Effective communication processes are a backbone of every company that wants long-term success and competitiveness. Within the organization, there are two forms of communication; internal and external and they are all regarded as corporate communication (McFarland, 2014). External communication is any form of communication that companies and businesses use to the public, regarding either the products or services it offers. It focuses mainly on spreading the information to the customers, the public and the stakeholders of the company. A well thought out communication plan not only defines the target audience, but it focuses on how to effectively reach them (Miller & Barbour, 2014). The main goal of external communication is to increase the companys revenue through its promotion, and it is also an essential part of the overall marketing plan. Some forms of external communication include press releases, newsletters, financial records, and direct mailings.
External communication plays a crucial role in ensuring that the customers, the public, and the stakeholders have relevant and accurate information regarding the kinds of products and services that are produced. Without external communication, the company may become ineffective, and could lead to its downfall (McFarland, 2014). A company should, therefore, invest in external communication because of the following importance:
The public perception of the company is very crucial although a majority of businesses focuses mainly on sales as its measure of success (McFarland, 2014). External communication is one way that a company can use to shape and define its corporate image to the communities, clients and also the potential investors, who are also crucial for company success and competitiveness (Miller & Barbour, 2014). Through external communication, the public will be aware of the companys workplace, its philanthropic and environmental efforts, opportunities, their sponsorships, among other image-related activities, which aim to strengthen the public relation efforts of the company (Miller & Barbour, 2014). It also ensures that the public understands the company products, which just like marketing and promotional activities, depends on the development of an effective public relations plan. The plan describes the audience, the method of conveying the message, the person responsible, budgeting, and funding of the activities (McFarland, 2014).
Corporate Image Management
The company image is one of the most critical concerns because it not only defines it but it also a crucial determent of its success (McFarland, 2014). The image and the reputation of the company are dependent on developing trust in the business, and a majority of partnerships are based on trust within the organization and confidence in the products. As far as companies perceive that corporate image is the impression they show to the general public, it bets on its visual and aesthetic approach to foment the constant reflection of how and what is seen, and therefore, utilizes external communication overtime to ensure that it maintains its external image and reputation to the public, stakeholders, and the customers (Miller & Barbour, 2014).
Technology and External Communication
Traditional print methods are still common forms of both internal and external communication, but with the quick and progressive adoption of modern technology, the face of communication has changed with the internet becoming a valued resource in reaching new customers (McFarland, 2014). Companies have utilized modern technology and external communication to attract customers and investors and also to sell their brands to a wider niche of customers. Through websites, blogs, and social media, external communication has reached a new level in business. Companies are now able to sell their products or service to individuals far and wide, and it helps it in its growth (Riggio, 2015). Regardless the fact that modern communication and interactive technology comes with its challenges, the benefits are more, and through it, the company can communicate with audiences throughout the world (Miller & Barbour, 2014).
External communication and Challenges
It can take years for a company to build its reputation, but it can take a short time for it to ruin it, and therefore, external communication plays a crucial role in reaching out to the public and addressing such challenges (Miller & Barbour, 2014). Even reputable companies such as General Motors, have had its reputation ruined overnight as a result of the recall of their products, but they have managed to rebuild it through external communication (Riggio, 2015). Transparent and open communication can help companies deal with such disasters, and it is crucial that those in charge of external communication are aware of the audience and image they wish to convey (Shockley-Zalabak, 2014). The human resource department has also relied on external communication systems to recruit new employees, who have the essential qualifications and requirements to drive the organizational goals (Miller & Barbour, 2014).
Methods of External Communication
Businesses thrive when they can reach their audience effectively, and external communication covers a variety of methods that can be used to catch the attention of the public. In some cases, companies utilize interactive communication methods and may hire a public relations firm or develop special internal departments to handle communication and improve their relationships with customers (Miller & Barbour, 2014). Some of the major methods of external communication include:
Websites are very common today with advances in technology. A professionally designed website adds credibility to the organization and influences the customers faith positively. A website keeps the public updates to with the companys activities and events for instance sales, relocations, brands, corporate events, among others (Miller & Barbour, 2014). Through the message boards and contact information that is displayed on these websites, customers are given the opportunity to respond to the customers and the public in general.
