Voice of the team matters

Corporates are formed of complex hierarchies full of people at different levels. The top management teams including Directors, CEOs, Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Heads of Departments are often focused upon developing strategies and planning the implementation of various initiatives for the company’s growth. From giving a macro level direction for the company to ensuring that the small and minor details of any campaign execution are not missed out by the teams down under the hierarchies is quite a daunting task.

There are layers within the company. Layers of management, layers of hierarchies, layers of functional roles, layers of skillsets, and so on, making the communication more and more complex as the organisations grow and scale. Often there is a chance of error in communication messaging, gap formation in what is being desired to be communicated and what is being understood by the audiences, and this increases with the complexity of the organisation.

Even if communication is planned for the external audience, there is a dire need to have the concept, thought process, ideation, and execution to be internalised well enough within the organisation, its employees, and even to some extent other stakeholders such as trade partners. Losing the essence of communication messaging is easy when every constituent is not involved fully in it. More significantly, when the campaign is completely afresh, and it is taking a complete break from the existing one.

Internal stakeholders and various partners across the value chain do make a strong impact on the communications process. Often new campaigns are designed to launch new products, address specific issues, course correct image problems, establish existing brands/sub-brands, shape perceptions towards specific agenda among others.

In the age of social media and the internet, the internal audience of any organisation is well exposed to the external brand touchpoints. The internal audience is also capable of reaching out and influencing the external audience in many ways thereby impacting the overall results of any campaign directly or indirectly. Hence a stronger buy-in from the internal audience, a better understanding of the message within your own people can pave the way to deliver a stronger outreach externally.

Imagine a situation when a company is planning to launch a new product, where much has gone into research and product development, and a lot into planning the communications campaign including research, testing, communication tools, development of marketing material, creating audiovisuals, celebrity brand endorsements and many other similar inputs.

Now, on one hand, the company has gone so further, and on another hand, it hasn’t spent enough time in training and updating its salesforce, distribution channel, dealer network, and a large part of the employee base who weren’t directly involved with the product development. Most of them would be ill-informed and would end up learning about their own product when the communication campaign is launched for the public. Ironically, the organisation will only stand to lose by not leveraging the power of multiple channels, that were already available.

Another important aspect here is also very important when all internal stakeholders may not be on a similar page while still being exposed to external audiences. Especially in crisis situations, such occurrences could be easily visible. It is many times found that different spokespersons of the same organisation, might be singing different tunes, sometimes due to lack of available information and sometimes just to comment or react too early in any given situation.

Unpreparedness at any level isn’t good from the image perspective of an organisation and it might just fail to deliver the right message or simply end up delivering the wrong message.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Praveen Nagda
Praveen Nagda is the CEO of Peregrine Public Relations, a full-service corporate communications and public relations consultancy firm delivering a pan-India reach to its clients. He also heads White Coffee, an independent events & celebrity engagement company.

Praveen has been closely associated with many national and international events related to cinema for children, art and culture. He has a well-rounded experience that cuts across all key sectors of PR & Corporate Communications.

He started his career with URJA Communications, an advertising agency specialising in technology brands, where he was instrumental in developing the PR division. Post this, he had a stint with Horizons Porter Novelli, a global public relations consultancy. Thereafter, he was heading the IT & Telecom division at Clea PR, a leading Indian public relations and communications company followed by a fairly long stint with Omnicom Group agencies viz. TBWA\India and Brodeur India.

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