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Corporate Communications: Study Guide

by: Aria Notetaker

Corporate Communications: Study Guide STCM 21100 01

Marketplace > Ithaca College > STCM 21100 01 > Corporate Communications Study Guide
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About this Document

This study guide covers everything from Chapter 1 through 10 in our Corporate Communication text by Argenti. Also includes diagrams and major key points from the lecture in class.
Corporate Communication: Strategy and Design
Professor Sterbenk
Study Guide
Corporate, communication, strategy, Design, crisis, Government, internal, external, international relations, Social Responsibility, Identity, image, reputation, brand, ithaca, ithacacollege
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This 15 page Study Guide was uploaded by Aria Notetaker on Sunday May 8, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to STCM 21100 01 at Ithaca College taught by Professor Sterbenk in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 33 views.


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Date Created: 05/08/16
  Chapter 1: The Changing Environment for Business  Main focus question: ​How to compete in a changing business environment  How To Compete in a Changing Environment:   ● Recognize the Changing Environment ​ ­ managers need to realize the business  environment is constantly changing.  ● Adapt to the Environment without Compromising Principles​  ­companies must adapt to  the changing environment without changing what they stand for or compromising their  principles.  ● Don’t assume problems will magically disappear ­ ​ assume things will get worse in this  complex environment, especially the ever growing media and online communication  platforms.  ● Keep Corporate Communication Connect to Strategy ​ ­ corporate communication must  be closely linked to a company’s overall vision and strategy. A Lot don’t hire the high  quality staff that they need in this department. Success ­ is based on the companies that  have structure ­ communication directly to the CEO ­ advantage being this kind of  reporting relationship is that the communications professional can get the company’s  strategy directly from those at the top of the organization.     POWERPOINT:   Biggest challenges corporate communicators today?  Uncertainty –​ constantly changing landscape – technology, competitors,  industry standards, consumer whims  Globalization – how do you “target” global audiences  24/7 communications ​ – resourcing to monitor and respond  Government policies ​ – privacy, copyright/intellectual property  Information overload –​  how to break through the clutter (internally +  externally)  Executive counsel ​– getting a seat at the table + keeping it so you have a  voice in organizational decisions  Consumers desire for transparency + authenticity­​  takes a lot of work + a  lot of convincing  Work/Life balance​ ­ competitive environments, 24/7 communications  Trust issues – Many people don’t trust organizations    Conclusion ­​ the business environment is constantly changing. Everyone in the business today,  whether at a large corporation with a national union to deal with or a small business looking to  make its mark in the international arena, needs to communicate strategically.   The way organizations adapt and modify their behavior, as manifested through their  communications, will determine the success of American business in the 21st century            Chapter 2 ­ Communicating Strategically  Main focus: Figure 2.2 ­ Expanded Corp Communication Strategy Framework (page 43)      Corporate Messaging ­ Make your core messages relevant, concise, clear, credible    POWERPOINT AND NOTES:   What is Strategic communication:​  “communication aligned with the company’s overall strategy  to enhance its strategic positioning”   An effective strategy should encourage a company to send messages that are clear and  understable , true and communication with passion, strategically repetitive and  repeated and consistent.     Communication Theory:   Aristotle ­ three parts.  1. speaker ­ corporation  2. subject ­ message to be conveyed  3. person ­ group the message is being delivered to    Figure 2.1 ­ Corporate Communication Strategy Framework (page 31)  The corporation →  communicates through messages → to its constituencies → who then  respond to → the corporation.     Effective Organization Strategy  1. Diagnose ​reputation​ and credibilit (constantly)  2. Determine ​ objectives​based on research  3. Determine r esources ​(money, people, and time)    Individual credibility : rank, goodwill, expertise, image and common ground  Business credibility: reputation, strong/ethical leadership, financial performance, community  presence and goodwill, etc.       Chapter 3 ­ Overview of the Corporate Communication Function  Main focus:​ centralization, decentralization, function report, external consultants, subfunctions.   Centralization: keeps all communications under one senior officer.              