Every single aspect of running a business involves communication. Whether you’re marketing to your customers, instructing your employees, or engaging in high-level negotiations, your ability to communicate effectively can be the difference between success and failure. Despite the importance of proper communication, issues are common—and miscommunications can result in serious, costly errors.
Poor communication costs businesses more than $37 billion per year, which might be explained by the fact that only four out of ten businesses have a formal corporate communication strategy. Conversely, productivity can increase by as much as 25% when companies try to improve communications.
A well-crafted corporate communication strategy not only helps you avoid expensive mistakes, it also makes collaboration easier, helps you retain good employees, and builds trust with staff and customers. In this post, we’ll lay out the seven must-have attributes for a great corporate communication strategy, along with tips and examples to help you put yours into practice.
What is a Corporate Communication Strategy?
A corporate communication strategy is essentially a road map for the communications you might need to have with your employees, customers, vendors, and other business associates. Instead of shooting from the hip when you have to have a challenging interaction—or even a simple, basic one—you would follow the framework in your corporate communication strategy. An effective strategy will help you determine how to handle this interaction in a way that will lead to the best possible outcome.
Communication can go wrong in all kinds of ways. Language and grammar mistakes can lead to misunderstandings, poor word choice can offend, and using the wrong channels or media can result in your intended audience tuning out your message or missing it altogether. Too much information can be overwhelming; insufficient information can be disastrous. By following a planned-out strategy, you can anticipate and avoid these problems.
There are two types of corporate communications: internal and external. Their audience defines them. Internal communications target employees, managers, executives, board members, investors, and other teams and individuals who work within the organization. External communications target people outside the organization, like customers, regulators, or the media. Sometimes the distinction is less clear, such as when you’re communicating with vendors or contractors.
What are the Benefits of a Great Corporate Communication Strategy?
Consistency in your communications helps you strengthen your brand identity. Your communications’ accuracy, transparency, and relevance will improve your reputation and authority. And as we mentioned earlier, clear communication prevents costly mistakes and makes your employees more engaged and productive.
Internal communication often involves delivering mission-critical information to your workforce. Onboarding and training are two of the times when a great communication strategy matters the most. When you’re teaching your employees the skills they need to do their jobs properly, it’s not just important to be clear and consistent in your delivery. You also want to make sure that you’re communicating in a way that will hold their attention and increase knowledge retention.
External communication often refers to marketing and advertising, in which creativity also becomes a key ingredient. However, some of the most significant external communications are the ones you can’t predict. When you’re in the middle of an unexpected crisis, the messages you communicate to your customers, industry partners, and the media can tremendously impact your business’s health. This is no time to wing it. Having a corporate communication strategy already in place will allow you to to mitigate the damage by responding promptly and thoughtfully.
7 Must-Haves for a Great Corporate Communication Strategy
1. Well-Defined Goals
Businesses communicate with specific purposes in mind. The first step in building a great corporate communication strategy is to identify the outcomes you are trying to achieve and the communication challenges you’ll have to face along the way. Your marketing and customer service teams both need a framework for their communications, but their objectives are very different. Your strategy needs to account for all of your communication needs.
Let’s say you’re a company that launches new products regularly. Your communication strategy should include a product launch framework to generate interest in traditional and social media. This would involve press releases, promotional videos, and other external communications.
2. Audience Research
If you really want to connect with your audience and ensure that they understand what you’re trying to get across, you need to understand them. Internally, you can conduct employee surveys and solicit feedback from other stakeholders as required. Your sales and marketing team are already probably working hard at getting to know your potential customers, but don’t forget about other external audiences. Always research the best practices for dealing with government agencies, the media, and other outside organizations.
Here’s an example. Some software solutions are brilliantly designed but get bad reviews, negative word of mouth, and sell poorly. Customer research post-sale may reveal that it’s not the software causing the problem; it’s a hard-to-read instructional manual that makes it seem overly complex. In other words, it’s a failure to communicate.
3. A Multimedia/Multichannel Approach
Great corporate communications can’t just happen on your own terms. You have to be prepared to communicate with audiences through the channels that they prefer, and you also have to consider what type of media will deliver your message the most effectively. Text may be cheap and easy to produce, but video can be far better at holding an audience’s attention.
Let’s revisit the previous example. Rewriting the manual is one way to fix the problem, but a better way would be to include links to demonstration and training videos.
4. The Right Technological Toolset
You will need the right tools to publish high-quality multimedia content and reach audiences through social media and other online channels. Solutions that allow you to produce and distribute content at scale quickly will enable you to spend more time thinking about what’s going into your messaging instead of worrying about how you deliver it.
Blogging platforms, messaging apps, email automation software, and video generators are just a few examples of tech solutions that can help you communicate more effectively.
5. A Consistent Brand Voice
It can be hard for audiences to follow you and take you seriously if your language, tone, and branding are all over the place. Your communication strategy is where you get to define the style of your verbal and written communications and choose the visual elements that identify your brand in images and video.
In settling on the right “voice,” it can help to look for effective corporate communication strategy examples from similar businesses. In some industries, you can get away with a highly distinctive brand voice. In others, a more traditional approach will serve you much better. Always look for ways to be creative as you’re crafting and refining your messaging, but remember to focus on your core strengths and objectives.
6. Strong Calls to Action
Many communications fail to achieve their goals because they don’t leave the audience with a clear way to respond and continue the conversation. Your strategy should identify the various communication scenarios that require a response from the recipient and ensure that they always include a clear and compelling Call to Action.
Context makes a difference here. The commanding, emotion-provoking language you might use for a marketing CTA will strike a very odd tone in an internal communication sent to request nuanced feedback from senior employees.
7. Measurement and Review
The only way to know if your corporate communication strategy is great is to measure its performance. To do this, you’ll have to identify the metrics that will tell you whether your communications are successful or not. In sales and marketing communications, there are obvious KPIs like sales volume and page visits. The metrics may not be immediately apparent for other types, but there should always be a way to determine whether your communications are doing what you want them to do.
Circling back to the first example, the product launch strategy, your KPI might be the number of people your announcement reaches. You could measure this with social media engagement statistics and media outlet audience numbers. If your goal is to reach one million potential customers, but you fall far short of that figure, you might need to revamp your strategy.
Before You Speak, Strategize
Businesses are constantly engaging in communications both inside and outside their organization. How you communicate with stakeholders can either get you in trouble or propel you to success, and a robust corporate communication strategy is the only reliable way to ensure it’s the latter.
One element that can improve almost any communication strategy is an affordable and scalable way to generate video messaging. Video is more immediate and engaging than any other media type, and for younger audiences, it is by far the preferred vehicle for content. Hour One’s video generator can produce professional-quality video at scale, turning simple slides into videos presented by lifelike AI personalities. To see how Hour One’s solution can turn plain text into a compelling video in just moments, click here to create your first video for free.
Hour One Summary:
Businesses need strong communication skills to succeed, and the best way to communicate effectively with both internal and external audiences is to implement a corporate communication strategy. The seven must-have attributes of a great corporate communication strategy are well-defined goals, audience research, a multimedia/multichannel approach, the right technological toolset, a consistent brand voice, strong Calls to Action, and a measurement and review process. Hour One’s solution allows businesses to generate compelling and affordable video communications at scale.