Heather Whaling

Get Creative with Internal Communications

By: Heather Whaling | October 27, 2014 | 
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Getting Creative With Internal CommunicationsBy Heather Whaling

If you’re reading Spin Sucks, odds are that you already know PR is so much more than media relations.

But, for those of us who specialize in external communications, we sometimes undervalue—or even forget!—about a critical component of PR: Internal communications.

My team recently worked on communication for two large merger and acquisition projects.

When two companies become one, internal communications is a high priority.

We all know internal stakeholders can be our best external advocates.

As such, reassuring, educating, and equipping internal audiences is mission-critical.

Just as external PR has been upended by technology, technology has revamped internal communications, as well.

(Just look at all the tools the Spin Sucks/Arment Dietrich team uses to communicate on a daily basis!).

How can you innovate internal communications?

Here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning.

Generate Snackable, Sharable Content

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, listacles, infographics, and GIFs spread for a reason.

As you’re developing internal communications, think about how to package your content in a way that will encourage internal audiences to share it with their external networks (when appropriate, of course).

Provide Surprise & Delight

Awe-inspiring campaigns, which marketers often refer to as surprise + delight, shouldn’t be limited to A-list influencers.

Quite the contrary, create a campaign to show appreciation and boost morale with a special gift, message, hand-written note, or token of appreciation.

Cultivate Internal Champions

Internal communication can’t start, stop, start, stop.

In other words, it won’t work if you only devote effort internally around big announcements.

Instead, develop an internal ambassador program.

Train your ambassadors in social best practices. Encourage them to nurture and grow their professional networks. Involve them in communication efforts all year round.

Embrace Video for Internal Communications

Major company announcement? It’s time to draft an email from the CEO.

Except that’s boring—and we know visuals are more memorable.

Embed a video from the CEO in that internal email. It’s a perfect opportunity for the CEO to speak directly to employees.

Personalize Video

Personalized video works extremely well for consumer brands such as Warby Parker.

The same concept can be applied to internal communications to strengthen relationships, confidence, and loyalty.

When?

Let’s say you’ve been working on a major product launch. Show appreciation for the dedication and extra hours through a video personalized to the individual viewer.

This can be an especially effective way for large organizations to maintain strong ties between the executive team and the rest of the organization.

Update Policies and Procedures

When a couple of brands come together—or when companies experience rapid growth—social media policies and procedures are often overlooked; yet, these guidelines are critical.

We recently helped a Fortune 50 brand audit, update, and revamp their social playbook.

It’s not the most glamorous PR activity, but it’s critical to avoiding crisis, ensuring consistent social interactions, and setting internal expectations.

So, the next time you’re developing a PR strategy, consider opportunities to update internal tactics.

Apply a fresh lens, add a layer of technology, and get creative.

About Heather Whaling


As president of Geben Communication, Heather leads new business development and client strategy. In addition to helping clients secure coverage in a range of high-profile media outlets – from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal … to Huffington Post and TechCrunch – Heather has been quoted in Inc.com, Entrepreneur and BusinessWeek about technology’s impact on communication and business. When Heather’s not working, you can probably find her catching up on the latest Shonda Rhimes show, attempting to become a runner or experimenting with meat-free recipes.

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10 responses to “Get Creative with Internal Communications”

  1. belllindsay says:

    Updating policies and procedures periodically is so important, especially today when things change at the blink of an eye!

  2. prtini says:

    belllindsay  Agree! It’s always fascinating when you interview internal audiences and they don’t even know where to find the social policy, never mind what it actually says!!

  3. belllindsay says:

    prtini I dare say that most of us have been guilty of a lapse in that regard once or twice. The ‘set it and forget it’ frame of mind. 😉

  4. ClayMorgan says:

    belllindsay Don’t remind me! #HR!

  5. Doesn’t it seem like doing as Warby Parker does is just about always the right move? … #BrandCrush

  6. biggreenpen says:

    I love this line the most: “internal stakeholders can be our best external advocates.” So very true. I really enjoyed your post.

  7. ginidietrich says:

    Heather! It’s about time we see you here. I know which merger you’re talking about and, from the outside, it looks like it was a job very well done. I also love the tips to get the CEO involved without his or her necessarily having to travel to every office and meet with every employee. For some organizations, that could take years!

  8. Digital_DRK says:

    Eleanor Pierce I’ll 2nd your #BrandCrush, I influenced my group project [Insert plug for  University of Toronto – Certificate in Digital Strategy & Communications Management  #digitaledu ] to cover the great way these guys are Branding themselves.  I’ll also add a Jr #BrandCrush on their “Harry’s”  business. [The Only shaving products I use now].   Good example http://www.livefyre.com/profile/1086/eather  and good piece!

  9. […] Companies normally focused on PR and messaging that is meant to reach their customers/clients, vendor or suppliers. However, internal communication can be just as important to keep morale high and engage the people that make your company. Here’s a list of tips for internal communication from SpinSucks. […]

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