Companies can be so focused on their own activities, that they fail to look at the “big picture” and miss opportunities as a result. Two often overlooked concepts that are critical to generate quality opportunities are “Overview” and “Cohesion.”
Overview: Positioning in a larger context
Talk to most in-house corporate communications professionals and they don’t have enough hours in the day between announcements, crises, internal politics and you name it. I’ve seen good reporters become corporate communications staffers and, despite their best intentions, wind up not having a moment to tell the media about how their company is connected to a larger story.
One former editor friend who heads up communications at a technology company managed to keep his perspective as he told his PR agency to treat his company’s product announcements like the solution to a business problem, as opposed to another product launch.
It is incumbent on PR agencies to present corporate communications clients in a more meaningful way by connecting them with the larger business world. Here are two examples showing how I got national business coverage using overview:
- A major freight transportation company showed how shipment orders were an index of economic health across many business sectors. For example, the rise and fall of numbers of cars, lumber and chemicals hauled showed trends in consumer spending, housing and manufacturing.
- Sales for a shopping bag manufacturer that supplied leading store chains became an early indicator of holiday sales. Changes were shown from year to year by sharing the percent by which orders of bags were up or down and by describing what the new shopping bag styles said about the economic mood .
Cohesion: Speaking with a unified voice
In communications, cohesion prompts a company to speak to its audiences with a single brand voice across platforms. This is all the more important now that companies have so many faces to the outside world – the corporate web site, corporate and employee tweets, corporate and employee LinkedIn, corporate Facebook, newsletters, and blogs, as well as traditional forms of brand visibility through advertising, marketing collateral and media coverage.
I often hear professionals speak about the way they tweet for work as if Twitter communications exists independently of the other communciation channels. Their messages would work harder to build corporate reputation if they spoke though all channels with the same brand personality.
Thinking big should be second nature for communications pros. Why would a company want to do everything right and miss out on the benefits of overview and cohesion?
– Ann Pinkerton