Thanks to Ron Shewchuk for pointing us to a segment on Canada's Business News Network. Asked about the wisdom of Citigroup's recent employee memo that, when leaked, drove the stock up 38%, Edelman Public Relations CEO Richard Edelman endorses the notion of communicating to the financial world by getting the word to employees first.
"Employees are now the new secret credible source for corporations because there's a lot of horizontal communication that happens to friends and family. I think too much of the communication has just been straight at the analysts in the past."
Well, it's actually not all that new—Crescenzo and I were reporting on "employees as brand ambassadors" more than a decade ago in The Ragan Report and an imbecile company I worked with actually created a newslettter full of good news that employees were to share with everyone they knew. (The title of the newsletter? Why, The Ambassador, of course.)
But the notion of influencing analysts by deliberately giving a leaky workforce information that might raise the stock—this is novel. Of course, the way Dick Edelman explains it—keep employees in the loop and transform them into credible resources for analysts—it sounds great.
In fact, let's just leave it at that, shall we? And let's head up the elevator and see if we can't get some of those IR funds to supplement the employee communication budget.