We all know that communications, as we have known if for so many decades, has fundamentally changed. The digitalization has made it possible. It empowers us, individuals and communities. To speak up, oppose or support. Corporates blasting out their marketing messages will find it hard to be heard. Those who neglect the exchange and avoid the listening mode will fail to win advocates. But what's the essence of these changes and how does it impact the way we lead - as a leader or communicator or both? Here are four thoughts on this.
1. COMMUNICATIONS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. IT'S ABOUT THE OTHERS.
This is the most misinterpreted and neglected one at the same time. It is a result of the tremendous shift communications has gone through. Some years ago, companies used to stand on the top of the marketing mountain shooting their product canticles unfiltered to their target groups. And they were (if willingly or not) prepared to consume whatever was delivered. These times are over. Communities, individuals, society and related desires are at the forefront. They rule and determine the effect of your content communication and corporate communication. 50% of all content a corporate produces ideally deals with those debates, society and communities consider important. A 100% self-focus would lead to a boring outside image, less credibility and authenticity. Finally, your audience would eventually turn their back on you. So corporate must always balance their contents thoroughly out.
2. COMMUNICATIONS DOES NOT SUPPORT YOUR STRATEGIES. IT MANAGES THEM.
Communications is a synonym for leadership. Quite simply for the reason that it literally leads your business. It is not a function that can be turned on and off and get reactivated when needed. The former press officer or spokesperson begins to vanish with the Communications Manager climbing up the C-level. They have a concrete business role to fulfil. Communications informs the strategic decision-making and vice versa. It becomes a business enabler, not a prolonged mouthpiece for bad news.
3. COMMUNICATIONS IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL BUSINESS TOOLS.
In fact, it is as vital as a profound business strategy. It can increase your visibility, enhance the public perception, protect against crises. And finally, it gets your product rolling. It connects. And it divides when not used in the right way. Crafting overarching effective communications strategies and finding the right words at the right time and place is one of the most difficult things in business and personal life. It is a true art. And yet, it determines whether we succeed or fail in reaching our objectives.
4. COMMUNICATIONS OR PR IS NOT MARKETING.
Both disciplines follow the same objectives: to bring your business to success. But they have very differing sub-objectives that are triggered through different approaches. While Communications or Public Relations are concerned with building a strong reputation, establishing lasting ties and profound relationships with key stakeholder groups other than customers, Marketing will be looking at how to promote the company’s product best, raise sales and increase the customer base. So whereas Communications tries to create a credible picture of a good corporate player and increase the overall reputation, Marketing Managers will seek to sell products with the help of the respective tools. This distinction is often neglected leading to a misused communications discipline. However, both elements are strongly interlinked with each other. They work hand in hand and sometimes are complementary. For companies, it is important to shed light on the roles of both disciplines and make them transparent and comprehensive.