In this article, we are going to explore why communication strategies are important to business success. We will also consider what good communication is.
Many of the world’s leading thinkers have argued that language shapes perception and that appears to be true – the language we use creates a particular influence in the mind of the recipient. Therefore, the language your business uses will affect how people think about it.
Just ask any marketer who uses A-B testing on their content. Two pieces of content may communicate the same idea, but using different language leads to different engagement rates. So, the same idea is more or less popular depending on the language used.
An area of communication that businesses often ignore is internal communication. Businesses have special departments for external communication (i.e. the advertising and marketing) but rarely spend time thinking about how the company communicates to itself (i.e. between employees and between departments).
What Are Internal and External Communication?
Clearly, language choice is important for external communication but it’s something businesses will overlook with internal communication. Before we explore this topic in more depth, let’s first define what we mean by internal and external communication.
External communication is the way a business communicates with outside parties, such as its shareholders, suppliers, and customers.
Many businesses have brand style guides designed to help employees create branded content that fits with the tone of the brand so that customers can recognise the content as speaking in the “brand voice”.
Brand voice helps people understand the business better and this has many benefits, e.g., increasing trust between customers and the business.
Internal communication is the way that a business communicates with itself, e.g., between departments and between staff.
Unfortunately, many businesses overlook the importance of brand style for internal communication and this causes widespread problems, including a sense of ambiguity amongst employees, lack of focus, and confusion.
Why Is It Important to Build Internal and External Communication Strategies?
A strong internal communication strategy helps improve company morale, productivity, and engagement. It can help push a business forward and manage obstacles to progress.
A strong external communication strategy helps promote the brand, increase brand recognition, positively shape the public’s perception of the brand, and ultimately drive more sales.
It’s difficult to overstate just the importance of language choice for the overall health of a business.
How Can Your Business Improve Internal and External Communication Strategies?
To improve your business’s internal and external communication, you need to understand the differences and similarities between both types of communication and how to create a narrative to reflect this.
Differences in Form
Internal and external communication have slightly different form. Internal communication is more familiar because it’s communication that takes place between people who know each other well, it is peer-to-peer communication.
It’s important to be aware of its informal nature because it helps shape how people see the business from the inside. This has a knock-on effect and then shapes external communication. If you aren’t there to help shape this talk, then you can lose reign on external communication.
On the other hand, external communication is more formal. It’s is less the business being “conversational” with its audience (although this is changing to some degree with the advent of social media) and more the business creating a strong impression in the audience’s mind.
When creating a communication strategy, it’s important to realise that the number one focus is on relationship building. The words you use and the strategy you employ should help to strengthen relationships within and between the business and its customers/shareholders.
Create a Brand Narrative
To communicate effectively – both internally and externally – your business needs a well-defined voice. A strong brand narrative that understands who the business is (its history, its journey, and its reason for being) and how to communicate this story effectively.
Once you have a brand narrative, you must share it internally and externally. Your marketing department should already be doing this with your customers, but you need to communicate it with your employees, too.
For instance, when a new employee starts working for you, you should provide internal marketing content. Perhaps a leaflet outlining the company history, the company’s personality and outlook, and its market position.
Everyone in the business should understand the brand personality. This will help them to communicate effectively with each other, and in line with the company’s voice. It helps employees and third parties know exactly who you are.
Businesses will often ignore the importance of internal communication, but it is every bit as important as external communication. The way your business communicates within itself will inevitably influence its communication with customers – get it right and it can lead to growth, get it wrong and it can lead to decline.
If you need help creating a strong internal and external communication strategy, we can help. Get in touch with us today.