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Corporate Communication: What SMEs Need To Know

Dec 9, 2021 | 0 comments

You may think that corporate communication is just about big companies and large multinationals. However, corporate communication is vital to success, no matter the size of your business. Corporate communication is critical, whether it’s brand identity, engaging with stakeholders, or bridging the staff and management divide.

But what does effective corporate communication look like? Here we take you through all you need to know, including best practice insights and corporate communication examples.

From small enterprises to larger businesses, this post has something for everyone. You may be just starting your corporate communication journey. Or perhaps, you are further down the track but have run into some road bumps. Either way, we provide the inspiration and motivation to get moving in the right direction.

So, let’s dive in with a definition of corporate communications.

What Is Corporate Communication?

Corporate communication is an umbrella term used to describe any interaction between a company and its internal and external stakeholders. It’s often divided into two separate categories: internal and external communications.

Internal Corporate Communication

This category includes all messaging and information shared within a workplace. It could be communication from managers and executives to employees, plus inter-departmental communication between colleagues. It even includes water-cooler conversations and casual chats.

External Corporate Communication

Any public-facing communication comes under this category. The audience may be existing or potential customers, media, government agencies or regulators, plus the wider public. External corporate communication shapes your brand image. And it’s also used to inform customers about your products or services.

Types Of Corporate Communication

Corporate communication can be broken down into three main types as follows:

Written Communication

This covers everything from website content, printed reports, and business IM to ad copy, social media posts, and emails.

Visual Communication

Here, think of photos, images, graphs, logos, infographics, and corporate branding.

Audio-visual Communication

In-person or virtual meetings, webinars, conferences, videos, podcasts, and events are included in this category.

The choice of corporate communication depends on several factors, including the audience and type of message. But more on that later.

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Examples Of Corporate Communication

When it comes to examples of corporate communication, there are four broad categories. Let’s take a look.

Media And Public Relations

Ask any executive about the function of corporate communication, and their first pick is likely to be media and PR. This type of corporate comms covers any messaging with the public and external stakeholders, including the media.

It could be a press release to announce an acquisition or merger. Or perhaps a corporate responsibility initiative such as a volunteering project or a philanthropy program. Organizational identity is another vital aspect. Company branding, logos, and mission statements all come under this category.

Customer Communication And Marketing

Nowadays, corporate communications and marketing staff work closely to align customer messaging. These messages are used to develop a cohesive corporate identity and external image. And they also support brand awareness by promoting your product or service. The aim here is to attract customers and encourage them to engage with your brand and offering.

This corporate communication includes website copy, marketing emails and brochures, customer newsletters, and PPC ad copy.

Crisis Communication

It could be an unexpected crisis or unanticipated event. Either way, corporate communication springs into action whenever there is a threat to the company’s reputation or success.

Examples here include workplace accidents, chemical spills, product defects, or a lawsuit. Corporate communication ensures a consistent, unified company response to minimize any potential fallout.

Internal Communication

The task of corporate communication here is to inform and connect employees throughout the workforce. We don’t need to tell you how crucial internal communication is. It ensures staff are updated on company goals and corporate culture. And have the two-way communication channels required to work together and achieve goals more efficiently and effectively.

Internal communication examples include team chat, employee handbooks, internal blogs and newsletters, and onboarding. Also relevant are staff resources such as how-to guides, SOPs, and product manuals, to name just a few.

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Skills Required For Effective Corporate Communication

To be successful, professionals working in corporate comms must have a varied skill set. After all, it’s a challenging, multi-faceted role. Here’s a quick run through the minimum requirements.

Writing Skills

Corporate communication staff don’t have to be grammar nerds. However, they do need to be skilled at crafting concise and engaging messages relevant to a diverse range of audiences.

Public Speaking Skills

A lot of corporate communication involves public speaking. Comms professionals are the face of the organization both internally and externally. And so, the ability to speak clearly and confidently in person or virtually is a must-have.

Research And Analytical Skills

Information-based content such as reports, blog posts, and thought-leadership articles requires strong research skills. Comms professionals need to know how to source content and use critical thinking to evaluate those sources.

Corporate Communication Strategy

Even if you have only a handful of employees, a corporate communication strategy helps guide and direct this critical task. You can more closely align company goals with your messaging. And perhaps more importantly, a strategy also promotes transparency in your communications.

According to one survey, 71 percent of workers felt managers didn’t spend enough time explaining goals. And 50 percent of these employees blamed a lack of company-wide transparency.

A well-crafted corporate communication strategy means you can kill two birds with one stone. Your internal and external messaging is clearer, and there’s a stronger link to corporate goals.

Here are the essential elements of a compelling corporate communication strategy.

