Communication has become a catch-all, almost pejorative term that speaks to no one but is essential to any business. “Ah yes, you do com?” Advertising, slogan, poster, website… everything is mixed up in a not very coherent whole. So, how can we make communication closer to people today? So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn about the subject at hand.
1. Communicating, a universal and evolving act
Communicating is, above all, dialoguing, exchanging, and sharing. It is a human value that is the foundation of our society. We can communicate in different ways through images, words, signs, and symbols. Communication is everywhere on our planet and is a science of inexhaustible wealth. It can change according to cultures and time: some expressions cannot be translated word by word, and some colors do not have the same meanings.
The great technological innovations have always been oriented toward communication: the telegraph, the Minitel, personal computers, and then cell phones, etc. Smartphones are now ubiquitous and give access to information more and more quickly. Emojis have imposed a new language where the rules are constantly changing. Tomorrow we will communicate differently again.
2. Communication as a profession
I realize that people around me don’t always understand what I do as a communication consultant. And how can I blame them? Today communication is everywhere, but nobody really knows what it is for. Let’s fix that. Communication is part of the three indispensable pillars of a company, which are
- Know-how: it is everything that constitutes the product or service of the company; it is the primary value of the project.
- Sales: building a real commercial strategy with business stakes to sell the know-how.
- Communication: this is what allows to highlight the know-how by making a brand remarkable while proposing efficient sales tools.
In the case of SMEs, know-how and sales are often the first two tasks, and communication takes a back seat because it is not seen as a priority. It comes in as only a sales tool and is developed later on according to the company’s success. On the other hand, start-ups make big communication actions to attract investors. Communication is at the forefront of bringing funds, while the know-how develops according to the amounts collected.
3. What is it used for?
Communication is useful in two aspects: strategic and operational.
- Strategic communication will allow the company to opt for a vision for the years to come and to anticipate significant events. Through the understanding of the brand’s differentiating values, the precise determination of targets, and the projection of well-defined objectives, the strategy leads to the creation of a unique graphic universe and an impactful editorial axis.
- Operational communication is everything that flows from the strategy and concerns the creation of content by providing a result: printed materials, website, social networks, events… It is the experience offered to the brand’s consumers. Above all, it will allow the company to earn money, following communication actions that are tested, measured, and adjusted to get the best return on investment.
Today, thinking about operations without thinking about strategy is counterproductive. You can multiply communication tools, but their impact loses its strength if they have not been thought through beforehand. By working together on these two aspects, communication becomes a major and recognized issue to guarantee the development of a company.
4. Distinction: selling / communicating
The border between advertising and communication is blurred. Advertising is a means of communication that relies on diffusion through mass media (poster, cinema, TV, radio, press, web banner) with the sole purpose of selling a brand’s product or service. It is necessary to buy media space to broadcast its advertising.
Communication can be carried out through multiple actions organized around a strategy that is not primarily aimed at selling: building community loyalty, making a brand known, differentiating from the competition, etc. To communicate, we use other means, such as print media, websites, events, social networks…
Unfortunately, advertising has a bad reputation that rubs off on communication: advertising is perceived as invasive, clichéd, and demeaning. Big brands have transformed the landscape for marketing purposes for the general public. From the entrepreneurs’ point of view, communication is often driven by agencies that are difficult to trust due to a lack of education. The communication sector is reduced to a primary concept, a smokescreen used only to sell.
However, one of the pillars of the company that has no other choice than to be outsourced is communication. The skills required are indeed multiple (planning, organization, graphic design, web, social networks, referencing, events…), and the quality is only found if the interlocutors are experts in their field. It is, therefore, necessary to find trust between professionals, to give meaning to what we communicate and not first to what we sell, by remaining human and sincere.
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