding back corporate creatives?

Constraints are actually a big part of creative thinking. Coming up against barriers forces you to draw from areas you wouldn’t normally go to – it’s called global processing. Many creative types cite constraints as a big influence on their final output.

That begs the question whether, if physical constraints were removed, could marketers deliver their campaigns more effectively and without specialist support?

Time. Budget. Resources. Ability.

These are the barriers that control creative output every day. Things are done a certain way to achieve a consistent result and reduce mistakes, which means opportunities for creativity are not always built into the process. How can we ever encourage creativity if we don’t provide the tools to support it?

Now consider these four areas, identified as key to the successful implementation of creativity in the workplace:


What do employees really want to be doing in terms of creativity? How much freedom do they seek? What drives them? Putting tools in place to help with the creative process, giving employees autonomy and sharing the vision of the company are all ways to help motivate teams to approach their day-to-day with a different way of thinking.


When there’s a platform to openly share and discuss ideas, creativity thrives. Listening to problems, finding solutions and welcoming all ideas to the table – even if they’re not right, it could spark something.  

Creative thinking skills

When an employee has a problem, encourage them to think of solutions. Even if they’re not right or possible, it will encourage them to start seeing things differently, not just seeing barriers but the ways to overcome them.  

An environment that supports creativity

The tech revolution allows for more people to be involved in shaping a brand’s creative message. Digital platforms and software make it easier than ever for us to automate parts of the creative process. Empowering teams to deliver the marketing materials needed without having to engage a designer or writer sounds impossible, but with smart templates from Papirfly, creativity is encouraged while keeping output governed.

The creative renaissance: how do corporates embrace it?

Einstein said if you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. It’s likely he knew that everything starts with an idea, and the way to foster ideas is to feed them – read more, go to the theatre, take a walk, take a break, have a shower.

Creativity can stem from anywhere in life, but people often forget the role it plays in businesses. Retail marketers can be creative about the ways they utilise their window spaces. Corporate marketers can find new and engaging ways to make their internal comms as exciting as their external comms. Employer brand teams can make sure that every piece of marketing material embodies the values of a brand, and then some.

No two businesses’ needs or employees are the same, and in order to nurture the hidden talent which remains unrecognised, we need to shed our archaic perception of what being a ‘creative’ means and recognise that there’s one in all of us. And it’s time we embraced it. 

Corporate communicationsLeave a Comment on An introduction to corporate communications

An introduction to corporate communications

In this modern, competitive landscape, a brand’s identity needs to be unique, clear and consistent in order to set itself apart. A big part of making this successful lies in effective corporate communications.

Learn more about how corporate communications showcases your brand’s personality to those within and outside your organisation, and how ensuring strong visuals and messaging across campaigns help to strengthen your image in the long term.

What are corporate communications?

Corporate communications is an incredibly broad field, which means it can be difficult to strictly define. At its core, the definition of corporate communications is the variety of ways a business or organisation communicates with its various audiences, both internal and external. These audiences will likely include:

  • Customers/leads
  • Employees
  • Stakeholders/investors
  • Partners
  • Suppliers
  • Media
  • Government bodies
  • The general public

Managing your corporate communications is an all-encompassing task, and one that is more important now than ever before.

Because, fundamentally, your corporate communications policy means more than just how you send messages – it is about fostering a unified brand identity. This ensures that your business speaks to a particular audience with one voice across all its available channels, with complete consistency of messaging and tonality, and effectively influences your audiences’ attitudes and actions.

As such, your corporate communications plan should first and foremost align with your corporate objectives.

What is the vision for your company?

What image do you want to project to each audience?

And of course, as the brand grows and evolves over time, your corporate communications strategy will too – it is a symbiotic relationship where a change in one directly influences the other.

The importance placed on corporate communications has resulted in blurring of the lines between this department with those responsible for marketing and PR. The head of your corporate comms team’s core function is to translate your brand’s identity to both your internal and external audience. To ensure this is maintained across all aspects of your work, this requires complete collaboration between these departments to avoid contradictions from creeping in.

Consider the functions that a corporate communications department nowadays is expected to fulfil:

functions of a corporate communications department

The sheer enormity of what corporate communications covers is an indication of how pivotal it is to both forming and expressing your unique brand identity. It’s not an advantage to have a corporate communications strategy in place – it’s a necessity.

Maintaining this level of consistency across the vast number of channels you use to communicate is a challenge that often goes unappreciated, but it’s essential to maintaining how your brand is viewed by those who matter most to you.

How important are your corporate communications?

The importance of effective corporate communications cannot be understated. Your strategy plays an essential role in cementing the personality of your brand and influencing both current and prospective audiences to buy into your products, services or ideas. 

This is true even in the midst of a global crisis, as maintaining communication during COVID-19 has been crucial in keeping employees, customers and the wider public engaged and informed with how businesses are managing the situation and supporting their audiences.

