Get corporate communication right, and your company thrives. Get it wrong, and you could fail. Although it’s one of the main driving forces behind success, many organizations take it for granted. Comms are often done on the hoof without much coordination across internal and external messaging. This article is essential reading if you are a comms professional, CEO, or a small business owner. We give the latest lowdown on corporate communication. All your questions are answered, so you can take a fresh look at company comms and check you are on track.
What Is Meant By Corporate Communication?
Basically, it describes all the messages and information sharing taking place within an organization. This includes both internal and external audiences.
There are three main ways to deliver corporate comms:
- Written communications: Included here are website content, ad copy, newsletters, tweets or social media posts, reports, and emails
- Visual comms: Think images, logos, branding, infographics, and presentations
- Audio-visual messaging: This could be videos, events, webinars, or even podcasts.
What Are The Different Types of Corporate Communication?
There are two main types – internal and external communication. Let’s dive deeper and explore what that means.
This is the exchange of information across all levels of the organization. It could be top-down, two-way, between departments, or bottom-up.
The purpose is to manage operations and inform your people about company goals and achievements. It also supports organization-wide initiatives like employee engagement, knowledge management, and collaboration.
This category is all about messaging to the outside world. Audiences vary widely, including customers, prospects, investors, suppliers, partners, and shareholders.
The aim is to promote your company and its products and services. And it’s also about safeguarding your brand identity and reputation. You want to present a positive image in the minds of customers and external stakeholders. Managing your external impact is vital for any organization.
What Are Examples Of Corporate Communication?
Examples of internal corporate communication include the following:
- Town hall meetings
- Company intranet
- Staff newsletters
- Team meetings
- Internal blogs and emails
- Knowledge-sharing tools
And here are some examples of external corporate comms:
- Social media
- Press conferences
- Media releases
- Annual reports
- Sales brochures
What Is The Role Of Corporate Communication?
Internally, its role is to ensure the smooth running of the business. And externally, it’s all about promoting your brand and products and building solid customer relationships.
Corporate comms contribute to your organization’s success on several levels. Let’s take a closer look.
Building awareness of a company’s brand, products, and services is a business-critical function. You want to be top of mind for consumers with cohesive branding.
This is what defines you. Corporate comms shape how both internal and external stakeholders perceive you. A strong identity and reputation lead to increased sales and loyal customers. And it also impacts employee recruitment, retention, engagement, and motivation.
Engaged employees go the extra mile. In fact, research tells us that highly engaged teams are 61 percent more profitable. And organizations at the forefront of employee engagement have one thing in common. Thanks to corporate comms, their internal communications are top class.
Corporate comms help staff to work smarter. Information sharing and communication are critical to collaboration, problem-solving, and knowledge sharing. Done well, corporate communications ensure your people can innovate and be more efficient and effective.
How Does Corporate Communication Differ From PR And Marketing?
That’s a great question. And there is some overlap between the different functions.
As we have seen, corporate communication oversees all internal and external messaging.
By contrast, public relations has a narrower remit. PR focuses on communications with external stakeholders like the media, government organizations, and consumer forums. The PR team responds to media queries and issues press releases, company statements, or public presentations. PR professionals work closely with their corporate comms colleagues to ensure the company’s public profile is favorable.
Marketing also has a specific purpose and is only concerned with customers. Their job is to support sales efforts by promoting your business through online and offline platforms. Daily they typically develop marketing campaigns and manage social media and promotional advertising. The corporate communication team helps marketing to identify content and materials for new consumer audiences.
The bottom line is that PR and marketing are two specific functions within corporate comms.
Another critical function of corporate comms worth highlighting is crisis communications. We saw this in action during the pandemic. However, a crisis also covers any event that might damage the organization’s reputation or success. For example, a chemical spill for an energy company could be catastrophic. And product defects or workplace accidents can be damaging for any business. In these situations, comms professionals spring into action. Media releases, official announcements, or Q&As for senior executives help minimize the impact.
Challenges Of Corporate Communication
Corporate comms can make or break your company’s success. When reviewing your approach, it’s vital to be aware of the common pitfalls where organizations fall down.
