WEDNESDAY 3 JUL 2024 1:05 PM


Mike Cook, Linney head of strategy, explores why being wholly committed is crucial to achieving any goal.

I celebrated a big wedding anniversary last year. 30 happy years and counting. (I think my wife feels the same way…)

Like in any long-term relationship, its durability has depended on commitment from both sides. Patience. Hard work. And finding the right balance between consistency and change.

When our colleagues at Royal Mail invited us to mark our ongoing commitment to internal communications, it made us think about our long-term partnership.

Linney has been working with Royal Mail for 15 years. Our consistent goal has broadly stayed the same across that time. Show up in places where employees can find us. Talk to them in ways that reflect the way they talk. 

Be honest. Be relevant. Be human.

That consistency has remained across a changing mix of channels. We’ve made TV shows. We’ve built websites, podcasts and magazines. Today, our audiences might watch and respond to a streamed video clip on a social media channel in the cab of an electric delivery vehicle.

But in all that time, the biggest change we’ve seen hasn’t been in channel or technology. It’s been in the depth of our relationship.

At Royal Mail, that’s meant a constant evaluation of the way we work. Creating an internal studio, so we can work more closely together on-site. Insight and research services so we can track the success of what we make. Managing the trend from analogue to digital while still committing strongly to Courier, Europe’s biggest employee print magazine.

Linney has never been a purely internal comms agency. We see the value in borrowing the techniques and technologies that audiences respond to in our commercial creative campaigns to engage and inspire internal audiences.

Our thinking is simple: our specialism is in understanding how audiences interact with the world and in creating ways to prompt the right reaction, in the right way, at the right time. That should be as true if you’re explaining a company pension scheme as it is if you’re selling washing powder.

Of course, as the nature of work has changed in recent years, accelerated by the pandemic, the way that people engage with their employer has changed. Workplace comms have inevitably changed now that the workplace is a kitchen table not a corporate office. And our role as an agency partner has shifted with it.

We’ve needed a much broader integration with the organisational culture and aims of every brand and business we work with.

Across sectors and workplaces, our partners are asking for our agency expertise to help them deliver a consistent employee experience. In areas like recruitment and retention. In the drive to be more diverse, equal and inclusive. In training design. In engagement programmes. In employee appraisal. Even in the design of workspaces and environments. 

As a result, we’ve found that internal comms isn’t always a broad enough phrase to reflect the work that we do. We prefer to talk about employee interaction – focusing on those powerful moments when people connect most closely to their employer. 

Of course, there are many ways in which your relationship with your employer is very different to your relationship with a washing powder. And lots in which an agency partnership is not at all like a marriage. Internal communications must continue to evolve to meet the needs of the 2020s.

But we can make it happen by concentrating on those areas that build committed relationships between employers and their agencies, and between employers and their people. Be patient. Work hard. Be honest. Be relevant. Be human. 

Whether you call it communication, engagement or interaction, those are the qualities that endure.