Corporate communications deliver the company's strategic message to all its audiences: customers and potential companies, shareholders, employees and regulators. These communications create and preserve the company's brand and help everyone move in concert with the company's mission. Just as with any aspect of the business, corporate communications performance require evaluation; thus objectives are written so that success or failure can be measured.
Corporate communications departments typically set objectives around improving awareness among various audiences of a product or organizational position. The communications reach these audiences in a variety of ways: social media, traditional media, one-to-one relationships, annual reports and Intranet or employee newsletters. Objectives revolve around a particular medium or message. For example, one objective might be to meet one-on-one regularly with all journalists or analysts who write about your company. Another might be that 60 percent of car shoppers will say in a survey that they've heard that an independent organization ranked your car as No. 1 for safety. Examples of internal communication objectives are that 80 percent of employees indicate in surveys that they understand the reason for layoffs or that the employer answers individual employee questions regarding benefits changes within two hours.
Knowledge of a product or issue alone doesn't move people toward the company's mission. Corporate communications departments also must set goals around behaviors, engagement or outcomes. For example, improving employee retention by 10 percent, having 90 percent of customers provide excellent or very good reviews on social media, seeing a rise in positive approval ratings by 10 percent, increasing sales of a new product by 50 percent or having positive media coverage outweigh negative by four to one. Before setting goals related to action, companies research their industry and company history and undertake surveys or focus groups to determine a reasonable objective, according to Alice Brink, an accredited business communicator, in "Communication Planning: Measurement Comes First and Last," March 1, 2013.
Performance to Budget
Business success is about profit; i.e. whether your revenues exceed your costs. While the value of some aspects of corporate communications, such as positive media coverage, will be difficult to pin directly into a revenue vs. cost model, some objectives will reflect the return on investment in corporate communications. For example, one objective might be to meet sales goals without an increase in marketing staff or more than a 10 percent increase in marketing expense. Other objectives could focus on the number of media inquires or number of employee-benefits questions to which corporate communications responded.