The Communications Discipline Is Ripe For Disruption

Photo of a businessman sat at a desk with two traditional telephones, one red and one black. Both handsets are raised and he doesn't know who to talk to first.

About 10 years ago, the marketing discipline began undergoing a fascinating transformation. Now, the corporate communications function is ready for change. John Box, Meltwater’s executive director for Asia-Pacific explains.

Marketing demand-generation went from an approach that was more art than science (relying on simple measures to demonstrate results), to using sophisticated methodologies and technology to accurately measure and help drive revenue to the bottom line.

The result was not only a complete change in the way marketing teams have operated, especially at a strategic level, but also a fundamental shift in their relationship with the rest of the business.

We have started to see similar changes in the corporate communications discipline. This has shifted from simply counting company mentions to a holistic approach. For example, benchmarking share of voice for a brand and multiple products and services have been incorporated in the day-to-day. Having said that though, corporate communications still has a way to go to making that same transformational shift we’ve seen in the marketing function. Most corporate communications strategies are still too tactical.

The overall communications industry however, has gone through a dynamic shift – in that the traditional media space enabled much more control over the message. In an online media environment, we have to actively listen to the broader conversations around us and respond in an authentic manner to help influence and shape the conversation.

This shift is forcing corporate communicators to think about their role in the organisation differently. Marketing has found a way to integrate itself into the bottom line. Corporate communicators are following suit.

It seems like a daunting task. There is good news though: technology is here to help make that transformation possible. Companies, like Meltwater, have simple but sophisticated tools that can measure and analyse reach, influence, tone and sentiment. They provide smart, contextual listening capabilities, and deliver a gold mine of targeted data to pull the needle out of the haystack.

Here are five key ways to make that transformation now:

  • Think strategically – not just tactically, by focusing on achieving outcomes instead of ‘check-box’ communications activities.
  • Embrace technology – and demand more from it to help make the job easier and focus on what really matters.
  • Leverage the key division intersections of the organisation – both in terms of activities and processes – alongside marketing.
  • Define what matters and how to accurately measure it. Build strategy within that framework.
  • Use media intelligence to deliver richer and more meaningful results that have a measurable impact on the business’ bottom line.

The corporate communications discipline is ripe for disruption. The opportunity to redefine the division is here – to establish a strategic and holistic influencer relationship management strategy. In doing so, corporate communications can become the last piece of the puzzle for marketing and a strategic contributor to the bottom line.

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