WHAT IS CORPORATE COMMUNICATION?
DEFINITION, GOALS & EXAMPLES
What is corporate communication and what measures do companies need to take? Everything about definition and goals + examples.
In this article:
- Corporate communication definition
- Which goals need to be achieved?
- Business communication as a part of corporate behavior
- Corporate communication examples
- Rules of business communication
- Business communication checklist
- Consider and overcome linguistic hurdles
- Corporate social responsibility: An important message for businesses
- Our final advice
The most important in a nutshell
- Corporate communication considers both, internal and external communication
- A goal oriented corporate communication improves working climate and the interaction between staff
- Good communication structures will have a positive impact on your business image and promises competition advantages
Corporate communication as a key element to a working business
Efficiency and sales will always be a company’s number one priority. There is nothing wrong with that because only economically strong businesses will survive on a highly competitive market. But it’s about under which circumstances this goal will be achieved. In the past decades most businesses have recognized that employee satisfaction does not only depend on salary but rather on other factors. One of them is corporate communication.
In this article we will talk about corporate communication and how businesses can use it to their advantage. Moreover we will dive deeper into the importance of individual approaches and social responsibility.
The term corporate communication sums up all measures to improve the communication within a company. This concerns not only the communication between a company and its staff (internal) but also the interaction between a business and customers, partners or suppliers (external).
Corporate communication follows the goal to create consistent dialogue structures between a company and its stakeholders. But there are other reasons which speak in favor of improving communication structures of a business.
A good corporate communication improves working climate and strengthens the trust between a business and its staff. That in turn has a positive effect on productivity. Encouraging the internal dialogue also comes with the advantage that there will be less conflicts and that businesses can react better to the wishes of their staff. That results in a healthy business culture with open dialogue structures and strengthened trust between employer and employee.
In external business communication it’s primarily about such factors which will make a business stand out against its competitors. We are talking about corporate identity. Many don’t associate corporate identity with open dialogues or information exchange but rather with nice looking logos and convincing messages. That is a way to communicate too – corporate communication doesn’t necessarily mean to seek out dialogues because visual elements and messages will also improve business communication.
Therefore, the goal is not only to communicate transparently and openly but also to use the advantages of visual elements.
At its core, corporate communication pursues the following goals:
- Improving corporate identity
- More transparency for employees
- Ensuring employee satisfaction
- Establish a good working climate
- Reaching business goals
- Secure competitive advantages
- Improving business culture as a whole
- Expanding customer loyalty and customer acquisition as well as improving customer experience
- Strengthen the business image
- Cultivating business relationships
Corporate behavior is a part of corporate identity and describes the behavior of a business towards its stakeholders. The focus of corporate behavior is on the achievement of goals and whether companies act in the way they communicate to the outside world.
Corporate behavior is seen as a separate area of corporate identity but it also has an impact on reaching goals and therefore on a business’ behavior as well.
One example: Through good communication structures businesses will increase productivity of their employees because open dialogues and information exchange build trust as well as satisfaction. This will ensure reaching goals in the long term.
In general, communication always has a positive impact on corporate business. Possible disadvantages only occur when an information flood limits scope of action and paves the way to micromanagement.
To develop your sense for practical application of corporate communication, we will take a closer look at some examples. Hereby it’s especially important to differentiate between internal and external business communication.
Corporate communication examples internal:
- Employee interviews
- Feedback talks
- Regular trainings to promote knowledge
- Transparency in information exchange (e. g. through digital signage)
- Communicating wishes through open dialogues
- Defining goals clearly and communicating reached goals openly (e. g. through monitoring)
Communication is key. So approach your employees openly and ask for their feedback. Monthly employee interviews help to recognize wishes and to expose possible conflicts. Corporate communication also means to create a good working climate by avoiding conflicts within your team.
Every business ideally seeks out dialogues with its employees to respond specifically to wishes and needs. It’s harder to execute this approach for information exchange regarding events or internal changes. A centralized and automated communication structure will help you hereby. Information terminals for example provide a centralized approach to inform employees about news with little effort. Monthly employee meetings will improve and automate corporate communication as well.
At an external level you need to differentiate between marketing and PR. Companies can increase their positive image through newspaper articles and press releases. Marketing methods on the other hand will help to strengthen the corporate identity and to force customer acquisition.
