What is corporate communications? (And why is it important?)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A large part of finding success as a brand comes from having unique, clear and consistent corporate communication. Efficient communication methods allow an organisation to express its mission and direction to customers and those who work within it. When managers and business leaders have a strong understanding of good corporate communication, the whole company benefits. In this article, we explore what corporate communications is, why it is important and what the primary functions of corporate communications are within an organisation.

What is corporate communications?

To best understand, 'What is corporate communications?', know that it covers communication both internally and externally. Corporate communications include what employees and suppliers know about what's happening at all levels of the company, what customers see and hear from their interactions with the company and what analysts learn about it through financial or industry reports.

When it comes to communicating, what works for one business may not work for another. The approach you take can be as varied and unique as businesses themselves, but it is clear and effective communication that helps a business flourish. A company's mission, vision and values form a platform for what a company stands for and what they provide to the market. This often results in branding, which helps companies establish their reputation.

Related: Why is communication important? (And how to improve it)

Why does corporate communications matter?

The better employees understand their company's culture and vision, the more they can contribute to its success. The same goes for suppliers and customers who want to engage with your brand. When you communicate effectively, it builds trust and helps to create an emotional connection with the people who interact with your company, both inside and out.

Good communication can help a company avoid or mitigate potential challenges, like a customer's negative experience. It can help a company build better relationships with its stakeholders, leading to more loyalty and support. It could also help a company reach new audiences, resulting in more sales opportunities.

What are the main functions of corporate communications?

Communication can facilitate processes like planning, organising, leading and managing. These functions allow an organisation to express its mission and direction to stakeholders, such as employees, suppliers and customers. Corporate communication can include:

  • Stakeholder engagement: This applies to both internal and external audiences and includes how and what they know about your business.

  • Crisis communication: This encompasses what happens if something goes wrong with your company's operations or reputation.

  • Reputation management: Reputation management is how you control what people think about who you are, what you do and what you sell.

  • Marketing communication: These are messages that go out to promote and sell your products or services.

  • Internal communication: Internal communication is vital to make sure all employees understand expectations and that the business remains aligned towards the same goals.

What are the ways a business can communicate?

Many companies try to base their communication strategies on what works best for them and their target audiences. You can associate corporate communications with:

  • Written content: This includes everything from what the company publishes on its website, what it says in emails and social media posts, to what you see printed on their letterhead or business cards.

  • Visual communication: Visuals include the use of images like logos, product shots and even infographics that communicate a brand's identity or what they offer to customers.

  • Audio content: Companies who run podcasts or make use of voice-overs might use audio communication tools in their advertising.

  • Face to face or personal communication: This might include meeting with clients, attending trade shows or hosting events. When a customer or other stakeholder engages with your employees, it can include what they see or hear from them in person or on the phone.

All the different communication types work together to create a consistent message that reflects what your company represents and values. It's important to have a mix of communication strategies so you can reach as many people with your branding and messaging as possible.

What is external corporate communication?

The objective of external communication is to focus on the company's branding and messaging for its target audiences. External communication forms how customers learn about what a business offers, what its values are and how to contact them. Examples of external communication include:

  • Press releases and news articles: Businesses might announce any noteworthy news through a press release or the media might interview representatives from an organisation to learn more about their efforts.

  • Marketing materials: marketing materials can include flyers, posters, business cards and TV commercials.

  • Social media posts: Organisations may engage with their customers via social media networks where they can track audience engagement and other key performance indicators.

  • Website content: An organisation's website may communicate its brand message via its home page or an 'about us' section. The website may also include information about specific products or services, including the features and benefits.

Good external communication can help your business make a good first impression on potential customers. It can also improve their brand awareness, so people are more likely to recognise what you do and what makes your company unique. Effective branding through quality images, logos or slogans may encourage someone interested in what you do to take the next step and engage with your organisation. It can also help existing customers feel connected to your company and remind them what they like about it.

What is internal corporate communication?

Internal communication is all about getting the right information to the right people at the right time. It's what allows employees to understand a company's culture, vision and goals so that they can help contribute to its success. Internal communications include:

  • Company newsletters: Companies typically make their newsletters available either in print or in a digital format. They usually contain information about what's going on within the organisation, such as new products, changes to the team or upcoming events.

  • Employee communication tools: Employees may receive updates about their company via email, an intranet site or even a mobile app.

  • Townhall meetings: These are physical or virtual meetings where employees can hear from senior management about what's going on within the company.

  • Employee training: Some organisations give employees an overview of the company's history, values and goals so that they understand what they're working towards.

Timely, relevant and engaging internal communication encourages employee investment in their work, their colleagues and the company.

Related: How to become a communications directions (with salary info)

What are the benefits of successful internal communication?

When internal communication is effective, employees feel appreciated and understood. They know what's expected of them and they're more likely to be motivated to do their best work. Successful internal communication can:

  • Increase productivity and efficiency: When employees understand what their company stands for, what they're working towards and what's expected of them, it can help boost morale and performance levels. This is especially beneficial when a business is going through change or growth. It ensures that all employees are working towards a common goal.

  • Foster teamwork: Employees who feel connected to what their company does, what it stands for and what they're expected to do can be more likely to work together as a team to streamline projects. Internal communication can also contribute to business strategy success, as employees often have more clarity on what their responsibilities are.

  • Create a positive work environment: When employees feel happy and appreciated in their workplace, they can be more productive and motivated. Good company culture means staff are likely to be less stressed and more focused on their work.

  • Encourage innovation: When employees share their ideas and contribute to what's going on within their company, it can lead to a more innovative and creative workplace. Employees are more likely to feel that their company values their ideas and they may be more likely to come up with new ways of doing things.

Related: Creating a healthy corporate culture

What skills do corporate communications professionals need?

Dedicated communications professionals are often responsible for managing the flow of information that comes from and goes out into an organisation. They work closely with other departments, such as marketing or sales, making sure all messages get across cohesively. It can take years for a business to build a robust corporate position, so corporate communications professionals benefit from being skilled in several areas. These include:

  • Copywriting: Copywriting skills can help professionals write clear, concise and persuasive copy that gets their message across to employees or the public.

  • Brand management: Brand management skills can help communications professionals understand what their company stands for and what differentiates the company from the competition. These skills can help companies identify brand values, key messages and successful marketing strategies.

  • Social media management: With skills in social media management, it can be easier to consider social media strategy. Developing these skills takes an understanding of what an audience finds engaging and how the business can leverage its various social media platforms.

  • Critical thinking: With critical thinking skills, communication experts can help direct the company in the right direction. This includes seeing where they can improve current strategies for sharing information and aligning their messages with their company values.

  • Public speaking: These skills can help leaders communicate with employees or the public in an engaging and informative way. This includes being comfortable speaking in front of large groups, delivering presentations and being interviewed.

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