Imagine living in a furniture store. Now imagine a comedian living in a furniture store and then making a web series about it.
That’s what Swedish furniture giant IKEA did in an award-winning public relations campaign in 2007. It went viral and boosted sales for the store.
The lines between advertising, marketing and PR are often blurry. That’s because they are interrelated. And they are united under the umbrella of corporate communication.
While each of these functions is distinct, they must stick to the message that corporations want to put out into the world. When businesses communicate valuable information to their stakeholders, it’s called corporate communication.
The need of corporate communication is clear. It’s a vital process that many organizations use because it helps them build strong and meaningful relationships. It helps them share what the organization does and its values, which helps build trust and loyalty. That’s the importance of corporate communication.
It involves many kinds of messages that are sent to employees, customers, investors or the public. Corporate communication can help an organization with many distinct functions and purposes.
Types Of Corporate Communication
We sometimes divide corporate communication into ‘internal’ or ‘external’ communication. These terms are useful for understanding the range of corporate communication functions and tools. They help executives understand what they are communicating, to whom they are communicating and through what channels the communication is taking place. Is their message going out to internal employees or external stakeholders? Is it face-to-face communication, a phone call, emails, blogs or a social media post? Let’s take a closer look at what these types of corporate communication are:
1. Internal Communication
This refers to any communication that supports a company’s operations by informing employees about the organization’s mission, vision and strategic plans. It could be about business objectives and priorities, an upcoming change in programs, new policies and procedures, news about products or services.
An example of the importance of corporate communication in this context could be when an organization is acquired by another entity. In a large organization, this would cause much speculation among the workforce about its future. It would be the job of corporate communication to collaborate with various functions and team leads to send out the correct message to employees.
2. External Communication
These are communications meant for other organizations, customers, shareholders, or the public. They help inform stakeholders about the business and new products, services and technologies. It could be meant to sell new products, build trust or conduct business better. It may involve public relations or other marketing functions.
Examples of corporate communication of this sort could be when an organization improves the environmental aspects of its production. It then uses corporate communication strategy, such as advertising and public relations, to inform stakeholders about this effort.
Both these types of corporate communication are essential to a healthy organization with strong messaging.
Benefits Of Corporate Communication
As is clear from our examples of corporate communication, all types of corporate communication can help boost the image of organizations. It helps a business achieve its goals and objectives by creating awareness.
By using promotional campaigns such as advertising and public relations, organizations can promote their products and services. For corporate communication to be effective in building a relationship with stakeholders, it’s important for the messages to be accurate. Organizations might use corporate communication to respond to negative media reports about them, to protect their image. But it always must stick to the truth.
The importance of corporate communication makes it a critical function. It brings together all aspects of an organization’s messaging in harmony with its values. The department might work with the human resources team to send internal messages, and it might work with public relations for external messages. Corporate communication is bigger than the sum of its parts. Here are a few examples of corporate communication benefits:
- Corporate communication can be used as a tool to promote an organization’s products and services.
- It can help solve problems in a timely manner if there are issues that the public is concerned about.
- Corporate communication can also help improve and maintain an organization’s reputation and brand image.
- It can get customer feedback to create better products or services.
- Corporate communication can educate employees by conveying information about the organization through internal communications.
- It helps organizations discover new market opportunities and can also help develop new markets for products or services.
- Corporate communication can also help an organization find sponsors or investors.
- It can distribute information to employees about latest events and developments and changes in their work environment.
While there are many reasons to include corporate communication as part of an organization’s strategy, there are some issues to guard against as well. The importance of corporate communication being truthful at all times can’t be overstated. It might be tempting to manipulate the truth or present a selective image, but this can cause the loss of trust with consumers and stakeholders. Owning a mistake, being gracious in accepting responsibility and acknowledging the work needed to right the wrongs will go a long way in case of any troubles arising.
Corporate Communication Strategy
Corporate communication strategy has changed along with the shifting technology landscape. The traditional approach to corporate communication was using channels such as articles, newsletters, meetings, or conferences. An example would be organizations having their PR teams set up stories and interviews with newspapers and magazines to promote their products and services.
The new way of corporate communication is more flexible. It often involves a two-way exchange of information. The flow is not only from the organization to its stakeholders but also from stakeholders to the organization. This helps create a better relationship between all parties. Besides the classic methods of communication nowadays, organizations use social media channels to communicate. The most commonly used social media channels are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram. It allows communication to go out in a timely manner that is in the control of the organization. Most companies have a hybrid model which combines the two. Let’s take a closer look at the specifics.
Corporate Communication Tools
Businesses use many different corporate communication tools to distribute information and gain the attention of stakeholders. The list of tools is growing every day. Some of the commonly used ones are:
1. Social media
It isn’t an exaggeration to say social media has completely changed how corporations interact with customers. Online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn dominate today as corporate communication tools.
Social media allows an organization to quickly distribute information to a wide audience at little cost. This is a great tool for organizations to use because it can create awareness about their products and services and help them maintain relationships with stakeholders. If a business wants to inform the public about important products or services they offer, then they can simply post it on their social media accounts. Text, video and live sessions are all possible.
A classic amongst corporate communication tools, these can be used to share information of all kinds, whether it is products, services or policies.
These can inform stakeholders about products and promotions. They can be used to collect feedback, too. These might be sent in paper form, but most often they go out through email nowadays.
The organization may use its website to provide information about its products and services, management and policies, and also upcoming events.
Videos can be used as a corporate communication tool to introduce stakeholders to the company and its values. Not just on social media, but also outside of it. Webcasts allow a combination of text, graphics, audio and video that can connect people to the same channel at different times and locations. Or webinars could be hosted by industry bodies or for consumers. Documentaries can feature novel initiatives and projects.
6. News Releases
These go out to the media and help send out communication in a clear and concise way. They often contain essential information about new products or services along with management quotes.
Corporate communication tools help organizations build and maintain relationships with their key stakeholders. By using effective strategies, such as advertising and public relations, organizations can reach their ideal target audiences. Corporate communication strategy supports companies in their efforts to meet their objectives.
The importance of corporate communication means that it calls for a high level of skill. Listening, writing, speaking with confidence, learning how to understand an audience and storytelling are all part of communicating a brand’s purpose. Harappa’s Confident Communication Program can teach professionals to express themselves clearly and make an impression, regardless of what function they are in. Speaking clearly, with the right body language and confidence, can help in many roles. So can writing with power and accuracy and an understanding of the principles of storytelling. For all of this, we need to learn to listen and read deeply and attentively. Discover all of this and more with Harappa!
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as What Is Internal Communication, Principles Of Communication, What Is Miscommunication and Business Communication that will help organizations tap into employee potential.