Corporate communication in the age of content marketing

Corporate communication

The average employee spends 50-80% of their work day communicating with others. So there is no doubt that communication is extremely important in our everyday lives. Psychologists emphasize the importance of an effective communication style – both in personal and professional relationships. However, one-on-one communication is completely different than between large groups of people. One such form of mass communication is corporate communication. Let's check what it is and what to do to make it effective. 

What will you learn from the article?

In the rapidly changing business world, the role of corporate communication is becoming more and more crucial. This comprehensive process, responsible for image creation company, managing its reputation and communicating effectively with various stakeholder groups has never been more important. Thanks to corporate communication, it is possible not only to effectively reach potential customers, but also to build long-term relationships with current recipients and other business partners. In this entry, we will look at the definition of corporate communication, present its key areas of operation and indicate why it is so important in the context of running a business. We will also discuss the differences between corporate communication and brand identity, as well as tell you how to avoid the most common planning mistakes. communication strategy external.

Did you know that the role of corporate communication is constantly growing?

Take care of its quality.

Corporate communication - definition

We live in times when companies increasingly have to distribute their information themselves. So the creators of corporate communication are taking over the journalistic craft. Having at my disposal numerous communication channels - on the Internet, in the form of social media, from Facebook to LinkedIn, to company blogs - companies can direct any content to their recipients. Only that it is - or at least it should be - less and less "speaking" and more a dialogue. Each of us interprets content based on personal experiences and interests.

Effective communication must be storytelling. At the same time, it must interest the recipient and turn into experience. It is based on experience-oriented information, where experience is understood as a finished product.

Corporate communication is an extremely broad field, which means it can be difficult to define exactly. Its definition is based on the variety of ways in which a company or organization communicates with different audiences, both internal and external. These recipients include, among others customers / potential customers, employees, stakeholders / investors, suppliers or the public. Each - important from the point of view of the company's interests - target group must be included in the communication plan.

corporate communication is an important element of building the company's image

In the digital age, corporate communications covers a wider range of materials than ever before. This is more than a company handbook that provides guidance on introducing new employees to the team. It is also more than a blog post promoting a major event that the company is organizing. It includes everything from emailing employees that the coffee machine is damaged, to press releases about the latest product or opening a new branch. It's how your brand connects with your audience and plays a huge role in shaping how those groups perceive you.

Managing such communication is a complex task that is now more important than ever. Since essentially a corporate communication policy means more than just a way to send a message - it is about supporting a unified brand identity. Doing so ensures that your company speaks to a specific audience with one voice in all available channels. With full consistency of the message, effectively influencing the attitudes and actions of recipients.

Corporate communication requires a proper strategy

The areas of corporate communication activities 

The company's communication department is responsible for a number of activities - from public relations for internal communication. Let's analyze the differences and see what role different areas play in the organization. 

  • Customer communication and marketing, i.e. external communication - the boundaries between communication and marketing have begun to blur in recent years, due to the fact that these departments often cooperate closely with each other. The communications department can support marketing in creating materials, e.g. e-mails or texts for the company blog; 
  • Public Relations – this name covers the public aspect of communication, the purpose of which is to generate the desired public opinion about the company. Companies often use press releases, press conferences, interviews, etc. for this purpose; 
  • Internal communication – being responsible for external communication, corporate communication is also responsible for all internal communications. Internal communication focuses on employee engagement. Taking care of coherent and transparent messages has a significant impact on the morale and motivation of the crew.  

Why is communication in business important?

Running a successful business is all about communicating effectively with people. Internal corporate communication is the key to building a strong corporate culture, while its external form shapes company image.

In times of crisis, both internal and external corporate communication is particularly important. The first ensures that everyone is on a common position in the face of a crisis situation, while external communication can help convey relevant information to the public. Crisis management without a proper corporate communication strategy, there's no way to go.

internal corporate communication builds the company's culture

Well-thought-out internal communication demonstrates the commitment of the management to the transparency of the communicated messages. If a business is facing challenges, leaders can tackle them and outline a roadmap for the future by delivering a specific message to employees. Collaboration within and across teams also helps to strengthen a company's culture, and this is largely achieved through proper communication. On the other hand, problematic internal communication can have a devastating effect on the company's culture. This in turn - lower the morale of employees. The whole situation, like a knock-on effect, can ultimately impact business outcomes and make it difficult to keep up with competitors. A study by Deloitte found that 82% CEOs and HR leaders believe culture is a potential competitive advantage. Therefore, it is worth taking care of it, also thanks to appropriate communication.  

