The role of communications varies from one company to another, depending on the company culture, industry and life cycle stage. What is common is that communications touch nearly everyone in the organisation. This is how we as consultants see it.
Our assignments come from our clients’ management and experts, sometimes also from the board or the owners. All of them weigh communications from their own point of view.
Management teams sometimes ponder the role of communications and marketing against production, finance, sales, development, HR and other functions. However, someone must take responsibility for them.
Experts see communications as a means of promoting a product or knowhow. Business line directors think about their market shares and the firm’s credibility, and they want to promote them through communications.
For the CEO, communications is a tool to build the company’s reputation, awareness and employer image. Sometimes it feels that communications help CEOs to take a moment to look at their company from outside.
When boards participate in communications planning, we are usually talking about big issues – getting prepared for a crisis, merger or other significant change. External advice is sought for sparring and second opinion, but usually board members significant experience in communications as well. Workshops with the client’s board are always exciting experiences.
Big fish rise to the surface only when something extraordinary is about to take place. The owner speaks to a communications consultant when all the value-generating forces of the company are needed. Their objectives are clear, their assignments often confidential and, therefore, the work is very meaningful. Increasing the value of a business always creates jobs and tax revenue. The owner will benefit, and so will the society.
As communications planners and craftspeople, we consider all of these situations to be of equal importance. Without products and know-how there can be no growth, market share, reputation nor increase in value. Therefore, communications stands firmly on the management agenda.