Establish Your Goals

Maybe you have identified a roadblock in your existing communications. Perhaps remote workers are feeling out of the loop. Or it may be that you want corporate comms to support brand awareness with increased web traffic and more conversions.

Picking three to five SMART goals provides a strategic framework for your corporate communications. And don’t forget, you can revise these objectives over time to reflect changing circumstances.

benefits of an intranet

Decide Who Is Responsible

Someone in the organization needs to have ultimate responsibility for delivering the corporate communication strategy. Often it’s a C-suite executive or a group of leaders with cross-departmental responsibilities.

Set A Budget

Most types of corporate communication have cost implications. And the resources available to SMEs are usually more constrained than those of larger companies. Now is the time to review your communications infrastructure to ensure it’s fit for purpose and delivering value for money. And as a business-critical function, it’s vital to set yourself a corporate comms budget.

Identify Your Audience

It could be staff, stakeholders, customers, investors…the list goes on. And each audience requires a tailored communication with the right tone, information, and channel. Use customer analysis and employee surveys to work out your audiences’ preferred channels and the best forms of content for engagement.

Develop A Clear Process

Identify the steps involved from creating content through to publication and distribution. Think about the appropriate tone of voice. And then consider the best channel for sharing the message.

For example, an urgent message about a software upgrade is probably best delivered in real-time through the intranet’s IM tool. By contrast, a formal report may be the best way to update investors on annual performance.

Be sure to include ways for the audience to react, feedback, and ask questions about the communication.

Select The Appropriate Communication Channel

The variety of audiences and types of communication demands a range of options. Listed below are some possibilities to inspire your thinking. And the good news for SMEs is many of these are cost-effective and easily implemented.

  • Company intranet
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Online or printed newsletters
  • Business IM
  • Infographics
  • Social media
  • Reports
  • Webinars
  • Advertisements
  • Conferences and events
  • Emails

However, select your channel wisely. What works for investors may not be appropriate for customers. And if you are not sure what channel to use, then why not ask the intended audience? And remember that things change, so check in with your audience regularly to ensure you remain in tune.

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Measuring The Impact Of Your Corporate Communication

Coming up with a killer strategy is only part of the story. You also need to be able to measure its impact.

Measure The Impact

The advent of digital communications has undoubtedly made that task much easier. Nowadays, you can easily track click-through and read rates. Other possibilities include the number of views, interactions, downloads, website conversions, and attendees.

And for a complete picture, supplement the hard numbers with qualitative data. Employee surveys and customer or stakeholder focus groups are good options here. And even more so if you use them to gauge the success of a specific campaign or communication initiative.

Feedback

Furthermore, keep track of audience feedback given through your communication channels. Two-way conversations with customers, employees, and stakeholders are critical.

Similarly, analyze feedback on any external review sites such as Glassdoor and Trustpilot. Many valuable insights on corporate communication are gleaned from these platforms.

Be sure to review your corporate communications strategy in light of the qualitative and quantitative feedback. For example, you may find that video is the most effective way to engage with employees. And so, you will want to adjust your corporate communication strategy to reflect that reality.

Corporate Communication And The Intranet

And if you are looking for a cost-effective, versatile platform, then the intranet is an excellent place to start. Many businesses of all sizes already have a company intranet. From streamlined business processes and smarter information sharing to better collaboration, intranets have much to offer. However, did you know you can use the intranet to enhance your corporate communications?

With universal staff coverage, the advantages to internal communication are obvious. Two-way communication and collaboration are a whole lot easier with team chat, internal blogs, personalized newsfeeds, and private forums. These are just some of the great intranet tools available to promote internal corporate communication.

employee intranet

Intranet Advantages

However, less well understood are the advantages an intranet has when it comes to external corporate communication. Many businesses have set up extranets to improve communication and information sharing with external partners, including customers, suppliers, and stakeholders. Other companies are using intranet-enabled online communities to connect with existing and potential customers. Check out our dedicated post on online communities for all you need to know.

Example

MyHub customer Saas is a great real-life example of how an extranet can impact external corporate communication.

Saas is a business consultancy providing accountancy, book-keeping, marketing, and HR services to various companies. Many Sass clients are small business owners who often get around to admin tasks outside regular business hours. And an extranet means Saas customers can access the expert help and support they need 24/7.  The extranet lets clients draw on business templates, specialist training videos, FAQs, and round-the-clock assistance. And the arrangement has seen the company increase profits while reducing the workload and stress levels of staff. It’s a win-win for Saas and its growing client base.

Summary

The bottom line is your intranet is readily available, adaptable, and scalable. Alongside improved corporate comms, the intranet will also deliver a host of other business benefits. Want to find out more about how an intranet can take your corporate communication to another level? Get in touch with the expert team at MyHub. We will take you through all you need to know in a free demo or 14-day no-obligation trial.

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