10 min read
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.
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.
Clearly, there’s more to it than simply being polite. There are several specific purposes and goals behind corporate communications. To name a few:
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:
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.
Corporate communication encompasses several key components that collectively shape an organization’s communications strategy. They include:
Now let’s discuss the importance of those four components and provide an example of each:
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:
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.
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:
Companies can also strategize for mitigating risk and responding to challenges by employing the following:
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.
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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