In my last blog post I wrote about the surf shop owner who perhaps wasn’t making the best use of corporate communications to build customer loyalty and increase his customer base. There are numerous models of corporate communications. For simplicity’s sake let’s break corporate communications down into two broad types: internal and external.
Internal Corporate Communications
Internal corporate communications are those messages that are conveyed to employees and stakeholders that have an interest in the production side of the business. On the other hand, external communications are those messages meant for the consumer of the goods or services the company produces. Internal communications include:
- The company’s mission statement
- Employee manuals and handbooks
- Employee newsletters, e-newsletters and e-mails
- Information contained on the company intranet
- Trainings and seminars
- Unwritten communication such as corporate cultural norms
- Communication given to shareholders (who may also be consumers)
Our surf shop owner didn’t have a corporate intranet, but he certainly could have done a better job of opening the lines of communication with employees. The employees felt that they had good ideas about how the company could better market itself (through free stickers and t-shirts, for example), but the owner made it clear he really wasn’t interested.
Which of the above forms of communication does your company employ? How involved are employees in drafting and creating these various bits of information? If employees are engaged in creating the message, they’ll be more engaged in the company—and with the customer. Employee engagement is one of the top drivers of sales growth. When the employees have bought into the company’s goals and made them their own, they’ll be more likely to make the goals reality.
External Corporate Communications
External forms of communication can include the following:
- Annual reports
- Facebook, Twitter and other social media
- White papers, case studies, by-lined articles
- External newsletters and email blasts
- Mass media advertising and direct mail
- Brochures and printed sales materials
- Promotional items
While our surf shop owner scored better on external communications, he was clearly late in coming to social media and not doing much to promote the company short of his shingle hanging outside the store. This is unfortunate, because this is the primary way new customers are brought into the fold and old ones retained. It’s important to get external communications right. Consumers are bombarded with information and, believe it or not, may not be very interested in what your company has to say. A recent article in Businessweek on QR code fatigue said, “Advertisers are looking at every way possible that they can connect with consumers (but) consumers aren’t saying, ‘Oh, I really want to be able to connect with companies and brands.’”
Again, which of the methods listed above is your company employing? As the employees at the surf shop noted, many of these methods are free or low-cost, even when you scale them up to the level of a medium to large-sized business.
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