Yes or No? Personally I’m pro.. but then again I would be….
Outsourcing communications introduces an element of objectivity that becomes almost impossible to retain when you’re part of an organisation, regardless of size. Incidentally that’s one of the many benefits from working on your induction programmes and taking those initial, some would say naive, opinions seriously – there’s a lot to be learned from those fresh eyes and whilst new recruits may not immediately be delivering on ROI, they can start adding value from the outset with the right programme in place.
But I digress… That objectivity is key, it’s not measurable and it requires trust and mutual respect to really demonstrate its value. Our working culture has become increasingly focussed on boxing everything up as commodities, putting an RRP on it and using that to evaluate its worth. It’s such an unhealthy way to work, shoving the ‘soft stuff’ out to the periphery of operations when it should rightly be slap bang in the middle.. the hub of it all.
Successful outsourcing requires a champion and positive links throughout an organisation; this can only be facilitated through robust internal communications – something else that is often viewed as a “when I get round to it” task or overlooked completely – any marcomms professional will evangelise about the importance of a balanced approach that focuses equally on internal and external communications. There’s no point telling the world what you’re doing if the guy sitting next to you in the office hasn’t got a clue.
As a freelancer / consultant / service provider (delete as necessary) it’s important to deliver at all times and this means being honest about what’s right and what’s wrong – the latter isn’t always easy and requires a healthly client relationship – something that you should both be working towards. Sadly the commodisation shift in many cases devalues this relationship, the result being an inferior service that satisfies no one.
If you’re considering outsourcing, spend time talking to potential providers. Take your focus away from hourly rates or retainers and instead look at how well you feel they understand you, your business, your customers, your values and ethics and your vision. Are you confident they can speak ‘in your voice’ and show you how to expand your communications and are you comfortable to share your strategy and opinions with them? If you’re not ready to open up and be completely honest about your operation but you outsource anyway, you’re likely to be a little bit disappointed.. and we really don’t want that!