Corporate communications 101

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Published on: February 19, 2021

The business world is chock full of words and phrases that can be difficult to understand and interpret, such as “corporate communications.”

What most people think of when they hear the term corporate communications is public relations, or sharing information with customers, clients and the community. That is a large component, but it’s far from the only element to be aware of.

Note: Corporate communication isn’t just for large businesses or global brands. Small businesses can benefit from paying attention to communications, too.

In addition to public relations, a corporate communications manager — whether in-house or outsourced — pays attention to these items:

  • Internal communications: How your organization shares information with its employees is an important part of corporate relations. Company newsletters, internal chat apps or message boards, regular team meetings, suggestion boxes and social media outreach can help keep employees informed about company issues. Professional internal communications also can help ensure that employees feel valued and that their voices are heard and appreciated, which can do wonders for retention.
  • Branding: Branding is the entirety of how your business presents itself to the public, staff and other stakeholders. It encompasses the logo, tagline, colors, words, corporate social responsibility activities and the feel of your business; a brand helps to differentiate your business from others in the market. “Branding” is integrated across all aspects of a company, including its visual identity, website, social media presence and all verbal and written communications.
  • Reputation: What do people think and say about your company? Online reviews, word-of-mouth conversations and the general sense of a company’s standing in the community can be considered under the umbrella of reputation. Through skilled reputation management and public relations, your company can do the work it takes to maintain a positive reputation.
  • Crisis management: A crisis can happen at any time. Sometimes crises can arise from an employee saying the wrong thing to a customer or the media. Pandemics and natural disasters also can be considered crises. Having a plan for crisis management is a critical component of a company’s corporate communications strategy. Poorly handled crises can ruin a company, but a detailed crisis communications plan can help a company communicate efficiently with the public and staff during a crisis and preserve your company’s brand and reputation. A crisis communication plan that is created ahead of time — and practiced when possible — is highly recommended.
  • Media relations: The news media play an important role in sharing a company’s story with the community. Typically, the person responsible for corporate communications and public relations — or, increasingly, an outside firm contracted for this purpose — develops relationships with local news media to help ensure and encourage positive media coverage for your company.

There are many components to building and growing a successful company. There’s the primary function — say, manufacturing widgets — and there are other tasks that exist to keep widgets rolling off the production line. Those include human resources, payroll, maintenance, marketing and communications.

At Bellingham PR & Communications, we provide outsourced communications and PR services for Whatcom County business leaders so they can focus energies on their primary function (making widgets). If you’d like to learn more, schedule a complimentary discovery call with Patti Rowlson.

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