Corporate communication is the practice of developing, cultivating and maintaining a corporate identity or brand image. Every business--big or small--invests in corporate communication initiatives to mold its image, communicate with internal and external audiences and sustain a long-term positive reputation. Corporate communication has been responsible for the worldwide success of Fortune 1000 American corporations such as McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, IBM, Google, Microsoft, General Electric, Apple and Coca-Cola.
Corporate communication encompasses methods and processes in promoting a company’s credentials, its positioning pitch and its acceptability in the marketplace. It involves a series of planned, interconnected activities and programs to communicate and engage with internal employees and externally with partners, customers and other stakeholders. Corporate communication helps highlight a company’s annual earnings and achievements, its roster of products and services and its philanthropy and community outreach efforts. The intent at all times is to project a unified message and a consistent corporate identity.
Corporate communication is generally acknowledged as the best possible method of building long-term corporate identity. A well-articulated and consistent corporate communication strategy, along with larger advertising and PR campaigns, reinforces a positive image about a company. This practice has helped businesses, corporations and even startups to develop and sustain corporate brand identities. Strategic, timely and well-orchestrated corporate communication initiatives have helped companies to limit negative fallouts of market missteps, crisis scenarios or unseemly or controversial utterances by key business executives.
Role of Corporate Communication Department
The in-house corporate communication department is the key enabler of any corporate communication effort. A senior executive and the brand communication manager devise, develop and revise various initiatives. They understand the need to be flexible and account for evolving business environments and contextual organizational shifts. The team drafts news releases, prepares executive briefs for top management, ghosts op-eds and columns for business unit managers and arranges interviews of key personnel in relevant industry and trade publications or for panel-based programs on cable and network news channels. The department also liaises with an external PR agency to manage nationwide PR campaigns and press conferences.
Influence of Top Management
The top management or key business executives play an influential and nuanced role in shaping the corporate communication agenda of an organization. They offer strategic inputs and suggestions to fine-tune specific programs, communicate key organizational highlights and corporate governance practices for the corporate communication team to highlight and also allocate budgets for programs.
A well-managed, flexible and sustained corporate communication practice can reap medium-term and long-term dividends. It enables a company to have a distinctive identity in a crowded and intensely competitive marketplace environment. Customers are more loyal to the company and generally feel positive about buying or consuming the company’s products and services. Business investors stay committed to investing in the company. Shareholders remain confident about the capabilities of key executives and the long-term prospects and profitability of the company.