Internal communication remains the
poor relation of its marketing cousin.
There’s no clear consensus about where it
should sit within organisations. Its
practitioners tend to agonise over how best
to prove its value and under the heavy
influence of (usually inappropriate) marketing
communication ideas jump from one
buzzword to the next.
Things are getting better, but internal
communication remains an immature area of
activity, which is unfortunate because there’s
never been a time when intelligent internal
communication has been so important. That’s
because it sits at the centre of a turning point
in corporate culture, the point where
managers need to leave behind old industrial
models of command and control.
Internal communication isn’t really about
messages: it’s about how information flows
through the organisation. It’s about
understanding the true nature of the
organisation, rather than trying to force a
bland and usually meaningless brand model
down people’s throats. It’s about listening to
the stories that get told, and creating a
productive context for those stories.
Formal internal communication once
consisted mostly of company newspapers
and magazines. Those producing them had a
trade body which in the early 1990s became
the British Association of Communicators in
Business. I joined when I turned freelance,
and served twice as its chairman, playing an
instrumental part in steering it to become
what is now the Institute of Internal
Communication: the big idea is to start
creating the kind of professionalism internal
communication needs to move forward.
I’ve spent much of my professional career
producing formal internal communication
material, including newspapers and
magazines which I set up, managed editorial,
and commissioned design and print. I’ve done
this for organisations as diverse as garden
machinery manufacturers and trade unions.
I’ve worked on digital publications including
extended work for BT and Vodafone and
provided consultancy support as well as
implementation materials for the likes of O2
and the media buying giant Aegis.
I’m not really interested in banging out a
newsletter that ticks a box. If you want to
explore more intelligent ways of connecting
management priorities to staff behaviour,
I’ve written extensively about
technology and its impact on our
lives, translating tech speak into
Here you’ll find on overview of my
work for the public sector as well as
CSR and the arts.
From professional services to
diamonds and financial products I’ve
written positioning material and
sales copy. Here’s an overview.
As its chairman I helped to bring into
being the Institute of Internal
Communication. Look here for more
on my IC work.