Press Releases are also crucial forms of external communication that provides written or recorded statements that companies distribute it to the media outlets, for instance, radio and TV stations, newspaper companies, magazines among others (Shockley-Zalabak, 2014). These releases contain newsworthy information regarding the products and services, or issues that are faced by the company.
Companies also utilize emails and newsletters to the target audience for instance consumers or stakeholders (Shockley-Zalabak, 2014). Emails are used by companies to convey information regarding the company that ranges from sales, conferences, stakeholder meetings among others (Miller & Barbour, 2014). Newsletters provide consumers and stakeholders information regarding the company revenues, products or services that they require to know.
Telephone calls are also important forms of external communication particularly to customers and stakeholders (Shockley-Zalabak, 2014). These calls could be direct communication with the customer, or it could be prerecorded, that offer information regarding sales and opportunities. Customer care agents utilize calls to communicate with costumers regarding their company product or service (Miller & Barbour, 2014).
Media interviews and press conferences offer an opportunity for company management to make critical announcements regarding the company or respond to emergency issues (Riggio, 2015). Journalists during such events may ask questions, make comments or record crucial data for later reports (Miller & Barbour, 2014). These channels have been used to launch company brands or respond to issues that taint the companys reputation for instance fraud charges, or product challenges (Riggio, 2015). Social media platforms are also excellent sites for external communication especially among the customers, who are seeking certain products and services from the company. Through social media, the company can display its products and services to a wider customer niche that cannot be achieved by other communication means (Miller & Barbour, 2014).
Industrial/Organizational Psychology in External Communication
Industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology studies behavior in the organizations as well as the application of the methods and principles of the psychology of individuals and groups in the work setting (Chmiel, Fraccaroli&Sverke, 2017). I/O psychologists specialize in human behavior, and they recognize the interdependence of individuals, society, and organizations as well as the impacts of these factors in increasing the influence of the government, growing consumer awareness, skill shortages, and the changing nature of the workforce (Landy & Conte, 2016). The I/O psychologists facilitate responses to issues and problems that involve people in the workplace, by serving as advisors and also catalysts for businesses and organizations.
Industrial psychologists contribute to external communication in the organizations by providing the needed advice for developing effective external communication strategies, as well as the required procedures to be put in place to facilitate external communication (Chmiel, Fraccaroli & Sverke, 2017). Examining Henri Fayols elements of management that include planning, organizing, coordination, commanding, control, and the Scalar Chain, that represents the organization hierarchy, help to reduce misunderstandings and conflicts. He introduced the horizontal communication within the organization (Landy & Conte, 2016). The I/O psychologists can study the existing communication strategies in the organization, identify gaps, and provide solutions that would boost effective external communication to the public. Considering that the information that goes to the public is very sensitive primarily to the company reputation, the psychologists can help develop measures for ensuring that before any information is released to the public, it passes through quality assurance processes to eliminate any potential mistakes (Landy& Conte, 2016). They can also offer the consultation regarding the type of information to the public based on reviews from customers, as well as the stakeholders.
The public relations theory is based on systems perspectives, and the main role of public relations is to help the organizations to maintain the beneficial relationships within the internal and external stakeholders through excellent communication (Chmiel, Fraccaroli & Sverke, 2017). The excellence theory too describes some of the factors that either facilitate or impede the creation of communication in the organization. These factors are known to be participative culture through empowerment of employees, two-way communication system, decentralized structure that is less form or a program that encourages any form of inequality (Landy & Conte, 2016). How an organization manages its communication tells more about its culture. Considering that culture is more about the employee behaviors, I/O psychologists can be utilized to coach individuals in embracing a productive culture in the organization that embraces transparent and effective communication not only within but also outside the organization. I/O psychologists can also derive the principles of external communication within the organization through research, to develop a structure that works effectively for the organization and its external audience (Landy & Conte, 2016).
Psychology plays a critical in external communication because it identifies the best way which the organizatio...
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