Is 'internal comms' the dirty word of the creative industry?

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Giles Hicks

There’s a quiet revolution going on in secret, behind closed doors. People are sneaking around all cloak and dagger, exchanging some pretty decent amounts of cash for creative work for some of the biggest global brands.

It’s called internal communications, and the talent and creativity in this part of the comms world can more than rival its consumer counterpart.

It could be argued that it’s easy to market the latest Apple gadget for example. It’s shiny, beautifully designed and people want to hear all about it, so how hard is that? And we could all flog a household sauce brand because it’s been around for a million years and everyone already knows about it.

But how about communicating a company’s vision and values across multiple countries and language? Or a campaign to turn around the attitude of thousands of call centre employees? Or being tasked with increasing engagement with a cynical workforce? Or creatively inspiring employees to improve their levels of customer experience? Now that’s a challenge.

You really do have to dig deep as a creative in internal comms these days. It’s about big ideas, which address complicated issues, for a sophisticated audience who won’t fall for any old dross.

A changing world

In the 10 years since we started Synergy Creative we’ve seen the industry change a great deal, with creativity ramped up to a high level and integrated campaigns equaling most external marketing campaigns.

And, as the well-documented war for talent rages on, clients are willing to push their internal brands even further. They want to create differentiation and engage more with their workforce. So, we’re often trusted to take the brand and give it a good seeing to, whilst maintaining the integrity of the original. We internal comms designers are really good at that.

A quick search of many creative publications shows a distinct lack of coverage for internal communications and employer branding. And in most design awards there is a blank space where internal comms could sit. Perhaps it really is the dirty word of the creative industry?

Top talent

I’m really proud of the people I work with. They unravel complex briefs with gusto, deep dive into complex issues and solve creative problems every single day to produce insight-driven, engaging, highly creative, successful integrated campaigns that delight our clients.

But it’s not just us. Some of our clients from the worlds of internal comms, HR, L&D and organisational development have visions and strategies that any seasoned marketer would be proud of. Vodafone, ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group, Hitachi Rail, Argos…they’re all investing in their internal brands.

But don’t go getting ideas. It’s our little secret and one we’re happy to keep it.

Giles Hicks is the creative director at Synergy Creative.

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