At ASC, we’ve learned that the difference between a good communications campaign and a great one starts with what we call the Inside-Out approach. Inside-Out is a step by step approach that builds employees into a team of knowledgeable ambassadors who embrace and enthusiastically carry key messages to external audiences.
Here’s why building communications programs Inside-Out works, while simply distributing beautifully designed toolkits often produces limited and disappointing gains.
Inside-Out starts by finding out what employees—often the organization’s first contact with external stakeholders—understand about the new strategy or program. By building outreach around what employees know and how they perceive the change will affect them, a skilled communications strategist can help identify a process that takes everyone in the organization from awareness to understanding and ultimately ownership of the communications effort—before it ever reaches an external audience. That too often skipped step results in a unified and cohesive campaign that is amplified exponentially by employees who are engaged in the process.
This “success begins at home” philosophy has many benefits.
According to research from Gallup, employee engagement is strongly connected to business outcomes that are essential to an organization’s success, such as higher productivity, higher profits, and better customer engagement. Engaged employees drive the innovation, growth, and revenue that their companies need. And they become engaged by a company culture that embraces the values of the Inside-Out communications strategy.
“To build a strong corporate brand, you need brand ambassadors—employees who are thoroughly engaged, connected, and committed,” says Forbes contributor William Arruda. Citing a survey that ranks employees higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO, or Founder, Mr. Arruda says, “If you’re not inspiring your talent to be brand ambassadors, you’re missing out.”
And so is your communications campaign.
Inside-Out is a process that builds trust because it starts with trust. “Engaging employees in the development of a communications and outreach strategy can catapult a campaign to remarkable levels of success,” says ASC President Nora Madonick. “Asking employees what they think may sound simple, but doing so demonstrates the importance of their role in informing strategies, messaging, and tactics. It empowers them to become ambassadors of change—a formula that wins time and again.”
The Inside-Out process is never a one-way street. It circles back to cause a dynamic spiral of success that just keeps on spinning—in the right direction.