When people think of human communication, they immediately think of written and spoken words. That’s certainly part of it, but humans communicate in so many other ways. A smile can express much more than a formal thank you note. And what a person says can be powerfully contradicted by their body language. After all, everybody who has ever been in a relationship knows that “It’s fine” does not actually mean that everything is fine. It’s the same with business communication. Everything is communication, not just the output of your (marketing) communication team.
Everything is communication
Corporate and marketing communication often gets narrowed down to intended communication. Our customers come to us for a website, video, brochure or press release that is just right. Of course we are happy to make those for you. However, engaging press releases, informative videos, glossy brochures, insta-ready photography, and a website with all the bells and whistles are just a part of how you interact with your stakeholders. These days, everything is communication. It’s…
- how you (don’t) engage with your customers on social media
- the free coffee for customers waiting in your store
- how your office looks
- the typos in your PowerPoint presentation
- how friendly your store manager treats customers and team members
- the long time people have to wait before someone at HQ answers the phone
Your brand is multidimensional and your intended (marketing) communications efforts are just one of those facets. You don’t want it to be the fake-looking one. Everything you do and say as a company sends a message. You need it to be the message you want to send.
If your intended and your day-to-day communication don’t match, you run into the issues of brand consistency and authenticity. A “professional-looking” website is useless if your customers go to your office and find it a mess. If you want to be known as a fun and friendly company, then be a fun and friendly company. If not, your customers will quickly realize it’s all just a front. Of course we will make a beautiful brochure for you. We just want to make sure it is part of a 360-degree brand experience that is authentic and consistent and that just connects with your stakeholders.
Map your brand impact
All of this means you do have to broaden your communication horizon. One of the first steps is to understand how your stakeholders experience your brand. Not simply to structure your sales funnel or build your website, but to get an idea of your overall communication footprint and impact. Does it reflect the experience you want your stakeholders to have with your brand? If not, structure every aspect of the way you work (and communicate) to reflect that image. Controlling every bit of communication within your organization might be a mission impossible. But understanding the scope of what and how you communicate will go a long way. Especially because customers and other stakeholders will realize and appreciate that you made an effort. And being known as a company that tries is never a bad thing.