UNIT - I Foundation of Corporate Communication4
UNIT - II Understanding Public Relations3
UNIT - III Functions of Corporate Communication and Public Relations1
UNIT IV Emerging Technology in Corporate Communication and Public Relations1
Multiple Choice Questions1
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(a) Corporate Communication: Scope & Relevance
(A) Corporate Communicaton : Scope and relevance
Corporate communication has become an important component of organizational management in modern society. Corporate communication is the process of facilitating exchange of information and ideas between the internal and external groups and individuals that have a direct relationship with an enterprise. It is concerned with communication management of the modern corporate houses from the stand point of sharing knowledge and decisions from the enterprise with investors, employees, suppliers, dealers, customers, media professionals, government officials, members of the community and other stakeholders of the organization.
In the age of globalization, corporate communication serves as the conscience of the corporation and is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of the reputation of modern organizations. Previously called „public relations‟ or „public affairs‟, corporate communication has assumed great significance in the 21st century as a result of corporate scandals or crises at modern companies. Public and private undertakings have established corporate communication departments, which usually oversee communication strategy, media relations, crisis communication, internal communication, reputation management, corporate responsibility, investor relations, government affairs and sometimes marketing communication in the present times.
As competition increases, within and across genres, modern corporate houses are experimenting with new methods and media to create their brands and enhance the institutional reputation. The concept of corporate communication has been widened to include the cultivation of mutually beneficial relationships between the organization and various stakeholders who matter most from the point of view of business management. The corporate communicators are using both traditional and modern media of communication in order to reach out to various publics and enlist their active participation in the affairs of the modern public and private undertakings.
It is almost four decades since the nomenclature corporate communication surfaced, especially in the West. However, many professionals and managements are still very vague about its actual role and scope, especially in India. Some feel it is simply good old PR camouflaged as corporate communication; others feel that PR is but a tiny part of the overall corporate communication; and yet others feel that corporate communication is a part of marketing communication. Argenti and Forman argue that ‘corporate communication can claim historical links to the field of public relations, which has been concerned with the voice and image of big business for nearly a century.’ Harold Burson, Founder Chairman, Burson-Marsteller writes, ‘Corporate communications is one of the many sub-sets of public relations and under that umbrella you can have relations with advisory services, investor relations, internal communications, marketing support, litigation support, etc.’
Cutlip et al. write that among the Fortune 500 companies, only one in five uses the ‘public relations’ title. Other commonly used titles are corporate communication, public affairs, public information, or PR in combination with advertising.
Interestingly, however, corporate communication as a subject is being pulled out from some journalism schools to management schools.
Corporate communication, a predecessor of PR, observes Argenti, grew out of necessity. He feels that as the various new laws forced the companies to communicate in situations, which they were not used to, meant that they had to create ‘dedicated resources’ to manage the flow of communications.
Dolphin, arguing on the basis of academic literature posits that PR and communication have been used interchangeably for long. Similarly, he writes, that the emphasis placed on certain nomenclatures, vary according to the country of origin. What used to trade under the name of PR is now variously known as ‘corporate affairs, corporate communication, or public affairs’.
Corporate communication is the communication issued by a corporate organization, body or institute to all its stakeholders who can be both internal publics (employees and investors) and external publics (suppliers, financiers, consumers, government officials, media professionals, local community, etc). An organization needs to talk the same message to all of its stakeholders in order to transmit coherence , credibility and ethics . If one of these points is broken, the whole community can make this organization disappear. The corporate communication area will help this organization to build its message, combining its vision, mission and values and will also support the organization by communicating its message, activities and practices to all of its stakeholders.
According to Wikipedia, corporate communication is the set of activities involved in managing and orchestrating all internal and external communication aimed at creating favorable point-of-view among stakeholders on which the company depends. It is the messages issued by a corporate organization, body, or institute to its audiences, such as employees, media, channel partners and the general public. Organizations aim to communicate the same message to all its stakeholders, to transmit coherence, credibility and ethics. Corporate communication helps organizations explain their mission; combine its many visions and values into a cohesive message to stakeholders. The concept of corporate communication could be seen as an integrative communication structure linking stakeholders to the organization.
1.2 MEANING OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATION
What is Corporate Communication?
The word ‘corporate’ originally stems from the Latin words for ‘body’ (corpus) and for ‘forming into a body’ (corporare), which emphasize a unified way of looking at „internal‟ and „external‟ communication disciplines. That is, instead of looking at specialized disciplines or stakeholder groups separately, the corporate communication function starts from the perspective of the „bodily‟ organization as a whole when communicating with internal and external stakeholders, according to Christensen et.al. (2001:95).
Corporate communication means any communication emanating from a company or occurring within it. The word ‘corporate’, however, refers to the whole body or corpus, and applies to any kind of organization, regardless of whether it is in the private, public or not-for-profit sector.
All companies including non-commercial bodies are interested in corporate communications for building their images and reputations, besides maintaining relationships with the stakeholders.
