Time for something fresh

Internal communications

Time for something fresh

Over the years, brand and design company Sherpa has applied brand principles to internal communications, developing a fresh and logical approach.

Although the metrics differ in each industry, you’ll find an average open rate of 70% or so but a read rate of about 15%. There are many ways to improve performance ranging from recognising different interests within an audience; efficacy of the media used; frequency of communications; publishing relevant content and so we can go on.

But what about trying some fresh thinking over and above internal communications best- practices? What about if you used proven brand principles to connect with your employees?

Let’s look for some fresh logic here:

  • A brand is the emotional connection between company, product or service and the audience.
  • Simplistically, it is how they feel about you and how you make them feel about themselves when engaging or associating with you. That’s the true power of brands.
  • So if you want them – your employees – to feel the same way about you as Nike and Apple clients feel about their brands, shouldn’t we think more like these icons?
  • Steve Jobs (and some others) have encapsulated the essence perfectly: People soon forget what they’ve read or heard. But they’ll never forget how you made them feel.

So how do you want people to feel when employees read or hear your internal communications? And how do you want them to feel about themselves? It should be written in your Internal Communications Strategy and each communication should be measured against it. 

Neither Nike nor Apple, my all-time favourite brands, left this to chance. They know how they want their customers to feel. That’s why their communications are always spot on. 

If Marketing departments use the skills of brand and design specialists to connect with their markets, why shouldn’t HR be using those same skills to break through to their employees?

We get all excited about communications platforms as if these are the silver bullets to make internal communications successful. WhatsApp Business. Apps. E-Mailers. Town hall meetings. Remote meetings. These are simply the distribution channels. It doesn’t matter what platform you use – unless you’re getting your messaging right, any improved results from using a different platform will be marginal at best. And by the time the platforms are established, there’s often little budget left for quality communications. It’s a little like paying for media but having no budget to produce the advert! 

What are the skills needed to really connect with your employees?
Brand – defining the magic. 
Design – exciting, attracting. 
Copy – relating, engaging. 
PR – influencing, persuading. 
Social media – engaging, sharing. 
Technology – reaching, measuring. 

A copy writer alone can’t do it alone. It takes a team of specialised and diverse skills with common purpose. But your people deserve it. HR deserves it. Value your employees as much as the great brands value their customers. 

Gary Hendrickse 
CEO Sherpa.


Founded in 2006, Sherpa is a brand and design company which creates, builds and refreshes brands. The same Sherpa’s who work on external brands work on internal communications accounts, believing that HR should be allowed to work with brand and design companies and employees should be viewed as valued and most-wanted customers.

Gary Hendrickse
Sherpa Brand & Design
gary@sherpa.co.za
+27 83 6777 342
Sherpa.co.za

Sherpa Brand & Design Agency
admin@sherpa.co.za