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Looking ‘inwards’ is out of date! Why external successes always start internally.

A mortal sin in the world of communication: communicating based on one's own organizational objectives. We don't have to tell you that the "we at xxx know what we’re doing…" principle doesn't work to promote your product or service. If you are doing it right, your thinking is based on the needs of your customers and your response to them. As a brand manager or corporate communications manager you share knowledge and inspire potential customers to change their behavior. You are really doing well if customers themselves start producing the content for you. Customers who inspire and motivate each other is the best advertising there is. But remember: external successes always start internally.
Estelle van Kemenade

Successes start with internal storytelling

You must first have all internal information in order before you can create external value. Provide a concise story that is implemented consistently, consequentially and constantly in all communications. So let that be reflected in all expressions. Your ‘real’ story must lead a life of its own, with and by the people involved. For example, communicate how the organization contributes towards a better world, what the concrete impact is and especially, why. This must be felt by the entire company and by the outside world, the (potential and existing) customers and, moreover, the other stakeholders. ‘Inside-in’ the story must be correct, so that employees have the right information and experience to communicate this externally.

Looking inwards is no longer ´in´

Unfortunately, for many companies, the reality is that the core of the story is buried under piles of information, because organizations want to sell for the sake of selling and unfortunately, continue to work product-oriented. We are overwhelmed by information about an ever increasing number of advanced products with their latest features. Companies push products into the market without listening to the actual, underlying needs of customers. In that case, the only focus is on the organization’s objectives. The mere ‘sending’ of information and pushing your message into the market inside-out’ has proven to be ineffective.

Selling for the sake of selling, or listening to the customer?

The next step is working towards ‘outside-in’ communication. This means that you know where the needs of individual customers lie and how to meet them. Listening to the customer, asking personal questions and listening again. From one human to another. The staff magazine is one of the many means to implement a change in perspective. In principle, a company publishes the staff magazine ‘inside-out’.

Instead of having employees determine the content of the magazine themselves, you can also approach it ‘outside-in’, for example by placing the company's solutions in a current social context. The staff magazine then becomes an in- and external relations magazine. This makes it much more consistent because the brand identity is consistently implemented.

By changing people’s perception, communication comes across differently. Employees talk about their own contributions to market success or start a conversation with customer relations. They are proud of the company they work for and at the same time they are initiating customer loyalty. Potential and existing customers experience the pride that the employees have in their organization, which contributes to its promotion and reinforcement of its identity.

Inside in outside out communications

Mission accomplished!

As a company you have excelled once your products or services are so good, that customers themselves start producing or promoting the content for you. The communication is then completely powered by an  ‘outside-out’ force: customers inspire and motivate each other to make contact with your organization, products or services, to experience and to share them again with others. Content is shared quickly and repeatedly, mainly via social media. If a message is widely shared and spread within and outside someone's social network in a short period of time, it can go ´viral´, which can have a positive effect on corporate reputation, provided the news is positive.

E-book: How do you build a strong corporate brand?

The consistent, consequential and constant implementation of your corporate brand is the key to success. How do you control your corporate identity on a global scale?

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