Even the most brilliant business strategy is likely to fail if internally employees are not motivated to deliver on it.
How an organisation positions itself in the external market needs to be supported by the internal brand. To the external market, the brand projects an expectation – a promise. Internally, it is the foundation from which the business delivers its mission, vision and commercial objectives.
Without strategic alignment between internal and external messaging, organisations will be sending mixed messages causing a dilution in the brand and worse, potentially exposing itself to reputational harm.
Let’s look at a case where externally, the marketing team have done a great job in positioning the brand (and company) in the industry as a market leader, setting the standard in performance, underpinned by a high service level and an excellent safety record. Internally however, the workforce are either unaware of this positioning or have varying levels of interpretation or engagement. Therein lies the risk of reputational harm.
Market Position & Value Proposition (VP)
A company’s business strategy should be based on a differentiated customer value proposition, satisfying a need in the market and creating sustainable value for customers.
Creating a value proposition is a part of the business strategy process. It provides clarity around the offering that has to be created and the talent and operations needed to deliver it.
A good starting point is a strategic review which includes relevant research and market analysis. From this, the market position (which the company wants to occupy) and its value proposition (its competitive advantage reflected in a clear, simple statement of the benefits, both tangible and intangible, that a company can provide, matched with price) can be derived. The key messages to market, derived from the VP, are then articulated to drive and support engagement.
Critical to formulating the VP is the ability of an organisation to deliver it.
The most successful companies actively build a culture of support and drive behaviours aligned with their business strategy.
Organisational culture incorporates values and behaviours that represent the collective beliefs and principles of all employees. It includes its vision, values, standards, systems, symbols, language, environment, physicals and personality.
A strong culture is where employees clearly understand and can articulate its values and beliefs, and are aligned to it. It underpins their service delivery, behaviours and decisions. Business leaders are vital to the creation and communication of their workplace culture. Conversely, whilst leaders are the principal architects of culture, culture also influences what kind of leadership is possible.
Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
The most effective companies build a differentiated EVP and are three times more likely to focus on behaviours that drive organisation success instead of focusing on program cost.
Employer brand is the reputation of a company as an employer, and its value proposition to its employees. An EVP must be unique, relevant and compelling to act as a key driver of talent attraction, engagement and retention.
In line with the external VP, companies should develop an EVP statement around the total experience that compels people to join and stay in the organisation. It should identify the unique people policies, processes and programs that demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to employee growth, management development, recognition, community service etc. The EVP should be actively communicated in all recruitment efforts, inductions, and reinforced and rewarded in internal communications.
Companies with high effectiveness in change management and communication are three and a half times more likely to significantly outperform their industry peers than firms that are not effective in these areas. 
There have been numerous ROI studies around the critical role that internal communications and change management plays in business success. For over a decade, effective communications has been a leading indicator of financial performance. Companies with high communications effectiveness experience a 57% higher return to shareholders (TRS) versus those with low effectiveness. 
Top performers did the following:
- Engage employees using two-way communications
- Train managers to communicate effectively
- Involve internal communicators in managing change
- Measure the performance of communications programs
- Brand the employee experience.
Effective managers are a catalyst for successful change. Communications is critical in engaging cultures and delivers a ROI – therefore imperative.
How you communicate and the vehicles you use will depend on your workforce and the messages you need to get across. This can and should vary depending on the size of the workforce, its location and spread, skills set, roles, age and type of employment.
Typically in the resource sector, a vast percentage of the workforce is spread geographically. A combination of mediums is recommended, dependant on its purpose. This includes social and digital mediums, video, newsletters and face-to-face. As with consumer marketing, creative campaigns, competitions, reward/recognition programs and structured content marketing can form a part of the internal communications strategy to support the realisation of the EVP and, ultimately deliver on the company’s vision and mission.
This article originally appeared in the WA School of Mines Alumni Review Winter 2018 edition: https://wasma.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/WASM-Review-JUN1851.pdf
Maryanne Fernando – Managing Director
Brand One Group
 Change and Communications ROI Study Report – Willis Towers Watson
 How the Fundamental Have Evolved and the Best Adapt 2013-2015 Change nd Communications ROI Study Report – Towers Watson