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Internal Communications- January 2013

Julie Roberts, Senior Account Manager, Multiply
By Julie Roberts  //  Mon 14th January 2013
Turning everything inside out…
As we start a new year most of us are busying planning activity and securing budgets for the rest of 2013. But take a moment to consider the lengths you’ve gone to in 2012 to inspire and engage with your customers. Now think about what you’ve done to inspire and engage with your staff. Is there a mismatch?  
When you think about the journey your customer takes to engage with your brand, it’s good to also consider the journey taken by your people and how this could affect your business.

For example:
People consult up to 10 sources before making a purchasing decision [Towers Watson, 2011].  My own experience of buying a new camera would seem to back this up - a key word search on Google, a review of independent aggregate websites, a quick look at a forum reviewing various brands, checking price comparison sites, browsing YouTube for product demos, visiting brand websites, checking advertisements and advice from friends, all before I was ready to part with my hard earned cash.
But when I went to buy my chosen camera, everything went wrong.
The Sales Assistant sent to help with my purchase had limited knowledge about the camera I wanted to buy, despite being a ‘product specialist’ for the brand.  He wasn’t able to demonstrate any of the features I’d read about and couldn’t answer any of my questions. He was unfriendly, unhelpful and couldn’t get rid of me quick enough. Disappointed, I left empty handed.   

What happened?  

The experience simply didn’t match what I’d researched about the brand. One instance of bad customer service from a disengaged member of staff was enough to put me off my purchase and the brand itself. What’s more, I’m likely to tell between 10-20 people about my negative experience! This example alone shows how vital it is to inspire and engage with the people that work for you – as they will be the ones representing your brand to customers.

Customer engagement starts with employee engagement, creating an ‘emotional’ commitment to your organisation and brand. Research [Towers Watson, 2011] shows that engaged employees are happier, more productive, and more enthusiastic about their work, but that currently 4 out of 5 employees are not engaged. So how do you keep your team ‘work inspired’ and avoid a scenario like the one above?

Engaging with your people

There are many different ways to engage with your people, but the most powerful is to give them a voice in the organisation, to listen, and to act on what is being said. By showing you value their input you engage with your people and create powerful brand ambassadors. But how do you give your people a voice?

Cue the Social Workplace!

The rise of social media has made ‘Social Workplaces’ more achievable and many companies are now moving away from traditional top down employer-led models in favour of collaborative, two-way communication. Good examples include:

•    Existing consumer platforms like Virgin Media’s @VMGrapevine Twitter community, employee Pinterest boards at Kate Spade New York, Krafts’ CEO ‘Podcasts’ (‘Kraft Casts’) and General Electric’s iphone and ipad ‘Centre of Excellence’ internal app store

•    Tailored solutions such as BskyB’s interactive Learning & Development website - ‘the development studio’, Walmart’s social intranet ‘Walmart One’ for knowledge sharing and collaboration, ‘Connections’ - the Royal Bank of Scotland’s internal Facebook platform, and Nokia’s employee blog network 

•    Off-the-shelf internal social networking solutions, like Yammer, Chatter, Jive, Socialcast and Newsgator, customised for business needs

While communication initiatives and solutions have to be clearly aligned with business strategy, there are many ways to engage with your people and build brand advocacy by creating a Social Workplace. Best of all, you gain a unique platform for observing what’s happening across your business and understanding the issues affecting your people. These little golden nuggets of insight will go on to help you create engaging initiatives to shape behaviours and drive company performance from the inside out.  

Maybe it’s time to re-think that 2013 budget?

View opportunities from Multiply on getmemedia.com here

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