Corporate Communication Strategy Template for Internal Communicators
60% of organizations suffer from poor corporate communication, resulting in low productivity and a lack of employee engagement. Sometimes, even the senior team struggles to list their organization’s strategic priorities. When probed, only 28% could articulate three.
Let’s look at what a corporate communication strategy is, what it should include, and what you should expect it to achieve for your organization. Also, how to choose the right type of strategy for your needs and how to measure success.
What is a corporate communications strategy?
A corporate communication strategy details your organization's planned efforts to communicate with internal and external audiences in a structured way, according to your set business objectives.
A strong, accessible, and relevant corporate communications strategy is about more than traditional media relations and brand awareness. And it’s not the sole responsibility and interest of one department - the entire company must understand and support it. It’s how a whole organization defines and achieves its objectives, builds a positive reputation, and establishes relationships with all its stakeholders, including employees.
Why is an internal corporate communication strategy important?
Created correctly, an internal communications strategy is the most efficient route to increasing employee engagement and trust. It helps employees to understand your mission and values, and how the work that they do aligns with your business objectives.
You can boost productivity by keeping employees informed and by designing inclusive activities that will foster greater commitment. Always keep information consistent and communicate in a clear, concise way, avoiding business jargon.
Types of corporate communication strategy
An external communications strategy defines messaging and objectives for activities targeted at media, customers, and stakeholders. The channels used could include social media, press releases, and journalist briefings.
Internal corporate communications strategy, the focus of this blog, helps your staff to understand their contribution to business objectives and keeps them up to date on everything that is happening across the organization. HQ to frontline and back. Planned activities could include discussion groups, internal email updates, and surveys, newsletters, all of which are important to establishing relationships and staying connected.
Main elements of a corporate communications strategy
A good structure, relevant to your organization, sector and business objectives, is the starting point for your strategy.
- Strategy objectives. A great strategy must always be flexible enough to change, but the core purpose should be clear and remain consistent. Think about what you want to achieve and how you will get there.
- Situational analysis. To get to where you want to be, you first need to understand where you already are. The more analysis and consultation you can perform at this point, the better informed your strategy will be. It gives your strategy a head start by identifying challenges before they arise. MadAve Marketing Management recommends interviewing stakeholders and running consultations with key audiences. You can also perform marketing analyses such as SWOT and PESTLE, or conduct an audit of your current capabilities.
- Target audiences and personas. You will already know most of your target audiences but your analysis should refine these further, allowing you to construct typical personas that can be used to plan your content and communications activity. As you compile typical personas, pay attention to details such as location, personality type, demographics, occupation, and where they receive information.
- Messaging. This is where you distill the essential information about your organization’s products or services into messages that form the basis of your content strategy. They should explain why your company is different from the competition, address and overcome any challenges, and offer a unique perspective on the issues facing your sector.
- Channels. Use the information variable from your audience persona to accurately plan the best outlet for your information. Most organizations use a multi-channel approach, using social media platforms, traditional media, and where appropriate, broadcast media.
- Content strategy and campaign schedules. A consistent schedule of content plus targeted campaigns is the best way to ensure ongoing coverage whilst highlighting special events via dedicated campaigns. Use a communications matrix to plot when and how messaging will be used to target specific audiences and issues. This also helps you to plan resources effectively and report on activity to the board and C-suite.
- Measurement. Glasscock recommends measurement as the final element of any successful strategy. It’s vital to evaluate your progress towards the set objectives so that you can report success or change your approach if things aren’t working.
The planning process, and the insights and ideas that you uncover during it, are often more important than the final strategy document itself.
A successful corporate communication framework achieves much more than communications objectives
Executed in the right way, it can hit many other targets and improvements across your organization. Many important research efforts have strengthened the belief that good corporate communication brings tangible business benefits:
- Productivity - McKinsey reports that an organization with connected employees will be 20-25% more productive.
- Retention - LinkedIn examined 32 millions accounts and found a ‘retention curve’. Alongside internal job moves and good management, one of the top 3 factors in retention was the empowerment of employees through information.
- Performance - Think Tank and CMSWire found that organizations who invested in a solid corporate communication strategy were 3.5 times more likely to outperform their competition.
- Messaging control - Unlike external coverage, you have complete control over your internal communications and can ensure that the content is 100% accurate every time.
We live in a world where information and communication are immediate and accessible to all, that is precisely why every company and organization needs a coherent strategy in place. It should be a living document that provides clarity and purpose but can also support change and withstand turbulence.
Try to bring your communications strategy up to date by focusing less on faceless corporate messaging, and more on the activities and thoughts of staff and co-workers who we might not have heard from in the past.
Decide what success looks like, then monitor and evaluate constantly. If things aren’t going in the right direction, be brave enough to change course and try something new.
Download for Free: Corporate communication strategy template
We’ve prepared a content strategy template for corporate communication, available here. It gives you a jumpstart when you begin to develop your internal social network strategy, ensuring that you consider all of the elements that will make it a success.