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Why corporate communications makes or breaks companies
Illustration by Maya Ramadhina

10 min read

Why corporate communications makes or breaks companies

Discover the importance of corporate communications in building trust, enhancing reputation, and achieving business objectives.

Corporate communications encompass a wide range of activities and processes. All with the aim of building and maintaining a positive image and reputation in dealings with employees, customers, investors, the media, and even the public. Its primary goal is to ensure that all internal and external communications align with a company’s values, mission, and objectives. 

Without a doubt, corporate communication for businesses is critical. It plays a vital role in shaping an organization’s success in branding, reputation management, and more. 

In terms of branding, it ensures that an organization has consistent messaging throughout all communication channels. This will help to reinforce the brand’s identity and values and will also reinforce its image regardless of the audience. Additionally, it can help to differentiate the brand from its competitors thanks to the unique selling points, values, and personality.

Finally, corporate communications can protect a brand’s reputation by shaping perception by means of messages, stories, and information that the company shares.

The rule of corporate communications

Corporate communications goes well beyond the above-mentioned branding and reputation management.

Think of it as the strategic hub for managing all the information, messaging, and relationships with all involved. It ensures that the company’s values, objectives, and brand identity are well communicated internally and externally.

The objective of corporate communications

Clearly, there’s more to it than simply being polite. There are several specific purposes and goals behind corporate communications. To name a few:

  • Supporting business objectives: Corporate communications aligns with the organization’s strategic goals. It plays an integral role in helping achieve those goals by promoting its products or services, influencing public opinion, and helping to create the type of environment that’s conducive to business success.
  • Transparency and accountability: Corporate communications can help promote transparency by providing stakeholders with clear, honest, and consistent information about the organization’s activities, its performance, and even its decision-making processes. This ultimately helps in building trust and accountability.

How corporate communications supports business objectives

Corporate communications can play a crucial role in the support of various business objectives across several different areas of an organization. Here are some examples:

  • Increasing sales and revenue: 
    • Marketing campaigns: Corporate communication collaborates with marketing teams to help develop and execute advertising and promotional campaigns
    • Customer testimonials: Sharing positive customer testimonials and reviews through various communication channels will help build trust and influence potential buyers
  • It enhances employee productivity and engagement:
    • Internal communication: Corporate communications will ensure that employees are always well-informed about any company strategy and changes. This can lead to a sense of purpose and commitment, which can eventually lead to higher productivity and job satisfaction
    • Employee recognition: Recognizing and celebrating employee achievements and milestones there internal communication programs can motivate and engage the entire workforce

How corporate communications differs from other communication functions

It’s important to note that while corporate communications can play a role in things like marketing objectives, each has its own focus and objectives.

The goals of corporate communications include building and protecting the company’s reputation, developing and maintaining employee engagement, aligning stakeholders with the company’s values, and more. And while the company’s customers can be included in the audience, they aren’t the primary focus. In contrast, the goal of marketing is to generate demand, increase sales, and drive revenue for the organization. In this case, the primary audience is potential and existing customers.

Let’s look at public relations as another example.

We’ve already established what the goal of corporate communications is, so we can skip that part and look at the goal and audience when it comes to public relations. In terms of its goals, PR includes generating positive media coverage, managing any crisis that may arise, and generally trying to foster goodwill among any stakeholders. The primary audience of public relations is typically the media, influencers, and the general public.


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Key components of corporate communications

Corporate communication encompasses several key components that collectively shape an organization’s communications strategy. They include:

  • Internal communications: This involves keeping employees informed and engaged through newsletters, intranet portals, meetings, and a variety of other channels. Effective internal communication will help align employees with the company’s goals and values.
  • External communications: This is any communication that takes place with customers, investors, partners, and any external stakeholder through a variety of channels such as websites, social media, email marketing, and public events.
  • Crisis communications: This involves developing plans and strategies that will address and mitigate crises such as product recalls, scandals, or disasters. All of which can help the company communicate effectively during challenging times.
  • Investor relations: This involves maintaining transparent and effective communication with all shareholders and investors by means of financial reports, hosting earnings calls, and ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements.

Now let’s discuss the importance of those four components and provide an example of each:

  • Internal communications: You could describe internal communications as the glue that holds employees to the company’s mission, values, and goals. When internal communication is handled effectively, it can lead to heightened employee engagement, clear alignment with organizational objectives, and you can even reinforce corporate culture. Additionally, it cultivates transparency and trust by keeping employees informed and involved. It can help in conflict management and resolution, and ultimately be the foundation for a cohesive workplace.
    • Example: Regularly making use of companywide email newsletters. This could be used for sharing information, employee engagement, recognition words, upcoming initiatives, and more.
  • External communications: External communication is instrumental in managing and shaping an organization’s reputation, engaging customers, and building trust with investors and the public. When it’s effective, it can influence market positioning, enhance competitiveness, and even provide a lifeline during times of crisis. It can also be used as a tool for showcasing corporate social responsibility efforts, and community engagement. Ultimately, it can contribute to an organization’s long-term success and sustainability.
    • Example: Using social media platforms for brand promotion and engagement with customers and the public. They could share content including product updates, advertisements, and brand storytelling. Social media is also an excellent tool for market research, allowing companies to analyze customer sentiments, preferences, and trends by monitoring conversations and feedback on the different platforms.
  • Crisis communications: It’s significance can’t be overstated, and it should never be overlooked. In times of crisis, it’s essential to protect and preserve the reputation of the organization. Timely and transparent communication can help to diminish reputational damage while maintaining the trust of stakeholders. When crisis communication is rapid and well-coordinated, it allows an organization to provide them with guidance, updates, and instruction, which helps to reduce confusion and uncertainty.
    • Product recalls: In the event of a product recall for safety concerns or defects, a company should react quickly and transparently, using various communication channels, providing details about the reasons for the recall, any potential risk to consumers, and what steps they should take.
  • Investor relations: It’s essential to build and sustain investor confidence by providing clear and consistent communication, helping them to make informed decisions. It also ensures that the organization always complies with any legal and regulatory requirements related to financial reporting and disclosure. It can also be a means of attracting capital from a variety of sources.
    • Quarterly earnings conference calls: This would be an opportunity for the investor relations team to provide a Q&A session, giving analysts and investors the opportunity to inquire into the company’s financial performance, operations, and strategic initiatives.

