Making your communications effective


PublicAffairsAsia opens the New Year with Top Five Tips on structuring effective communications management within your organisation  

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1. Stop thinking solely like the PR guy…

Effective and strategic communications management requires you think across the whole range of the functional units of your business. You need to develop a detailed awareness of your operation from its strategy, to finance, marketing and the organisational behaviour of the firm as a whole. You’ll short change yourself and your company’s bottom line by simply viewing your role as that of the messenger – no matter how adept you are at communications and how much the media like to hear your voice.

2. Look under the bonnet of your business…

Getting to understand your business gives you a greater understanding of how to structure its communications and stakeholder engagement strategies. Understand what the CEO, business unit leaders and regional management are trying to achieve and shape your messaging around this. Compare and contrast the priorities of your business with your competitors (MNCs and domestic) and examine how their approaches to communications differ from yours. Generally, you should pend more time communicating internally than you do externally – and remember that a large element of the communications process involves listening.

3. Taking a regional, and a global, view…

Think beyond your business and instead look more broadly to regional – and global – social and economic trends. Try to position your corporate communications strategies in line with global shifts in consumer behaviour, or frame it on the context of economic or social change. Look out for variations regionally or at the in-country level and refine your messages so they follow local market developments. Consumer behaviour varies massively across continents, so should your communications approaches.

4. Think about medium more than ever…

One message can take many forms. Work hard to develop the core narrative but make sure you tell your story in a different way across the multiplicity of platforms now at your disposal. The message needs to be consistent, but the tone, colour, language and style can vary widely in many instances. Calculate the priority mediums for your company based upon the importance of your stakeholder groups and revise your messaging across traditional forms of media and digital communications platforms. But don’t do digital just for the sake of it – it’s no longer new media, so don’t follow fashion.

5. Develop a deeper understanding of stakeholders…

It may sound trite, but different groups really do have different priorities – and different levels of influence on your business. Depending on the scope of your operations today, and where your management wants them to be tomorrow, make sure you’re in tune with the stakeholder groups that  matter. Ignorance seldom is bliss and not knowing who your most important allies, or would-be enemies, are does not make any sense in an era when employees, investors, regulators, governments, the media and NGOs all view themselves as involved in the business decisions you make. In short, be inclusive and be engaged.

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