Whether there's a focus on internal or external relations, a corporate communication specialist needs to ensure any decision made supports the organisation's objectives and goals.
It's never been an easy feat and one wrong choice can have detrimental effects. However, corporate affairs experts are now playing a different ball game due to the catalytic properties of social media.
Let's take a look at just how rapid technological advancements are impacting our profession.
The modern notion of corporate affairs can be closely tied to the 20th Century.
The origins of corporate affairs
The art, and science, of communicating with the public can be traced back to Babylonian times. However, the modern notion of corporate affairs can be more closely tied to the 20th Century. Edward Bernays in particular coined the term public relations and is seen as one of the first communicators of propaganda.
Back when newspapers, billboards and word of mouth were the main way of conveying messages mistakes by the a corporate communication expert were arguably less damaging. While making a wrong decision had its negative effects, the chance of this misstep spreading and impacting a company's reputation in a matter of minutes were minimal.
A changing landscape
With the rapid development of technology, the rise of social media meant communication strategies needed to change as well. The ability to reach and communicate with wider audiences not only opens new opportunities to connect with a public, but means that mistakes are exacerbated at much faster pace.
As such, a recent report by the Center of Social Commerce highlights how the landscape of corporate communication is changing with interactive media. Three key findings within the document emphasise that:
- Community engagement is becoming more important than inundating an audience with a message.
- Visual storytelling is overtaking traditional media approaches as attention spans decrease.
- Influencing the right people at the right time is more critical to communication goals than mere coverage.
These findings are indicative of the way social media has and will continue to impact how successful communication specialists approach strategic decision making.
Where to from here
Considering the rapid change within the online landscape, there is no telling what the industry will look like in two, five or ten years time. There are, however, some things we can say for certain.
To best leverage technological advancements, more focus needs to be put on effective measurement and understanding key publics. Further, moving away from the traditional news release format and becoming creative with interactive multimedia should be a priority for corporate communicators.
Ultimately, remaining alert and reacting to shifts and trends within the industry will remain key to successfully communicate internally as well as externally.