Corporate communication can be divided into four broad components:
- Communication by a corporation to influence stakeholders and publics for establishing better relations
- Marketing communication which is directed at achieving sales and support of other management disciplines such as finance, human resource development and production.
- Organizational communication which engages those publics where there is interdependence’ by implication with the major groups such as investors, employees and suppliers.
- Reputation management based on organizational performance.
Corporate communication encompasses all communications of the company, including advertising, marketing, government relations, community relations and employee communication.
1.3 DEFINITIONS OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
- According to P. Jackson, corporate communication is ‘the integrated approach to all kinds of communications produced by an organization, directed at all relevant target groups. Each item of communication must convey and emphasize the corporate identity’.
- According to Joseph Fernandez, ‘Corporate communications is a long-term strategic initiative taken by a corporate organization to communicate the core brand and its core messages to a spectrum of audiences in a globalized market environment. At its core corporate communications is very simple, the way a corporate communicates.’
1.4 SCOPE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
Aspects of Corporate communication
- managing communication or fulfilling the communication management function
- dealing with controlled and uncontrolled media
- serving both internal and external audiences
- proactive communication planning
- advocating communication strategies and tactics
- dissemination of persuasion and information
- branding images and reputation
- branding products and services
- monitoring the responses from audiences and markets
- counseling and advising senior executives
- managing issues and responding to crisis situations
- lobbying for favorable stances for the organization
- organizational image creation and maintenance
- organizational presence building and monitoring
Issues of Importance to Corporate Communication Today
- The Global Economy
- Quality of the Environment
- Increased Role of Management
- Emphasis on Issues Management
- Professionalism of the Publics
- Proliferation of Publics/Splintering of Mass Markets
- Fragmentation of the Mass Media
- Rapid Development of New Media Technology Leading in Communication Trends
Corporate communication is a vast area from operations management point of view. The present generation of corporate communicators is required to assume multi-faceted roles in order to do justice to their job. Corporate communication includes primarily the cultivation of mutually beneficial relationships between the organizations and various stakeholders. The major types of corporate communication include – employee relations, investor relations, supplier relations, consumer relations, distributor relations, media relations, government relations, community relations, international relations and so on.
Broadly speaking, the corporate communication can be classified into three divisions from operations management point of view, which include – management communication, marketing communication and organizational communication. Management communication are the communication that take place between the management level of the organization and its internal and external audiences. To support management communication, organizations rely heavily on specialists in the areas of marketing communication and organizational communication. Marketing communication get the bulk of the budgets in most organizations and consist of product advertising, direct mail, personal selling and sponsorship activities. They are supported to a greater or lesser extent by organizational communication that generally emanate from specialists in corporate communication, public affairs, investor relations, environmental communication, corporate advertising and employee communication. Corporate communication encompasses management communication, marketing communication and organizational communication. Corporate communication means a coherent approach to the development of communication in organizations, one that communication specialist can adopt to streamline their own communication activities, by working from a centrally coordinated strategic framework.
- Corporate communication includes advertising, marketing communications, marketing, and public relations, but they all function under a managed perspective.
- Corporate communication is managing an organization’s internal and external communications.
- Corporations – Departments with the tasks such as community relations and marketing communications dealing with an organization’s reputation and service to clients.
- Nonprofit Agencies – Options ranging from membership organizations to social and cultural groups, hospitals, and health care agencies offer public relations opportunities where fund raising is always involved
- Entertainment, Sports and Travel – Communicators in these areas are usually concerned with press agentry and promotion of events. Publicity is an important part of practitioner duties here
- Government and Military – Here communicators focus on promotion of political issues (often including lobbying), information dissemination about government activities to citizens, and information distribution to and about the military.
- Education – Higher education opportunities coer relationships with alumni, faculty and administration, students, and the general public promoting the college image, recruiting students and raising funds.
- International – With today’s almost instantaneous global communication, intriguing new areas have opened. These areas are particularly desirable for bilingual or multilingual practitioners who are familiar with many cultures.
1.5 CORPORATE COMMUNICATION IN INDIA
- The term ‘Public Relations’ has been replaced by the term ‘Corporate Communications’.
- The foundation of public relations was laid in the public sector in India. After getting independence in August 1947, India adopted mixed economy. In a socialistic pattern of society, the Industrial policy set up large public sector organizations in oil, steel, power, aviation, infrastructure, insurance, transport, pharmaceuticals, defence, scientific research etc. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India is called the architect of public sector in India.
- In mid 1960s when Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister, she kept her faith in public sector. In 1969, her government nationalized the banks and withdraw privy pusses from the erstwhile kings sending strong signals that in a democracy, there was no place for Kings and Kingdoms.
- Though the public sector was growing the media criticized it for corruption, nepotism, bureaucracy and time and cost overruns.
- Due to the growing poor performance of many PSUs and poor image, Mrs. Indira Gandhi under the aegis of the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), an association of the PSUs, convened a conference of the CEOs of PSUs in the late 1970s and reviewed the issue.
- All central PSUs had to set up a PR department, headed by a professional. All PSUs were advised to motivate the workforce and inform them about the company, through employee communication media, the house journal. In 1975, all the PSU boards were asked to introduce ‘workers participation in management’.
