Effective corporate communication can make a huge difference to a firm’s overall success. And it’s much more than just exchanging information within or outside an organization – it’s an all-encompassing tool that shapes everything from employee morale to brand reputation. This article will delve into the compelling world of corporate communication and examine how effectively leveraging it can unlock success.
What is corporate communication?
You may be tempted to define the term corporate communication as simply communication within or by a corporation. But this belies its true complexity; corporate communication is much more complex.
Strategic corporate communication integrates marketing efforts, communications, public relations, and other functions, making it an indispensable tool in contemporary business.
In essence, corporate communication manages the dissemination of information within an organization and with external entities such as shareholders, the media, customers, and the general public.
It’s not confined to text-based formal documents either, embracing platforms such as verbal interactions during meetings, visual aids such as slideshows or infographics, digital outlets such as email or social media platforms, electronic media, and even face-to-face conversations.
Goals of corporate communication
The objectives of corporate communication can be multifaceted, depending on a corporation’s specific needs. However, most organizations’ corporate communications functions aim to achieve two common goals:
- Unified messaging: establishing common strategic communication across all platforms. It ensures each message relayed inwards, outwards, or across the organization aligns with the company’s values, vision, mission, and brand story
- Building key relationships: another critical objective is fostering relationships with all stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and media outlets through effective company communication
Clear messaging that builds strong relationships is key to the kind of corporate communications strategy that improves the reputation of your enterprise.
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External corporate communication
Conveying corporate messages to external stakeholders such as investors, media, and regulators and using effective customer communication management strategies are an integral part of external corporate communications. Below are some examples of how that plays out in practice.
Building brand awareness is essentially shaping corporate identity. It’s about creating unique branding that sets an organization apart from its competitors and makes it special. Visual elements play an essential role here, including logos, color schemes and typography that help create immediate recognition. On top of this, taglines, slogans and jingles can lodge firmly in people’s minds, associating our product or service with particular feelings or ideas.
Driving powerful brand awareness means focusing not just on what a company does but how it presents itself publicly.
Closely linked with branding is corporate reputation, which reflects how favorably a company is viewed by its key stakeholders. A positive standing builds credibility while a negative one may hamper future growth prospects.
Establishing trust in a brand relies on consistent performance and the long-term adoption of ethical practices. When aiming to build trust in a brand, consider the following two points:
- Openness and transparency about business operations act as pillars in establishing strong relationships as they show respect for stakeholders’ abilities to make informed decisions
- A bridge between organizations and stakeholders during a crisis can be invaluable in maintaining brand reputation
Sound brand reputation strategy benefits the whole corporation on multiple fronts, including stakeholder relations, and can help attract investment and top talent.
Reputation doesn’t only sell products or services, it also helps attract a high caliber of employees. In a survey conducted among HR professionals, an overwhelming 86% of participants stated that recruitment is evolving with an approach along the lines of marketing.
Top talent researches companies before applying, so corporations need to present themselves in a way that appeals to them. A company’s image in the job market can affect overall brand value and play a key role in recruitment. Talented individuals invariably contribute better performance that can lead to enhanced productivity and profitability, so getting this right can reap significant rewards.
Customer communications and marketing
Customer communications informs clients about a company’s offerings and promotions and can increase customer loyalty. This is another responsibility for the public relations department which can tactically disseminate information to specifically targeted consumers in the form of promotional campaigns, social media engagements, blog posts, articles, or newsletters to enhance rapport with the customer base.
Media and public relations
Corporations engage externally through interactions with the media and this can significantly shape perceptions. A consistent, proactive approach in this area can produce more favorable results rather than simply reacting to negative incidents. Tactfully handled communications can be immensely helpful in crisis management and restore trust.
Organizations use a variety of platforms to share news, updates on humanitarian initiatives, and thought leadership pieces to craft positive narratives that move an enterprise towards its goals.
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Internal corporate communication
When peeling back the layers of strategic corporate communication, you’ll see it’s much more than just a company’s external voice. A significant portion of a corporate communications function is communicating with a company’s most valuable resource — its employees.
Part of internal corporate communication incorporates the essential task of fostering employee engagement. Engaging employees is about more than keeping them happy or productive.
It’s also about encouraging the best behaviors for the business and ensuring the success of your teams.
Some of the most effective ways of boosting employee engagement include:
- Creating opportunities for open discussions
- Encouraging team-building activities
- Recognizing individual contributions
- Facilitating continual learning and development efforts
Understanding this area is pivotal because engaged employees are more likely to exhibit higher enthusiasm for their roles, which leads to better outcomes for any organization. Engaged employees become not just workers but brand ambassadors, embodying and advocating the values of the company.
