Updated 9 months ago by Oskar Duberg
Internal communication is usually considered to be a valuable logistics and operations tool. But, believe it or not, it may actually be more valuable to our brands.
The natural world is full of stunning synchronization. Fish swim in schools. Zebras run as herds. And starlings fly in mesmerizing murmurations – ducking and weaving, twisting and turning, rising and falling as one. It’s a testament to the power of effective communication within a group.
But it’s a lot harder than it looks – especially in the business world. In fact, getting people in your organization to communicate can often be a lot more like herding cats than flying like starlings. In some cases, you may be met with resistance from employees or management. In others, there may simply be weak communication channels or a breakdown in information sharing between teams or people.
As you might’ve guessed, though, good internal communication has quite a few desirable implications for your brand. And we’re going to unpack them for you here.
So let’s get to it. What exactly is internal communication? How does it work? And what impact does it have on your brand?
Internal communication is the process of sharing information across an organization. It’s the work you do to keep employees in the loop and make sure they have what they need to do their jobs. This includes everything from branding to the overall direction of the company and much more.
Traditionally, internal communication has operated as a top-down activity, but it can (and should) also be a side-to-side and bottom-up activity. To work as productively as possible, your employees need to be communicating openly and in all directions.
Internal communication is a powerful tool, and it can have a major impact on your brand – for good and bad. The reason for that is communication is involved (in some way, shape and form) in everything your employees do. It affects who works together, how they work together, and how efficient they are with their time. It plays a role in morale and motivation. It even impacts trust between people.
So naturally, when communication is bad, all of it suffers. People are less productive. Projects stall out or hit roadblocks. Suspicion, speculation and backbiting become entrenched in your brand culture. And so on.
The opposite can be said when information is allowed to flow freely across your organization, though. Employees are more inclined to trust each other and their managers. Everyone is more engaged in the work they do, and collaboration is much easier to facilitate.
While getting your teams and employees to communicate more clearly sounds great from a logistical standpoint, you’re probably wondering how it impacts your brand.
Frankly, there are a lot of different ways. Here are just three to showcase how an internal communication strategy can make your brand more authentic, cohesive, and powerful.
We talk often about the fact that brand experiences are the future. And for good reason. Salesforce reports that 67% of customers have higher expectations for experiences than in years prior. And Forrester found that companies with exceptional experiences are 5.7 times more profitable than their competitors.
Unsurprisingly, though, creating a seamless brand experience isn’t possible without the buy-in and synchronization of all your employees.
Think about it. Your frontline employees need to embody your brand values and show off your brand’s personality in all of their interactions with your customers. Your marketers and salespeople need to know exactly how to position your brand in collateral and conversations. R&D teams need to have a clear direction for innovating and designing new products. And so on.
But in order to get all of these employees aligned and weave their work together into a cohesive experience, you need to get them on the same page. They need to understand your goals and have access to the right brand assets, so they can create on-brand campaigns and products. They need to know what your brand stands for and how to represent it, so they can be impactful brand ambassadors.
And all of that takes good communication.
Agility may be a popular buzzword right now, but the concept actually does have a lot of merit. Brands that are agile are able to keep up with new tech innovations and capitalize on trends, faster than their competitors. This not only plays a role in their popularity with consumers, but also in their ability to remain relevant in a modern world.
One place you can see this is retail, where brick-and-mortar businesses are rapidly adapting to accommodate online shoppers. Walmart, for instance, now allows shoppers to order their groceries online and either pick them up at the front of the store or have them delivered to their homes. This pivot has made Walmart more able to compete with other big online retailers like Amazon, while keeping it a step ahead of some smaller grocery stores.
The same principle can be applied to your brand. By keeping communication channels open, and allowing information and ideas to flow in all directions, you’ll be able to capitalize on opportunities and trends, while still maintaining the integrity of your brand.
People – particularly those of later generations like Millennials and Gen Zers – crave transparency. They want to know what the company is doing. They want to know what’s expected of them. And they want to know if they’re doing a good job.
But your employees aren’t interested in this information, because they want to feed their idle curiosity or have their backs patted. They want to engage in meaningful work and be as productive as possible. And studies have shown that clear communication with your employees actually makes a difference in both of these areas.
Trade Press Services reports that 85% of employees are more motivated when their managers share company news, regularly. Gartner found that informed employees outperform their peers by 77%. And McKinsey & Company explains that connecting your employees (i.e., getting them to collaborate and communicate) actually enhances their productivity by 25%.
Beyond that, communicating with your employees can also have a major impact on their overall level of happiness and satisfaction. This increases as communication channels are created to let information flow from side-to-side and from the bottom-up, as it enables them to be heard and to build relationships.
While getting your teams to communicate as flawlessly as starlings can be incredibly difficult to do, the benefits to your brand are well worth the effort.