Corporate communication strategy
Understanding how to optimize your corporate communication
What’s the office environment like where you work? Are people able to communicate effectively, be productive and grow both individually and as part of the larger team? Or does your work environment often feel stagnant, hostile or inefficient?
Do you feel free to express your ideas or do you feel stuck and unhappy at work, and as a result, stuck in life? A large part of any company’s environment is their corporate communication strategy. This affects not only how top-level managers talk to each other and their team, but also how everyone in the company talks to their clients and customers. Without effective company communication, team members often miss important information, feel left out or are constantly wondering why they are given certain tasks or other duties.
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What is corporate communication?
In broad terms, corporate communication is the practice of creating, fostering and maintaining a consistent brand image and identity. Effective corporate communication helps you mold a company image that promotes internal loyalty while also creating loyal external customers.
Corporate communication is a combination of public and media relations, internal communication between staff, managers and leadership and managing relationships with investors, customers and the public. When all of these are in sync, the message that is sent to internal and external sources is consistent and builds trust. When corporate communication falters, confusion can breed suspicion or feelings of betrayal and the overall company suffers.
On the media and public relations side, staffers are usually responsible for distributing press releases, organizing news conferences and arranging interviews to boost the company profile. Effective media and PR teams also have a good sense of how to address and respond to negative press coverage in a way that lays out the truth and dissolves further criticism.
Team members in this area should keep a keen eye out for any mentions of a business in the media and then relay the coverage to employees and customers (if necessary) to keep up engagement.
Corporate communication teams should understand how internal communications between staff and customer marketing blur. Since internal communication is often going to influence a marketing strategy, those deeply involved with the inside communication process should have enough of an understanding about how to turn internal discussion into public flyers, marketing emails and social media copy that’s effective and powerful.
Obviously, not all internal memos and emails contain information that’s fit for the public eye, so communication teams working with customers may collaborate with a company’s human resources team to make sure internal communication, like discussion about employee benefits and staff handbooks, don’t make it out into the public.
One of the best ways to answer the question “what is corporate communication?” is by thinking of it as everyone speaking the same language throughout the business. This language is based on a solid brand and company reputation. With an effective corporate communication strategy, the company can share their goals, successes and identity with the public and shape their image.
Why corporate communication is important
The importance of sound corporate communication can’t be ignored. Powerful communication helps keep employees working efficiently and gives potential customers ample chances to learn about a business’ products and services. Corporate communication facilitates executive meetings, the process of informing the media or stakeholders about the latest news and how/why a particular brand is different from their competitors.
As they grow, all companies realize the importance of a communications team that are able to handle external requests from the media and customers, marketing and branding messages and are adept at ensuring internal discussions and information flow without any issues.
These elements tie into the Japanese concept of Kaizen (continuous improvement). The art of Kaizen creates a culture where every employee is focused on how they can improve the company by working together to achieve sustained and incremental improvements across the office.
Like a sound corporate communication strategy, Kaizen incorporates everyone’s talents, is focused on optimizing current best practices and engages all employees to integrate their knowledge and expertise.
Tony believes in the power of effective communication to resolve conflict, transfer information and build relationships inside the workplace. Even on a corporate level, many of the basic elements of communication apply, like deep listening, empathy and an understanding of your audience’s body language and disposition as you communicate.
The key to impactful communication is the same, whether you’re giving a press conference or sitting down with an employee one-on-one: Understanding what the goals and outcomes of the conversation are and the message that needs to be expressed.
Businesses that fail at communicating often run into trouble enticing customers to buy a product or service, and will face issues among employees as they are left in the dark about key information or performance expectations.
Issues in company communication
No matter your position at work, you can improve your office’s corporate communication. Here are the seven most common things that affect communication in the workplace and how to move past these roadblocks.
1. Differences in leadership style
We tend to think of leaders as fitting a certain mold. You might imagine a leader who’s extroverted, loud and friendly. The thing is, there’s no right or wrong way to lead, and there are several leadership styles. Corporate communication in the office can go awry when companies fail to recognize different kinds of leaders. Leadership isn’t a skill people are born with or without, but something that can be learned and perfected over time.
How to address it
Offering leadership programs for people with different skill sets and recognizing varying leadership styles can help your organization improve company communication and overall effectiveness. This usually means training not only for top-level management and leaders, but also for the employees they lead. Make sure managers know how to recognize each other’s leadership styles and also ensure that employees understand the styles of those they report to. Managers should also be aware of their team members’ individual working styles. When everyone on the team understands the language that is being spoken, corporate communication becomes much more streamlined.
