Corporate Communications in 2020

5WPR News
corporate communications pr 07.07.20

Corporate Communications is the way a business communicates with internal and external users – this includes customers, your targeted audience, internal staff and key stakeholders.

Corporate Communications Trends in 2020

Getting the right information to the right people at the right time is one of the key elements to a functioning business and necessary for brand building. It means that the reputation of the company is properly maintained, the employees are happy to work there and everyone is working towards the same goals.

Although this is a time of global change, getting through the year and still being successful as a business means that corporate communication is as important as ever. At a time when many businesses are working with people spread across the world, having a consistent and reliable internal way to communicate is more important than ever. Between digital tools and remote workers, there are plenty of trends that we’ve seen this year in terms of corporate communications.

Remote-Oriented Communications

The way that businesses work is constantly evolving, and these days, not all of the work can be done while the employees are sitting in an office in front of their computer screens. Many workers are on the road, while others prefer working from remote locations, or the comfort of their own homes. Additionally, with the rise of the gig economy, plenty of companies are relying on outside workers to collaborate, while in the past, they used to hire people to work in-house.

That’s why it makes sense for businesses to incorporate various forms of remote communication so that the employees who are working in these modern ways can regularly stay informed.

Decisions Based on Data

With the rise of various data-gathering and analytics tools, businesses and brands have a much easier time adjusting, managing, and monitoring their communications campaigns. Before these tools became available, businesses had to rely on many less reliable tools to determine whether their efforts were effective.

Audio Content

For a long time, everyone thought that video content was king and it was the best type of content to put out there, but in the past few years, audio content has been on the rise, as the preferred method to communicate for many. With the rise of audiobooks as well as popular podcasts, plenty of people like receiving their information this way. Additionally, many find that video content is often distracting, or even hard to keep up with.

Whether they’re listening while out on a walk, or doing things around their home, or even while they’re commuting towards work, it’s easy to focus on the voice that’s delivering the information, and has become a better way to communicate with employees.

Digital Tools

Pretty much every industry has been changed by digitization in the past few years. Some industries have been completely disrupted, and now they are barely recognizable compared to the way they used to function. However with others, incorporating digital tools meant that the workload became better, faster, and perhaps most importantly, easier.

In the communications industry especially, using digital tools means that people can reach others a lot faster and communication is more efficient. Additionally, with the rise of artificial intelligence as well as automation, many environments have become more productive, thus a lot more profitable.

While corporations have always been legal entities in their own right, new communication technologies have forced a change in the way companies communicate. Before innovations in social media and the wider internet, companies could afford to maintain a closed-off image of distant and imposing glass offices. Now, corporations are expected – and face a backlash if they fail – to project an image of accessibility and inclusiveness.

In many ways, that change is to the benefit of said companies, as it allows them to provide timely information, making them active members of the community. There are several factors for this widened view of corporate communications in today’s world, and many of them help to explain why it has risen sharply in importance.

corporate communications

Importance of Corporate Communications

Making Transparency a Priority

In recent years, corporate images have faced more damage from a perceived lack of transparency than anything else. The damage is even worse if the company is viewed as having taken active steps to deceive or mislead the public. Two industries that have faced this on a large scale, for example, are the tobacco and auto industries, in which companies have caused unmitigated harm to themselves after failing to admit to manufacturing and design flaws.

A multiplier to the corporate image damage, more than the flaws themselves, is a failure to provide clear and effective communication on efforts to remedy the problems. The lesson corporations can draw from those incidences is that a quick response is the best way to deal with safety and quality issues.

In addition, it does more good than harm to a company to provide as much information as it can to the public, while assuring them of an actionable plan to set things right. When that information comes from sources other than the company itself, the damage becomes considerably more difficult to control.

Another thing for corporations to keep in mind is that these admissions ought to be an ongoing program that lets consumers feel that they are being regularly updated, as opposed to a one-off admission.

Communicating as Part of a Wider Community

In years gone by, corporations merely needed to appeal to the industry and the financial community. Advertising was the sole tool used to manage the company’s image to the consumer audience. With the changes that have taken place, however, corporate communication has to strike the right tone with the wider community, a large portion of which are consumers.

Failing to do so doesn’t just hurt the company’s image; the damage extends to its bottom line. Conversely, adopting a position that makes the corporation a recognizable part of the general culture has been proven in many cases to increase sales and raise profits.

An essential tool in achieving that end is speaking in a way that resonates with the culture, and can be flexible enough to change to match changing consumer trends and broader interests. Having a younger communications department can make it easier to incorporate insights into the deeper psychological factors that are influencing consumer trends.

Given the two aspects that need to be balanced – a message that communicates to the widest possible demographic and maintaining a consistent long-term image – this can often be a difficult task.

Internal Communications Matter

While maintaining the public face of the company is important, it’s equally important to ensure that information is flowing naturally within the internal structures of the company. To ensure this, it’s important that all areas of the corporation are connected to each other. It also means there is a strong need to tailor messages that keep both employees and management aware of the company’s goals and issues.

While maintaining the outward face of the company is important for consumers and stakeholders, the inward flow of information serves another, equally vital role. It provides employees with the feeling that they are integral to the success of the company and the attainment of its goals.

corporate communications strategy

Social Media Changes Corporate Communications Role

Given how widely used social media is, it has now become an important tool for maintaining a constant flow of information to the public. Traditional forms of public relations are not nearly as effective as social media, and relying on them means a company will face significant shortcomings in transmitting information to its audience.

Corporations now have the benefit of new ways of connecting with their target customers, which comes with responsibilities of its own. They need to stay alert to shifting consumer moods and, if possible, respond to them as quickly and comprehensively as they can. Demographic trends are another set of data they need to constantly monitor, all while maintaining and building upon their long-term image.

When customers experience problems, social media has given them the platform to voice their concerns publicly. Left unaddressed, this can have a severely damaging effect to a brand’s image, as it can be perceived as being unbothered. Companies, as an immediate consequence, have to manage negative feedback.

Having a trained and experienced staff can ensure that there is open and free-flowing information to and from the organization.

The Corporate “Story” Becomes Visual

Previously, all that companies needed to do to create a positive and relevant image was to create a story that was purely, or at least heavily, textual. While this method was highly effective, the ease with which images, videos and graphics can be transmitted in today’s world has made text a form of public relations that can’t be relied upon solely.

This can present a challenge to corporations, who now have to learn to collect, arrange and present data in a design-based format. The effort is well-placed, however, as consumers have consistently proven that they respond well to this type of information.

A likely reason for that is they live fast-paced lives, and they appreciate having information presented in an easily digestible form. Providing them with that allows for greater visibility and relevance in the online space.

Attracting the Best Talent

From a recruitment standpoint, effective internal and external corporate communications can help an organization to bring aboard the best talent. That’s because potential candidates will be aware that they can rely on current information to help them execute their tasks. Individuals who have a desire to associate with and help build a positive and successful image are attracted to respected and responsive entities.

While it can at first seem like – and, in fact, be – a challenge for corporations to strike the right tone, it also presents massive opportunities for growth. Effective communications allow companies to create an intimate bond with both clients and their customer base, which increases their credibility, visibility and customer loyalty.

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