DeVaughn Narratives

Creating digital stories that resonate and inspire

Month: October 2015

The Impact of Technology on Corporate Communications

Corporate Communications

Nationally, the newspaper industry is in a state of collapse. Many newspapers have either been forced into bankruptcy or have become extinct. Even the New York Times has been forced to seek outside investors to stay afloat. The major reason why the industry is crumbling is the internet. Since more people get their news from computers, newspaper circulation and ad revenues are shrinking and readership dwindling. With the adoption of the internet we have seen a shift in budding forms of communication (journalism) from print to online. Another transformation that took place is that people wanted a voice so communication (including journalism) moved from monologue to dialogue. Traditionally, journalism was a one-way form of communication. In stark contrast, social media is about dialogue, audience, and citizen journalism.

Social media is created and distributed by the audience and represents the channels of communication that the audience uses to write, create, and share information. Today, the explosion of digital solutions provides communicators with a new arsenal of tools. These tools can take the form of blogs, social networking, visual communication, and podcasts. Since organizations use different types of media to reach their audience, knowing how to select the right medium for your message and how to create different forms of communication is integral in today’s corporate landscape. Today’s communicators need to learn the foundational digital skills in order to stay competitive. These new skill sets include but are not limited to using RSS feeds, search engine optimization, video production, and analyzing/monitoring metrics. Although digital media is important, companies should not solely concentrate on electronic communications at the expense of print or face-to-face communication. Each has a role and should be used accordingly.

While technology has made business communication easier and faster, at times communication is more distracting because of message overload. From constant emails to cell phones, instant communication can make it hard to focus on meeting deadlines so at times you need to turn off communication devices.

Is Corporate Reputation Important?

Corporate Reputation ManagementAccording to Tamara Gillis, author of the  IABC  Handbook of Organizational Communication, the term corporate reputation refers to how positively, or negatively, a company or similar institution is perceived by its key stakeholders. Corporate reputation, which is considered a soft or intrinsic concept, is important because it affects the efficiency and effectiveness of the way a company operates. Additionally, a good organizational reputation can increase competitive advantage because customers will be more loyal and may influence other potential customers by word of mouth. While some organizations place this intrinsic concept on the back burner to more critical matters, other businesses consider organizational reputation to be of great importance. This is especially true if their business is in the financial, legal, or medical arenas. These sectors proactively try and build their image and good will.

All organizations have the responsibility to operate in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Organizations must also have an economic and ethical responsibility. To enhance organizational reputation, a company’s level of corporate social responsibility can increase competitive advantage and attract customers.

Having a good organizational reputation has many benefits. Some of these benefits include but are not limited to: being able to attract and retain talent, being able to charge premium prices for products and services, being able to weather bad times, being able to attract investors, increasing market share, and gaining more favorable media coverage.

One thing is for sure, there is a high cost to pay for an organization losing their reputation, the good standing among stakeholders. Past experience has shown that a badly handled crisis can taint or potentially ruin a company such as the Exxon Valdez, BP, Arthur Andersen, and Enron incidents. A smaller organization could be devastated by loss of reputation. Conversely, the skillful handling of a major issue or crisis can maintain a good reputation. As history has shown, rebuilding a reputation is not easy and takes a lot of time. It is my belief that repairing a reputation is often harder than building reputation.

There are several measures that organizations can do to safeguard their reputation. Media and reputation perception audits should be conducted regularly. In addition, organizations need to frequently monitor the Internet for what is being said about them, their competitors and industry.

One of the most effective strategies for protecting corporate reputation is creating an early warning system that detects and tracks potential threats, and provides response-related policies and procedures, before the threat matures into a full-blown crisis. Giving in to the natural tendency to believe that a potential problem will dissipate over time has proven to be a fatal mistake for far too many companies. As the Internet has shown us, company crises live forever and are nearly impossible to erase.

Regularly and consistently communicating internally the importance of corporate reputation, and the company’s commitment to protecting it, is also important in ensuring that a positive reputation remains a priority for all employees and a core feature of the corporate culture.

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