External communication helps in winning audience - example

External corporate communication covers all marketing campaigns, press releases and PR activities. These forms of communication help companies to increase their reach and appear more broadly in the public sphere.

One example of wildly successful corporate communication activities was the social media marketing campaign carried out in 2018 by Museum of English Rural Life - Museum of English Rural Life, Reading, UK.

Corporate communication

Initially, this small museum had around 10,000 followers on social media. However, after it began to reach millennials with its message by tweeting humorous historical photos of animals, the number of users has increased by more than tenfold. A photo of a bulky ram with the tagline "Look at this unique specimen" has been retweeted more than 30,000 times. The success of this corporate communication strategy is best evidenced by the fact that almost three years after the launch of the campaign, the message still reaches the audience. A few days ago (in March 2021), the museum - at the express request of many interested - launched T-shirts with the print of the famous ram. 

What is the difference between corporate communication and brand identity?

Corporate communication creates brand awareness. Building a company's reputation makes employees identify with what the company represents. A clear message in this respect also attracts the attention of recipients. 

Branding it defines who the company is, what it does, what products it has and what that means for the public. The task of corporate communication teams is to create a positive message around the brand and care for its reputation, not only internally but also externally. Identity is what distinguishes an organization from others and also builds its reputation.

Corporate communication

 A brand's credibility is also based on what a company promises about the use of its product or service. The corporate communication department should ensure that this message represents what is important to the client and is truthful at the same time. This tactic also guarantees employee involvement, which is, after all, crucial for the success of any organization. Employees are brand ambassadors who are leaders in external communication thanks to their social reach. Providing employees with the right tools and content to share is paramount and can often have a direct impact on the company's financial development. The more efficient your employees are, the higher the generated revenues and lower costs. 

What influences corporate communication?

Corporate communication is closely related to the way the company operates. How individual cells function depends on the effectiveness and form of communication - both internal and external. It is therefore important to include communication issues at every stage of planning corporate activities.

The first factor that influences corporate communication is the company's strategy. A strategy is a long-term plan containing all (smaller and larger) goals, tasks, directions of development and resources needed to achieve the set goals. This is the mission of the organization that all employees should know. The mission that the brand will advertise to the outside world. The company's strategy has a large impact on what corporate communication will look like. The forms and tools of communication should be consistent with the goal and vision of the company - it enables reaching the designated target group.

The quality of communication is influenced by decision-makers - or rather, whether employees understand their intentions, visions and goals. Employees at various levels should be aware of the importance of communication. How important it is in the context of the functioning and development of the company. Inconsistent visions, lack of mutual understanding and unclear messages are the easiest way to disturb communication - which can have a negative impact on the company.

It is also worth mentioning the quality of the workforce and the division of competences within the company. The effectiveness of communication will depend on what kind of people work in the company, and the consistency of the message will depend on the division of competences.

Another important point is corporate culture. These are the values that guide employees - all attitudes, expectations, visions. Corporate culture has a major impact on image building brands outdoors. Therefore, it is important that it is coherent, logical, well-thought-out and understandable to every employee. The language and communication channels will depend on the culture.

Last, but not least, are the company's financial resources - which especially applies to external communication. Each company should include the issue of corporate communication in its budget. Too low budget may reduce the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and broadly understood PR activities.

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Corporate communication - the most common mistakes

Proper communication brings many benefits. If internal communication is at the highest level, employees understand their needs, there is a friendly atmosphere at work, everyone is motivated, jointly pursues the set goals, and the company is successful in the market. There is also much lower staff turnover than in companies with a poor level of communication. Perfect external communication is the key to a good image of the company on the market. The company has a stable position on the market, has no difficulties in finding contractors, has many clients, and thus generates high profits. Unfortunately, some mistakes - which sometimes seem quite inconspicuous - can effectively disrupt the effectiveness of communication.

