We just had an interesting discussion whether a strategy paper can be made public within the company. For one, it would be most purposeful to inform the employees about the direction where their company is heading and how they plan to do so. However, not everything should be published because of the threat that the competition will get their hands on this paper. Some aspects should be kept secret, right?
But how far can you go? Can you state the opposite of what you are really going to do, just to surprise the market? Wouldn’t the employees feel mocked? What if they as well have advised you otherwise? Better not to tell them anything to avoid disappointment?
Publically limited companys, for instance, can not publish anything relevant to their expected performance, not even internally, as to avoid the “spreading” of insider information. Wouldn’t a more detailed strategy description in contrast to a high level vision paper be more motivating for the employees, though?
As stated in earlier blog posts, I think publishing your knowledge is a wonderful PR technique. Now I have come across a new study that seemingly seems to prove my point: the blog ‘prmeasure’ cites a study of MarketingSherpa whereby whitepapers are one of the most effective means for lead generation (I’ll look more into that). But…
Be Sure About the Quality You’re Publishing
If you screw it up and can’t prove that it’s really knowledge but people come to believe it’s a scam (mere claims), you will rather do more harm than good – especially if it’s knowledge from your core business. To provide you with an example: A German blogger (Heike Scholz) has recently revealed that a company for market research seems to be inable to provide the numbers for a publication of theirs.
Therefore, be careful and be sure you only publish true, high quality information. Don’t try to be too hasty – even if you try to be the first one to write about a hot topic. Better to be the second company with solid numbers, seeing the first one crash.