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Modernising the corporate communication strategy

Opinion & Analysis
Jonah Nyoni

Communication at a corporate level is now complex. This has been caused by the growth of the internet and social media.

Multi-dimensional communication approach

You cannot use one stroke answer to remedy to communication complexities in your organisation.

It takes a multi-dimensional (multifaceted or multi-layered) approach that will address its clientele base and stakeholders.

What is a multidimensional approach? Hallahan et al, 2007 rightly pointed out that “strategic communication is a rich, multidimensional concept” (p. 27).

This takes communicative interrelations that the this researcher proposes below.

Crisis management and communication

Every company, big or small, will face a crisis. Crisis management is a strategic and pro-active discipline starting with signal detection, issues management, stakeholder management or risk assessment, evaluation, organisational learning or post-crisis actions.

How does communication come in?

“During a crisis, it is important to establish a basis for decision making, to be in control of responsibilities and hierarchies, to be able to analyse the crisis, not to lose track of things, and to have confidence in colleagues. After the crisis, it is a question of collecting information and of evaluation,” — (Frandsen and Johansen, 2009). The company  should communicate to warn (pre-crisis), inform (during crisis), and the damage (post- crisis).

Change communication

According to Zerfass (2009), change communication “facilitates change and builds a shield safeguarding reputation and brands in times of trouble”.

Any company that wants to excel now should embark on communicative rearmament — an instance where the organisation is strengthened by new talent, from the top to the communication departments.

Digital evolution

O’Connor and Shumate (2018)  pointed out that: “Digital evolution continues to transform strategic communication by enhancing and expanding the ways in which organisations and stakeholders co-create and then build upon their relationships.”

The advent and growth of digital platforms have necessitated easy communication between companies and their stakeholders.

The use of social media is indubitably inevitable for both general communication (direct, accelerated distribution and real-time communication), and brand growth (building, awareness, and equity). For example, a company can use algorithms, digital analytics, social media, targeted messaging to reach its audience.

Influencers

User-generated content via social media has weakened the ability for companies to effectively communicate or manipulate its communication without a reaction from the audience.

The audience is now armed with social media to respond and say anything about a company.This calls for an active communication team, which is able to respond in time, and using requisite or relevant platforms. 

The other way to effectively fight that is the use of brand ambassadors, (commonly known as influencers). There are opinion leaders with great followers.

Dark social

These are one-on-one interactions on social media. Dark social include social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest et cetera), content platform (Youtube, Vlogs, and podcasts), and community groups (Facebook, and Whatsapp), direct marketing (texts, and DMs).

These are tools that can be used by the organisation to talk directly to a particular person.

This can be done through robust media teams. These one-on-one communication platforms create a stronger and symbiotic relationship with the audience.

Research and development team

Every company needs to build a research and development team. This will necessitate organisational learning. A learning organisation makes workers keep abreast, and know the relevant needs in communicating to the audience and the general understating of a complex and ever-changing environment.

This will take what is called learning agility within the whole organisation as to improve the communication ecology.

So this will take training workshops, so as to change internal culture. When internal culture is changed, it is easy to then start communicating with the outside clients. 

Parting point: Every company should learn how to modernise it communication strategy.

This will take a multidimensional approach, a crisis management system, a change communication strategy, the use of brand ambassadors and social media.

The better you communicate, the bigger your brand grows and so is your profitability.

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