The first is the lack of consistency of the messages sent. This applies to both internal communication (the president says one thing, the HR department says another) and external communication (there is one piece of information on social media, something completely different is written on the website). Lack of consistency reduces the authenticity of the company (or superiors) in the eyes of recipients (customers, contractors or employees). A big mistake is the complexity of the messages.

Messages that are difficult to understand and unclear will not be effective. The best ones are simple and logical. It is worth looking for replacements for difficult words and using simple (but still professional) language. Messages should be personalized and tailored to the recipients. The language of benefits works great for both customers and employees - "this will help you" and other such phrases.

Corporate communication

In communication, you cannot focus solely on yourself. You have to remember about your audience. Therefore, it is important to include feedback in each message - FAQ tabs on the websites, answering employees' questions.

Another mistake is the wrong choice of tools. Inappropriate communication channels reduce the effectiveness of the signals sent. It is important to ensure that they are maximally adapted to our recipients. For this, it is necessary to characterize the target group in detail and define what we intend to convey to them. It is also worth taking care of the right selection internal communication tools. A good message will affect the quality and efficiency of work.

Other corporate communication errors include:

  • acting without any plan,
  • too low budget or budget cuts in the area of corporate communication,
  • too much information and sources,
  • inadequate coordination of activities,
  • lack of understanding of the role of communication by company employees.

How to plan an external communication strategy?

Corporate communication will only be effective if we adjust it to our target group as much as possible. For this, it is necessary to establish a detailed action strategy.

Communication strategy should involve 4 steps:

  • preliminary analysis,
  • setting goals and details of the strategy,
  • implementation of activities,
  • study of the results.

The first stage, i.e. the analysis of the environment (including competition), the initial situation and the actions taken so far, is the foundation of the strategy. The effectiveness of the next steps will depend mainly on him. Therefore, it is important that the analyzes carried out are as detailed, comprehensive and, most importantly, 100% true.

The first stage of strategy planning is also an ideal moment to conduct a SWOT analysis, which will indicate the strengths and weaknesses of the company as well as opportunities and threats from the environment - in the context of communication. Detailed analysis will facilitate the determination of the goal of the activity - which should be established in the second stage of creating the strategy. The goal of the strategy should be in line with the SMART principle - that is, precise, measurable, attractive, realistic and timely.

Communication strategy must have a target group – or several groups (in which case a core group should be designated). Audience analysis involves determining their needs and expectations. It is worth checking whether the selected group will be susceptible to changes in the future.

For example, if the target audience is young people, it should be taken into account that young people are easily influenced by trends. In this case, you need to constantly monitor the situation, research the market, check what the target group's attention is focused on, and then adapt your communication to current trends.

Cooperation with the media in crisis situations, corporate communication

It can be very helpful to create a profile for the perfect representative of the group. The profile should take into account their demographics, appearance and character traits, social status, interests, goals, values and other special characteristics. The recipient's profile will give the strategy a human face, bring the company closer to the target group - and, consequently, make it easier to match the messages to the recipients.

After setting your goal and defining your target audience, it's time to prepare an action plan. The plan should include priority tasks to be performed in the near future and those to be implemented in the future. You should also determine what communication tools we will use to implement the assumed strategy.

When creating a strategy, it is very helpful to establish scenarios for the development of the company's activity - to be extremely optimistic, optimistic, negative and extremely negative. This will allow us to determine whether we are able to adjust the assumed communication strategy to each situation. If not, it means that the strategy needs to be modified accordingly.

Corporate communications matter

Corporate communication is important not only for maintaining the operational liquidity of each company, but also for building its image and relationships with customers. Effective corporate communication is the key to success because it enables the effective transfer of information between all levels of the organization and its stakeholders.

Understanding the importance of communication in a corporate context can contribute to better employee engagement, increased customer satisfaction and, consequently, an increase in the company's competitiveness on the market. Nowadays, when the pace of change is unpredictable, corporate communication becomes the foundation of effective management.

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