Definition of Corporate Communication
Corporate Communication is the total of a corporation’s efforts to communicate effectively and profitably. Obviously the action that any particular corporation takes to achieve that goal depends in large part on the character of the organization and its relationship with its stakeholders (suppliers, community, employees, and customers). In practice, corporate communication is a strategic tool for the contemporary corporation to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors. Managers use it to lead, motivate, persuade, and inform employees and the public as well.
Corporate communication is more art than science. Its intellectual foundations and body of knowledge began with the Greeks and Romans with rhetoric. Its theoretical foundation is interdisciplinary, using the methods and findings of:
- Language and linguistics
- Management and marketing (also PR)
As a focus of academic study, corporate communication can be considered in the large context presented here, or it can be seen as a part of public relations. Given the business environment, the more encompassing definition works well in both: the applied context of the workplace; as well as within the context of academic study.
Corporate communication is the term used to describe a wide variety of management functions related to an organization’s internal and external communications. Depending on the organization, corporate communications can include such traditional disciplines as:
- Public relations,
- Investor relations,
- Employee relations,
- Community relations,
- Media relations,
- Labor relations,
- Government relations,
- Technical communications,
- Training and employee development,
- Marketing communications, and
- Management communications.
- Many organizations also include:
- Philanthropic activity,
- Crisis and emergency communications, and advertising as part of corporate communications functions.
The Purposes of Corporate Communications
The four public relations models show 4 historical eras or stages in the evolution of the corporate communication function. They can also be regarded as 4 different world-views, indicating the different purposes that organizational members see for the corporate communication function. Note: Corporate Communication = PR (without negative part).
- Press agentry: purpose of corporate communication is publicity à trying to gain coverage from the mass media in almost any way possible. This model describes the purpose of corporate communication as being publicity, trying to gain coverage from the mass media in almost any way possible. It serves a propaganda function and spreads the faith of the organization involved, often through incomplete, distorted, or half-true information. Press-agentry is a one-way model where information is given, but the organization does not seek information from stakeholders.
- Public information: In this one-way model, communication is seen as the dissemination of information through the mass and controlled media such as newsletters, brochures, direct mail or the Internet. Negative information is rarely volunteered. In this one-way model, communication is seen as the dissemination of information (not necessarily with a persuasive intent) through the mass and controlled media such as newsletters, brochures, direct mail or the Internet. Negative information is rarely volunteered.
- Two-way asymmetric: information flows between the organization and its stakeholders, but is imbalanced in favor of the organization. In this two-way model, information flows between the organization and its stakeholders, but is imbalanced in favor of the organization. This model is not confined to the dissemination of information and research plays a key role. However, research here is (only) used to determine the most appropriate channels and messages to persuade stakeholders to behave as the organization wants, without the organization itself changing its behavior.
- Two-way symmetric: communication consists more of dialogue than monologue. In this two-way model, communication consists more of dialogue than monologue. Communication efforts are described in terms of its research base as well as the use of communication in improving understanding with key stakeholders. It presents the classic win-win situation, and implies that both the organization and its stakeholders are benefiting. The organization is adjusted to fit the environment. This requires bargaining, negotiating, and using strategies of conflict resolution to bring symbiotic changes in the ideas, attitudes, and behaviors of the organization and its stakeholders.
Communication with Internet
The Internet started as two-way communication, but became one-way communication when it was commercialized – used mainly to disseminate information. However, because of its interactive nature, some organizations have started to use the Internet to build two-way, interactive relationships with their stakeholders, fostering dialogue through various methods.
The Internet is not about mass marketing and mass markets. It’s about people – individuals with unique aspirations, needs, desires, and cultural backgrounds. It’s not as much a mass market of 60 million people as it is 60 million markets, each containing one person.
A need therefore exists to crystallize a message to individuals in one-to-one communication and to build one-to-one relationships at the same time. The Internet is the medium to provide in this need.
- ESSENTIALS OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATION: Implementing practices for effective reputation management, van Riel, Cees B.M. & Fombrun, Charles J., Routledge: 2007
PS: Thanks to MR. Syafiq B. Assegaf for giving the lectures