Promote Externally for Adoption Internally

By Steve Radick posted 06-04-2010 01:44


You should have seen the look on my boss's face when I told him that I wanted to develop an external marketing/awareness campaign for our internal Enterprise 2.0 community,

"Why Steve, would you want to talk about something that the public can't see or use out in the media?  Wouldn't our time be better spent internally - improving stability, adding new features, communicating via our internal channels?"  

At this point, I had grown accustomed to receiving quizzical responses from my bosses :), so I was prepared to justify the time and resources that would be needed to promote hello externally.

Here’s what I said:

“What do you do with the mass emails that you get from corporate communications? How often do you read them?"

"What about the last time you looked at that poster in the kitchen?"

"When was the last time you read your intranet homepage?”

"Now, when was the last time you checked the front page of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal?"

By this point, he started to realize where I was going with this. He understood that I wasn’t recommending that we go out to the media to reach the public as a target audience, but as another means to reach our internal audience. Instead, building external awareness could actually result in tangible internal benefits.

When we went to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference back in 2009 to talk about what we did with hello, our goal was two-fold.  One was to market the booz allen brand, but more importantly, we wanted to ensure that everyone in the firm knew that hello had officially "arrived" and was here to stay.  This wasn't some internal pilot - it was something that was going to be around for the long haul. 

Despite all of the mass emails, newsletter articles, briefings, and flyers, you might be surprised to find out how much our traffic spiked after the conference, the ReadWriteWeb article, and the FastForward blog postings were published.  People started coming in to work saying, "wow - did you know we had this hello thing here? Have you checked it out yet?"  We were building buzz simply by going outside the normal, official channels that often go ignored within the Enterprise.

These are the eight benefits that we have realized by promoting hello externally:

  1. Lends more credibility to the initiative
  2. Increases awareness among geographically disbursed employees
  3. Generates interest among external partners, clients, customers
  4. Instills a sense of pride among employees
  5. Demonstrates that you can “walk the walk” and “talk the talk”
  6. Provides top cover
  7. Ensures accountability for ongoing results
  8. Demonstrates commitment to the community

How can your community become the next, Intellipedia, or Spacebook?

Start by:

  • Writing abstracts to present at conferences like Enterprise 2.0
  • Commenting on Enterprise 2.0 blogs
  • Author guest posts for those Enterprise 2.0 blogs
  • Do a twitter search to find out who is talking about #e20 and engage with them

Have you realized internal benefits to promoting externally?

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