Our guest author Geetanjali Kothari lists five important aspects of how corporate communication has evolved over the last couple of years.
Brands across industries today are evolving at breakneck speed. Technology has aided businesses to become fast-paced and offer multiple services to their customers at their fingertips.
Most of our day-to-day activities are carried out with smartphones, from ordering groceries and meals to booking taxis. Platforms which offer these services, have been designed to keep the customer at the core, providing a seamless user interface and instant solutions.
With such tech-driven platforms and apps overcrowding the markets, it remains essential for the marketers to ensure that their brands are able to maintain recall and build customer preference.
The integrated marketing mix includes a variety of practices, however, corporate communication holds all the threads together. Corporate communication is simply all activities involved in both internal communication, i.e., employee-focused communication, and external communication, which encompasses communication with external stakeholders such as customers, regulators, peers, and others. The objective is to build a credible brand reputation in the marketplace.
With the market teeming with tech disruptors, efficient customer redressal, investor education and marketing efforts for customer acquisition – all these efforts are supported by corporate communication by understanding the pulse of the industry through its association with multiple stakeholders.
The COVID pandemic has also changed the way brands look at communication. It has pushed companies to innovate and adopt new vehicles for communicating with their stakeholders.
Let’s take a look at how corporate communication has evolved, and how it helps build stronger and more trustworthy brands:
Content creation: The most fundamental corporate communication exercise is arriving at communication messages, based on differentiators and key corporate attributes. This corporate narrative forms the backbone of every communications activity – irrespective of the medium and concise messaging.
Delivering key messages across online and offline media is the need of the hour in today’s marketplace, which is brimming with innovative start-ups with cut-throat competition among peers. Hence, the creation of compelling content is a key factor in supporting the brand’s narrative.
Corporate reputation: Corporate communication helps build and maintain a positive reputation for the brand. It fosters relationship building through meaningful stakeholder engagement by enabling the exchange of ideas, thereby aiding corporate reputation building among key stakeholders, including employees, customers, regulators and peers.
Medium-agnostic: Corporate communication helps develop medium-agnostic messaging. Though the audiences for traditional and digital models may be different, the crux of the messaging remains the same. Maintaining synonymity and a common ground cutting through all media vehicles and mediums is a make-or-break scenario for most communication professionals.
Efficient crisis management: Customers respect and admire brands which communicate with them with utmost transparency and honesty. The social media age has transformed how brands interact with their stakeholders. Responses to grievance redressals and complaints must be addressed as early as possible.
If an app isn’t working correctly due to backend issues, customers expect brands to own up to this and share a statement with a clear timeline for resolution. Thus, a company’s social media handle is the first checkpoint for addressing any issue or update.
Building the employer brand: The corporate narrative is incomplete without addressing the focus on building a strong and aspirational employer brand. Every current and potential employee, irrespective of pay scale or discipline, aspires to work in an environment which fosters professional growth and nurtures an employee-friendly culture.
Sharing stories and case studies of employees’ success, helps in building a strong employer brand and attracting top-tier talent to join the organisation. Potential employees begin their research from the corporate website and then move on to social media assets and websites such as Glassdoor. A strong corporate communication mechanism ensures seamless messaging across all these assets.
It is essential for today’s marketers to recognise the significance and value addition corporate communication brings to the table. Communication professionals are the ones who liaise with all crucial departments, in addition to the C-suite, to shape messaging and outreach, founded on corporate values.
With the changing communication paradigm, thanks to the rapid pace of disruption we are witnessing in the business ecosystem, it is only imperative to empower them with efficient tools to help them create and maintain brand trust and credibility.
(Geetanjali Kothari is head – marketing and corporate communication, Bharti AXA Life Insurance)