I always find it interesting that so many companies have amazing internal cultures that somehow end at the firewall. In many cases there is amazing content and information just inside the company Intranet but outside that barrier communication suddenly becomes a bunch of legalese and marketing-speak.
Now if your internal communications tend to be as uninspired as the typical press room, then this post may not be for you. However, I have seen a few examples of companies that have some pretty entertaining and educational internal communication vehicles.
Some of this content could be used externally, or be modified, to give customers, and possible future employees, a sneak peak into what makes the company so great—it's people.
The big hurdle to overcome is usually management resistance to sharing. The major concerns often sound something like this:
- It isn't targeted to customers, they will find it boring
- It isn't targeted to customers, there is no "call to action" and thus no purpose to the communication
- Our competitors will steal our ideas
- It's never been done before
- Add your favorite concern here….
All of these concerns, plus many more that I haven't listed, are legitimate but the risks can be mitigated. Even simply repurposing some of the better internal communications material can give your external communications more warmth and personality. It can also save you money to put together both internal and external communication at the same time. You can use the same video footage and just slightly tweak the message. You can write an article or blog post that both your internal and external stakeholders would find interesting, And as for competitors stealing your ideas, you obviously have to take care not to reveal things that would be illegal (insider trading for example) or that are truly proprietary.
Unfortunately, I think many businesses err on the side of extreme caution when determining what is proprietary. I have always thought that if you are sharing something, you better be on to figuring out the next big milestone or you will be obsolete—especially in today's fast-moving environment.
Here is the most recent version of WAVE-TV, an internal video program produced by SeaWorld San Antonio. Last year the park started to share this program on its You Tube channel in a WAVE-TV playlist (Disclaimer: client). They have served these out interspersed with other video that is more targeted, but often they are favorites with fans who are eager for a behind-the-scenes look at the park.