Looking at the economy today, and the volatility of business, the term VUCA resounds stronger than ever before. Yes, we are in a volatile, uncertain, complex and an ambiguous world. With that upon us, communication, both internal and external, holds the key to navigate organisations in achieving its desired goals – business and reputational. It boils down to building equity, goodwill and a solid standing, so much so that major companies, governments and even international bodies are undertaking reputation campaigns with targeted communication, to ensure the right message goes out to the right audience.
Circa 2010, saw the rise of platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, with Twitter becoming the first source of information for the world and more specifically the media. Today, as is almost hygiene, social media breaks a story, almost real time, and traditional lags – they aim at views over news, then. Simply put and quite naturally – the prominence is owing to social media being interactive, a two-way ‘connected’ channel. Media companies are always looking to integrate ways to engage their readers better. Message delivery has multiple sources, and hence brands should manage and coordinate their communication on all owned, earned and paid platforms to ensure uniform consistent delivery.
Back in the day, corporate communication was a function under Marketing or was often linked with Human Resource. As organisations are going global and are seamlessly connected, communication has evolved into a strategic tool for the top management, and often than not a boardroom function.
In line, the business of communication is rapidly transforming. Technology is one key element of this, with each year it adds a new layer of innovation to things. Currently, for example, AI has woven its way effectively into programmes. Majority of tools used to track or distil information is leveraging this technology.
Technology is also the backbone in developing solutions towards tangible, accurate measurement matrices to gauge effectiveness of communication campaigns. The advent of digital toolkits helps in deriving precise, impactful, quantifiable outcomes, with focused ROI.
Today, we operate in an informed, opinionated, sharp world. ‘Believability’ is a complex proposition, and certainly NOT at face value. A well thought through blend of verified authenticity, backed by intent on ground, advocated by the right third-party voices, in a sustained manner creates credibility and eventually trust. Therefore, in 2020 one will need to galvanise the force of these elements, to drive relevant impact. Partnerships and collaborations to bring together a sound approach, interweaving threads of responsible corporate citizenship, along with business growth and commitment to community and country, at large will be the game changer. A sound integrated communications programme will have to be supported with a strong advocacy outreach, which in turn can go a long way in building, enhancing and nurturing the reputation for an organisation and its brand promise. What this does is provide the right kind of authentic knowledge in the minds of the stakeholders.
In the 2020s, I also expect the world to be connected in unimaginable ways. In such a scenario the importance of creative storytelling by an organisation must be on point, and with the right kind of tone. Today, many organisations are undergoing transformation (internal and external) and working towards a sustainable future by shifting to alternate power sources and reducing their carbon footprint.
The communication profession has come a long way over the last three decades. Organisations today are investing more in Corporate Communication who are reporting directly to the CEO, the board instead of the CMOs. We are entering an era that puts more responsibility on us, as subject matter experts, to play a major role in helping the world be a better place. With Communications reaching newer heights every day, it is vital for us as professionals to adapt the narrative as it grows and be future ready.
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