1.0 Understanding the Importance of Corporate Communication: The companies and the organizations communicate through different kinds of channels. All these are defined under corporate communication. Every single types of communication are important for the organization. But before discussing the importance we have to know what corporate communication is. Corporate communication is a combination of different types of activities that are involved to establish a favorable relation between the stakeholder and the organization. It is very important to make the communication understandable and reliable to the stakeholders so that the massage is delivered can serve the purpose of both parties- organization and stakeholders. According to Richard R. Dolphin corporate communication is not a technique rather than an approach (The Fundamentals of Corporate Communication, 2009).
He stated that the total process of corporate communication has set into a management discipline. He also mentioned that the corporate communication is a process that helps an organization to maintain the consistency of massages that are used for corporate communication and at the same time to ensure the transparency of that massages. It is very difficult to define corporate communication in a single sentence because of the broad area covered by corporate communication. It is a set of different kinds of formal and informal communication, like management communication, marketing communication, organizational communication. 1.1 Purpose of Corporate Communication Strategies:
Every single organization needs to establish a favorable communication. The main purpose of this communication is that to make a bridge between the organization and the various stakeholders, like employees, customers, partners and the general people. But the interesting thing is the communication pattern is different to different stakeholders to serve the own purpose of that organization. Depending on the interest and the importance the organization establish own corporate communication strategies. Before knowing the purpose of corporate communication strategies we have to know the types of communication so that we can understand that what type of communication strategy is needed for what type of communication. Basically there are two types of communication- formal communication and informal communication (Business communication by FK Publication). In formal communication a preset format is followed to communicate with the clients, employees and others. Under this communication system the procedures are followed strictly.
For example in February 2014 Facebook has bought Whatsapp with $19 billion. So the communication happened between these two company was formal. Facebook had maintained their communication structure to deal with Whatsapp. But the thing is that whatever the Facebook did to convince the Whatsapp management going out of the box will be considered as informal communication. Like Facebook first offered Whatsapp an amount publicly and this massage was sent maintaining the organizational communication procedures. So it is a form of formal communication. On the other hand Whatsapp might bargain with Facebook for this offered price which only the top management knew. So that is an informal communication. Now the question is why Facebook has needed to communicate formally and informally with Whatsapp? Now the main factor will come that is the purpose of the communication strategy.
When Facebook offered Whatsapp to buy them and followed the corporate communication structure and that massage was for the company and the market as well. So the purpose was to inform everyone that Facebook is going to buy Whatsapp. On the other hand when the informal communication was going on that was for the confidential purpose of both of the companies. So the main purpose of corporate communication strategy is to take strategic advantage over the rival organizations. 1.2 Linking Corporate Communication to Corporate Objectives: Every organization has its own set of objectives. The organization sets a strategy to achieve those objectives. Now here the important factor that works to achieve those objectives is an effective corporate communication framework. Every company has its own communication channel and framework depending on their objectives.
David Meerman Scott (2007) stated a six step general alignment process that any organization can use to link corporate communication to corporate objectives (Align Corporate Communications to Achieve Business Goals, 2007). The six steps are- Step 1: Understand the corporate objectives: The first thing to do is the management has to understand the corporate objectives. Say the oil company Shell wants to make double profit in the next following 5 years. So Shell has set the objectives for them. Step 2: Develop an effective corporate communication plan to achieve the objectives: In this stage the shell has to design an effective communication strategy. So the company has to integrate all the departments especially the accounts and sales department to build a strong and reliable communication network between all the departments. The individual department now discuss with each other to design their departmental objectives to achieve the ultimate organizational objective. Step 3: Develop communication strategy to support the objectives: Now Shell has to sit with the department professionals to develop some strategies to support the plans.
Like first Shell has to access what is the current situation of the resources to support the company to gain the revenue. They have to decide whether they will increase the sale volume or increase the customer coverage. Both ways they can achieve the goal. Step 4: Conduct gap analysis to evaluate the benchmark: In this stage Shell can evaluate the total process and find the gap between the preset objectives and the current achievement. Shell can conduct this analysis in a quarterly basis or half yearly basis. This process can help to understand the current situation and to take proper decision. Step 5: Develop communication tactics for each strategy: Here Shell can use some tactics supporting the strategies. Say to increase the sales company can announce extra financial benefit for the employees or to gain more market share they can make an understanding with the small companies. Step 6: Measure the final result: This is a critical stage where Shell has to calculate the overall process and to measure the result that what actually happened and how much they made the profit.
