Are Your Internal Comms Doing Enough for Your Brand?
Throughout high school and for two summers in college, I worked several different jobs at Six Flags in New Jersey. You may know Six Flags Great Adventure as the site of the tallest roller coaster in the world, the venerable Kingda Ka, but I remember it as a company filled with employees that talked about Warner Bros’ IP constantly. The company’s internal comms were completely saturated.
Some people loved the Looney Tunes and others loved DC Comics, and they all wanted to talk about them their entire shift. In fact, Six Flags’ internal messaging was so thoroughly on-brand that everything from napkins to bathroom signs in the office building to email signatures were adorned with the Looney Tunes, the Justice League, or the Wiggles.
Brand saturation was so complete that any piece of content, even shared internally, made some reference to these characters. It was just a part of the culture and it radiated positivity in an otherwise difficult work environment.
For that reason, I believe that every company can benefit from developing an internal mission as succinct and recognizable as the one at Six Flags. The benefits were obvious because we all worked in hospitality and entertainment—happy, purpose-driven employees are more likely to go out of their way to make guests’ days brighter—but the same equation can be applied to a company in any industry.
Even if your products and services aren’t as fun as, say, Batman and Robin, you can give your brand a boost by ensuring a few things about your internal communications are in place. After all, content within an internal audience is still content, and that means it needs a strategy.
Develop a schedule and stick to it
No matter where your staff is along the corporate ladder, they’ll appreciate a sense of routine in your communications. Nothing makes company leaders look worse than last-minute meetings or announcements that aren’t followed up on at all.
Resist the temptation to make your internal content flashy and funnel everything through your marketing or editorial team, the same way you would a blog post. Are you ready to commit to each part of an announced pivot, for example? Do you have a contingency plan if a new initiative goes off the rails?
When in doubt, go evergreen
Create a collection of documents your team can refer to in the future—that’s the simplest way to use internal comms to your advantage. Contently, for instance, runs an internal blog of updates on employee events, benefits, thought leadership, educational opportunities, sponsored clubs, and networking events. It’s become something of a joke around the office that we’re not supposed to approach anyone with a question unless we’ve first studied Inside Contently, the internal-facing blog.
Compiling internal content can be extremely helpful in the on-boarding process, especially if your middle managers don’t have time to give every new hire the full run-down of your company’s history, business structure, value and goals for the current quarter. I watched taped presentations from our company leaders my first week, and was given a pile of reading assignments from the internal (and external) blogs to get me up to speed. Not only did I learn historical stuff, I was able to develop an ear for the Contently voice through immersion.
Increase transparency between the C-suite and employees
Keeping in mind that high employee morale leads to high performance, one way to increase your staff’s sense of dedication and fulfillment is to simply tell them what’s going on above their heads. Whether it’s delivering less-than-stellar news about the company’s performance one quarter or explaining a new cross-department project, that communication requires content.
It may seem frivolous to care about the framing or aesthetics applied to internal content, but humans are visual creatures, and if every presentation and email looks as on-brand as it sounds, that will communicate to your team that things are going according to plan.
All in all, it’s easy to dismiss the content shared between employees and managers at a company as low-tier importance, but making it a part of your brand’s overall content strategy will only help you in the long run.Image by Photo by Aaron Burden for Unsplash