You don’t want internal or external audiences switching off because you are bombarding them with too much information. According to one survey, 80 percent of employees globally have experienced information overload. And it can negatively impact consumers’ perceptions of your brand. Too much messaging causes confusion, negative emotions, and buyer remorse.
Inconsistent use of internal or external channels can cause information to get lost. And complex communications equal mixed messages. The result? Your audience ends up confused and simply turns off.
Corporate comms should be consistent and complementary. Whether internal or external, messages that seem out of sync will harm your credibility.
How Can We Improve Our Corporate Communication?
Corporate comms can seem like an easy gig. All you need to do is agree on the message and send it out, right? However, consistency is crucial. And this can be hard to achieve if you are a large company with several departments and sub-brands. Even smaller businesses come unstuck by failing to plan their corporate comms thoroughly.
The following four tips will help you maximize the impact of your company messaging.
1. Develop A Plan
When it comes to effective comms, a strategy is your guiding star. It ensures your comms are consistent and clearly aligned with company goals. A carefully constructed plan also means you won’t fall into information overload or mixed messaging traps.
Your plan should identify what you want to achieve and some specific goals. Next, think about who is responsible for delivering the strategy and particular tasks. Corporate comms is so important that it’s best to have a senior executive overseeing the end-to-end process.
Now it’s time to identify your audiences. Remember, there will be many different ones, both internally and externally. Then, think about the most appropriate channels for those audiences. Internal comms channels will differ from your external ones. The type of message will also be a factor. For example, an announcement about an acquisition demands some fanfare with a media release or adverts in industry magazines.
The final step is to work up success measures. Otherwise, how do you know you are hitting the mark? Possibilities include click-throughs, downloads, participant numbers, and read rates. And supplement hard data with customer or staff focus groups and opinion surveys. That way, you can take a deep dive into the effectiveness of your comms and track progress over time.
2. Have A Consistent Message
A plan goes a long way to ensuring your messaging is coherent and consistent. However, anyone responsible for representing the company or crafting messages should receive comms training. This ensures that what they say is compatible with your brand. And that it aligns with how you want to present the company, your products, or services.
If someone in marketing issues a different message from the CE’s office, then your credibility is on the line. Customers and workers may lose trust in your organization. So, make sure your people have the skills needed for success.
3. Have A Professional Comms Team
Corporate comms is a specialized task and having a professional team at the helm is a must. Alongside excellent writing and speaking skills, the team should have research and analytical skills. And they must be able to keep a cool head during a crisis.
Many businesses outsource some of their corporate comms activities. For example, social media marketing is often handed over to agencies with specialist know-how. Others prefer to keep things in-house.
Whatever option you choose, make sure you have an internal senior exec overseeing all your efforts. And once you have the team in place, give it the autonomy to get on with the job. If messaging is aligned with overall business goals, the team should have the flexibility to explore new strategies.
4. Invest In The Right Technology
Technology has made the work of corporate comms more straightforward. There’s a wealth of tools out there to support consistent, timely messaging for a broad range of audiences. And with many workplaces now hybrid, technology helps ensure a level comms playing field.
Digital internal communications platforms to explore include the following:
- Team chat
- Company blogs
- Hybrid events
And for external audiences, why not consider these options:
- Business IM
- Social media
Some platforms are relevant to both audiences and offer multi-media possibilities. So, think outside the box. Use a mix of written, visual and audio-visual options to maximize the impact of your comms.
Corporate communication includes all your company messaging for both internal and external audiences. It supports a strong company brand and positive image.
Do corporate comms right, and you will have loyal customers and confident investors, suppliers, and partners.
What’s more, you will have a happy, engaged, and motivated workforce. And that’s good news for any organization grappling with the Great Resignation.
Aligning your corporate comms is vital to success. Internal and external messages should be consistent and coherent. Otherwise, you risk losing the trust and confidence of your audiences. Therefore, a top priority is integrating your internal and external comms within one team.
Have a plan in place to guide you. And have some success measures in place. Stay on track by regularly checking in with staff and external stakeholders.
And if you are still on the fence about whether it’s worth all the effort, consider this: Businesses with effective communication programs are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers.
Ready to get started on maximizing your corporate comms? Sign up for a free demo or 14-day trial of MyHub’s intranet software. Our easy-to-deploy platforms are used by organizations worldwide to power up corporate communication.