This is imperative to how you, as a brand and as a business, move forward for a variety of reasons, including:

Fostering employee engagement

Nobody wants to hear information second-hand, and this rings true for your employees. Employees that feel out of the loop or disconnected from the events taking place in their work will grow dissatisfied over time, decreasing productivity and the overall company culture. Remember, it is estimated that disengaged employees cost the UK economy up to £340 billion annually, and is one of the leading causes of staff churn.

cost of employee disengagement

Corporate communications go a long way towards keeping team members engaged with the big picture. From weekly newsletters informing your global teams about the latest developments for your company to regular evaluation meetings, your internal corporate communications play a big role in making employees aware, informed and included. The more engaged and involved your employees feel at work, the more productive and satisfied they will feel.

Furthermore, as consistent and strategic corporate communications trickle down from the executive-level to other employees, it will encourage greater two-way communication between employees and their managers. Having a greater understanding of the brand and what it stands for will spur engaged employees to make suggestions on how things may be improved, making corporate communications a great source of innovation from within.

Encouraging brand advocacy

Following on from keeping employees engaged and in-sync with your brand objectives, strong corporate communications also play a vital role in brand advocacy. With 2019’s Edelman report revealing that 63% of consumers trust what influencers say about a brand more than what the brand says about itself, having willing, active advocates for your brand – be it your employees or customers – can be a powerful advantage in attracting today’s audiences.

A particularly strong way to achieve boosted brand advocacy is by employees resharing content on your social media channels. When employees are feeling satisfied in their understanding of the direction the brand is moving, and feel involved in it, they will be more willing to share content with their friends and other followers, increasing the reach of your brand in a more natural, personable manner.

Improve customer loyalty and trust

Your customers are one of the most important audiences your corporate communications will engage with on a daily basis. And they expect authenticity through these in order to build trust with your brand and become loyal followers. As your marketing nurtures and connects with them through your various touchpoints, staying consistent and genuine with your messaging is crucial to developing this trust.

acquiring a new customer is 5x more costly

When your communications presents these qualities, customers become advocates. They evangelise your brand. Like and share content on your social channels. Let their family and friends know about the quality of your offering. All this stems from a corporate communications strategy that promotes your brand values coherently and frequently.

Building brand reputation

Your marketing activity needs to work hard to build and maintain a positive brand reputation. Social proof is a key indicator for employees, customers and the general public that your company is doing good things and following through on your brand values. Projecting these through your corporate communications is a powerful way to enhance your reputation.

Whether it’s a press release highlighting your annual earnings, or a social post about your work in the local community, communicating your core values, positive reviews and examples of your CSR work indicate to your audiences that you are a reputable organisation. And this reputation can act as a powerful factor in a customer or recruit choosing you over a competitor.

Furthermore, your corporate communications don’t just play a role in growing and reinforcing your current branding – it also plays a key role in cementing a corporate rebrand. This is a difficult change for any company, particularly one with locations spread across the globe. Your communications strategy can be crucial in detailing the rebrand both internally and externally, so you can quickly familiarise people with the alteration and minimise any backlash or confusion caused by this change in direction.

Limit fallout of crises

Crises often cause an unexpected blow to brands, but if your teams are well prepared, they can control the damage before it gets out of control. Turning to your corporate communications plan helps you swiftly respond to potential crises, be it a factory shutdown, loss of a member of staff or something mistakenly being published.

A crises plan will give guidelines and terminology to use in the event of these unfortunate circumstances taking hold, and outline how to prevent issues from escalating with a set of actions for your comms team. 

What is your corporate communications strategy?

Now we’ve established how important corporate communications is to your overall brand identity, it is time to discuss how you put that strategy into practice.

Fundamentally, your corporate communications strategy should be tied to your overall business strategy and objectives. If it doesn’t have this foundation in place, teams will struggle to understand what’s being communicated and why it’s important. Objectives come first, followed by your strategy, followed by execution.

Aligning your corporate communications plan to your overarching brand objectives means that when your objectives change, your team can adjust your messaging too. It’s essential that the person at the helm of your corporate communication department – be it a specified Communications Director or another member of your staff – has a defined presence at boardroom level. The person in charge of comms is responsible for communicating the ethos developed at an executive level, so it’s important they hear the vision directly from the source.

When this is established, the production of your corporate communications strategy should incorporate the following to ensure best practice:

  • Identify and prioritise the goals of executives – this could involve a deeper dive into your organisation’s values, strengths, weaknesses and more

  • Clarify the audiences that will need to be engaged with – clearly defining the audience your communications are directed at, be it a group of employers, one of your target markets or your shareholders, is crucial to establishing the tone and information that needs to be incorporated to secure their attention

  • Conduct both internal and external corporate communications audits – this will help you to better understand what your audience wants from this aspect of your business – employee surveys, customer comments, supplier feedback, etc.

