When you’re a business owner, you have to communicate. Business partners, customers and employees expect information, advice and guidance from you. Business communication has two definitions or at least two different targets: one is facing outward (this is the business communication as such) and the other works internally (this is the corporate communication). Your communication strategy must therefore be deployed to different types of interlocutors. However, in all circumstances, it must adopt a “tone” and an image that are unique to you and set you apart from others, because they participate in the construction of your identity and your corporate culture. Let’s take a closer look!
Internal communication of the company
The objectives of corporate communication
Imagine your business is a building. Is it a building made up of partitioned studios, with after-sales service on the ground floor, invoicing on the fifth and production on the tenth? All without a lift… Or is it a single storey house in which the services work around a large living room?
Without going into the often overplayed fantasy of “the company is a big family”, we must insist on the importance of communication in a company. All human groups need to communicate. This favors a lot of positive levers: solidarity in the face of obstacles, problem solving, creativity through exchange, motivation to come to work and therefore commitment and productivity.
Communication techniques in business
There needs to be a permanent link between the administrative, technical and commercial services. Depending on the size of your business, it can take various forms.
- The oral form, the informal discussion, the meetings are conducive to discussion and brainstorming. In addition, they promote people and are therefore warmer than written communications.
- The mails, notes and couriers are essential in the day-to-day management of businesses.
- The reports, circulars, notice and bulletins of various kinds make it possible to disseminate directives from top to bottom (from the company manager to his employees), but also from the bottom up (to raise problems and share the lived experience of the different departments).
The types of business communication have varied greatly in recent decades. If once the norm was one-way top-down communication, many start-ups, for example, use horizontal corporate communication, which removes hierarchical relationships. The way we communicate within a company says a lot about its values and plays a lot in the emergence of a corporate culture.
How to establish effective communication?
You must first visualize your organization and target your needs. What are the priority current transmissions? Are they only virtual or do we also need to provide logistics for equipment or products? If you have a restaurant that emphasizes the freshness of its ingredients and renews its menu every day according to arrivals, communication between your suppliers, your chef and perhaps an employee responsible for “shopping” is essential and also involves daily handling.
In addition, several phenomena can prevent good communication and they must be identified and understood in order to be combated.
- The personal considerations employees, collaborators or managers. It can be resentment or jealousy, reproaches, all kinds of feelings that generate disagreements and prevent any effective collaboration. The transparent communication is essential in this context.
- The loss of information. It is not voluntary when it is due to too many intermediaries or hierarchical levels. Pay attention to the organizational scheme of your structure!
- The fear of hierarchy. If you’ve established top-down communication, be careful not to cut yourself off from your employees!
External corporate communication
Let’s come back to your business-home-or-building. How does it communicate to the outside? Are its windows and doors open to the world? Is it well established in its environment?
The objectives of corporate communication
I am sure that the importance of external communication in a company appears much more clearly to you than that of internal communication, which is more confidential. You know that you need to make yourself known and to be appreciated by your customer segment. Your communication is used to promote the assets that set you apart from your competitors.
External communication is intended for both:
- to the clients and to prospects (whether you are in B2B or B2C);
- to the media (through press releases, press conferences, etc.);
- to the investors, shareholders and others Commercial Partners.
How to develop effective commercial communication?
Your commercial communication can (and should) develop on several different channels. And, on each of these channels, it must showcase your corporate identity. There should be no mismatch between, for example, your weekly newsletter and your flyer. Between the tone of your blog and that of your social networks. Etc. Going further, we can say that this corporate identity must be revealed even on the phone and in oral conversations! Besides, communication is not just about marketing, even if it is in this field that it is deployed the most. All the departments of your company that are in contact with the public (invoicing, assistance, etc.) are concerned.
It is therefore essential to have a good understanding of your corporate identity (I have already spoken about it in this article on business strategy). Then you can develop a suitable communication strategy. Who are you talking to ? What results do you want to achieve? What channels do you use? How often do you communicate? What is your budget ? You must answer all of these questions before you start.
The tools of your external communication
Image and text are the two complementary elements of your corporate communication.
Take care of the design on all your media, whether physical or digital. Graphics, colors and fonts can become a vector of identity and recognition for people outside your company. Of course, this is even more true for your logo.
The text and language of your company also allow you to characterize you.
Think about this when designing your online marketing strategy. Harmonize digital communication and traditional communication to deploy your business on all channels!
Internal communication and external communication have different objectives but are essential in a company. The second is often conceptualized as an elaborate marketing strategy, but the first is sometimes forgotten, which can be damaging. Don’t make this mistake!
Do you need a fresh look at your entrepreneurial project or your fledgling business? Contact me for a free phone or video appointment !