The Call of Corporate Communications

Human beings are communicative animals by nature, but we all like our communications in different ways. Some of us prefer to absorb our news through newsfeeds. Others are pretty religious about following multiple social media accounts. Some are even susceptible to the siren song of creative television commercials.

The point is that these days, you need to have your message appear just about everywhere in order to ensure it’s heard. It’s not about howling at the top of your lungs, but about taking a multi-prong approach that employs all of the tricks of the communications trade.

It used to be that things like advertising, PR and social media could be separated and placed into their own little boxes. But we’re far beyond that, now. As this recent article in Mashable suggests, yes, there are clear lines that can be drawn between these disciplines. Increasingly, however, those lines are becoming blurred.

The best and most successful corporate communications programs – the ones with the widest breadth – incorporate different aspects of advertising, PR and social. Advertising conveys brand; PR conveys messages; social conveys direct interaction. They all work in different ways, but towards a single goal. Perhaps that goal is to heighten awareness about a particular product. It could be to elevate awareness about a company and its services among key target audiences. It might even be to position a company’s executives as trusted authorities on particular types of subject matter.

However they work, they should not work in isolation. Each communications strategy – advertising, PR and social – should inform the other. The underlying messages that a social media team promotes via Twitter or Facebook should reflect the statements that are made by company executives in an interview, or through an ad’s tagline.

Having these disciplines work in tandem is important. It helps to create a brand awareness and understanding that crosses multiple channels. Someone who reads their news from Mashable might be able to see an article about a company’s latest product. They might also watch a video on one of their YouTube subscriptions that both advertises and illustrates said product, and could see a promoted Tweet that further cements that product in their consciousness.

To be sure, PR, advertising and social all offer very different approaches toward reaching audiences. Ultimately, though, they’re all trying to convey the same things, just in various formats. That’s why each communication discipline should share the same DNA, even if they might be completely different animals.