  • Craft your core communications messages, starting from the initial ideas and objectives – this is vital to establishing the tone of voice you wish to project to your various audiences, and removing any terminology you aren’t comfortable with

  • Develop the graphical details of your corporate communications – your strategy should think beyond the terminology you use, ensuring your various communications use the right logos, fonts, layouts, signatures, design elements, and more, ensuring consistency across the board

  • Identify the various tools and channels you’re going to utilise – consider conducting an audit into the various avenues you use to communicate your messages to discover what’s working and what isn’t, and use this information to create a plan of action into what channels and techniques are best placed to project your values to your audiences

  • Evaluate and amend your corporate communications strategy over time – remember that is an ever-evolving plan that should support your business as it develops – as your company changes, so should your communications to ensure they remain consistent with your objectives and in-line with the attitudes of your audience

The goal of your corporate communications strategy is to present a unified, coherent picture of who your organisation is, what it stands for and why it exists to your audiences. If you’d like to learn more about how we help global businesses achieve this level of uniformity across their range of communications,

What are the types of corporate communications?

At its most basic level, corporate communications break down into two categories:

  • Internal corporate communications
  • External corporate communications

While internal and external corporate communications are often unique to the audiences they talk to, they in many ways coincide. Especially following the rise of employee advocacy, brand ambassadors and social media platforms, the lines between the two have become increasingly blurred. They remain distinct entities with unique goals, but both work towards the unified goal of communicative consistency and increasing brand reputation. 

What are internal corporate communications?

Your internal corporate communications are how your company connects with those within your organisation. From the personnel in your head offices to your workforce spread across the globe, your internal communications are crucial to engaging each individual in your company with your brand messages.

At a time where just 13% of employees worldwide are considered truly engaged with their company, having an internal corporate communications strategy is paramount to getting employees, from new recruits to stalwarts, in-sync with what your brand stands for. It’s focused on fostering a collective culture and identity among your employees with your organisation, ensuring staff fully understand where it is heading.

As mentioned above about the important benefits of following best practice with your internal corporate communications, nobody likes to be left out of the loop. This breeds disillusionment and disengagement, which can have significant detriments to their motivation and productivity levels.

Instead, by effectively, openly and consistently maintaining communications with your workforce, they become more familiar and engaged with your brand identity. If staff feel that they are being kept informed and that there are communication channels that work in both directions, it creates an environment where staff feel they have a voice and that their opinions carry some worth.

Examples of internal corporate communications

examples of internal corporate communications

How can you achieve consistency across your internal corporate communications?

Here are a few techniques to achieve best practice with your internal corporate communications:

Encourage the free flow of information

Investing in a branded tool that allows staff to communicate frequently, be it a straightforward messaging app or collective workflow, helps create unity between team members and encourage sharing information, which is valuable to keep your company progressing.

Repurpose your marketing techniques for your workforce

When you create a marketing strategy, you will develop audience personas for your target markets. Why not do the same for your employees? Develop a deeper understanding of their motivations, needs and barriers, and repurpose content already going out in line with these to support your work comms.

Develop branded internal documents

Whether it’s employee feedback forms, staff handbooks or email signatures, make sure your brand values and design elements are consistent internally, so teams quickly become familiar with the tone and personality of your brand.

What are external corporate communications?

External corporate communications are how you choose to share your brand with the world outside of your company. This covers a lot of ground, from how you communicate with your current and prospective customers, to your relationships with government bodies, the media and the wider public. It’s a big part of how your brand identity reaches the masses.

The strategy you implement helps shape the way your audience and the public perceive your company and influences them to interact with your brand on a deeper level.

As such, it is essential that your external corporate communications strategy is well-planned and meticulously followed in accordance with your brand objectives. With such a wide range of channels encompassing these forms of communications, achieving total consistency becomes incredibly difficult without one coherent plan.

Without a unified plan, your external corporate comms can quickly become disjointed and off-piste, painting a confusing picture to your customers and your wider audiences. While how you talk to your customers could differ greatly to how you communicate to your suppliers or investors, these should maintain some distinct similarities in branding as both are founded on your organisation’s objectives.

In essence, your external corporate communications should be geared to support how you:

  • Inform and educate your customers, media and stakeholders about your brand
  • Maintain long-term, consistent relationships with your external audiences
  • Engage customers, partners and more with your brand personality
  • Market your products and services to customers more personably
  • Grow your audiences and connections under one, united identity

Examples of external corporate communications

examples of external corporate communications

How can you achieve consistency across your external corporate communications?

Like with your internal communications, brand consistency is critical for your external corporate communications. Realising this isn’t always straightforward, even with a coherent strategy in place, but it is crucial to project a uniform, unambiguous message to audiences outside of your inner circle. 

Here are a few techniques to achieve best practice with your external corporate communications:

Segment your audiences

While you are likely already doing this as part of your employee marketing efforts, you also need to consider your shareholders, partners, suppliers and other external parties. Creating unique personas for each audience will help you adapt their unique motivations to your overarching brand ambitions, ensuring they never steer too far from your central message.

Saturate markets with messaging

Though we all like to innovate, you should learn to sometimes revel in the repetitive. Focus some of your energies on learning to explain the same things in different ways to make the messages accessible to a range of audiences, while retaining the same core information.

Be responsive

Corporate communications are a two-way street. Listen to how your external audiences are reacting to your communications, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Make sure the decision for amends comes from an executive level, preventing further inconsistencies or team members breaking brand guidelines in a bid to better communicate with customers.

