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Building an Effective Corporate Communication Strategy
Communication issues in businesses are not an uncommon problem. For US businesses alone, Inadequate communication to and between employees can cost up to $4 billion annually. The cost of poor communication may be high, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t effective strategies you can implement into your corporation to reduce its risk. By beginning each project with a clear understanding of what your Corporate Communication Strategy is, you can integrate effective time management into your businesses processes seamlessly.
What Is A Corporate Communication Strategy?
A Corporate Communication Strategy is the framework used by organizations to plan out communication with employees, customers, suppliers, and investors. When leveraged properly, a Corporate Communication Strategy can be the key to better understanding your company and enhancing its reputation with the people whose attitudes and actions influence your success the most.
Building a Corporate Communication Strategy
When it comes to constructing your own Corporate Communication Strategy, there is no in-depth one-size-fits-all solution. While you can probably find countless quick-fixes on the internet, creating an effective strategy is not a simple process. If you want your CCS to best suit your organization, and address and solve the communication issues unique to your business, you will need to invest research and time into the process.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Your Core Strategy
Regardless of your industry, there are several aspects that remain universal in core corporate communication strategies. Generally speaking, it comes in three phases: pre-drafting information and research, formulating the strategy, and then examining examples of other communication strategies for further inspiration. This process can be broken down as follows to help you construct your core Corporate Communication Strategy:
1. Identify and Prioritize Your Executives’ Key Goals
Aim to first understand what each of your business executives sees for the future of the company, and what areas they are truly invested in. In order to collect this information, one of the most useful methods is to conduct individual interviews with as many of your top-level management employees as possible. In the interviews, ask them to clearly outline their top priorities for the upcoming year, and ensure everyone agrees on what message they want to put out for the company.
2. Conduct In-Depth Employee Surveys
Your employee insight doesn’t stop at high-level management. Employees are at the forefront of your business and are the both the backbone and driving forces for your organization. Understanding how your own employees perceive your company and brand is critical to understanding how others perceive it as well. This is how brand ambassadors come to be – while you construct your Corporate Communication Strategy, you need to ensure their voices are heard. How they respond will help you uncover the best way to go about communicating with your team as a whole. Leverage employee surveys to get them involved in the process and gain valuable feedback and insight into what’s working, and what isn’t.
3. Research Your Stakeholders’ Input
Stakeholders are one of the most vital parts of your organization, so if you notice that they are communicating something that isn’t confident for the success of your business, you need to adjust your communications strategy to address and fix that perception as quickly as possible. Communicating with stakeholders, shareholders, and investors in a way that is most effective for their own interests in critical for sustaining success and alignment with long-term plans.
4. Review Your Customers’ Comments
The insight your customers have to offer when it comes to their perception of how your organization is delivering on its promises should not be overlooked. Leverage the countless online, and often free, measurement tools to not only take advantage of social researching methods, but also to learn how to start conversations that will get consumers and potential clients talking about your brand in a positive light.
4. Include Your Suppliers in Your Research
Suppliers and partners that work closely with your brand can also be great resources for gathering useful information about your strategic corporate communication strategy. Ideally, your suppliers and partners should firmly believe that affiliating themselves with your business is beneficial for their business as well. If this is the case, take note of what it is they say they enjoy most about working with your company. Utilize that feedback not only to add structure to your partner relationships, but also to help strengthen your corporate communication strategy.
Best Practices for An Effective Corporate Communication Strategy
Conducting the needed research and interviewing processes is critical to cultivating a successful and effective Corporate Communication Strategy for your business. By gaining valuable insight into how your employees, executives, suppliers, and stakeholders perceive your company, and what it is they prefer when it comes to communication, you will understand what it is your CCS needs to set out to accomplish. Once you have a clear understanding of where you should be aiming, and also how your new strategy will fit into the broader framework of your organization, you need to begin setting up an essential roadmap for its implementation.
However, before you can begin assessing the key diagnosis and guiding policies for your Corporate Communication Strategy, you first need to understand how it is your company will arrive at those ideal concepts. Consider the following tips while drafting your strategy:
Look at other corporate communication strategies from successful businesses.
