During this digital age where companies and customers are always connected, it’s important to promote your brand’s identity in a positive way. This is done through corporate communication, both to your organization’s employees and target audience.
In a crowded and competitive environment, businesses must have a distinct brand identity that allows them to gain both short and long-term benefits.
When a corporation has a stable and consistent brand:
- Customers stay loyal and feel safer
- Investors are confident in their decision to invest in a firm
- Employees continue to have faith in executives' competence and the organization's future
Let’s dive in.
What is the function of corporate communication?
Corporate communication is how the general public communicates with a company by creating a brand identity and image. This is accomplished by communicating with internal employees and external customers to maintain a positive reputation as well as bridging the gap between both parties.
A corporate communication strategy can consist of the following items:
- Written communication - website, press releases, or memos
- Verbal communication - interviews, videos, or press conferences
- Visual communication - photographs, illustrations, or infographics
Building a strong corporate brand identity requires both internal and external communication alignment.
Internal corporate communications
Internal communications focuses on messaging and information sharing within the organization. It includes knowledge transfers from executive management to regular employees as well as cross-departmental messages. Some examples of internal communications include:
- Internal newsletters promoting company news and updates
- Team meetings designed to inform employees about the company
- A learning management system to create, host, and distribute learning materials
External corporate communications
External communications focus on the company’s brand, identity, and messaging to members outside the organization. With the addition of social media platforms, communicating with external members and potential customers is much easier. Some examples of external communication are:
- Press releases to inform the public of company news and updates
- Press conferences that allow external members to ask questions about the organization
- Advertising and marketing materials to spread brand awareness and increase reach
Benefits of corporate communication
An organization that focuses on improving its corporate communication can expect a variety of benefits such as less employee turnover, consistent brand messaging, higher quality customer reviews, and closing the gap between internal and external members.
Here are some other reasons to focus on corporate communications:
Shows transparency to employees
Using corporate communication companies can create messaging to show transparency. That way new hires will know before they step foot in the door, that they are working for a company that is honest.
This should also carry through managers’ communications with their employees. Employees will feel the company and their managers are being clear on expectations. On the flip side, employees will feel free to speak up with suggestions.
Builds strong relationships among team members
When employees and managers are on the same page, it builds a stronger relationship between team members. This in turn boosts productivity, reduces employee turnover, and creates a positive work environment for the entire team.
Keep messaging consistent with customers
Another benefit of corporate communication is keeping messaging consistent to not only your employees but your external audiences. If you forget to communicate with your customers in the same fashion as your employees, your company brand and mission gets lost. Customers don’t know what you stand for or why they should choose you over one of your competitors.
A communications team's top priority is to develop and maintain a company's brand and identity. When it comes to creating connections with the media, the general public, and other organizations, perception and reputation are extremely important.
1. Media and Public Relations
This is the process by which a company or organization communicates with the general public, including the media, by organizing news conferences, product launches, and interviews, as well as creating materials (banners, flyers, and other marketing materials) for such occasions.
- Obtaining media publicity through writing and distributing press releases.
- Keeping an eye on the news for mentions of the company, its product, and important individuals like stakeholders and management.
- Creating a strategy to deal with negative news coverage or disinformation
2. Customer Communications and Marketing
Marketing efforts frequently affect a corporation’s communication strategy, and vice versa, resulting in increasing cooperation and collaboration between the two areas.
As a result, it's not commonplace for communication specialists to assist in the creation of various marketing materials and general customer communications, such as:
- Email marketing
- Copy for a website
- Social media marketing approach
3. Crisis Communication
A company's (or an individual's) specific communications in the face of a crisis or unplanned incident that has the potential to harm the company's reputation or existence are referred to as crisis communication.
In the case of a crisis, the communications department is responsible for developing a crisis response strategy (typically with the help of outside specialists), which may include:
- Arranging for firm executives to participate in interviews and news briefings to discuss the subject
- Providing guidance to corporate personnel on what to say and how to say it while speaking with the media
- Communicating with attorneys, government regulators, first responders, and politicians
4. Internal Communications
In addition to presenting the organization's message to external audiences, most communications teams will be involved in internal communications to some extent, including:
- Creating emails and memos advertising corporate activities and news
- Putting together employee learning resources (such as information about employee benefits)
- Printing items such as employee handbooks and fliers
- Organizing and facilitating staff brainstorming and training sessions.
- Managing internal blogs, newsletters, and other forms of communication
Internal communication is frequently managed by or in collaboration with the human resources management team.
Building a corporate communications plan
Creating and implementing a corporate communications plan is the best way to ensure your company is actually communicating effectively. A plan is simply taking your written, spoken, and electronic communications and putting them all down on paper. That way, every employee understands the importance of corporate communication for organizational development.
Here’s the 5 step process to developing a corporate communication plan:
1. Conduct an audit
The first step to creating a corporate communications plan is to look at what you are currently doing in terms of company communications and ask yourself some simple, but key questions:
- What communication is currently taking place with customers?
- How do teams communicate with each other?
- What are the communication breakdowns?
- Are customers happy with the communications they receive?
- Are current communication methods meeting company goals?
This audit can be more informal or it can be a formal process conducted by an outside auditor. No matter what your process is, the end goal is the same. You’ll want to evaluate your current communications and then brainstorm on ways to improve what may not be working.
2. Develop a corporate mission statement
Once you have your research, it’s time to fill out your plan. At the very top of your corporate communications plan should be your company’s mission statement. Why? It defines who you are and what needs you serve your audiences.
Then under your mission statement, add in two or three key messages. These messages should support your company mission and show your audiences “why you” versus your competitors.
3. Define communication objectives
Take what you’ve learned from interviewing and surveying your employees, managers, and customers and create well-defined objectives. Make sure to focus on the end results. In other words, what do you hope to achieve?
Whatever your objectives are, make sure they have timelines attached and can be measured to see which ones were achieved and which ones need to be worked on in the future.
Remember you want SMART objectives. This will make it easier when it comes time to evaluate how well your corporate communications are across your company.
4. Speak to all audiences
Next, you’ll want to write down the various audiences and influencers that touch or interact with your company. This list should include all internal and external audiences.
Examples of your audiences may be potential customers, general consumers, competitors, employees, and the media.
5. Craft communication messages
Once you have your objectives and audiences, craft brand messages that communicate effectively to each of these audiences. Your messages should be brief, strategic, relevant, compelling, and memorable.
Also, you want your messages to be consistent across all audiences so you may only have two or three messages in total.
Continu will improve corporate communications
Continu is a modern learning platform that corporations and enterprise companies can use to not only train external users or internal employees but house corporate communications. Here are some core features and solutions to help with corporate communications:
- All-in-one enterprise-level LMS, no need for other tools
- Import and upload files, documents, or press releases
- Develop public relations content for employee training
- Host webinars or workshops for dealing with the press or media
- Invite external users such as customers or partners to access company assets
- Create virtual press conferences and track attendance
- Enable commenting, sharing, and feedback from users
- And much more…