What is the role of your corporate communications department?

Depending on the size and reach of your company, your communications department could be an entire division of your organisation or a role performed by one or two members of your team. However, its significance doesn’t vary whether you’re a start-up or a global brand.

The head of your corporate communications department, be it a manager, director or Chief Communications Officer, should have a seat at the boardroom level of your organisation. Their primary role is to translate your brand’s objectives, news, innovations and developments to both your internal and external audiences. It’s imperative that this is received first-hand to avoid any contradiction or confusion caused by second-hand information.

As well as your executive level, your corporate communications department must be closely connected to other areas of your organisation. It acts as an interpreter for your team, facilitating clear, on-brand communication from top-down as well as bottom-up.

Being in tune with the goings-on across all aspects of your business is vital in maintaining this consistent communication, meeting audience needs and working in collaboration with teams to perform their various responsibilities.

In today’s environment, your corporate communications team must be included in several key functions affecting how your business engages with people both inside and outside of it, including:

  • Management of your websites and social media channels
  • Being involved in the planning and creation of blogs and other social content
  • Organising and hosting networking events
  • Writing and distributing press releases and maintaining best practice policies for how your company interacts with the media
  • Representing the company in public settings, or preparing executives for presentations and news conferences
  • Managing and overseeing marketing materials and campaigns
  • Sourcing and communicating with relevant parties for advertising opportunities
  • Handling crisis communications in a swift and effective manner
  • Overseeing internal company communications, including meetings, training, evaluations and other employee events

Corporate communications and social media

The explosion of social media use in the past decade has completely changed the game for corporate communications. It is both a blessing and a curse for corporate communications departments. It doesn’t cost anything to post on social media, making it a cost-effective option to communicate with your various audiences.

However, the primary drawback is the effort required to keep up with demand. Social media channels present an unrelenting stream of information to users. Delivering fresh, up-to-date content to engage your audience is a time-consuming and often costly task, and maintaining consistency across all these channels when faced with these pressures.

The impact of social media on corporate communications is a double-edged sword, making it critical for brands to consider as part of their strategies. The following approaches can help you stay ahead on your social networks:

  • Invest in trusted social listening tools to make sure any mention of your company, products or executives is tracked and reacted to where necessary
  • Bring your corporate communications department into your social media teams, so both sides are united on the messages sent out being in-line with your universal strategy
  • Focus on social media content that is less sales-orientated, and more focused on delivering value and information, enhancing your brand reputation and increasing its share-ability
  • Experiment with different media formats and channels, helping you communicate your central brand messages in different styles for varied audiences

If you are seeking support maintaining total consistency across all your social media platforms, we can help you find the solution. Speak to our team today.

How do you measure corporate communications?

With the rise of digital media, the days of measuring the success of your corporate communications policies on column inches and the Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) are a thing of the past. Instead, there is a greater focus on tracking digital metrics and online engagements as a measure of success, but even these do not paint a clear picture to measure the effectiveness of your corporate communications strategies.

It is unquestionably important to test your messages across your various channels and gauge the responses to these. Impressions, interactions and conversions on your website and digital platforms can be a good indicator of how effectively your communications are connecting with your audiences, as can open and click-through rates for your email campaigns. These can highlight patterns about your messaging that you can learn from and take forward.

However, the goal of corporate communications is something that is difficult to accurately assess – brand perception. Despite the Barcelona Principles helping this industry move away from AVEs and other output-oriented measures, there are still problems with how corporate communications teams can determine how well they are performing.

At this point, there is still no hard-and-fast answer as to how you should effectively measure your corporate communications. Hopefully, as technology evolves and a greater appreciation of how these initiatives help businesses operate is fostered, it will become more straightforward for brands to determine if their corporate communications department is delivering value.

We hope this article has given you a greater understanding and appreciation of the importance of your corporate communications on your overall brand identity. In this increasingly competitive landscape, your brand is what sets you apart – it’s the culture among your employees far and wide, the layer of trust your customers look towards and the motivation that keeps you evolving and moving forward.

If you take anything away from this piece, it’s the importance of achieving brand consistency as part of your corporate communications strategy. Your brand is unique to you, and it’s crucial that its messages, visions and characteristics are maintained across everything you communicate, whether it’s a far-reaching press statement or a meeting between your employees. Every element of your communications should be geared to presenting the ambitions and nature of your brand in accordance with your objectives.

Corporate communicationsLeave a Comment on The practical guide to internal communications

The practical guide to internal communications

A company’s internal communications can tell you a lot about its culture, organisation and prospects.

Where all team members feel connected and part of a single, unified structure, it suggests a positive, efficient environment. Where they feel detached, it is more likely that deadlines are missed, tensions rise and company culture falls flat.

At a time where just 13% of employees worldwide consider themselves engaged with their employer, it appears that a greater emphasis on improving internal communications is in order.

Our essential guide breaks down the various types of internal communications, best practices for your organisation’s strategy, and how you can build a stronger bond between your workforce and your overarching brand identity. 

