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IoIC Central Seminar Roundup – The Importance of Purpose

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IoIC Central Seminar Roundup – The Importance of Purpose

The IoIC Central region’s 9th annual seminar was on 26 Feb in Leicester and was attended by around 70 IC pros.

The combination of inspiring talks at the seminar along with the creative brilliance displayed by organisations at the awards bash that followed made for a purposeful and memorable day.

Attendees heard from some of the country’s leading comms experts on keeping ahead of the internal communications curve and understanding the importance of purpose in our lives and our work.

Alive was invited to support the event and we were delighted to get involved!

As part of that support, we’ve created an eBook to bring together some key moments, fun facts, award winners, images from the evening and loads more. You can download the eBook by clicking here.

Throughout the evening, awards were presented across 20 categories including video, strategy and publications and represented the very best in internal communications. You can find out who all the winners were right here.

The seminar – five sensational speakers

The seminar was kicked off by Rich Baker, Internal Communications & Employee Engagement Director at andpartnership and Director of IoIC Central region.

After a few welcoming words from Steve Doswell, Chief Executive of the IoIC, the first speaker was introduced.


Work – What’s the point? Cathy discussed the impact of employee engagement in organisations and crucially, what it means for how we communicate with each other.

Expectations have changed. Managers and those in authority no longer command respect and trust simply because of their title. The world is offering more. We are all more demanding than ever before.

Those ever increasing demands have a huge impact on our role as communicators. We can help by embedding flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness and by guiding others to communicate more effectively. Managing people is a skill we can and need to adopt and train in others.

Cathy reiterated the importance of the four enablers and how, together they can lead to successful employee engagement:

  • A strong strategic narrative
  • Engaging managers
  • Employee voice
  • Organisational integrity

To conclude the first inspiring presentation, we were encouraged to think about ‘our perfect day at work’. These were Cathy’s priorities. What would yours be? What’s your purpose?


Natalie shared the journey to purpose at Avon. Every employee is a brand ambassador and every employee matters.

Avon was founded 130 years ago and there are now 6 million Avon ladies across the world.

Natalie talked attendees through a truly remarkable journey that started with defining, ‘Who is Avon?’

The challenge 
Helping people to feel like they belong and engaging employees across the world.

Achieving success 
Developing one clear purpose – Empowering Women – putting their people centre stage, giving true purpose and meaning and celebrating them as individuals.

Avon engaged people around a common purpose by following a well-defined and hugely effective process, making head and heart connections.

  • They created a consistent visual identity that everyone could relate to
  • They developed a clear EVP (employee value proposition) – Inspiring Work, Empowering Women
  • They took a leadership-led approach
  • They created a toolkit to launch this across the world, including interviews and case studies
  • They enabled logical and emotional connections to be made between the organisation and employees

The results

  • Employee retention rates improving – Breaking down departmental silos – Breaking down internal/external barriers
  • Significant growth in fans on social media – Campaigns and movements that are working inside and outside the organisation
  • Two-way conversation across the world

Hats off to Avon for transforming their organisation and creating that one clear purpose, backed by all – a huge success and an inspirational story to hear.


Purposeful Presenting. Craig shared some secrets from the world’s most respected speakers and how you can apply them in your work.

It’s a sad fact that the average leader’s presentation fails to inspire. It’s so hard to get leaders to focus on the right things.

So what’s the secret to a successful leadership presentation?

More TED, less dread!

TED talks are the rock stars of the speaking world and their style is a great blue print to follow. Start with one bold idea supported by three strong opinions, illustrated by short and inspiring stories. Think like a three-legged stool! Once these are in place, everything becomes easier…

Then follow these 8 essential ingredients of an inspiring speech and bring them to our leaders:

  1. Define your bold, clear headline message
  2. Share your idea worth fighting for
  3. Know what your audience will be fearful about
  4. Show you understand
  5. Give new insight and encouragement
  6. Help people imagine what success would feel like
  7. Help people imagine what failure would feel like
  8. Challenge people to make a decision

And a few bonus tips:

  • The biggest opportunity to positively influence leaders’ presentations is to get in early and take control of the situation.
  • Stretch their thinking and understanding.
  • Bring your own strengths to the situation – you understand the audience – use that!
  • Show vulnerability, share stories, say how you feel.
  • Opinions matter. When you need more emotion, ramp up the opinions.
  • Don’t just watch TED talks, download the scripts to see how the speakers handled each element.

Craig left attendees with one compelling question to ponder on…

‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’


Video with Voom! Developing a video strategy that engages people in your vision, mission and purpose.

A thought to kick things off: ‘Culture trumps strategy every time.’ Is purpose where culture and strategy meet?

And another question: we all understand the power of video, but do we actually embrace it?

Effective video for internal comms should be thought about strategically and if you use video wisely you’ll get so much more out of it. And remember: the more creative you can be, the better. Hear, hear!

Richard shared six vital video strategy tips:

  1. Define your objectives
  2. Consistent messages and tone of voice
  3. Regular, compelling content
  4. Efficient production process
  5. Effective promotion and distribution
  6. Measure and keep improving

Many of us will be working with very little budget or none at all. Richard’s top tip? Involve your people! Go with user generated content and use the app Seenit to direct, collect and curate your videos.


Your career, industry and future. Andrew rounded off the afternoon by sharing the results of VMA’s biggest ever employee communications survey. 

Andrew talked us through VMA Group’s fifth annual Inside Insight report, completed by a whopping 526 internal comms people.

If you work in IC, this survey report is required reading. It covers everything from team size to strategy and budgets to personal development.

Get your hands on a full copy by contacting

Some compelling stats that emerged

  • 36% of organisations do not have a formal IC strategy
  • 65% of IC pros believe they have ‘a voice at the top table’
  • 72% believe the CEO truly values the importance of IC
  • 87% state the demand for IC will increase over the next 12 months
  • The survey showed a significant tail off of IC practitioners in the mid 50s age range… is this the life expectancy of your average IC pro or are they all retiring to the countryside…?

And some interesting facts to boot

  • Internal communications is becoming a genuine career choice
  • We don’t expect budgets to increase but we do expect demand to go up – that equals more for less!
  • IC salaries are beginning to improve
  • There’s a widespread lack of confidence when it comes to social media
  • The most commonly used IC channel is the intranet

Some heartfelt pleas to the IC world

  • Let’s see more internal comms education
  • Join professional bodies like IoIC
  • More innovation needed!
  • We want to see more people joining the IC profession as specialists rather than generalists
  • Embrace innovation – be the best you can be!

And the final word from Richard Harvey…

The future is rosy for the internal communication profession. Let’s keep up the good work!

What a fantastic day of learning and celebrating.

Remember to take a browse through the Book of the Night for the lowdown on all the award winners.

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