2. Perspective: Matchers vs. mismatchers
You might disagree with someone more strongly if you don’t understand how they see the world. There are several metaprograms – mental processes that impact how we view things – that can affect corporate communication. A major one is identifying as a matcher or mismatcher. Whether you are a matcher or mismatcher has a huge effect on how you see the world and how you relate to others. If you have both in an office – and most companies do – you could see a breakdown in your corporate communication strategy no matter how strong it is.
How to address it
The next time you’re struggling to establish effective company communication, ask your team to look at an image of three circles – two are identical and one is slightly smaller. Ask them what they see. Do they point out similarities or differences between the shapes? Those who mention the sameness of the spheres are matchers, while those who notice differences are mismatchers. Depending on how they view problems – looking for similarities or differences – getting a grasp on someone else’s perspective can help diffuse conflict.
3. Forgetting about human emotion
Do you view your coworkers or employees as productivity machines instead of humans? When you forget about human emotion, corporate communication is nearly impossible. Every single person at your office has dreams, fears that affect their behaviors and different reasons for why they chose to work where they do. Not only do they have unique personalities, but they also have individual ways of seeing the world and a set of defense mechanisms that can be triggered by other people or events. Treating people like they’re simply supposed to churn out work without accounting for their feelings is a recipe for corporate communication breakdown over time.
How to address it
Making sure everyone at the office feels significant is imperative when it comes to corporate communication. Make efforts to offer venues for them to be heard such as small team meetings, forums or an open door policy for managers during certain hours of the day. Train the leaders in your company on deep listening techniques and never disregard feedback.
4. Ignoring diverse or quiet voices
It can be easy to pay attention to the loudest voices in the room. There’s always someone who talks over others or can’t wait to share their idea. But many times, there are ideas that would benefit the corporate communication and productivity of your office that are overlooked. That’s often because they come from the more introverted people on your team who don’t feel comfortable being the center of attention or from those who feel their opinions will not be welcomed for a variety of reasons.
How to address it
Who you hire is the first part of the solution to this corporate communication issue. Choosing to hire a diverse blend of people, ranging in genders, ethnicities and backgrounds, will enable your organization to look at problems from a variety of perspectives. The next step is respecting the opinions of those who are unlike you as it leads to more creative solutions and a better overall corporate communication strategy. Remember that everyone is the way they are because of their hierarchy of needs. If you recognize these and help fulfill their needs, you’ll improve company communication and strengthen team loyalty.
5. Confusing busyness with productivity
Do you have employees or a coworker who always seems busy but never seems to accomplish much? That’s because there’s a major difference between busyness and productivity. When someone engages in too much mindless busy work, they become unable to communicate with the organization at large and corporate communication suffers. They simply don’t have the time or emotional capacity to engage because they are so buried in menial tasks.
How to address it
True productivity comes from getting optimal results while managing how much time and effort is expended. Don’t be fooled by the myth of multitasking. If people in your office are unable to participate in the corporate communication strategy because they’re working on 10 projects at once, you need to lend them a hand. Give them a crash course on delegating projects and how to say no to non-essential tasks and discuss how your team can become more effective when it comes to dealing with things that suck their time.
6. Inconsistency between internal and external company communication
One of the worst things leadership can do when it comes to corporate communication is telling the public one thing while telling their team something different. For example, if a company extols innovation to their clients yet does not encourage an innovation culture within their team, a disconnect will develop. Employees will become frustrated and will respond by leaving the company or expressing their thoughts to customers or coworkers.
How to address it
Make sure you’re walking the walk when it comes to internal and external communication. Have regular meetings where you check your brand message against internal standards and expectations. Make sure that your corporate communication strategy includes a method for employees to bring up disconnection issues without being penalized for it and reward those who make an effort to keep the message aligned.
7. Mixing personal and work communication
Everyone wants a casual and fun workplace where they can make friends and feel at home. However, corporate communication can suffer if personal issues enter the workplace. Mixing work and personal issues can lead to decreased productivity, lack of professionalism and a message to your clients that you don’t take your work seriously. At its worst, this type of communication issue can lead to a toxic workplace full of gossip and potential harassment.
How to address it
Having a clear employee handbook and HR training explaining what is and is not appropriate behavior in the office is essential to your corporate communication strategy. When your team knows what is expected of them – and when these rules are enforced – corporate communication strengthens and trust among your team and within leadership can grow.
Mastering the art of effective communication can take time, but in order to succeed at work and in all areas of your life, you need to realize that communication is key. Discover how to make massive progress at work and develop a successful corporate communication strategy in a productive, powerful way by attending Business Mastery, a multi-day event that will give you the business tools and strategies needed to thrive.
Stimulate effective communication in the workplace
Create a communicative environment in the workplace by learning to adapt to the varying personalities. Have your employees take the Tony Robbins DISC assessment to discover their drive and behavioral styles.