What is internal communications? 

At its core, your internal communications policy is how those in your organisation communicate with each other. The sharinCommon types of internal communicationsg of information for business purposes. The link between your leadership teams and your workforce across the globe. 

Unlike your external communications, the other half of your overarching corporate communications, this is not primarily concerned with how your brand is perceived outside of the realms of your company. Instead, the aim of your internal communications strategy should be on fostering a collective culture among your employees through your brand and its core values, from new recruits to seasoned stalwarts.

Internal communications is about keeping employees in-sync and in-the-know within your organisation. Not keeping staff connected or conscious about the direction the company is going or what your brand stands for can quickly lead them to become disillusioned and disinterested at work, as they don’t feel engaged with the bigger picture.

Research conducted in 2015 by Geckoboard illustrates this, with one in four employees leaving their roles as a result of ‘Mushroom Management’, which they defined as a situation where employees are left to perform blindly without any indication of company performance. The priority for your internal business communications should be everyone feels included in what is happening in your organisation. 

There are several internal communications approaches that help accomplish this goal, including:

Top-down communications
  • the distribution of information from your upper management through to employees down the chain, typically informing staff of company plans, direction and brand values
Change communications
  • internal comms that inform employees of any notable changes your organisation is undergoing, such as a new office opening or the emergence of a new policy the company has to adhere to
Information communications
  • how your company equips your employees to perform their duties in the most effective way, whether that’s through a company handbook, training tools or peer-to-peer discussions
Crisis communication
  • alerting your teams to any problem or difficulty affecting the organisation, be it dangerous weather affecting travel into work to product recalls and cybersecurity attacks
Two-way communications
  • often referred to as ‘bottom-up’ comms, this is where your organisation taps into the knowledge, insight and ideas of your employees to discuss potential improvements and get a handle on company culture
Peer-to-peer communications

internal comms where workforces, often spread worldwide, connect and collaborate with each other for a specific project or to lend support, often achieved through email or social networking platforms

Culture communications
  • an often-overlooked facet of internal communications plans, this is where your organisation shares materials relating to company values, shares upcoming social events, highlights people to your CSR initiatives, congratulates good work and more in the pursuit of creating a collective identity

Common types of internal communications

  • Employee newsletters or publications
  • Social intranets, forums and other online portals
  • Team collaboration apps (e.g. Slack, Trello)
  • Emails
  • Letters
  • Company handbooks or guidelines
  • Induction processes
  • Office displays and decorations
  • Team meetings
  • Group brainstorming sessions
  • Staff evaluations

Why is internal communications important?

With the purpose of internal communications centred on giving team members a voice and a strong sense of belonging within their organisation, you’d imagine that the overwhelming majority of businesses would position this high in their priorities. But this sadly isn’t the case.

Instead, up to 60% of companies appear to not have any long-term internal communications strategy or vision.

21% of internal communicators claim they do not employ any level of formal planning.

Just 54% agree that their progress towards communications objectives are researched, measured, and evaluated.

There remains an under-appreciation or lack of understanding as to the importance of internal communications on a day-to-day basis, and an assumption that this is something that does not require any concentrated focus. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your internal comms team is imperative to enhancing the culture within your organisation and ensuring the long-term retention of your valued employees.

Keep people calm, informed and engaged

Above all else, your internal communications plan is there to keep your workforce unified and up-to-date with the news, events and information impacting your brand. Whether it’s the launch of a new product, a charity event you’d like people to attend, or an internal issue that needs remedying, your communications keep everyone in the loop.

Nobody likes to be kept in the dark. Good internal communications get your teams involved and invested in the big picture for your brand, even if they are spread throughout the globe.

Boost employee productivity

Internal communications tools have the power to increase employee productivity levels by 20-25%, according to research by The McKinsey Global Institute. When employees feel engaged and connected to the organisation they are working for, they will in turn have a greater emphasis to work hard and pull together to achieve your business objectives.

The best forms of internal communications give your employees a purpose. A drive. A reason to perform for your brand. They are more switched-on and clearer about the direction the company is moving, and an informed, valued employee is a motivated employee.

Establish channels for feedback and discussion

Communication is a two-way street, and an excess of top-down materials could cause strain, or potentially result in employees feeling repressed and undervalued. By managing your internal communications effectively, you can create an environment where your workforce feels empowered to voice any concerns and offer suggestions on company culture and developments. 

You may be surprised how much knowledge and insight your global teams can offer when they feel empowered to offer their thoughts. This could not only guide innovations and push your brand toward a brighter future, but giving your team members a voice makes it more likely they will want to stay with your organisation for the long term.

Excite, inspire and empower people

Great news is a great motivator, and it should be shared with all members of your company. It could be congratulating a team member on some excellent customer feedback. Or inspiring them with an effective training session. It could even be that your charity fundraiser got featured in the local paper.

Whatever there is to celebrate, your internal communications strategy helps ensure you celebrate as a unit. People feel more connected and enthused with your brand, and morale is lifted going forward. 

