For the greater part of it's history, corporate communications has been a very separate function to marketing. In fact, traditionally, it was thought of as a component of promotions, not a core tool of business strategy. Yet, due to the vastly different communication landscape of today, these once definite lines are blurring. So what could this trend mean for the future of corporate affairs?
Major changes to continue in an already dynamic industry
In 2015, Co-Founder and CEO of New York-based strategic communications firm Peppercorn Trustee of the Institute of Public Relations Steve Cody shared his predictions for the state of communications in 2020 in an article published in Inc.com.
Having been in the industry for several decades, he recognises that the last few years have seen some of the biggest changes the field has ever seen. But over the next few years, says Mr Cody, this paradigmatic shift looks to continue.
More than ever, organisations must become customer-centric – a fundamental realisation for both marketers and communications specialists. Yet, as we look to form communications strategies that deliver an entire customer experience rather than a convoluted series of interactions, the distinction between corporate communications and marketing communications could very well dissolve.
Consummating corporate affairs and marketing communications
Earlier this year, Tim Hughes spoke at the South Australian Marketing Summit about the future of corporate affairs. He argued that the essence of marketing is gearing itself to much more fluidly interact with broader strategic communications, going as far to say that marketing and public relations are heading towards a functional marriage.
Though he is not suggesting that corporate affairs is the panacea for future marketing strategies, he implies that the core capabilities of public relations will be needed if marketers are to prevail in the significantly different communications landscape. Recognising that corporate affairs transcends mere product delivery into brand building and reputation management, authentic communication will prove to be a powerful force for successful organisations.
Even so, as marketers must learn from corporate affairs specialists, the reverse is also true. In fact, Mr Hughes sees the biggest barrier as delivering convincing metrics. The profession traditionally hasn't been renowned for its ability to quantify the benefits it can provide organisations. If the industry's influence is to grow, then this is one shortcoming that must be addressed – one that will benefit from integrating marketing's expertise.