How corporate communication is changing? We ask Sarah Pryor, our expert in marketing and communications leadership.
If the pandemic has taught us all anything, it’s something that we as professional communicators have long known: good communication can be the key to success.
Whether that’s the launch of a project, the handling of a crisis or even oiling the wheels of everyday relationships (at home or in the office!), the better we communicate with the people we want to engage with, the more chance of a successful outcome for everyone involved.
And one of the areas where communication has suddenly become super important is within companies. Regardless of the size of organization, from SME to multinational, many of us have had to adapt overnight from being part of a larger office family, to being our own standalone office within a network of other standalone offices, each manned by our colleagues. We’ve become multi-site, sometimes international, companies. And that, of course, brings challenges of its own.
Some of these challenges are logistical and easily solved with the help of technology. We’ve adapted our behaviours and fallen into new routines of Zoom and Teams calls. It feels almost old fashioned now to speak to a workmate on the phone!
But looking beyond the practical, how do we tackle the wider challenges. And how do we specifically support SMEs, who on the face of it have fewer people and therefore an easier task, but in practice are likely to have less experience in dealing with geographically-diverse employees and less dedicated communcations resource to help?
One such challenge is company culture and corporate branding – and their inextricable link with each other.
The way we feel about working for a company – how we align with the company ethos, the benefits of working there, the feeling of camaraderie and being part of a like-minded team, how valued we feel – is ultimately expressed through our loyalty to our employer and our interactions with clients. And it becomes a virtuous circle as those interactions with clients impact the way they feel about working with us. Positive and engaged employees usually mean positive and engaged clients (and vice versa).
Some of the most progressive companies I’ve worked with act upon this link: treating their employee communications in exactly the same way as their client communications. Thinking carefully about the messages to send, when to send and the channel through which to send them. Some have even combined the roles of internal and external communicators to avoid missed opportunities (why just share good news externally?) and mitigate risks (no employee wants to learn about company bad news from social media).
As we cautiously start to look towards a recovery phase in this pandemic, and think about what might be the norm I believe there’s a real opportunity for agile companies.
Those who are ready to embed and promote their distinctive company cultures and values through good communications – to employees and customers – while also embracing the opportunities that remote working can bring, will reap the rewards and emerge with stronger family ties than before.
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