Corporate communication examples external:
- Press releases
- Social media channels
- Digital advertising
- Use cases for more transparency
- Posters and flyers
- Content marketing
- Reports for business partners and stockholders
- TV spots
Don’t underestimate the effect of sponsoring and press releases. These supposedly old-fashioned PR methods have a strong impact on a business’ image. While they don’t build brand awareness as specifically as maintaining social media channels for example, they do position your company more strongly, especially on a regional level.
Many businesses primarily focus on external communication because they will win new customers and business partners with it. The key factors for more sales.
But without satisfied and educated employees, productivity will decrease and your company will have disadvantages in competition. Therefore, you should improve corporate communication as a whole. To improve internal communication structures, you can establish rules which equally apply to all employees. Obligatory rules will ensure a better together within the team and help to reach goals.
With the following rules of business communication, you will improve existing structures:
- Openly talk about conflicts
- Informing employees about changes
- Monthly employee meetings (to talk about collective challenges)
- Obligatory trainings for all business departments
- Showing appreciation towards your employees
There are two things to consider when executing these rules. On the one hand you should make sure that these rules will become part of the business values. Every team member needs to know about these rules and recognize that they follow a purpose. On the other hand you shouldn’t ignore financial and timely aspects. You better ensure to have enough resources to establish regular employee meetings or employee interviews.
- Involve all employees into the process
- Talk about the current situation and challenges with your team
- Define clear goals and which tasks need to be done
- Consider budget and human resources
- Establish fix days and times for employee interviews, trainings and feedback talks
- Approach the worries of your employees and convince them with good arguments
- Consider your customers and your business partners
- Determine channels to communicate business internal messages
- Don’t give empty promises but rather set realistic measures
- Talk regularly about the approached measures and if all employees are okay with it
- Repeat all the steps and optimize them where it’s necessary
Corporate communication is aimed at different groups of persons but exactly this aspect is often ignored by many businesses.
Law changes in data security need to be communicated differently to human resource employees than to a data protection officer. It’s also pointless to use information terminals as the only source of communication when many employees work at home or in the field service.
Linguistic barriers hinder goal oriented approaches. Ask yourself the following questions to eliminate possible hurdles in internal corporate communication:
- Do all employees have access to information?
- Are there linguistic barriers because of different nationalities?
- Do we use too much professional language?
- Is our communication directed towards the perspective of our employees?
- Do we grow faster than we can improve our communication structures?
In external communication it’s especially important to consider the principles of marketing. A basic differentiation between B2B and B2C clients is a good start but a deeper selection will help more in the long term.
In 2023, external communication means more than just good PR and marketing. Businesses show more social responsibility, be it through better compliance, approaches to expand environmentally friendly working processes or more accessibility.
There are laws as a guideline to execute these measures. But there are other objective measures which support the execution too. One of them ist the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
In the core, CSR describes the voluntary contribution of a business to a sustainable development of the economy. This includes climate protection, measures against corruption or an ethical justifiable business culture. Some guidelines of specific countries (e. g. Germany) force bigger businesses to create reports about their CSR approaches but for other companies the contribution is voluntary.
CSR sends an important message to businesses: Social consciousness and responsibility become more relevant. When thinking of corporate communication, don’t only consider promising messages or convincing marketing but social aspects as well.
Take care of executing corporate communication in a holistic approach. Many businesses strongly focus on external communication because marketing promises more sales and a stronger public image. Thereby employee satisfaction and internal conflict mastering have a massive impact on the success of a business as well.
Before you execute measures for a better corporate communication, deal with the question if your team equally builds structures for both internal and external communication to approach a holistic process- and structure optimization. In order to promote corporate communication, your company should also push the development of digital competence in order to create more efficient structures and also keep communication channels shorter.
Businesses face the challenge that a standardized approach through corporate communication is barely possible. Because of the already mentioned linguistic hurdles, businesses can only partly automize their communication processes.
Therefore, it’s better for businesses to follow the goal to establish automated processes which consider individual customer wishes or desires of employees. It’s also important to overcome linguistic hurdles.
Finally, we will answer commonly asked questions about corporate communication.
Marketing communication concerns commericialization of a product or a service. Corporate communication on the other hand also considers the appearance of a brand and the image of a business.
Corporate communication does not only focus on the advantages of a product or a service but will ensure the communication of the business image. At an internal level, businesses ensure higher employee satisfaction and increased productivity.