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Benefits of effective corporate communications

Given what we’ve already discussed, it’s clear to see that corporate communications plays an important and pivotal role in helping an organization achieve its objectives and sustain long-term success. For example:

  • Increased employee engagement and job satisfaction: When leadership and management provide open and transparent communication, this builds trust and can ultimately foster a culture of honesty. And employees who feel that they’re kept well-informed when it comes to company news, performance, and changes, are more likely to feel engaged and valued.
  • Improved customer relations and loyalty: With consistent brand messaging, corporate communications can build recognition and trust, assuming customers associate the brand with reliability and authenticity. Companies that provide responsive customer support are likely to develop customers who feel valued and satisfied.
  • Enhanced reputation and brand image: With consistent messaging, companies help to create a unified and recognizable brand image that reinforces trust of reliability. Additionally, when organizations are open and honest in their communications, this helps to instill confidence in all stakeholders, including customers, investors, and the public.
  • Increased stakeholder trust and support: When stakeholders are provided with timely and accurate information, it reinforces the organization’s commitment to keeping them informed which in turn enhances trust. And by facilitating two-way communications with stakeholders — giving them a chance to voice any concerns, provide feedback, and ask questions — organizations send the message that stakeholders are heard and valued, which can ultimately strengthen their support.

A recent example of the impact good corporate communications can have on an organization is Starbucks. In 2022, they expressed their aim to establish the company as a responsible and ethical brand. They launched a number of initiatives, including "Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices" for ethical sourcing, "Greener Stores" for sustainability, and "Starbucks College Achievement Plan" for employee education. And in the last week, they’ve been in the news with regards to doing away with disposable cups in an effort to cut the company’s waste in half.

All of this has helped Starbucks achieve a positive brand image as a socially responsible company who uses ethical sourcing practices.

Challenges of corporate communications

Depending on the organization, industry, and a variety of external factors, corporate communications can face several challenges. 

Managing communication across multiple channels and stakeholders could be a challenge. Juggling and tailoring messages to suit different audiences such as employees, investors, customers, and the public requires careful consideration of the needs of each. Messages need to be adapted and tailored to each while maintaining consistency so that the core message remains uniform, avoiding confusion.

Additionally, managing communication during a crisis or situations that bring negative publicity can present significant challenges. A crisis often requires immediate responses, balancing the need for quick and timely communication while still trying to gather accurate information and formulate an effective strategy — that can be a lot to manage all the same time. Controlling a narrative when under intense media scrutiny and quickly spreading news full of sensationalism or misinformation can be challenging.

However, these challenges can be addressed. Some best practices for managing corporate communications include:

  • A comprehensive strategy: All companies should develop a well-defined corporate communication strategy that aligns with their goals and values. This includes identifying target audiences and their communication preferences and having clear objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in place to measure success.
  • Collaborate across functions: Collaboration between corporate communication teams and other departments helps ensure consistent messaging and alignment with organizational goals.

Companies can also strategize for mitigating risk and responding to challenges by employing the following: 

  • Risk assessment and preparedness: Companies should conduct regular risk assessments in order to identify any potential communication vulnerabilities and challenges. They should develop a crisis communication plan that has predefined roles, responsibilities, and communication protocols for a variety of scenarios.
  • Establish and monitor early warning systems: If possible, implement monitoring tools and systems that allow the organization to track mentions of them, emerging issues, or general negative sentiment in the news or social media. Having some sort of early warning system in place will help to detect potential crises or reputational risks.


Corporate communications play a pivotal role in organizations for a variety of reasons. It helps build trust among all stakeholders and helps to align them with the organization’s mission and strategic objectives. It can help shape the organization’s image and reputation both internally and externally. It allows an organization to react swiftly when there’s a need for crisis response, can enhance employee morale, motivation, and productivity, and finally, it can give organizations a competitive advantage.

Key takeaways:

  • Corporate communications encompass a wide range of activities, from internal communication to external messaging, crisis management, and reputation building
  • Communication strategies need to be tailored to different stakeholders and channels while maintaining consistency and messaging
  • Transparency, honesty, and responsiveness are all critical principles in corporate communications
  • Corporate communication needs to evolve with ongoing evaluations and adaptations of strategies, enabling the organization to meet changing stakeholder expectations and address challenges effectively

Finally, keep in mind that corporate communications won’t remain static. As mentioned above, it will need to evolve as the digital landscape transforms, as organizations become more aware of sustainability and social responsibility issues, and as stakeholders increasingly command ethical, transparent, and responsible communication from the organizations they support.


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