Have you really run a critical eye over the hard to quantify cost of culture? It’s probably time you did.

When it comes to marketing, it’s long been the case that the most expensive exercises get the most attention. At first glance this sounds reasonable, until you realise that the most attention simply must be on the exercises that deliver the most impact. This is the point of realisation where you naturally sit forward in your chair, because logically they should be one and the same, right?

In short, no.

If you are in an industry that’s typically been less competitive, this is a sizeable lesson. Spending big on above-the-line advertising will do little for you unless you have first invested in your brand at a people level. It is only as strong as the attitude they walk through the door every day.

In fact, organisations with highly effective internal communication strategies are likely to outperform their industry peers by a factor of 3.5.* I’d say that proves pretty clearly your people are a critically important marketing channel that deserves your attention.

The good news is if this is new to you, connecting in a meaningful way with staff is the same as when you communicate with people through advertising – leverage an insight that unlocks a human truth. Deliver on it consistently across a range of integrated touch points and you are on your way. It’s not about finding more money, but ensuring you are focused on the right things. Because when it comes to people who live your brand versus advertising dollars and media spend, the former wins hands down, as long as you have clearly defined your brand purpose. While that’s a post for another time, for now remember:

  1. As a leader, it is your job to inspire and empower. Your internal comms manager’s effectiveness comes down to the freedom you set out for them to dream and to fail.
  2. It’s not just the external marketing team that should be thinking big. Your internal comms’ business-as-usual should be unusual by nature, always trying new things.
  3. Whether a customer or an employee, you are still talking about engaging a person. Think about the “what’s in it for me” question. It’ll be asked, even if subconsciously.
  4. The arrival of AI is not the biggest thing in marketing. It’s not passionate or creative and you need both of these things to really engage someone, especially if they are close to the brand.

In the end sometimes the best marketing you can do is “advertising” your brand purpose to your own team.

– My name is Aaron Crowther. Follow me on Twitter @ascommstweeter

*According to a Towers Watson study

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