Monday, April 10, 2006

Grabbing the right land

I'm a member of the Communicators in Business Council. Now CiB is the UK's association for people working in corporate communications and has always drawn most of its membership from internal communicators.

However, a little like the IABC, CiB has for too long tried to be all things to all communicators.

At our council meeting at the end of March we endorsed a motion which included taking steps: To publicly declare the Association’s aspiration to become an institute of internal communications

Now I'm pleased about this move since it will enable CiB to grab a unique space and build from a position of being the UK's authority on internal communications.

Some people see it as a way of alienating some current members since they work primarily for external audiences. That may well be so, but so many other members and potential members have a foot in both camps.

Earlier today I was talking to one client about internal change communications; later this afternoon I'm off to London to talk to another about engaging clients through an aspect of CSR and on Wednesday I'm in a workshop defining stakeholders (internal and external) in a change programme.

Our boundaries are blurring and ever more our communication is around issues - not the simple external/internal split.

CiB is now seriously talking about how being an authority on internal comms will work. I believe it will work only if there's a recognition that people on the inside, whose start point is employee comms, will invariably be communicating with wider stakeholder groups going forward. Employees have unique needs when it comes to communication and CiB is right to fill that niche. But the niche doesn't exist in isolation and my CiB colleagues and I need to keep on the pace of a changing communication-scape that will put the issues first, and the delineation of who deals with which audiences somewhere further down the line.

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