What is the Purpose of Coroprate Communication Strategies?
By Nicolas Pagniez
What are people talking about in 2019? And how? These are two questions that were answered by Content Factory as we decoded the latest trends in corporate communication. The role and objectives of corporate communications are more clearly defined in companies, according to Harris Interactive’s 8th corporate communications survey. As a result, corporate communications departments have about fifteen different goals related to global communications management, events, e-reputation and crisis management.
According to the communications professionals surveyed in this study, their three main goals are:
- ensuring the company’s good reputation;
- clearly communicating the company’s goals;
- promoting its business.
To meet these three main goals, the most common corporate communications themes are respectively transformation and innovation, followed by product and service quality and company values. The survey also shows that companies are less inclined to communicate about their social policy, their financial results or even sustainable development.
When it comes to the media used, there is a correlation between substance and form. Companies use innovative media to communicate on the theme of innovation or service quality. Video is chosen by almost 97% of companies. Events, both internal and external, are the second most popular corporate communication channel, while the use of traditional print (external newspaper, report, etc.) has been dropping continuously. Internally, the use of mobile applications and CSNs (corporate social networks) is on the rise.
In terms of substance, a 2018 study commissioned by Edelman Earned Brand shows that nearly two-thirds of French consumers choose a brand that produces engaging content. Corporations generate engagement in two ways: by using the right media and choosing the right topic of communication. Below is a description of some of the trends.
A closer look at quality content
Although content snacking will remain popular for some time to come, corporations are starting to shift towards longer content with high added value. Corporations have understood the benefits of returning to formats and content based on actual editorial choices. This has resulted in new print and video formats alternating between short and long content, storytelling and factual communication.
For example, to communicate about its teams and what goes on behind the scenes, AccorHotels decided to publish a beautiful book about its teams’ daily activities. Likewise, Total has published “Au coeur de la machine,” a kind of graphic novel highlighting its employees. According to the AACC (Association of Consulting and Communication Agencies), the choice of a beautiful print production is a reaction to our current digital overload, a kind of break from the news feed frenzy.
But this trend of creating refined formats isn’t limited to print. Video is another popular format for corporate communications when it comes to reporting on an important company topic or showing what goes on behind the scenes. Other long formats also attract the attention of target audiences, like tutorials, live streaming and other explanatory videos that go beyond the company that created them. Some examples of this are inspirational videos or those that provide advice shared by experts in beauty, luxury, well-being or leisure.
Influencer communication, useful despite a lack of development
While many communications departments are still forging ahead by trial and error in this area, there is a growing number of successful examples of company/influencer collaborations that illustrate the added value of this new type of influencer communication. But in the world of fashion, beauty and tourism, where influencers are increasingly used for product placement, this new kind of marketing is expanding to highlight the value of brands, as shown by the partnerships established by Sofinco for improving the image of consumer credit, by Isagri for recruiting developers, or by MAAF for promoting prevention.
In addition, the real novelty in this area is the co-creation of content and the identification of new types of influencers called “micro-” and “nano-influencers,” who have smaller audiences but allow more targeted communication and more engagement.
This influencer communication should be accompanied by social listening. Social media have also reshuffled the cards in terms of media relations. Brands now need to be able to whisper to communities. To do this, social listening is an essential way to understand the company’s reputation and the relationship between its communities and its brand.
Expanding beyond traditional corporate communications styles
It would be an exaggeration to say that companies are communicating about everything in 2019. However, communication topics are constantly expanding. The idea is to engage in conversation with consumers on their favourite topics or to highlight the expertise of employees and their high level of integration in the company.
Certain companies even decide to communicate on sensitive topics. Some examples of this are the SNCF and RATP (French public transport companies), which decided to improve their brand image by sharing educational material. The renovation of the RER (regional express network) line A, for example, was accompanied by a massive communications strategy. Numerous videos, social media posts and articles written on a dedicated blog were shared by the companies to curb consumer dissatisfaction. Similarly, in one of the latest editions of its magazine, the SNCF devoted lengthy articles to some electrical incidents that affected its service in Montparnasse and an accident that occurred in Millas. The era of press releases and official announcements seems to be long gone.
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