Three things you need to know from IoIC Live 2018 – day one

Were you at the annual conference from the Institute of Internal Communication this week? If not and you want to know what you missed, you’re in luck.

I’m delighted to welcome experienced comms pro Jess Roberts to share what she heard with readers of the All Things IC blog.

I had the pleasure of talking about personal branding and how what happens inside is reflected outside. I’ve included the content from my presentation below and created a resources page.

Well done to the conference organisers, I thoroughly enjoyed day one and hearing the variety of challenges faced by practitioners. I learnt a lot from each of the speakers and left feeling inspired by what I’d heard. Did you go? What did you think of what you heard?

I’ll hand you over to Jess who has captured her top three takeaways from each session. You can find her on Twitter @JessRoberts_82.

Further reading: Three things you need to know from IoIC Live – Day two.

Three things you need to know from IoIC Live

IoIC Live in Birmingham proved the place to be for internal communicators this week.

Not only was it a complete sell out (with a heaving list of people in reserve), there was a jam-packed schedule of IC pros sharing how they transform reputation from the inside out.

Though not new to internal comms, I am a brand new member of IoIC and this was my first time at conference. I shared this with Rachel and, well, here I am, blogging for you.

For those of you who couldn’t come along, I’ll do my best to give you my top three headlines from each speaker. It’s quite a task to reduce it to three I can assure you. But, we’ll have a go and hopefully you’ll find some golden nuggets to take away.

DAY ONE: 10 May 2018.

Jennifer Sproul

Conference welcome.


  1. There’s been significant growth in IoIC membership in the last year. This says something about IC as a profession, its growing importance and the power it has.
  2. IoIC is committed to development of the profession. FutureNet is a great example where there’s a focus on nurturing newcomers and supporting the talent of the future.
  3. It’s clear that employee experience drives customer experience. Reputation can no longer be controlled by external comms. There is a key role for internal communicators.


Helen Schick

Head of Internal Communications and Engagement, Alzheimer’s Society
Influencing from the inside.


  1. The people inside your organisation can be powerful brand ambassadors. But they want to be authentic. They want to have a say, ask questions, get involved and experience the brand for themselves before they agree to do it.
  2. Be clear, right from the beginning, what you want your brand ambassadors to think, feel or do. People won’t remember what you said or did but they will remember how you made them feel.
  3. Look at how IC can deliver the brand experience in every part of your organisation so your people feel it everyday. You can’t do everything so think about what you can do, enable and influence.

Sue Palfrey

Head of Internal Communications, National Trust
Engaging for reputation.


  1. There’s a new normal for charities. One where there’s a decrease in trust and confidence with the public, where there’s heightened scrutiny by the media, and where we need to help our people understand their role as brand ambassadors.
  2. Employees are the most trusted source for information about companies – Ipsos MORI. They have the power to help us counteract negative stories.
  3. Work hard to understand your people. Talk to them, listen, and build relationships at all levels. Identify the influencers in your organisation – they’re not necessarily leadership. Encourage conversations. Real ones. Face to face.

Christine Crofts

Global Employee Engagement Director, Diageo
Harnessing the power of purpose.


  1. The power of your employees and how they interact with you customers is what determines your brand.
  2. Successful organisations have a very strong sense of purpose. If you can connect your people with a compelling purpose it will supercharge engagement.
  3. The role of internal communications in creating purpose-driven organisations is to help articulate the organisation’s purpose; communicate it; help leaders be more inspiring communicators; and align purposeful messages internally and externally.

Rachel Royall

Director of Communications, NHS Digital
Building trust with diverse audiences.


  1. The NHS faces bigger challenges now than in its 70-year history. It needs people to fight for it and as communications professionals we are in a unique position to do that. #FuturePRoof, Sarah Hall.
  2. Technology is the easy bit but we need to speak with a range of people to make it happen. We need to transform behaviours and we can do that using the power of real stories with real people.
  3. Trust is declining in many institutions but around 90% of people trust doctors and nurses. This presents an opportunity for the NHS. We’re using real people and having genuine conversations – handing over the reins to our frontline teams on social media. Be brave. It’s worth it.

Rachel Miller

Director, All Things IC Who? Never heard of her! – thanks Jess (Rachel)
What happens inside is reflected outside.


  1. Branding is your promise to your customers. Employer brand is your promise and reputation as an employer. Personal brand is your promise and reputation as an individual.
  2. What happens inside your organisation is reflected outside. What are the invisible parts in your organisation? Identify the good behaviours and conversations that drive your culture. What can you encourage? Look for the hidden stuff you can replicate.
  3. Focus on your personal branding. Who are you? What are your values? What’s important to you? If you can understand this and find a job that draws on your personal values it will be the best job you ever have.

For die-hard IC fans desperate to get the headlines from keynote speaker and all-round entertainer Bill Quirke, I won’t let you down. My round-up of day two at IoIC Live 2018 will soon follow.

For those of you new to IC or just new to IoIC (like me), keep this conference on your radar for next year. You’ll get all the normal stuff you’d expect: experienced speakers; learning opportunities; swag. But more than that, there’s a really friendly bunch of IC pros ready to talk, share and connect. You’re going to want to want to be there.

And to all those I met at this year’s conference, thanks for the warm welcome you lovely lot!

Post author: Jess Roberts.

Jess Roberts is an in-house comms pro. She started out in fashion journalism where she first experienced communications and PR. She did a short stint in a London agency and then moved in-house within the public and third sector. As an IC pro, Jess sees her role as one of enabling meaningful conversations within organisations so that employees are well-informed and feel valued, resulting in highly engaged, high-performing people.

Further reading on the All Things IC blog

First published on the All Things IC blog 12 May 2018.


  1. […] you heard me speak at the Institute of Internal Communication’s annual conference in May 2018, you’ll know my view on internal communication […]

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