Especially if you are new to the field of communications strategies, taking examples from successful businesses can be extremely beneficial. By looking at communication strategies that have worked extremely well for others, you can get inspired yourself, or even use their strategy as a starting template or jumping off point for your own planning. It is important to keep in mind that communication issues, and hence the strategies put in place to address those issues, will be unique to specific companies. Using a carbon copy of another company’s successful strategy will not necessarily work for your own, and additional research will need to be done to ensure its success for your business.
Identify your key metrics so you can track the best outcome for your strategy.
Your Corporate Communication Strategy will need to be analyzed for success throughout its use, so it is important to first father the basic key metrics that will be able to show you if it is working the way it should. In addition, statistics gathered from your corporate communications can also show you if your employees are actually using the communication tools being provided. If they are, you will be able to identify how they are using the tools, meaning you can pick apart your strategy and identify the aspects and areas that may need more strategic attention.
Set intuitive and realistic goals and timelines.
By setting goals for your company that make sense for your objectives and are also realistic in scope and expectation, you will be able to properly estimate the level of difficulty and projected time investment that will be required to integrate and establish your new Corporate Communication Strategy. With a clear picture of what will be required, you can plot out more efficient and worthwhile steps towards updating your strategy, leaning on the metrics you have gathered to identify the areas that will make the quickest impact through strategic change.
Keep in mind that any and all timelines set should be effective. A good way to accomplish this is to ask yourself questions that allow you to identify the information or data that is too excessive or unnecessary for business. Some examples of questions are:
- What do I want our Corporate Communication Strategy to do for business?
- Which areas are working efficiently and why, and what areas need immediate improvement?
- How quickly do I want to be able to reach my business goals for the company?
- Which communication tools, platforms, and existing strategies are available, given the organization’s size, needs, and goals for what employees should be accomplishing?
Regardless of your answers to these questions, they should aim to provide clarity into what your Corporate Communication Strategy is setting out to accomplish for your business.
Use collaboration tools.
Juggling several projects within a team can become complicated way too quickly. Often, organizations find strictly email communications between a large amount of team members to be ineffective in project completion. This is why it can be extremely beneficial to introduce collaboration tools that are useful and effective for project and team management. SpriggHR’s SpriggBoard is a great example of a streamlined collaboration tool you can implement into your strategy. While primarily utilized by Boards, it centralizes and manages all team tasks in one location, safely and securely organizing documents that need to be circulated throughout the team. Meeting agendas can be prepared and distributed, and Critical Paths and Action Plans for events can be shared instantly. By integrating real-time communication, it also eliminates the need for repetitive external email communications between your team members, reducing the time lost to sifting through email threads and allowing your team to focus on project development.
Actively participate in your teams.
While this practice is easier for smaller organizations where all team members know one another personally, larger companies can stand to benefit from this strategy as well. Part of your Corporate Communication Strategy should include your responsibility to communicate effectively with everyone in your company, and the best way to achieve the success rates you are aiming for is to be a part of the team yourself. Employees are much less likely to follow a leader locked away in an ivory tower, and by avoiding your employees and not engaging in rapport with them, your chances of effective communication dwindle rapidly. Aim to understand how your colleagues communicate with one another and make attempts to adapt to that preferred style of communication so you can reach them better. It is possible to maintain your authority amongst your employees and still communicate with your company at the same time.
Align your Corporate Communication Strategy to company goals and metrics.
When approaching your Corporate Communication Strategy, you need to ensure its implementation aligns well with your existing business goals. Target your communications to foundational employees, leveraging target audiences, managers, and key communicators. This will allow you to facilitate more thorough and engaging employee communications within your company. Similarly, implementing metrics and analytics into your corporate communication strategy that align with your organizational foundations is critical to evaluating the success of your strategy altogether. Methods such as employee surveys are useful, and should be included somewhere in your strategy, but your research should not rely only on them.
Aim for a company culture of communication.
If you want to improve corporate communications within your business, you first need to set out to create a culture of communication throughout the entirety of your company. This involves committing to transparency at the Executive level and introduce systems and practices that will support continuous and open dialogue between employees and their management teams. Consistent dialogue and conversation can be transformative for your company culture and can produce tremendous financial results for business. When a workforce communicates effectively with one another, they produce better output, and improve the company overall.
Constructing a Corporate Communication Strategy that is right for your business does not have to be an impossible process. While it does require an investment of research, time, and thorough planning, once you have a complete understanding of where you strategy sits now, you can focus on how to scale your new strategy in the right ways to yield to greatest benefits from your communication efforts.
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