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Internal comms: a piece of cake?

As we prepare to say a slightly teary farewell to ‘Queen of Cakes’ Mary Berry and ‘Silver Fox/Charcoal Ox’ Paul Hollywood, Sarah Woods reflects on how cake is the answer to everything – even internal comms…

What’s not to love about Bake Off? It’s got everything I’m looking for in a TV show: drama, excitement, baking in a tent during the vagaries of a British summer, Mel and Sue, absurd amounts of innuendo – and it’s got cake! Perfect.

And, as I sat there in my happy place, it got me thinking about the similarities between great baking and producing incredible internal comms. Okay, it sounds a little tenuous, but stick with me and I’ll prove it. Let the baking puns commence!

Here are my five tips for producing cake and comms like a pro:

1. Great ingredients

Whether it’s cake or internal comms, the same rules apply – content is vital. It doesn’t matter how well you follow a recipe, if your ingredients are bad then your bake will be too. Keep internal comms focused on your employees, make sure it’s representative and genuine, and they’ll eat it up. If it seems like it’s slightly off, people won’t want to go near it.

2. Time it right

People say baking is a science, and it’s true – accuracy is essential. Tiny errors can be the difference between getting ‘Star Baker’ status and being sent home. At every stage of the process, measurements and timings have to be right. Not whisking for long enough, too long in the oven: get the timings wrong and all your efforts will be for nothing. Well-timed, honest communications can make all the difference to your employees. Serve with a scoop of measurement too, so you have the insight to keep on improving your recipe.

3. What’s cooking?

The Victoria Sandwich is a timeless classic and sometimes that’s exactly what you want. But you don’t want to be stuck in the past with a Black Forest gateau of communications while your competitors are on trend adopting a stylish salted caramel. Keeping up with new developments is important, but you must recognise the tastes and trends that are going to enhance your communications and those that are just a fad. Cake pop, anyone?

4. Who’s it for?

If I presented my daughter with a fruit cake for her third birthday I can guarantee I’d end up with platefuls of uneaten cake and one stroppy ‘threenager’. You need to know who you’re baking for. Is it suitable and appropriate for the people you want to impress? Consider your audience and your options for communicating. Is a magazine the way forward or would an app be better suited to your workforce? Not sure? Well, that leads me nicely onto my last point…

5. When it really matters, get the experts in

There’s a reason most people get a professional to make their wedding cake, but you can’t trust it to just anybody. I mean, have you seen Cake Wrecks? – ‘when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong’.

You’d take time to choose your cake company, so make sure anyone supporting your internal comms is good at what they do too. Can they offer you a range of creative options to suit you and your business? Have they got a proven track record of success? Have they got the right level of skills, experience and care available for you in their team? Are they passionate about what they do? Spending time finding the right comms agency is a sure recipe for success.

So there you have it, internal comms: very much like a cake, just minus the calories!

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