In an unpredictable world, companies need effective corporate communications now more than ever. Whether internal or external facing, corporate communication must do more than just convey information – it must share a narrative that gets distinct stakeholders to “buy in” to the company’s mission, vision, and goals.
What Is Corporate Communication?
There are lots of different answers to the question of, “What is corporate communication?” In short, corporate communication refers to the way companies communicate with internal and external audiences.
A corporate communications strategy works to manage a company’s relationships with diverse stakeholders and manage the overall public image. Corporate communication can be broken down into four main categories: media and public relations, customer communications and marketing, crisis communication and internal communications.
Media and public relations (PR) refers to the way a company represents itself to the general public, including through the media. Media and public relations spearhead highly visible initiatives. Within PR there are three main functions: corporate reputation, corporate responsibility, and organizational identity. Corporate reputation refers to the public’s overall view of the company.
Successful strategies for managing corporate reputation include responding to negative press in an efficient and effective manner. Reputation management also includes managing the public image of the CEO and executive team.
It is also the role of the comms team to highlight the firm’s corporate responsibility, or the initiatives that “give back” to society. These initiatives can include community programs, corporate volunteer days, and corporate foundations.
Customer communication and marketing refers to all the ways a company interacts with its customers and target market. Communications professionals partner with sales and marketing to carry out this function. Corporate branding and promotion commonly fall under customer communication and marketing.
Finally, crisis communication is how a company communicates in response to crises and other unanticipated events. To develop these campaigns, communications professionals often proactively engage the media or host news briefings. Interactions with local government officials, attorneys, and emergency responders are also common in crisis communication. The goal is to gain control of the message as quickly as possible.
Internal Corporate Communication
Internal corporate communication is messaging from company leadership to employees as well as communications between team and departments. Effective internal communications tools include intranets and forums, digital signage, instant messaging tools, collaboration tools, employee social networks, team bonding tools, and video chat tools.
Digital signage gives organizations a means to organize internal processes. Digital signage could be useful to:
- Promote awareness (i.e., of best in class cybersecurity practices)
- Provide training
- Promote employee wellness and morale
- Notify employees of milestones and company accomplishments
- Create a more socially inclusive workplace
An intranet is a private network connected via the web and accessible by employees and affiliates. Its benefits include that it is a closed community, it offers a place to store and share documents, and it can be split into sections and channels which makes management of the organization easier. Examples of common intranets include Igloo, Slack, Connecteam and Microsoft Teams.
The Importance of Corporate Communication
Beyond the tools, the real secret of corporate communication lies in the message. You can have all the channels in the world, but if the right message isn’t coming through them, what’s the point?
Features Of Corporate Communication
Corporate communication deploys many features to relay company news and build brand identity. Common features of corporate communication include emails, reports, news briefings, promotional materials, memos, website copy, and advertisements.
Difficulties In Understanding Corporate Communication
Corporate communication aims to aid a company. Yet difficulties in understanding corporate communication can affect a company adversely. At a basic level, corporate communication is often hindered by industry jargon. Many companies suffer from the “curse of knowledge” – they assume their audience has the same background information that they do. Distilling messages into clear and concise language is the #1 area of opportunity for many corporate communications departments.
Delays in approval of content and messaging can be another setback to communications strategies.
Tools Used In Corporate Communication
Corporate communication channels range widely and include company website, internal intranet, emails, blog posts, bulletin boards, press releases, town halls, mobile employee communication apps, and emails. Tools used in corporate communication include all of those relevant to internal communication as well as, internal blogs and videos, discussion forums, employee profiles and all alerts and notifications.
To master corporate communication, companies should develop a long-term corporate communication strategy. It is important that this strategy hinges on telling the right story, to the right audience, at the right time. This is what we help organizations do in our training sessions.
Benefits to adopting good corporate communications strategies include connecting with employee groups that have been historically marginalized, providing immediate employee access to needed information, increasing revenue through more effective sales messaging, and more.
From our vantage point in the market, we’re seeing a few trends for corporate communications in 2022. Focus on these as you build your own corporate communication strategy:
- Increasing earned media wins
- Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Deploying an omni-channel approach
- Highlighting personal stories of social responsibility
- Optimizing employer branding
Corporate communication is more than just generic email announcements – it encompasses a company’s overarching strategy for communicating with all stakeholders.
Therefore, this should be a key focus area for organizations – after all, stakeholders only work with you because of the message you’ve communicated to them and the reputation you’ve built!
- The Pyramid Principle; Applied
- Types Of Business Communication
- The 3 Levels of Communication Skills Training