Keep your brand message consistent 

A major aspect of having a clearly defined internal communications policy is ensuring your messaging remains consistent. Especially where your workforce is spread over countries and continents, maintaining your unique brand voice across these channels can be a real challenge without an organised plan. Your communications should always maintain harmony.

This is the reason why part of our BAM by Papirfly™ solution is directed to support internal communications teams achieve that all-important consistency, from providing a central location for brand guidelines and handbooks to empowering them to create their own materials for their co-workers at home and further afield.

Limit rumours and increase transparency

Hearsay and rumour can distort the information surrounding your brand. This can come as a result of poor communication, or from a lack of communication full stop. If people aren’t informed of developments, they’ll start filling the blanks with their own interpretations, which could bring down morale, breed unsettled or hostile feelings and create an uncomfortable environment.

By getting a handle on managing your internal comms and fostering a spirit of greater transparency, the rumour mill is slowed and employees replace it with trusted information. For a generation that is increasingly inquisitive and craving details, this is a vital benefit that this plan can offer you. 

Be visual and uncomplicated

Words are powerful but too many of them can weaken the impact of your messages. Communicating in a way that people can understand, digest and then reflect on is the key to success.

Internal communications doesn’t mean a 2-hour presentation and a 50-page leave behind full of corporate jargon. It’s getting across the key points in an engaging and simplistic way, because realistically nobody is going to have time to read those lengthy documents with any solid comprehension. If you really do need to give your team a 50-page leave behind, provide them with visuals and summaries.

Who needs to implement best practices in internal communications?

The short answer is everyone. But the internal communications strategy should outline who is responsible for driving each strand forward. At a very basic level, there should be communication from an organisational level, at a managerial level and on an individual level.

Organisational comms
  • should focus on internal business communication; anything that’s to do with company-wide changes, growth, recognition of long-serving employees or bigger picture initiatives.
Managerial communications
  • hinge on being able to create relationships with employees that encourage two-way conversation and feedback. It’s not just another layer for top-down directive or announcements. A manager’s role is as much about listening as it is making sure their employees are kept informed and engaged
Individual communications
  • are as much about communicating problems or issues constructively, as it is in keeping the culture alive in a company. This category could cover everything that’s taken care of by HR, social events, improving working conditions and more.

Every company is different, which means no internal communications plan should look the same. That said, the above points are absolutely pivotal best practices in internal communications.

Creating an internal communications plan

Now that we’ve established the importance your internal communications plan has on keeping your workforce engaged, invested and encouraged, how do you go about structuring this for your organisation? A fully-formed approach means a lot more than just regular email chains and annual performance reviews – it should be a fleshed-out, functioning process that covers all bases.

To help you achieve this, we’ve compiled seven effective tips to consider when developing your internal communications strategy:

Assess your existing tools and approaches

First of all, take an objective look over how you currently communicate with your employees: 

  • What are your most widely used channels? Do you stick primarily to email or offer a more diverse range of internal comms?
  • Which channel or approach is performing most effectively? Could you sacrifice others in order to place more emphasis on this?
  • What message are these materials sending to your workforce? Does it encompass the values and emotions you want to invoke?
  • Are your internal communications consistent? Do they deviate from piece-to-piece or from country-to-country?

Involve your leadership team throughout

Your internal communications team connects your entire workforce – it cannot operate in a vacuum. It is imperative that your senior management team not only buys into the development of a comprehensive plan of action, but is actively involved in this process. 

The direct link between your leadership team and your internal communicators helps ensure that the messages that are sent out correlate with your company’s core values and mission statements. That pursuit of consistency starts at the summit, and needs to inform materials that connect your employees to the messages, visions and personality of your brand.

This should be the beginning of a company-wide collaboration to guarantee your internal communications are meeting the needs of everyone it interacts with, from senior leaders and stakeholders to the far reaches of your workforce. 

Identify the personalities of your audience

In the same way your external marketing materials will need to be targeted around your ideal customers, your internal marketing communications have to be positioned based on your employee persona. Take the time to analyse and discover what your workforce wants from your communications:

  • What information are they interested in?
  • What are their likes and dislikes?
  • What channels do they interact with outside of work?
  • What cultural values and beliefs do they hold?
  • Who is most actively interested in communications?

Develop clear objectives to pursue

What do you want to get out of your internal communications strategy?

It is one of the first questions you will ask yourself, and one of the most challenging to answer. The goals of your internal communications plan will drive the direction you take and set a benchmark to work towards, allowing you to measure performance against these over time. 

Objectives will vary from business to business. Maybe you hope to realise better consistency across your global communications? Perhaps your current approach is inefficient, with a heavy reliance on email over more agile, innovative internal communications? Or you potentially are more concerned with driving that deeper connection between your employees worldwide with the values and visions your brand represents. 

So take your time settling on the objectives of your strategy, the timeline you’ll be operating within, and remember to think SMART:

Craft your company’s tone of voice

Based on what you’ve learned about the personalities within your team, adjust your organisation’s tone of voice accordingly.  

