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Get strategic about corporate communications

Creating true corporate communication strategies is a challenge for many organisations – large, small, private and public.

A strong corporate communication strategy is key to ensuring the most current, concise information is always available and being conveyed to both your internal and external audiences.

A company’s reputation and success depends on how well you’re communicating with your external (the general public) and internal audiences (employees and stakeholders).

Although it can be a challenge to develop a communications strategy, once it’s done it will help you not only get your company’s message out to those who need or want to know, but also help consolidate your goals.

Here are four sure-fire ways to help plan and develop a corporate communications strategy.

1. Integrate internal communications with external communications for the most effective brand storytelling.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking internal and external communications have to be separate entities. If you have any changes on the horizon, from new products or services you want to implement, or policy changes that may affect your target audience, communicate them to employees first so they can understand the personal impact of these changes. This helps to build a culture that is open and transparent which can translate into the external domain.
2. Deliver your messages to people where they are already seeking information.
While it may seem obvious, many companies still use their own websites, blogs and intranets to communicate with their employees, missing out on the opportunity to attract and influence those beyond their walls.

Don't tell people where to go to hear your message; find out where they are reading and interacting with content and meet them there.

3. Use your chief executives as your primary spokespeople, and your employees as your secondary spokespeople.
Another major evolution in corporate communications strategy in the social/digital world is the opportunity for a variety of employees to be brand storytellers or spokespeople, a role traditionally reserved for very senior executives.

A good way to do this is to encourage employees to tell their own stories. These can be ultimately used to create a cohesive, supportive environment within the organisation as well as used in a variety of external communications to add authenticity and connection to your audience.

4. When it comes to balancing transparent communications with real corporate risk, start from a place of "yes."
The balance of being transparent while maintaining a positive corporate image can feel subjective at times. The more traditional way of communicating was to do so only when you were trying to drive change externally and internally. However, with so many avenues and platforms to share communications today, a company should be constantly telling its story – about its culture and its strategy – to engender respect and trust.

Transparent, integrated communications that leverage brand storytelling is a great barometer for all corporate communicators – whether you're communicating through massive cultural change or just telling your story, your way.
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