What’s in a name? Corporate communications are integral to informing so many publics. Not only does this responsibility include the general public and customers, if there are any. It could also include and embody investors, shareholders, employees, and vendors. Because of its role, the corporate communications department often reports directly to the CEO of a company.
The roles of a corporate communications department are as varied as its audiences. They can range from media communications to pubic and customer relations, risk management, crisis communications, and employee communications. Investor relations is sometimes included but that task is usually assigned to a separate department.
Why is it Vital?
Corporate communications have a huge responsibility in affecting public attitudes about a company’s reputation. It can also build a company’s identity among different publics and strengthen its influence among clients, customers and employees.
The footprint of a corporate communications department can be seen in its advertising, marketing, public relations, and philanthropic and sponsorship efforts. Successfully integrated and executed, the collective results can enhance a company’s reputation in areas in which it operates.
How Does Everything Connect?
Media relations and communications are critical so the majority of time and effort in a corporate communications department are usually spent in this area. Public knowledge and perception of a company are essential to the company’s ability to operate successfully in its community. Good relationships with the media, including social media, are important as well as are placing and assigning the appropriate people to speak on the company’s behalf.
Not to be forgotten as well is internal communications. Being open and transparent to employees on a regular basis is important, especially if and when there’s a controversy or crisis.
Advertising will always be paramount if the company sells products and an effective corporate communications team will integrate results of market studies and research to best leverage its paid media.
Public relations runs parallel to the company’s reputation and standing in the community. One or more PR specialists normally manage and monitor this within the corporate communications department to ensure that the proper messaging, newsletters and other communications are disseminated in print or online. PR is usually in charge of the company website and social media as well.
Philanthropic gifts and sponsorships often fall under a corporate communications department because there is a close relationship and correlation between these efforts and corporate reputation and communications. Done wisely, donations and sponsorships will align closely with the company’s product and/or mission.
Where it’s not possible to roll all of these responsibilities into one department, it is extremely critical that a spirit of collaboration, understanding, and cooperation exist among the different departments. Another department to engage with often is the important government relations people. In all of these cases, it’s also helpful that there be frequent and open communication to avoid any unintended duplication of work and effort.