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What is Corporate Communications?

Wake360 2023 students listen to a panel discussion on AI

For any business or organization, effective communication is critical. The term “communication” often serves as a catch-all phrase that can mean anything from how customers learn about your products or services to how executives inform investors about important organizational developments. 

Keeping up with the demands of communication internally and externally requires many businesses to lean on a corporate communications department. These professionals possess a unique skill set that spans across verticals. 

Corporate communications encompasses the strategies businesses and organizations use to communicate with their various audiences, including:

  • Customers
  • Potential customers
  • Employees
  • Key stakeholders
  • Media
  • General public 

What is the Function of Corporate Communications?

Because of the range of audiences, corporate communications will look different based on each situation. 

Let’s examine the various corporate communications functions based on their goals and target audience.

Internal Communications 

A critical function of any corporate communications team is strategizing and executing any strategies with the workforce to maintain employee relations and streamline work for optimal performance. As companies shifted to virtual and hybrid work models, internal communication is more essential now than ever before. 

Some techniques and roles associated with this function include:

  • Announcing company news via email or memos 
  • Compiling and maintaining updated employee resources (employee handbook, benefits guide, etc.)
  • Facilitating group brainstorming sessions and training sessions amongst employees

Many of these tasks are often completed with the support of the human resource department. 

Public Relations 

Communicating with the media and the general public falls under the public relations (PR) function of corporate communications. A PR team is tasked with executing strategies to manage and regulate the company’s public perception. 

This involves:

  • Organizing news conferences, product launches, and interviews
  • Writing and distributing press releases when appropriate
  • Keeping an eye on the news for mentions of the organization 
  • Developing a plan to handle any poor press coverage or misinformation 

As a result of the changing media landscape, PR professionals must now fuse traditional skills with modern tools in order to create a consistent narrative and reach the right audiences. 

Crisis Communications 

The majority of the time a corporate communications team is proactive, except in the case of a crisis. In today’s world, all brands are susceptible to controversies that require crisis communications strategies.

These are strategies you would need to respond to any of the following scenarios:

  • Product failure or recall 
  • Cyber attack
  • Lawsuits 
  • Poor press coverage of employees or leadership

Falling within the realm of PR, a crisis communications team is committed to managing an organization’s response to any type of catastrophic event.

Customer Communications 

The line between the marketing and communications department is often blurry. While many businesses still differentiate between the two, in recent years, it has become clear that they should not be siloed from one another. Corporate communications strategies often impact the business’s marketing strategy and vice versa. 

As a result, more and more communications department are collaborating with their marketing peers to generate various materials and communications, including:

  • Marketing emails
  • Brochures or flyers
  • Newsletters
  • Website copy
  • Social media strategy 

How to Pursue a Career in Corporate Communications

An undergraduate degree in communications, marketing, or other related field will help you get your foot in the door at an organization. From there, it’s important to continue to develop your skills and expertise in order to qualify for manager and senior-level positions.

With a Master of Communications from Wake Forest University School of Professional Studies, you will learn from industry experts and build a toolbox of market-related skills to advance your career in corporate communications. 

Learn more about our online Master of Communications program today.