Decentralization: ​ allows individual business units to handle communications        Where should the function report? (​page 53)  ● A high percentage of the average CEO’s time is spent communicating  ● CEOs generally devote their time to communicating their company’s strategic plan,  mission, operating initiatives, and community involvement both internally and  externally.  ● The CEO should be the person most involved with both developing the overall strategy  for communications and delivering consistent messages to constituencies.  ● Overall ­​Direct line to the CEO.  CEO/Chief Executive Officer → Vice President (Marketing, Production, Finance, Corp Comm,  HR, Counsel) → Director (Media Relations, Investor Relations, Internal Communication,  Corporate Responsibility).     Working with external consultants?   External PR and Communication Agencies:  ● provide additional arms and legs  ● complement internal capabilities  ● provide strategic and/or market  insight and experience  ● offer unique expertise  ● objective point of view  ● Resources in geographies or  markets where needed  ● Limit on internal head count  ● Cheaper than adding staff  ● Provide expertise in digital/social  media  ● Ability to quantify results      Subfunctions/Practice Areas of Corp Communications    “Corporate communications departments play a key role in how investors, employees and the  general public perceive a company. They often report directly to a company’s chief executive  officer and serve as advisers in managing a company’s reputation”    Corporate Communication​  is made up of any or all of these functions, all working together to  support the business goals and mission of the organization. Often also called PR.     Chapter 4 ­ Identity, Image, Reputation and Corp Advertising  Main focus:​  definitions, importance of reputation  Identity ­ Physical manifestation of a company through logos, mottos, brands, messages,  services and other tangibles. Best if used consistently. Identity is created by the organization  and it is completely controlled by the organization.  Image ­ ​How a customer views a company and its products or services, looking at things like  quality, value, variety and the shopping experience. From the potential buyer’s perspective:  “What’s in it for me?”  Reputation ­  ​Built over time. Public opinion about the company’s actions, such as, CSR,  community building, corporate culture, policy, job creation, and citizenship. What do they think  of the company vs. its products?    Factors contributing to an image:​  Word­of­mouth, Interactions with employees, Quality of  products/services, Personal understanding of the product or service, and Perception or  reception of logo and other parts of identity    * Image is a brand differentiator.     Importance of Reputation:  ● Customer retention  ● Financial investment  ● Employee retention  ● Benefit of doubt in crisis  “Reputation is based on the perceptions of ​ allof an organization’s constituencies. Thus  reputation is an outcome, and as a result, cannot really be ‘managed’ in any way.”    ­Argenti  Side note:   ­ In assessing its reputation, an organization must examine the perceptions of all its  constituencies  ­ Employees can be a good starting point ­ to understand the company’s mission and  values  ­ Customer perceptions of an organization also must align with the organization's  identity, vision, and values.  Reputation is built: through positive public relations, thought leadership, and corporate  advertising.           Chapter 5 ­ Corporate Social Responsibility  Main focus: ​ CSR, makes up CSR Program, NGOs   What is a CSR?   Corporate Social Responsibility ­  are companies effort to win the trust and loyalty of  constituents around the world.   Describes an organization’s respect for society interests, as demonstrated by taking  ownership of the effect its activities have on key constituencies, including customers,  employees, shareholders, communities, and the environment, in all parts of its  operations.   Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means operating a business in a manner that accounts for  the social and environmental impact created by the business.     ● Environment & sustainability issues  ● Community service  ● Treatment of employees  ● Donations  ● Ethical sourcing of product    What makes up a CSR Program?   Why do companies practice CSR?   1. Business­ based social purpose  ­ Good csr is good business  2. Clear theory of change  ­ Make investors happy  3. Quality and depth of info  ­ Trust building  4. Concentrated effort  ­ Employee attraction and retention  5. Partnering with experts  ­ Strong government relations  ­ Brand differentiation    What are NGOs?  Nongovernmental Organizations  Any non­profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or  international level. Usually set up by ordinary citizens,​ NGOs​  may be funded by  governments, foundations, schools, businesses, or private people.    How can NGOs affect corporations?   (according to text, page 110) ­ they are implementing community programs and partnerships  with NGOs and most innovatively, are adapting their own business models to be more  responsible and sustainable.   ­ Promote socially responsible activities and partner with corporate communications  ­ They have expertise in the number of csr areas.     Chapter 6  ­ Media Relations  Main focus: ​paid, earned, owned, shared media, how to work with media    The media ­ investors, employees, customers, and community members receive information  about and form images of a company.     Earned ­ ​ media relations, blogger relations, influencer relations  Paid ­ advertising,  banner ads, google adwords  Owned ­​  website, blog, content  Shared ­​ social media word of mouth referrals    Who is the media? Journalists, bloggers, social media influencer, 10 year old with a  smartphone.     How to work with media?   ­ Be respectful and expect respect  ­ Act quickly  ­ Give them a story and information they can use  ­ Do your research and know what they want  ­ Prep your interviewees    Corporate Spokespeople:​  Start with an institutional message platform, Media train your  spokespeople, and Prep them for each interview w/info about the journalist + w/key messages      Storytelling & Thought Leadership ­ Non chapter  What is corporate storytelling?   ­ is the process of using business narrative to  make your message memorable. Humans are  wired to communicate using stories and have  for centuries.  ­ (see the umbrella statement image) ­ basic story arc of exposition → rising action →  climax → resolution.  ­ Content is king ­ storytelling is one aspect of content marketing  ­ Kind of stories to tell ­ reason for being, main characters, giving back, story behind  prodcuts, trends you take advantage off  Example: employees, corp comm dept, and customers can tell your story     What is thought Leadership?  ­ Positioning yourself or your company as a leading expert on a specific topic, with the  ultimate goal of supporting your brand, your mission, your corporate narrative  Example: Michelle Obama/FLOTUS­ healthy eating and exercise.     How can you effectively use both for your organization?   ­ Make media/social media impact  ­ Engage employees and/or customers  ­ Launch a product or a company  ­ Increase brand awareness  ­ Demonstrate the organization commitment to a cause    Chapter 7 ­ Internal Communications  Main focus​ : change management, internal comm manager, tools, employee engagement    Change Management​  ­ leadership, branding, strategy, new processes or tools, new policies,  restructuring and/or layoffs, mergers, anything that disrupts the status quo.  Reg. definition ­ the management of change  and development within a business or similar  organization.  Additive change: l​ ess drastic, an addition or  update of old ways  Substitive change:​  more drastic, departure  from old ways  What happens when you don’t manage  change well? Rumors, miscommunication, employee dissatisfaction or brand confusion, and  fear    Internal Communication:   Tools:  ● Provides relevant information to  employees  ● ​Informal discussions with employees  and supervisors  ● Build the internal brand  ● ​Intranet  ● Communicate changesto the  ● ​Internal social networks like Yammer  company (esp. As they affect the  ● ​Project management software like  employee)  Basecamp  ● Make employees feel valued  ● ​Printed newsletters  ● Addresses issues  ● ​Staff meetings/town hall  ● ​Email  ● Develop employment engagement  strategies  ● ​Video  ● ​Digital signage or posters  ● Manage change   *this is typically a separate department  with a close connection with HR ­ Internal  Comm Manager*           Employee Engagement:   ­ Employee engagement is important  ­ There’s a strong correlation b/n a company employee engagement rating and financial  performance.   Engaged employees are involved inenthusiasti about and committed ​to their  work and workplace. Gallup categorizes workers as "engaged" based on their  ratings of key workplace elements that predict organizational performance  outcomes, such asproductivity, profitabi andcustomer engagement​ .  Engaged employees drive the innovation, growth and revenue that their  companies need​.  Benefit: if the employees are happy, it will reflect on their performance and attitude about the  job which will have an impact on consumers.     Chapter 8 ­ Investor Relations  Main focus: definition of and related to investor relations, reg FD, public and private company  What is Investor relations?  A strategic management responsibility that integrates finance, communication,  marketing and securities law compliance to enable the most effective two­way  communication between a company, the financial community, and other constituencies,  which ultimately contributes to a company’s securities achieving fair valuation.  What do Investor relation professionals do?  Position the company to compete effectively for investors capital  ­ Explain company’s visions and potential to investors and intermediaries  ­ Ensure the expectation of a company’s stock price are appropriate  ­ Reduce stock price volatility    Definitions related to investor relations:  Regular fair disclosure prohibits companies from disclosing material nonpublic information to  the investment community that has not already been disclosed to the general public.   