By Nisha Kumari, Senior Consultant at Mavcomm Consulting, and Rachel Allerton, Account Manager at PLMR
As comms experts from either side of the world, we are not short on belief in the power of communications in helping to achieve our client’s business aims as well as brand objectives. Whether it is enhancing the profile of leaders, promoting exciting new products or services, influencing the political landscape or reputational management, integrated communication is a central pillar to any organisation.
Yet, it is clear that how we go about achieving these outcomes has changed over time and indeed geography.
While the days of printed papers are still very much with us, we are seeing how they now share their influence with new platforms, requiring us to embrace a 360 strategy. Mediums such as social media, podcasts and digital advertising are challenging the traditional spheres of influence. This means as comms experts we must maintain our relationships with leading journalists whilst also ensuring we are ahead of the curb for our clients, spotting the newest TikTok trend or securing interviews on the most talked about podcast series.
In addition, influencer engagement has become as crucial as a testimony to communicate positive messaging and spreading the word of mouth on different channels. Other new tactics are also being implemented within both respective agencies, including using strategic Freedom of Information requests and polling to source, uncover and promote novel information and worthy headlines.
Infographics and videos are also offering the opportunity to present key messages in different forms other than the written word. This is expanding the required skillsets of those in the industry and presenting opportunities for more visual information to take the front seat in campaigns.
In addition, we are seeing how these tactics are deployed differently across the globe. While for a few countries, WhatsApp is now one of the leading formal communication channels between employers and colleagues, emails still dominate this area of internal communications. Although these differences may reflect the needs of different communities and societies, it does offer a chance for comms professionals to share their experiences and learnings on a global scale to facilitate us in delivering new ideas back to our clients and ensure we are always innovating and challenging our ways of doing things.
Unlike previous eras, when communication was just about dissemination of information, a two-way communication channel has become crucial to interact with the consumer and enhance brand reputation. This is also the result of consumers being more aware and active today, again thanks to the changing communication space allowing consumers to participate and interact. Today, brands also have to be active listeners rather than information givers so that they can respond when someone reaches out to them on social media or elsewhere online.
These new mediums and tactics present exciting and varied opportunities for organisations to reach their existing customers as well as touch many more potential new audiences. However, it has inevitably shown the importance of a clear and cohesive communications strategy. A one-off feature in a leading title is no longer enough, a steady stream of communication must be achieved, providing the right content to the right audience on the right channels, whilst avoiding a scatter-gun approach.
The pandemic has opened doors for multiple channels and we see clients opting for an integrated communications team to handle both internal and external communications. As the role of internal communications increases post-pandemic, an integrated communication approach is the need of the hour to align the strategy for achieving different goals of the brand.
Whilst the how and where of communications is ever-changing, it is fascinating to see that communication itself remains ever-more important.