We’re continuing to see evidence that the distinctions between internal and external communication are becoming more blurred and less distinct, thanks to fragmentation of media, the emergence of more useful social computing tools, and the increasing sophistication of all audiences in their consumption and use of media. At the same time external audiences don;t fit into nice neat boxes like consumer, potential employee, investor, stakeholder, etc. (if they ever really did).
I think most organisations still aren’t structured to deal with this – I suspect most still structure their communications functions around internal, marketing, corporate, human resources, etc.
So what’s the solution?
1. Take the existing functions and force them to work together holistically, probably by making them report to a single person who gets the “holistic” nature of communications. The problem is, I think these people are pretty rare; most “Heads of Corporate Communications” tend to stick to their functional (or even sometimes channel management) heritage.
2. Get functions to cooperate and share accountability for delivering a core agenda across the piece. Probably works better in some situations than others based on politics and the strength of senior management to make it work.
3. Restructure the function. But how? seems to be the burning question. Is the answer to restructure by audience? Probably something along those lines. But then, these conversations can come full circle, since while internal-external lines and indeed audiences are overlapping and blurring, there is still a perceived need to control marketing communications, brand communications, HR etc. etc.
Interesting challenge to ponder…