The value of internal communications to tighten the identity – image gap

I have recently given a seminar  about the basics of communication to an IT department of a large multinational organisation. Like many internal service providers, they were struggling to be accepted by the organisation as a value providing business partner. This manifested itself in late project inclusions from the business side, political in-fights, a misunderstanding of the value of IT to the business and worst of all, a continuously decreasing self perception of IT staff.

Within the first day of the seminar, it became clear, that the gap of self to outside perception was much attributed to the department’s missing strategic alignment. Whilst a change in the departments top management has already brought some noticeable and positive change, the overall direction (vision & strategy) of the department was however largely unknown to workshop participants. With that, any outside reflection, argument or negative notion would hit IT staff unprepared and in negative spiral of ever decreasing self perception. On the other hand, IT staff knew, that some of the things they were working on was on the cutting edge of IT operations.

They were thus faced with a classical problem many organisation and many departments face. To align their departmental identity with the their perceived image within the organisation.

It did not take long for everybody to understand, that a creating a logo and or a claim for IT to pimp up their internal marketing would not be the sole solution to their problem. Whilst creating a logo and a claim is fun, creative and much more fun than anything analytical to most people, it would completely neglect the foundation of a solid brand architecture. Instead of running a pure image campaign, much work had to be attributed to internal alignment within the department to assure both managers and staff understood the department’s strategy and were readily trained to take this new message out to the organisation. A myriad of examples from their daily work helped to clarify why a pure image campaign wouldn’t cut it.

Overall, this was a very fun project which continues to be interesting throughout the current and impending implementation phase.


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