Corporate communication isn’t just the dry parts of human resources or internal communications departments (or public relations, for that matter). Corporate communication in business is how things get done to achieve strategic objectives – from how businesses communicate for projects like digital transformation and change management, to maintaining brand trust during crisis management, as we’ve seen across digital during COVID-19.
Read on to learn why corporate communication is crucial for your business success.
What is corporate communication?
For the most established corporate communication definition, think information-sharing: how a business communicates to both external and internal audiences e.g. employees and key stakeholders.
- Internal corporate communication can occur from the top down, such as CEO or company-wide updates; departmentally, between large or small employee groups e.g. local human resources communications; or one-to-one, like asking a colleague for help. These corporate (or business) communications are typically business-confidential in nature, and can take the form of:
- Teamwork via platforms e.g. internal-only wikis, social media, project management, chats
- Meetings e.g. internal events
- External corporate communications, on the other hand, happen from the inside out, focusing on a brand’s corporate identity. This is handled by marketing and public relations teams, and can take the form of:
- Website and blog
- Social media
- Press releases
- Print collateral
Why corporate communication is crucial for your business success
A well-developed corporate communication strategy is essential for running a successful business, as it informs how to:
1. Engage employees
The most accomplished companies have highly-engaged employees as a result of strong, strategic corporate internal communication. These communications prioritise messages about:
● Company culture
- Companies that live their vision, mission and values inspire employees to work together to drive business-wide goals. This internal alignment helps employees connect their everyday work to bigger objectives, with positive outcomes for meaning-making and motivation.
● Conversation and transparency
- Companies with open dialogues around key issues and decision-making get more valuable feedback due to candid conversation. When (constructive) debate of issues is encouraged, this info-sharing promotes investment in problem-solving, collaboration and innovation across the business, driving engagement.
● Employees as brand ambassadors
- Employees can boost a company’s external talent brand activities by sharing news and thought leadership content on social media, to advocate for their employers. This can also be done by leveraging speaking opportunities like conferences or podcasts.
2. Boost productivity
Productivity is related to employee engagement, but it’s also facilitated by company ways of working and how they’re communicated internally. Business productivity means efficient, effective employees getting more done in less time – with knock-on benefits for revenue. This involves having a:
● Solution focus
- As mentioned above, problem-solving helps employees get involved. Productive departments ensure projects don’t devolve into ‘blame games’ when mapping a way out of issues; instead, communication is de-siloed and and future-focused, so people prioritise solutions and not the cause of any problems (which keeps focus on the past).
● Culture of sharing
- A commitment to not only the right tools and training for productivity, but also developing employees, rewards at multiple levels. At an internal comms department-level, this encourages learning and growth; at an employee-level, it embodies openness and knowledge-sharing for improved context and business acumen, and more integrated work.
3. Raise awareness
For external communications teams, raising brand awareness is a core part of the remit. Previously, that meant committing large budgets to media spend, but as ad blockers prevail and audiences forgo this content, brands have turned from outbound efforts to more inbound methods for commanding attention – like publishing valuable, helpful, relevant content. This includes:
- Videos to educate, inspire and entertain
- If you’d like to learn about hosting webinars, read our latest blog: ‘How on-demand webinars can revolutionise your business’
- Social media posts
- To learn how to start a podcast, check out this blog post: ‘How to record a successful podcast in 7 steps’
- SEO-optimised blog posts
- Newsletters with dynamic content
- SEO-optimised content offers via landing pages
4. Attract talent
Recruitment can be time-consuming and costly, but it’s an essential part of any business. However, by positioning a company to be attractive to potential candidates, this employer branding encourages top talent to get in touch, rather than the other way around. Recruitment teams can utilise:
● Employee referral programs
- These internal sourcing initiatives revolve around employees recommending contacts for jobs at their company, usually with some kind of cash incentive. Programs like these benefit from engaged employees, who are more likely to put candidates forward.
● Brand ambassadors
- In addition to company news and leadership content, employees can also share job openings with their professional networks to increase the chances of finding quality applicants. They can also use social to attract compelling talent by highlighting great workplace culture with engaging posts on events, policies, initiatives and more.
5. Communicate in a crisis
One of the biggest areas for corporate communications departments can be crisis communications. ‘Crisis’ specifications vary across organisations, but a defined corporate communication plan cuts through ambiguity to outline a clear process for how your company handles unforeseen PR (and HR) events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic – including how to communicate. Crisis comms can take the form of:
- Videos e.g. a message from the CEO
- For more information on video and crisis comms, see our blog: ‘Why video is crucial for any crisis communication plan’
- Press releases
- Plus subsequent media interviews
- Blog posts
- Social media updates
For an example of a public-facing corporate crisis communication, see Shootsta CEO Mike Pritchett’s COVID-19 video below.
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