We hosted our first IC Cheese and Wine evening recently. It was a chance for senior IC professionals to get together in a room, free from judgement, to discuss challenges and aspirations.
The chat flowed as freely as the wine. Three hours plus of freestyle conversation. We communicators certainly can talk!
Perennial issues dominated. The frustrating lack of understanding of the purpose and value IC brings to the organisations we work in, and the lack of resources we have at our disposal.
The two of these are inextricably linked, creating a downward spiral that dismayed everyone in the room. For many, it seems there is an awful long way to go.
What was most telling was the extremity of the situation facing many. One attendee spoke about grappling with a 20-year-old CMS system, so inefficient it often took hours to perform the simplest of tasks. While her company’s customers enjoy a state-of-art digital interface, a modern internal system is not considered a priority. A vague promise of a new intranet remains on the long list.
Another had recently left her job with an international household name, leaving its UK IC team with just one member. While her former employer pumps hundreds of millions into external marketing, she had a budget of 30p per employee per year to manage the IC function. Thirty pence per year!
Faced with these challenges, why do we do it? It was clear in the room that there is a real passion to do a great job, and an enduring belief in the positive impact good IC can deliver.
So, if we are to stand a fighting chance of securing the resources we need, we need to first prove our (potential) worth.
As the brie made way for the stilton, our chat turned to measurement.
It’s just so difficult, right? There are so many extenuating factors at play, making it virtually impossible to draw the line between what we do and the way our audiences think, feel and behave.
A slightly tipsy notion emerged.
What if we start by convincing our boardrooms of the value of engaged employees? Of the cost of poor retention. Of the mobilisation of an army of internal marketeers and influencers. All of these are quantifiable, surely? We all get it, but have we worked hard enough to release the purse strings? From the examples shared, obviously not.
By showing the value of the workforce, and then overlaying how good IC supports and develops this, we create a robust and credible argument:
The value of the workforce X the impact of good IC = a productive and profitable organisation.
It always seems easier to solve the world’s problems after a glass or two. Particularly if you are in like-minded company.
That’s why we plan to make our cheese-and-wine evenings a regular event. Feel free to message me if you’d like an invite to the next one.
Like to join us for the next Cheese and Wine Evening here at AB? Get in touch.