Tricky question*, with a simple answer:
Definition is a limiting activity. Take art. Defining it limits its scope and excludes. Art is a fluid, ever changing thing. It defies definition.
Can we talk about corporate communication without a definition? Certainly. Just as we can talk about art without recourse to a defining framework.
So that’s that, then?
We all know that every business and organisation, large or small, is a unique combination of people, purpose and place. They have a life of their own.
Rather than talk about what corporate communication is, an alternate viewpoint is to look at what it does.
From an internal point of view corporate communications, be it intranet systems, conferences, newsletters, meetings, reviews, whatever, is what gives the members of an organisation their sense of collective identity.
It gives a sense of direction and a common goal. It’s the oil that keeps the cogs turning in time. Without it they start turning at different speeds and directions. They jam. Creating friction and, inevitably, a lot of hot air.
Without an internal (corporate) communications programme to inform, set the tone and give direction, an organisation runs around like a headless chicken.
One department thinks it should go this way. Another department… that way. So, in effect, it goes nowhere.
In from the outside
From an external point of view this lack of cohesive internal communication projects a split brand personality.
The company says one thing and does another. All the time. You don’t trust it. You don’t know what it stands for, what it’s going to do or what it’s really like. If you saw it walking down the street you may even cross the road to avoid it.
Getting the internal communication ducks (or chickens) all lined up gives organisations the confidence, even the swagger, to mix it with the best. It puts you in a very ++ position. You’re confident as a business and you’re not rabbit-in-the-headlights-scared about the talented competitors on your heels.
In fact you relish being kept on your toes.
So, as a business it’s crucial to sort out your internal communications before you can genuinely portray a positive corporate identity to the outside world.
And to achieve that identity you need to be congruent.
Everything you do as a business, all your internal and external communications, need to work in harmony.
If they don’t you basically have corporate multi-personality disorder. It’s about getting the visual elements of your brand, your tone of voice, messages and the content you create all coming together to create a consistent corporate identity.
Do that and you have congruence. Do that and people will cross the street to talk to you.
Is it something you can define?
Do you need a plan? Definitely.
Get in touch to find out how to put build your communications plan – and put it in place.
*It’s a question we were recently posed following our Congruence in Communication Prezi and SlideShare – and this is the answer we gave.
Agree? Disagree? Have a different definition? Let us know below…