1.3 Analyzing the Relationship between Corporate Communication and Corporate Branding: Corporate communication and corporate branding is closely related subject. We have got an idea about corporate communication. Now we have to know what is corporate branding. Corporate branding is all about creating an image of the organization to different group of stakeholders (Peggy Simcic Bronn, 2002). Now when we are talking about the corporate branding it is related to creating an identity or image for the organization. But corporate identity and organizational identity is not the same thing (Hatch & Schultz, 2000). Corporate identity is how the corporate individuals create an image to the stakeholders through the public media or non-personal media like newspaper, annual report. Here the branding factor works most. In this case the corporations communicate with its stakeholders through branding that includes advertisement, campaign about the product or services. If the branding activity is strong of the organization it is easy to communicate with the company stakeholders.
When we name the well known brands like Nike, P&G, Caterpillar it is not necessary to describe them using any other communication channel. In contrast organizational identity is all about the internal communication. It is a concept where the employees of the organization try to find out “who we are” and “what we are standing for”. So here the branding is not the prime issue for the organization rather the internal organizational communication channel is most important. Here the interpersonal communication channel is used to establish the communication in the organization (Corporate Communication: A Strategic Approach to Building Reputation, 2002).
2.1 Internal Communication Audit Plan:
Internal communication audit is planned to know the current status of relationship between the organization and the employees. Organizations develop their communication audit plan to conduct a fruitful audit. An eight-step audit plan is stated by Mike Reed (1997) in Grower Handbook of Internal Communication.
Say the P&G wants to know the opinion of their sales employees about the recent change in management decision. So they can conduct an internal audit in house or by the third party. Here the important factor P&G has to mind that internal audit may be biased where the third party audit can be a threat on the company confidential issue. Based on the need and the situation P&G has to select one option. 2.2 Conducting an Internal Corporate Communication Audit:
According to the plan and process P&G can conduct an audit. Here they want to know the current feedback of their employees about the recent change in management decision. Channel Mapping: For internal communication audit first of all P&G has to decide through which channel they will communicate with their employees to know their opinion. It can be face-to-face, non-personal, meeting, seminar etc. Personal Interview: P&G decided to use the face-to-face communication channel through Personal interview of their sales employees. P&G thought that this will help to give them the actual feedback about their employees.
Focus Group: Here P&G has targeted their employees for audit. For this particular audit the focus group of P&G is their sales department employees. Questionnaire Survey: This is the most important part of communication audit. This questionnaire works as a communication media between P&G and the sales employees. The questionnaire can be designed by the external audit professional or the P&G management. Here P&G got 5 questions for interview. They have also decided to use Likert Scale to measure the feedback result. 1. What do you think about our previous company sales policy, is it friendly? Strongly Agree
Neither Agree nor Disagree
2. What do you think about our current company sales policy, was that friendly? 3. P&G management is dominating the employee decision.
4. P&G always gives unachievable sales target.
5. P&G is offering appropriate compensation to the sales individuals. Analysis: Now P&G will analyze and evaluate the feedback result from their employees. They can do it by scoring the result by rating the results from 1 to 5 and give some weight of total 5. The weighted result will give the final score. Say for all questions they got 18 out of 25. So it means that the recent change in management decision is good for the sales employees. Reporting: The internal communication auditor has to report to the top management. They can add some recommendation if the top management give the authority to them. Here in this case the auditor issued a positive report about the employee feedback.
Feedback and Action: Based on the auditor report and the employee feedback the P&G management will decide what kind of steps they need to take. As the report is positive the P&G can continue their decision. Follow-up: It is not enough to take action to improve the situation. After taking necessary steps the management has to regular follow-up on that factor. Here P&G can continue their follow-up task to keep the communication and the relation favorable. 2.3 Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Current Levels of Practice: The tough job is to evaluate the communication practice of an organization. Sometimes it is seen that the corporate communication process is good for some departments where other department are not having good experience about the current communication process.
As we have seen in 2.2 that the P&G has good communication with the sales employees. But the recent decision change may not good for the accounts department. Say P&G changed the decision in the middle of current fiscal year. They have decided that the sales will be directed by the operation department where the operation department was directed by the finance department. So now the finance department may say that if they don’t know how much money the operations management needs for production the finance department cannot make the budget properly. So this inter departmental communication practice is not effective for P&G. 3.1 External Corporate Communication Plan: