The corporation has always been a legal entity, but today, new technologies have changed the way corporations communicate in many areas of their activities. Instead of distant offices in glass-enclosed structures, corporations must project an image of accessibility and inclusiveness that, in the end, helps them to reach their market and provide timely information that makes them an active member of the wider national and global community. A number of factors allow the creation of this expanded view of corporate communications in today’s world and why these communications are more important than ever:
Making Transparency A Priority
Nothing has damaged corporate images in recent years more than the perception that they are not being honest with the public or have even taken steps to be deceitful. Exposés of the tobacco industry and auto industry have done irreparable harm to the images of companies who fail to own up to manufacturing and design mistakes and who fail to effectively communicate their efforts toward remedying problems. Corporations must learn lessons from these unfortunate incidences by responding quickly when quality or safety issues arise and provide comprehensive information to reassure the public of the company’s wholehearted commitment to restoring a product in which the public can put their faith. These efforts cannot be a one-time admission, but must be an ongoing program to keep consumers informed.
Communicating as Part of a Wider Community
One of the most critical factors in modern corporate communications is tailoring messages to appeal to the wider community. Previously, corporations were mainly concerned with appealing to the industry and financial community, ensuring that investors felt a part of the company’s efforts. Corporations relied on advertising to manage the image to a wider audience of consumers. Today, however, having a position that makes the corporation an integral part of the general culture ensures growing sales numbers and increased profit margins. To do this, corporations must speak the language of the culture, to tap into its changing purchasing trends and broader interests. A younger communications department can often provide this understanding of the deeper psychological factors that motivate consumer trends. Finding the right messaging to appeal to the broadest possible demographic, while still maintaining the longer-term image of the company, can often be a balancing act of some difficulty.
Internal Communications Matter
It’s not only the public face of the corporation that matters in communicating effectively in today’s environment. Information must flow naturally and regularly throughout the internal structures of the company. This necessitates connecting every area of the corporation with every other area and tailoring messages to keep both employees and management aware of current goals and issues. This free flow of language, data and objectives within the company can create an atmosphere where employees feel they play an integral part in the success of the corporation’s goals.
Social Media Changes Communication’s Role
Social media has affected all areas of the global culture, which makes it an important tool in providing information to the public. Corporations can no longer depend on traditional forms of public relations. They must stay alert to the changing mood of consumers, demographic trends, as well as their long-term image in the public forum. Managing negative feedback and customer problems have become an important part of corporate communications in the public sphere. A trained and experienced staff can help to ensure that the corporation’s presence on social media promotes a ready flow of information to and from the company.
The Corporate “Story” Becomes Visual
In the past, creating a positive, relevant image for a corporation focused on the “story” of the company in a textual form. Although this method worked for years, today’s consumer relies more on visual input that conveys information quickly and concisely. Learning to deal in this more visual world can often be challenging for corporations, who must put more time and energy into compiling data and presenting it in a more design-oriented form. However, the efforts to do so consistently show that consumers respond favorably to this type of information. They, like the corporations themselves, live fast-paced, busy lives in which data must be processed quickly and accurately. Creating corporate communications that speak to this need pay off in greater visibility and relevance.
Attracting the Best Talent
Effective corporate communications, both internally and externally, can help to attract the best talent, because potential candidates know they will be able to rely on current information and data to help them excel at their tasks. Being part of a respected and responsive entity appeals to individuals who are inclined to associate with corporations that have a positive and successful image.
Finding the right “tone” to communicate to the marketplace has become both a challenge and an opportunity for growth for today’s corporations. With effective communications, companies can now create a more intimate bond with their employees and their customer base, increasing visibility, recognition and customer loyalty.