Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Aligning The Big 5: Knowledge Mgmt., PR, Corp. Comm., Internal Marketing & The Visual Brand

Think of the modern economy as a funnel.
  • Services sits at the very top and captures nearly everyone. No matter what you actually do, you get employed and stay employed based on the quality of your relationships with others.
  • Knowledge represents fewer people, but captures many.  If you are a technical or subject matter expert of any kind you fit into this category. 
  • Manufacturing includes still fewer and captures some. These are people who actually produce goods for the rest of us.
Now think of where you sit in relationship to this funnel:
  • Frontline workers deal directly with the public and can fall into any of the categories above.
  • Support personnel support the frontline and make sure they are equipped to get the job done.
This article is for support personnel in the communications field. We're not doing a good enough job of taking care of the frontline - and that includes the public. Because a key challenge faced by frontline workers today (internal customers), as well as the public confronting the organization, is the lack of an "easy" button. Wherever they go they are confronted with discombobulated systems - a Tower of Babble - set up to speak languages that may or may not be useful to them.

We see this very clearly with respect to 5 related fields that rarely talk to one another: knowledge management, public relations, corporate communications, internal marketing, and the visual brand. All of them deal with the collection and distribution of information; rarely do they work hand-in-hand. If you think about the ecosystem of information you can see the need for integration on the customer's behalf. It's our job to support them by:
  • Harnessing knowledge: Collect information and return it back to employees in an organized way
  • Supporting the growth of internal social networks: Enable a culture that is warm, welcoming and closely knit to promote employee engagement
  • Providing digestible and relevant information: Corporate communications
  • Explaining what we do to outside parties, including the media: Make it easy for public relations specialists within the organization to promote its achievements, provide clear and comprehensive status information, and explain missteps
  • Implementing a consistent visual identity: The visual brand tells our customers when we are speaking; it is a mark of authenticity that they count on when dealing with us.
The challenge we need to think through right now - ideally, supported by IT is aligning all of the above fields. If we can integrate information without putting an extra burden on the frontline worker, we should be able to increase their productivity and our own effectiveness at the same time. 



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