The post-modern corporate world operates in a complex realm characterised by explosion of communication platforms, dynamic geopolitical, and religious ideologies and a vibrant heterogeneous culture.
With the emergence of the information superhighway occasioned by the World Wide Web, time and space shrunk to create a global village. This new phenomenon, coupled by the end of the Cold War, offers as many opportunities as challenges to organisations.
This era is typified by faster flow of information and easy access to multiplicity of ideas. Society is exposed to an assortment of choices and is more discerning and overly demanding of openness from organisations.
Today’s stakeholder, true to the libertarian ideology, is increasingly cynical, has far more choices, and enjoys liberal power exercised at will. We are also experiencing more and more loyalty challenges as a result of the global village phenomena.
Behind this backdrop, corporate communication has become critical in affording organisations opportunities to remain focused afloat and enjoy goodwill from stakeholders. Indeed, the corporate citizen aspires to be understood, admired and respected.
So how does corporate communication support organisations’ bid to remain profitable and competitive? It is the duty of communication to construct the right images about the organisation in the stakeholders’ minds.
Thus, communication helps the organisation to persuade and to influence, to explain and clarify, to negotiate and to guide, to educate and to inspire. In short, corporate communication introduces the company to the world and keeps the world interested and supportive.
It engenders admiration and creates goodwill ambassadors who continue to propagate the organisation’s narrative in their spheres of influence. That is why corporates should take the art of rhetoric seriously. Corporate reputation, as intangible as it may be, is an indispensable asset constructed by smart communication.
This is how the Fortune 500 companies make it – they clearly articulate their business to internal and external stakeholders. They have a systematic and vibrant corporate communication agenda.
Richard Branson of the Virgin Group for instance, idolises Will Whitehorn, his Director for Public Relations and Communications. Branson argues, and rightly so, that he can pay the director of communications any amount of money he asks for. Why is this so? Simple.
Communication can make or break a company. Branson too, is said to set aside 25 per cent of his time for public relations activities. Today, there is no doubt that the Virgin story is enigmatic. The construction of a corporate legend can only happen with smart communication.
We need to craft and share compelling stories about our triumphs and breakthroughs that are intriguing enough to warrant narrations. Since heroic narratives inherently fascinate mankind, it is critical then that we must be able to idealise, glorify or even ennoble our accomplishments, values, and unique attributes.
Then, we need to construct a legion of third parties to propagate our corporate narratives, not through coercion but willingly having seen our sincerity and trustworthiness.
I dare say today that effective corporate communication is the missing link between innovation, hard work and success. The more the practitioner appreciates this, and knows how to engage the Fourth Estate, better still learn its parameters, the more fruitful the enterprise of corporate communication would become and thereby profits. The writer is a communication expert [email protected] @manjis Kenya