The arrival of Web 2.0 tools has had a major impact on both Internal and External company Communications. However, External Communications departments are still making far from optimal use of these tools.

Though they might appreciate the advantages of the digital world, company Communications departments still find it hard to implement strategies which fully exploit these advantages. According to a study by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP), commissioned by L'Atelier, among 400 company decision-makers – Sales, Marketing, HR and Finance Directors – relatively few companies fully exploit the potential offered by new communication platforms. So we see that just 21% of the companies surveyed use Facebook and only 16% use Twitter to stay in touch with their customers, while three quarters of them still prefer to use the telephone, and 95% the postal service.

Corporate Communications departments still don’t “get” what digital is all about

The percentage of those using Facebook and Twitter for advertising is even lower - 19% and 13% respectively. It’s clear from the L’Atelier-IFOP study that this will change: 44% of those surveyed see online media as an excellent channel of communication, and a very good way of obtaining a satisfactory return on investment. Some 38% of them also think that it provides a good means of promoting their companies’ image. However, it seems clear that Internal Communications people have adapted to a digital approach more readily than their External colleagues.

Digital tools more widely used in Internal Communications

The study shows that the Internet is increasingly preferred - by 95% of those surveyed - as is the use of email (89%) despite the continuing success of internal newsletters (94%).  At the same time the Internal Communications function itself is changing. While this job traditionally fell within the domain of the Communications Director, nearly 40% of respondents now say that in their company it comes under the responsibility of Finance, HR, or General Management, versus 24% where the Communications Director is still in charge. Nowadays Internal Communications has a much more cross-cutting role than before, and each and every manager in the company is closely involved.