There’s a good chance that this will differ from how your brand communicates its products, services and values to your customers. This tone should be geared toward attracting and welcoming new staff to your ranks, as well as keeping your existing workforce motivated and attached to your brand. 

While the nature of your tone of voice will be unique to your business, to reap the full benefits of your internal communications plan, it must:

  • Present a totally clear and unambiguous message across your various channels
  • Embody the core values your company stands for
  • Maintain complete consistency at every touchpoint
  • Give the right impression to your audience based on the values they hold close

Determine what channels you will utilise

With internal communications, many companies believe the only way is email. In fact, the breadth of channels that these messages can be delivered is vastly different from just a couple of decades ago. Determining which platforms will best reach your employees will depend on your personas, your goals and your budget considerations. 

Examples of good internal communications methods you may wish to consider in your business include: 

Intranet forums and chatting tools
  • applications like Slack, Trello and other Intranet forums offer a great space for co-workers to communicate and announce important information to many people at once, and can often be branded around your organisation.
Face-to-face meetings
  • your members of staff might prefer a more personal form of communication to inform them of how they’re progressing, areas they can improve on and discuss ideas that can benefit the whole company moving forward.
  • highly interactive, easily consumable and accessible for employees, it is no surprise that more businesses are using video for internal communications, whether it’s in the form of helpful tutorials for employees or a way of showcasing your social events and developments across your entire workforce.
Social media
  • with 53% of people interested in improving their application of digital channels for this purpose, employing social media for your internal communications can present engaging pieces that demonstrate your organisation’s events, values and celebrations to build a stronger bond with your employees.
Workplace displays
  • many brands are benefitting from incorporating internal displays, posters and designs within the workplace to consistently motivate and inspire employees, as well as keep them constantly engaged with your brand messages.

Align your external and internal communications 

Finally, while there is no question that the messages, tone and audience of your external communications will differ from your internal communications, there needs to be a level of consistency between the two. If the communications you are sending between your team vary significantly from the content you are disseminating to your outside audiences, it can cause a disconnect among your employees or your customers, and in some cases both.

Particularly on the channels that you utilise for both forms of communications, such as your website, social media and emails, it is important to assess whether both sides are clearly following the values and personality of your brand. If they diverge too significantly, discuss both concurrently to identify where changes can be made on both sides to bring them in line.

How to measure the effectiveness of internal communications

We have established how important internal comms is, but all the time, effort and money you invest is futile if you can’t see how well your strategy has performed. Being able to assess your plan’s success means you can identify areas that you need to continue to develop and improve.  

Identify your internal communications goals

Knowing what success looks like is half the battle. If you don’t know what you’re working towards, it’s near on impossible to make any progress. These particular goals should be company-wide, what is the bigger picture vision? And what’s the internal comms team’s role in supporting this?

Determine goals for your communications

You may choose to break this down by broader goals for your team such as increasing employee engagement, as well as having more targeted individual campaign metrics. Knowing how to define success will help you shape your strategy, and when things don’t quite go to plan, you can refine based on what you’ve learnt.

Optimise your campaigns with data

With each digital channel for your internal communications, there will be many ways to measure their effectiveness. This can be broken down by clicks, likes, comments and shares. It’s important to take a baseline snapshot of your channels before you begin tracking your campaigns, that way you will be able to see how far you have come.

Employee advocacy

Your employees could be one of your most effective marketing strands in terms of brand awareness and outreach. On the other hand, employees will also feel valued having their opinions and involvement within the company being championed.

5 ways to measure employee engagement for your internal communications

1. Conduct a survey
Survey monkey allows you to create a free questionnaire where your employees can remain anonymous and not have to worry about being too honest. If they don’t agree with some of the communication messaging or methods, this will give them a platform to openly share their opinions without fear of starting a conflict.

2. Implement ‘desktop notifications’
If you have an intranet system your IT team will be able to introduce something called ‘tickers’ that can display key messages and notifications to selected team members, you can then see how many people clicked on them to see more information or simply dismissed them.

3. Measure email open and click-through rates
If your open rates are low, that suggests either your subject lines aren’t relevant enough or your employees don’t care what it is that’s being said. If it’s the latter it’s important to find out why, which is where the survey could come in useful. If engagement is extremely low you may wish to incentivise the survey completion – though this would mean they waive their right to being anonymous. If employees are opening the emails but not clicking through to complete actions or read further then you may want to consider refreshing your tone of voice or getting feedback from a select few.

4. Verbal responses and feedback
What you don’t want to be doing is communicating more about feedback than you do actually delivering your campaigns. Ensure any responses or feedback is never mandatory, so that people don’t begin to resent the exercise. If they feel strongly enough about it one way or the other, they will participate.

5. Monitor turnover and have insight on exit interviews
Lots of employees leave jobs because they feel alienated or not including in certain communication or developments about the company. If your internal communications plan is solid, it may help contribute to a lower turnover rate. If other factors play a role, then see if you can get a question about internal comms within the exit interview process. If anyone is going to be honest about what they think, it’s when they’re on their way out and have nothing to lose.

What does the future hold for internal communications?

