Internal comms come to the fore!

The Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC) recently reported that 71%* of its profession had seen significant increase in its workload and capacity during the Covid-19 crisis. No real surprises there!

What did seem evident, however, is how much more prominent the IC role has become during the pandemic with two-thirds (66%) of respondents claiming their leaders were looking to them for more guidance as a result of the crisis. One respondent said: “Some didn’t even know what we did four weeks ago.”

We’ve worked with a number of Internal Comms professionals that are essentially internally marketing and supporting their teams by delivering key messages from their businesses (ICs) and have long understood that it is a vitally important function yet is generally under resourced. Connecting teams with everything that’s going on in business, particularly now, is no easy task.

The most common challenges faced by ICs since March sounded very familiar, especially the ‘cutting through the communication noise’ and ‘consistency of message’. Indeed, it was acknowledging these very issues ourselves which led us to creating the ‘Keep calm and communicate’ hub.

There was so much misinformation floating about at the start of the pandemic that people didn’t know who to listen to, or whom to trust for advice. You also had to be careful you didn’t over burden people with too much information. And, as one of the survey respondents said, the speed at which information is changing is also a challenge.

This reminded me of some work we did last year with the Comms lead of a global brand. When asked what kept them awake at night, the answer was: “The constant pace of the business and the changes that come with it – keeping up with it.”

When we worked on that specific project there were similar pain points to what ICs are facing now, although this crisis has significantly amplified them. Under resourcing is traditionally an issue, both from a financial and people perspective. And to help with getting messages out, one of the tricks is in upskilling leaders across all functions to empower them to understand, engage and drive communications to their wider teams.

What I especially loved about the name of the IoIC survey was ‘Be a listening ear’. As the author rightly says, listening has never been more important, and it is certainly one of the fundamental pieces of research that needs to be carried out to help deliver relevant communications from board to leadership and in-market teams. It’s also one of our top tips in our IC marketing toolkit, see them all below.

Tip 1: Breaking down barriers unlocks potential – Our creative talent helps to inspire others to share your story.

Tip 2: Visualising campaign success is the first step to achieving it – We could help you define and achieve success.

Tip 3: Content is still king – We could help you with developing and sharing inspiring messages

Tip 4: Automating simple tasks to your teams and beyond allows you to focus on the valuable ones – We could help you with an online brand management portal

Tip 5: Teams love it when they’re listened to – We could help you with our personalised online survey tool.

Tip 6: Great communication starts with good data – We could help you release the power of your database with our data logic

Tip 7: Cross-channel messaging has greater impact on teams – We could help you join up your channel efforts with marketing automation technology.

Tip 8: The only constant is change – We could help you keep up with business pace and changing priorities

At Nutshell, we have the experience and capability to support IC teams, large and small. You may struggle with articulating your strategy in a creative and engaging ways, or rely on labour intensive methods to disseminate your messages or maybe, your core messages get stuck at leadership levels.

In times of crisis, people crave connection. And a crisis tests the true mettle of a brand. We can help drive engagement, connect people and ensure that your business messaging cuts through clearly at this critical time.

*Source: Be a listening ear by Liz Cochrane IoIC