Basically ­The rule mandates that all publicly traded companies must disclose material  information to all investors at the same time”.   Institutional investo­pension funds, mutual funds, insurance companies, endowment funds,  and banks.  Retail investor individual shareholders  Sell­side analystsexperts who cover stocks with certain industries and generate “buy”, “sell”,  or “hold” recommendations.   Rating agencies  organizations that analyze companies with a specific focus on  creditworthiness  Buy­ side analysts experts who work for money management firms and research companies  for their institutions investment portfolios.     Private company  Privately held by individual or group of private investors.  Uber is a private company.  ■​No individual investors, not publicly traded  ■​Not required to have a board of directors (though some, like Uber, do)  ■​Not subject to Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD) or Securities and Exchange (SEC) oversight    Public company  A company that has sold a portion of itself to the public via an initial public offering (IPO) of  some of its stock, meaning shareholders have claim to part of the company's assets and profits.  ■​Has institutional and individual investors, publicly traded  ■​Must  have a board of directors  ■​Subject to SEC oversight and Reg FD    Chapter 9 ­ Government Relations  Main focus: definitions related, what do Government relations professionals do?    Government Relations aka Public Affairs:  ● Government influences business activities primarily through regulation.  ● Government relations is a way of ​influencing government​ about issues important to  business or other constituencies and about the potential consequences of legislation.  ● Corporate government relations executives also ​provide recommendations ​ to business  and industry leaders about the governmental process and recommendations on how to  interact with politicians. (OftenPublic Affairfunction)  ● Organizes public and political support around key issues, maintains corporate  relationships with politicians, applying business and marketing techniques to politics to  influence policymakers  In Corp Comm:​  can be a separate department, outsourced to a public affairs firm, combination  of both, one person or a whole department.   Regulations: rules enacted by regulatory agencies to carry out the purposes of specific laws  enacted by the legislature. Can come from all levels of government, federal, state, and local.     Regulatory agency:  governmental body created by a legislature to implement and enforce  these specific laws.   Coalition building:working together with like companies to influence politicians. Can be ad hoc  or established industry associations, like Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).  CEO influence: personal relationships built + maintained by company leadership  Lobbying: any activity aimed at promoting or securing the passage of specific legislation  through coordinated communications with lawmakers.  Often involves $ donations.  Political Action Committees (PACS): a political committee organized by industries or companies  for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates.  Customer Petitions: engaging consumers in the discussion     Examples:   Federal regulatory agency ­ EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)  State “ “ ­ Board of Education  Local “ “ ­ Taxi Commission  Federal govt regulations ­ 2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)    Chapter 10 ­ Crisis Communication  Main focus: characteristics, issue, types, prioritize crisis planning  A crisis ­ a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.  You can’t predict it but you can prepare  for it.     Crisis Characteristics:  ­ The element of surprise (leads to loss of control)  ­ Insufficient information  ­ Quick pace of events  ­ Intense scrutiny    How an issue turns into a crisis:  An issue: an unsettled matter which  is ready for a decision  Issues management: strategic  process of detecting and responding  appropriately to emerging trends of  changes.  *when an issue remains unsettled,  it can become a crisis*    Diagram shows the development of  a crisis →       Types of Crisis:      Prioritize for crisis planning:  ­ Who will lead during a fast unfolding crisis?  Who will be part of the team?  ­ Set your ‘credo” for crisis and ensure all parties are committed (legal and senior execs)  ­ How will you communicate internally? Crisis team and staff  ­ “ “ “ “ externally? Cusomers, investors, media, govt.   ­ Channels for communcating each audience, quickly!  ­ Central location for digital and hard copy crisis plans and docs    Managing during a crisis:  ­ Contral what you can  ­ Be transparents without giving out false or personal info   ­ Monitor everything, all the time  ­ Be responsive and correct false info  ­ Tell your own story, but only the facts you know    Post Crisis:  ­ Set a date to “return to normal”  ­ Continue to monitor and responds  ­ Make plans to avoid another crisis  ­ Be sensitive ­ people have long memories about large scale tragedies.    


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