The line between external and internal communication is thinning, to the point of being erased.
With information increasingly accessible at faster speeds than ever before, it’s becoming virtually impossible for companies to keep what’s external and internal apart. If you ask me, that’s excellent news.
The idea that one message should be communicated externally, to clients, consumers and the public, and another one to employees, is highly questionable. Some might argue that such an approach is even unethical. At the very least, it’s old fashioned and counter-productive.
But how do you avoid sending mixed messages inside and outside your organization? Here’s a straightforward answer: Kill this notion of “external” comms, and let your internal strategy drive the tenor and substance of your communication. Of course, it will require effort to make your language more inclusive and suitable for wider audiences. But the key messages should remain the same.
Here are four reasons to consider this strategy:
1. An inside-out approach creates strength. Just like when building something physical, such as a house or even your abs, it’s crucial to start from the inside out. By outlining and communicating internally what your goals, values, motivations and strategies are, and then building your messaging for the external public based on that, you create a solid foundation and framework upon which to built.
2. Authenticity is engaging–and credible. People aren’t stupid or duped by insincerity. Especially not your employees or your costumers, right? So, if you say one thing and do another, you’ll immediately raise suspicions, at the very least. You’ll like lose your credibility and trust, too.
Human beings–whether consumers, clients, employees or colleagues–crave authenticity. It’s preferable in all situations. Honest transparency creates genuine connections, and it’s the best way to guide all communication efforts.
3. Consistency generates action and positive emotions. When an organization is consistent in its messaging, you have a higher chance of building genuine engagement and creating effective action. Staffers who feel that their employer is honest and transparent are likely to behave as ambassadors for the brand. That creates positive, authentic buzz online, which sparks retention, engagement and recruiting.
4. It’s time-saving. Even if you need to adapt your content and language to different audiences, the main messages should stay the same. Values, motivations and goals should not change, whether it’s an internal or an external stakeholder you’re approaching.
This approach will save you some time. You’ll be more efficient and effective if you use similar messages throughout your communication and let your internal strategy guide your external messaging.
Keep in mind: The merging of what’s internal and external is something positive, for companies, employees, consumers and society in general. It calls for a higher degree of transparency and courage from companies, and it’s an opportunity for both private and public organizations to step up their game and start walking the authentic talk. If not, some other company, some other employer, or some other competitor will.