Another fundamental task covered by corporate communication is employee productivity. The importance of this cannot be overstated as it directly impacts profitability.
Effective internal communication has the potential to significantly improve organizational productivity, with studies indicating it can result in a substantial increase of up to 25%.
When nurtured through regular feedback sessions and clear guidelines established by corporate communications, each team member can better understand the role they play in helping the company achieve its goals.
Benefits of corporate communication
At its core, business communication bridges the gap between a company and its stakeholders. Effective communication can help businesses define their strategy, improve productivity, and positively affect brand perception. Well-defined corporate communication brings a range of benefits, such as:
- Improved transparency
- Better stakeholder engagement
- Brand development
- Crisis management
- Higher employee morale and productivity
The role of corporate communications professionals
In today’s complex and interconnected world, corporate communications professionals play a pivotal role in the success of any organization. These industry experts juggle many responsibilities in a company’s communication department, including.
- Management of group communications: an important part of this job is promoting open dialogue and transparency among different teams. This function requires a skilled understanding of what is needed to build harmony and cohesion among a diverse audience
- Public relations governance: this essentially involves managing how the business interacts with stakeholders such as customers, shareholders, government, and even competitors. Public relations departments have a role in maintaining brand credibility, so corporate communications job descriptions will include shaping public perception using curated content
- Crisis communication handling: crises can strike anytime in today’s volatile business environment, so being ready to tackle any eventuality is key. In crisis scenarios, communications professionals steer strategies for appropriate responses to avert or minimize potential damage to corporate reputation
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Methods and tactics for corporate communication
The primary goal of any corporate communications function is always effective information delivery that promotes understanding. Below are some of the most notable avenues used to share such messaging:
- Traditional media: although we live in a digital age brimming with social media platforms and novel communication channels, traditional media retains its relevance. Consumers spend more than 260 minutes, or more than four hours per day, on traditional media in a year. Print publications such as newspapers, magazines, television and radio are still highly effective means of connecting with target demographics
- Digital media: an indispensable part of corporate communications nowadays, online platforms offer myriad possibilities for sharing company messaging, from social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to email marketing campaigns
- Face-to-face interaction: according to the Team Referral Network, more than 80% of people say they prefer face-to-face meetings. Personal meetings remain invaluable as they help build stronger business relationships
These tactics will vary depending on whether the communication is aimed at improving or maintaining brand awareness or boosting internal employee engagement. It could also differ based on whether you’re targeting existing or potential clients or maintaining relationships with other stakeholders.
Components of a successful corporate communication plan
A perfectly designed corporate communication plan can be key to an organization’s success. Below, we look at what constitutes a successful strategic corporate communication structure and which elements are crucial for an effective plan.
Comprehensive understanding of the organization
The journey towards perfecting your company’s communication strategy should begin with an understanding of the organization. For this, a thorough analysis of the business objectives, functions, stakeholders, and the internal and external environment is essential.
The most critical component in any corporate communications function is having clear and well-defined objectives. What does your organization aim to achieve through its communication department? Is it to boost brand awareness? Or is it to improve employee engagement or customer relations? Or all of these?
Target audience identification
Another critical aspect is identifying key audiences or groups that need to be communicated with regularly. You may want to ask questions such as who are they, what are their needs and how can our company address their concerns?
Fitting communication channels
Corporate communication plans have to identify the right strategic channels for each audience segment. For example, press releases for media personnel, emails for employees, and social channels such as LinkedIn or Twitter for wider audience reach.
Having identified your target groups, delivering suitable messages addressing their issues is vital. Equally necessary is getting people’s attention by making sure they relate to and comprehend your communications.
Implementing a feedback system helps gauge the effectiveness of your communications. For Google, an improved feedback system was found to be useful by 75% of employees, a significant increase. Use quantitative (surveys) and qualitative measures (interviews or focus groups) to collect feedback from various stakeholder groups.
The true value of corporate communications is evident when all aspects are strategically aligned at an organizational level. This ensures unity in message delivery internally and externally.
Setting up good communication processes can help all employees feel valued, and make sure that they know how to meet the demands of their roles, helping to improve the business.
Improving a firm’s ability not just to relay information but also to make an impact with that messaging is an art. Studying the essential techniques through a degree can provide the skills and knowledge necessary to forge a rewarding career in this area.
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