If everything around us has evolved, communication is one of the sectors in which we can see it most. The communication media of 2 years ago are obsolete, films in the cinema are outdated, films from five years ago are outdated, the way our presidents express themselves changes every five years, the company’s website has a lifetime of 2/3 years! The old com’ is no more! In what way does yesterday’s communication no longer have a place in the company? What is the link with economic intelligence? Rapid decoding of the challenges of today’s communication and the skills to be acquired in order to communicate well tomorrow.
The communication has changed a lot
First” products and services. When we think of communication, we think of making a target group buy a product or service, or increasing their notoriety. Still too many companies (small and large) have difficulty seeing the added value of such a service. For many managers, it is difficult to measure the return on investment of communication in any media. Rational leaders want to know for every €1 invested how much they earn. Giving little importance to communication, they relegate it to the forefront, even though it is a formidable weapon in the service of the company.
The problem comes either from a lack of understanding of the issues of the leaders, or from “Dir com'” who continue to do communication as we used to do. Either “old school” (using old communication tools with a less “offensive” and current communication strategy) or “push and pull” (i.e. pushing products and attracting customers). This application of the communication in the existing competitive context is no longer sufficient.
If the arrival of digital technology was the first “revolution” for communication managers, it is obvious that in the face of the multiplication of potential crises to which companies are exposed, only those who will integrate “Crisis Communication” into their knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills will make the difference with others.
The bosses in the front line: Mark Zuckerberg having to explain himself to the American Congress, Carlos Ghosn imprisoned in Japan, Spanghero’s leaders in front of the press, all examples that show that today, no one and no company is immune to a destabilizing crisis. The boss is a “product” that “sells” itself and influences the company’s image and turnover!
Employees also participate in the company’s communication. Either negatively with the history of suicides at France Telecom, or positively by highlighting people and working conditions (Great place to work ranking), or by developing “employee advocacy” because employees are indeed the first ambassadors of a company.
Faced with accusations, threats, and scandals, companies have two attitudes: to suffer or to act.
“Submit”, such as the story of the torn shirt of the Air France HR manager, or a food scandal at Lactalis. All these elements show that communication today is no longer just about selling!
In the first case (sudden communication), we will see again and again companies, even world leaders like Lactalis, getting involved in crisis communication as we should not do. Proof that communicating well at this level is not a matter of financial and human resources but of awareness of the issues at stake. We will also continue to see share prices of listed companies drop sharply, and in terms of pure communication, the company’s reputation and image will be significantly altered.
Either in the other case, “Act”, the company considers communication as the armed arm of the company. It professionalizes its directors to speak in public, gives time and tools, sets up a dedicated watch on the company, its products, services, managers and competitors… By detecting weak signals on the market, the company knows how to position itself, to differentiate itself. It knows how to detect threats and anticipate them in order to be better and more operational on the day of a crisis management, to ultimately lose less credibility but also and above all, in terms of turnover, market share and trust with its suppliers and customers.
Being a Communication Manager in today’s company means having a transversal vision of the company in its environmental context. From purchasing to general management, the various departments, distribution channels, customers, the company’s values, its employees and everything that can affect the company and, conversely, benefit its development.
Communicating to sell and seduce is no longer enough! You have to communicate to defend yourself, win, conquer and weigh against your competitors. It is no longer the same philosophy. It is necessary to monitor, be omnipresent and influence. Once again, business intelligence has proved its importance within a company, its cross-functionality has an impact on all the company’s functions, in this case the communication department.