- The private sector always practiced PR including protocol, lobbying, image management and media relations.
- The economic liberalization gave encouragement to PR practices.
- The economic liberalization allowed FDI in various sectors, brought many MNCs and a satellite revolution with hundreds of television channels entering.
- Job opportunities were created in the mass communication field , which led to an increase in the number of private institutes offering courses in journalism and mass communication.
- A number of universities started a course at master’s level in PR and Corporate Communication.
- The UGC (University Grants Commission) encouraged including of PR and corporate communication as specialized course in mass communication curriculum.
- The IIMC (Indian Institute of Mass Communication) started a full course on corporate communication in its PG programme in Advertising and PR.
- The Indraprastha University in Delhi and a number of Central Universities started specialization in corporate communication.
- Many private universities also started courses on PR and corporate communication.
- Research papers and books on corporate communication in the India context with case studies were written.
- Companies in public sector and private sector, have renamed their PR department as Corporate Communications department and PR managers as Corporate Communications Managers.
1.6 NEED / RELEVANCE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATION IN CONTEMPORARY SCENARIO
The Need for Corporate Communication
Organizations today are under tremendous stress due to various reasons. Some analysts feel that an average organization finds itself in a pressure cooker like situation. Some of the reasons for this are the following:
- Big business being constantly under attack for various acts of omission and commission
- Challenges of global economy
- Convergence of products and markets
- Growing exposure to information through various media
- Networking of people cutting across barriers of geography, caste, colour, and creed
- Issues of corporate governance and corporate social responsibility
Corporate communication plays a major role in creating and maintaining the business image of any corporate entity. It is an effective strategy to communicate the brand value and reputation to its customers, stakeholders and the target audience. There are many processes of corporate communication with which you can create the desired business impact. Many reasons mark the importance of corporate communication in today’s business world.
- To have a Better Rapport : Rapport building is the key motive of any corporate communication strategy; this can be internal and external, as well. When there is a constant rapport with employees and customers, the business image of the company will also get higher. It is for this reason many big companies like coco cola and IBM follow effective corporate communication strategies.
- To Highlight the Performance Nothing other than frequent communication like newsletters and posters can effectively highlight the performances of the company. This will again have a positive impact on the business image of the company.
- To advertise new products and services: Regular means of communication will help in easy reach of new products and services to the consumers. So, corporate communication becomes highly essential for advertising new products and services of the company. Be it new product launch, news update or any other message; it promotes the business image of the company when it is communicated via proper channel. Many organizations carry out social activities in the interest of public and also to emphasize its brand presence. This is true not only of sales and marketing but of good corporate governance, and regularly communicating with stakeholders (of which customers are key, of course) helps keep all relationships open and healthy. Functions of a Corporate Communication Corporate communications departments play a key role in how investors, employees and the general public perceive a company.
- It creates Company’s reputation. Corporate communication help leaders prepare for media interviews, develop messages to deliver to investors and employees and suggest new initiatives to keep companies on the cutting edge of communication with their stakeholders. They arrange for speakers from the company to make presentations to local community groups and may facilitate group tours of a company’s operations.
- Important in managing Media Relations: Corporate communication managers are best known. Media relations work includes writing and distributing news releases and responding to media inquiries. Corporate communicators oversee all planning for news conferences, including selecting the site for an event, arranging for banners and other graphics to be displayed at the event, preparing packets of information to distribute to the media and preparing executives to speak at news conferences. Media relations also involves arranging for spokespersons to appear on local television and radio programs. Corporate communicators monitor newspapers, television news broadcasts and other outlets to see what the media is saying about the company and to devise strategies to address misinformation.
- Moreover, Corporate communication enable management of a company’s website and social media presence, which includes monitoring what customers and clients are saying about the company on social networking websites and responding to inaccurate posts or requests for information. Communication professionals may respond directly to calls and emails from citizens and customers.
- Helps to increase the sale: To increase the sales, a company requires a salesman who is a good communicator, who can sell products, convey company’s ethos and also outlines the values of company to people who will not only buy the products but will become company loyalist. Thus, communication helps to increase sales.
- Helps in retaining the client: A company executive must have necessary skill to deal with the customers. This helps in retaining the clients a customers are business lifelines and their concern is very important for the organization to succeed.
- Helps to implement strategies: With the help of effective communication organizations can implement strategies. This builds employment commitment toward the organization, and they feel the sense of sharing of responsibility and capabilities.
- Helps in corporate branding: Communication has always been the core of the corporate world. Communication between people and company is the core element of a good corporate reputation. Many companies invest millions in strategies, which aim to reinvest their profile in important ways.
- Helps to develop global competence: Communication helps to develop an understanding of other regions, lifestyles and culture of all around the world. This helps in overcoming the cross-cultural barriers during the conduct of business.
- Helps in crisis management: To handle the economic crisis is the worst. Each person associated with the company needs information and reassurance with roper communication, thus employees can become the strength of the organization. The stockholders should be communicated properly so they do not indulge in panic and sell off their shares.