Nandkumar Y Sanglikar
Public Relations or Corporate Communication primarily uses three basic types of communications. These are top down communication, i.e. management communication, product communications, i.e. marketing communication (also called Marcom) and overall company news, i.e. organisational communication. To support management communication, organizations rely heavily on specialists. Marketing communications or Marcom is found to be most useful since it directly aids promotion of products and hence, it gets most wide acceptance in every organisation. It also gets bulk of the budget too.
The third type of communication, i.e. Organisational Communication, is managed by public relations specialists. This particular part of communication is also called Public affairs and has related faculties in the form of Investor relations, environmental communications, corporate advertising and employee communications.
Public Relations, as defined above and which is also called Corporate Communications, is primarily undertaken to achieve the following objectives:-
- to build the profile of the organisation,
- to reduce or eliminate gaps between the desired identity and the reality,
- to delegate tasks in communication,
- to mobilize employee support for corporate objectives, and
- to co-ordinate with international counterparts of the local entity.
Most large companies have dedicated groups of communicators for dealing with different audiences, such as internal communication, marketing communication, investor relations, government relations and public relations.
A corporate brand is the perception of a company that unites a group of products or services for the public under a single name, a shared visual identity, and a common set of symbols. The process of corporate branding consists creating favourable associations and positive reputation with both internal and external stakeholders. The purpose of a corporate branding initiative is to generate a positive halo over the products and businesses of the company, imparting more favourable impressions of those products and businesses. (Ref. Wikipedia)
Corporate communication for branding a corporation is the right strategy for companies to adopt when:
- Apparently there is a mismatch between the corporate perceptions on an important issue and its customers. This kind of mismatch is primarily due to customers being less informed, and hence, there is a need to inform them on priority, and
- The customers become averse to buying the products or services of the company under consideration.
Company image and identity
There are two ways for identity creation and how it gets created:
Corporate identity becomes the reality and unique to an organization, when it is intrinsically gets related to its external and internal image and reputation through corporate communication,
And when the corporate identity comprises those characteristics of an organization that its members believe are central, distinctive and enduring. That is, organizational identity consists of those attributes that members feel are fundamental to and uniquely descriptive of the organization and that persist within the organization over time.
Four types of identity can be distinguished
- Perceived identity
- Projected identity
- Desired identity (also called ‘ideal’ identity)
- Applied identity
What is reputation? It is an aggregate of overall assessments by a company’s key stakeholders. The real critical issue is if this aggregate perceptions of stakeholders capable of an organization’s ability to fulfill stakeholders’ expectations, working in favour of the company.
Creation of a special cell for communicating with employees is something that most good organisation do to ensure that all the employees are kept informed of the company’s plans and prospects on time, every time so that they don’t complain of being ‘briefed’ by the news in the media! It’s about building a sharing culture on values that drive organizational excellence. Those who look after employee communication are generally expected to fulfill one or more of the following four roles:-
- Efficiency: Internal communication is used primarily to disseminate information about corporate activities as and when they occur.
- Shared meaning: Internal communication is used to build a shared understanding among employees about corporate goals.
- Connectivity: Internal communication is used mainly to clarify the connectedness of the company’s people and activities.
- Satisfaction: Internal communication is used to improve the sense of attachment to the company.