Do you have an integrated corporate communications strategy? Are your employees aware of the things happening within your organization? How does your company stand in terms of department silos and collaborative sharing of knowledge and expertise? Do you have various communications channels in place? These are just some of the questions you need to answer in order to determine whether or not your corporate communications strategy works for your people.
What is corporate communications?
To design an effective corporate communications strategy, you must first know what corporate communications is. Many people mistake communications for communication, using them interchangeably. However, these two terms refer to totally different – albeit closely related – things.
Communication is the process of sharing information between individuals and groups. It refers to speaking, writing or whatever signs, symbols or behavior that are used to exchange messages. Therefore, a communication strategy is a plan that guides how a certain organization would exchange information. It also refers to what companies do to get their message out: marketing, public relations, press releases and the like.
On the other hand, communications refers to the tools and technology used to send and receive messages. These are systems that include telephone, TV, radio and the Internet. Therefore a corporate communications strategy refers to an organization’s plan of identifying which technologies it will use to aid communication and how these tools will be used.
In a nutshell, a communications strategy refers to how an organization connects with its intended external and internal audiences through the use of different channels to achieve its specific goals.
Is your communications strategy integrated?
In order to reach your business goals, both your internal and external communication must be under one umbrella. This means that your PR, marketing, sales, and your internal communication strategy must come together.
The problem with most companies is that they take these areas as separate from each other. This results in disconnect, affecting efficiencies and customer service and satisfaction negatively.
Addressing the Issue
Many companies use their website as their major form of communication with their customers – external, that is. If they have a good strategy, they will keep this website dynamic and fresh with interesting, entertaining and relevant content that is sure to engage its readers. However, they fail to see that they need to exert the same effort in reaching their internal customers – their own people.
How can you, as a business leader improve the way your company uses tools to enhance internal communication? This is where a corporate communications strategy enters. The first thing you need to know is that internal communication is the same with external communication in terms of importance. Therefore, you must design a strategy that allows you to use tools like Intranet, internal newsletters and blogs and chat and collaboration systems in order to break down communication silos in your organization.
It does not end there, though. You must also integrate your internal and external communications strategies in order to have a better informed workforce. More often than not, customers demand something they have learned from ads – only to find out that the people who are supposed to service them know nothing about it. The more informed your employees are, the better they will be at responding to customers’ demands and requests. Moreover, an engaged and more knowledgeable workforce will stand as your brand ambassadors, giving the customer a seamless experience.
In order for your corporate communications strategy to work, it must be designed properly and integrated well with your external communication strategy. Of course, you must create a culture of openness to ensure effective communication with both your external and internal customers.