Over the past decade or so, more and more businesses have understood the importance of their internal communications and the scope that this covers. While this is still far from universal, this aspect of most companies’ day-to-day life is now receiving more attention than ever, and it’ll only continue to attract more moving forward.

Long gone are the days where a monthly newsletter passed around the office would suffice. Now, more innovative internal communication ideas and methods are forming with the goal of enhancing brand identity, both among team members and projected to the wider world.

So how will internal communication evolve for the future? Below we’ve picked out some key trends to look out for in 2020 and beyond, as these could play a role in moulding your approach sooner than you expect.

Internal communications teams will cement their seat at an executive level

As employees are increasingly valued for the role they can play in supporting an organisation’s brand identity, the more crucial it will be for internal communication teams to be closely tied to company executives.

In years past, the part played by an internal communications strategy was more rudimentary – to entertain staff and inform them of important announcements. While those are still core components of what internal comms are expected to deliver, today’s more nuanced approach is focused on building a dialogue across team members and creating a collective identity.

And this requires greater buy-in at a boardroom level. The executive team is responsible for setting the brand vision, and working directly with their internal communications team can they be assured that it is executed effectively.

So, if there remains a disconnect in your business between top executives and those responsible for projecting your company-wide communications, you should seek to close this in the coming months and years.

The lines between external and internal communications will blur further

As we’ve alluded to in this guide, the gulf separating external and internal communications is shrinking. In the past, there has been a starker divide – newsletters and surveys for your workforce, blogs, infographics and videos for your customers.

Now, there is a move toward more joined-up thinking. If the messages you are projecting externally to customers, partners and the general public doesn’t coincide with your internal atmosphere, it can cause a disconnect between your team and your brand.

This means they are less likely to champion your brand on their personal channels, or to be retained long-term. Instead, by bringing together your external and internal approaches, you are more motivated to produce communications that satisfy the needs and interests of both.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everything that goes out externally should also be incorporated into your internal messages, and vice versa. But if for instance your company recently took part in a successful charity initiative or achieved record profits for the year, these can be solid foundations for content delivered to both staff and consumers.

There will a greater emphasis on visual storytelling in internal communications

Connecting with your employees is not an easy task, especially if your workforce is spread worldwide. It becomes infinitely more challenging if the approach you take to share internal news and events doesn’t capture their attention.

Producing internal communications that tells a story and illuminates the impact of the information being shared is infinitely more likely to hit home with team members. As such, it is widely anticipated that storytelling will become a more prized component in these messages than might have been witnessed in the past.

Plus, did you know that employees are 75% more likely to engage with internal communications through video than in text? Driving employee engagement behind your brand should be the primary goal of your internal communications strategy, and anything companies can do to better ensure that should be taken on board.

Using more visual storytelling devices, including videos, infographics and quizzes, will make the messages you aim to project resonate better with employees, and make it more likely that they champion your brand on their various platforms.

Employees will expect internal communications instantly and mobile-first

As workforces worldwide welcome more and more millennials and Generation Z team members, there will be a growing need to make all internal communications mobile-friendly.

These generations have grown up alongside the rapid development of smartphones and tablets. This is how they communicate with friends, family, colleagues and brands – and this trend won’t disappear anytime soon. In fact, as time passes it will no longer be considered a recommendation to take your comms mobile – it will be an expectation.

Introducing helpful communication apps (perhaps even a bespoke one for your own organisation) will be vital to present news, updates and developments in a way that future employees will be accustomed to. If you don’t embrace this trend, your business risks a widening disconnect between your team and your brand in the coming years.

Deeper personalisation and innovation in internal communications

Finally, in a similar way to how marketing is developing ways to provide customers with a unique, personalised experience, there is a growing pressure on internal communications to provide tailored materials that speak to each employee.

While this should not go as far as crafting thousands of unique messages to your global team members whenever there’s an event to share, organisations should look at ways to tailor what content certain employees received so they aren’t overloaded with unnecessary information.

Around 62% of the emails someone receives at work every day are considered unimportant and irrelevant. This not only represents a drain on your employees’ productivity for no good reason, but it damages how connected they feel to your brand if they become accustomed to ignoring company communications, even if they’re relevant to them.

An early investment in internal communication tools can go a long way to streamlining the content your employees receive, so they are kept informed only by the information relevant to them. That way, they are more likely to pay attention when something pops up, and engage with it in the intended manner.

This insight into internal communications best practice is just scratching the surface of what is possible and why they are crucial to the development of any organisation.  

Particularly in today’s workplace environment where staff want employers that share the same values as they do and are dedicated to an environment that’s transparent and collaborative, your internal communications policy plays a vital role in bringing everyone together under one unified brand.

For organisations with a worldwide reach, this is an even more pressing matter. Ensuring that the translation of your brand vision is achieved in your internal communications across borders, and that everyone feels a sense of belonging to your organisation regardless of what location they operate in, is a challenge, but not an impossible one.

To discover how you can enable your teams to play an active and valuable role in improving your internal communications into something that helps you realise total brand governance, check out our innovative BAM software.