Living things need to communicate. It is an intrinsic part of human interaction, engagement, connection and progress. Real people communicate, just like real brands.
Communication is just as important for businesses. This is not surprising, because organizations are not anonymous entities, but groups of real people who do things together. Communication within a company and with its audience must be effective. Effective communication is said to affect processes, efficiency and all layers of an organization. Effective communication improves employee relations.
Reports indicate that organizations with connected employees have a 25% productivity spike. 25%? That’s huge, think about the impact on revenue, goodwill, and business growth. Obviously, every business should prioritize communication; startups even more. The recent expose by a leading tech blog in Nigeria about a tech company and how this article spread into a viral hashtag on Twitter (#HorribleBosses) is a case in point of how important communication needs to be. taken more seriously, especially by tech startups.
If communication is so important, why is it so relegated?
Often this is due to a lack of appreciation or full understanding of how it can help the business. But that shouldn’t be the case. Communication can help build team bonds, position the business, get an appropriate description of the product/service, improve stakeholder relations, satisfy customers, and attract investors.
Startup founders and co-founders need to make communication an integral part of their business processes from the start.
It starts with an open trading environment where feedback and criticism are welcome. It covers delivering the company’s message through the right channels, media and at the right time.
A note of caution here, communication goes beyond sending out occasional press releases or posting on company social media pages to keep the public informed about the company. It should be 360 degrees; covering all key stakeholders, both internal and external. It must also be planned, coherent and strategic, with an emphasis on strategy. Strategic communication is basically making sure that the way you communicate (as a company or an individual) can get you from where you are to where you want to be. This is the total of all your communication efforts. It must align with your purpose, create synergies, enable and enhance connections.
In strategic communications, every piece of content you develop, every piece in the media, every event and engagement, and everything else you post needs to be consistent in messaging.
A new business today can fail if enough people are unaware of its existence or the function of its products and services. Communication is an indispensable part of business processes.
There are two parts of communication that a tech startup should always focus on: internal communication and external communication.
Internal communication is all about staying in touch with one of the company’s most critical stakeholders, employees and investors. Experts insist that open, clear and transparent internal communications can help keep the team inspired, engaged, educated and informed at all times. This naturally makes them feel valued, involved and motivated to work towards the common goal of the company.
Done well, internal communication can improve decision-making, boost employee productivity and increase company profitability. It improves the work environment leading to greater trust, more confidence and improved commitment.
Platforms for effective internal communication include, but are not limited to, intranet, internal newsletters, news hub, employee surveys, collaboration tools, social advocacy tools employees and instant messaging tools, among others.
With effective internal communication, employees become company advocates, ambassadors, and cheerleaders even when they leave the company for another.
In addition, the firm’s external audience is vast and important. Here we are talking about customers, media, competitors, the community, employees and potential investors, the financial community, the government and its agencies, the legislature and the general public. No company can afford to ignore these stakeholder groups. Effective external communication is what is needed to build the company’s reputation, position it in the market and also help overcome the inevitable crisis.
Here, the focus is on the right time, the right message and the right audience. You can’t afford to mix things up. Activities covered by external communications are blogging, crisis communications, digital and social media assistance, industry analysis, product/service launches, media monitoring and reporting, media, press releases, communication strategy, corporate communication, corporate publications and magazines, media training, briefings, interviews, press conferences and events.
• Tosin Adejuwon, a Lagos-based global PR consultant and social commentator, can be reached via [email protected]
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