Drive success by prioritising your internal audience

Rick Harrison

Head of Strategy

30 September 2016

How seriously do you take internal communications? Do you think about them the same way that you think about your external communications? Do you hold them to the same standard?


70% of employees say their employer should understand them to the same degree they are expected to understand customers. But with the majority of companies relying on engagement surveys to understand their internal audience and almost half of organisations not doing anything to measure employees’ engagement with the customer or the brand that sounds a bit optimistic of employees.


This is a bit worrying statistic, given that we know the difference that engaged staff can make to the effective delivery of the brand promise. Effective communication and financial performance are strongly related: companies that are highly effective at communication are 1.7 times as likely to outperform their peers.


There is an unfortunate tendency to view internal communications as requiring less effort and in fact, being treated as much less important than external comms. How do we know? As recently as 2014 research showed 60% of companies don’t actively measure internal communications at all, imagine the reaction in your business if it was decided that measuring external comms wasn’t necessary!


Most external campaigns warrant a significant amount of specialist time and effort, research, strategy, messaging and creative development. But when communicating the campaign to the team which bits do you share with them? The campaign creative gets shared widely, specific teams, or roles may have objectives and measurement criteria, shared with them. What about the insight? The driving purpose for the campaign, the ‘Why’ behind the activity? Is it contextualised within the current focus for the company?


There is often an expectation that as your employees work within your business they must know your business and they should ‘easily’ get the new vision, direction, purpose of campaigns. That they should already be aware of current performance issues, customer profiles and concerns. But it’s unlikely that they will just ‘get it’ without effort being put into internal communications around these elements.


Communicating has to go beyond ‘sharing’ a campaign via a quick glimpse in an internal email or on the intranet as it is launched to the public. Not least because 30% of employees ignore their employer’s emails (APPrise) and 31% of employees never use their company intranet.


The interaction between your customers and your employees is by far the greatest determinant of brand perception, A Harvard University study showed that 70% of a customer’s brand perception is determined by experiences with the organisation’s employees.


If your campaign is promising customers the best support in the market do the internal support teams know that their primary focus needs to be on delivering that? Do their objectives match to the campaign statements? These are the guys that will be delivering on that brand promise after all. For it to be true, for the campaign to deliver, all your employees have to know what their focus should be to make that promise real for your clients and prospects.


For joined up delivery internal comms should be as well thought out, as creative, as impactful, as your external comms; invest in making sure your employees know what is important to customers and they will drive the success of your campaigns.


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