An organization's corporate communications department manages communications with stakeholders both internal and external such as staff, customers, the media, governments and shareholders. Nonprofits even have departments to communicate with their donors and partner organizations. The aim is to present a consistent, positive image to all stakeholders. The corporate communications department tries to ensure that what the organization says about itself is matched by what it does. The corporate communications function, which might be carried out by a single person or a large department, comprises several elements.
The internal element of corporate communications focuses on aligning staff with the organizational values and purpose. Activities include arranging staff conferences or regular "Town Hall" meetings with senior managers, sharing stories on the company intranet or in the company newsletter, and organizing award schemes to reinforce organizational values. Internal communications often liaise with media relations; sharing positive media coverage internally is a way to raise morale.
Media relations professionals ensure that the organization as a whole is represented positively in the media. They are generally not responsible for PR for products and services -- that job is for their colleagues in marketing communications. However, the corporate communications team is on the task when the company's reputation is on the line with the risk of negative coverage if a product has a fault.
Organizations in every sector are subject to laws and regulations at the local, state, and federal level. The job of public affairs staff is to put forth the organization's case for amendments to proposed or existing legislation, and in some cases, to campaign for new laws. Public affairs staff often work with media relations to run integrated campaigns.
The purpose of investor relations is to reassure shareholders that their investment in the company was a wise move, and that they should continue to hold onto their shares, if not buy more of them. The emphasis of communications is on the financial success of the company and the decisions it makes that will lead to growth. The investor relations team produces regular financial and management reports and briefs for the financial media. The equivalent function for nonprofit organizations is donor relations. In this case, the communications department relays the message that donors gave their money to a good cause and that their money is not being wasted. Donor reports often feature stories about beneficiaries of the organization's activities.
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