I like structure, order and consistency. I also like chaos. One provides stability, the other a challenge. In the corporate business world, we often see both: longer periods of relative stability and continuity with brief interjections of chaotic episodes that help make the business world a bit more of a challenge, a bit more fun, especially from a communications perspective. Businesses need to communicate, and there are no shortage of groups within most organizations that can be leveraged, including Public Relations, Analyst Relations, Marketing, Sales, etc. I typically view corporate communications as falling into one of three categories:
- Corporate-Focused messaging, where the company is focused on corporate stability, overall market direction (and domination) and the ability to be a long-term, reliable brand,
- Product/Service-Focused messaging, designed to promote the merits and/or value of a particular product or service, and
- Feel-good messaging, where the company is trying to promote the overall business, or the “brand” – often through a hybrid combination of Corporate and Product/Service messaging, and typically through cause-based efforts (“we’re so committed to this cause, that we’ll donate $$$ for every product you buy…”).
- Have they anticipated probable or likely disruptive events?
- Do they have contingency plans in place to make sure the right message gets out, to the right audience through the right vehicle?
- Are they monitoring what their customers are saying about them (in all of the various mediums) and are they tailoring their message accordingly?
- Do they have the ability to bounce back from a chaotic episode without scars and a damaged reputation?