The Soul of Communication
The term “corporate communications” means far more than just the way an incorporated entity talks to the world. Our definition of “corporate” needs to encompass more than what your hundred dollar filing fee gets you at the corporations division of your secretary of state’s office. And the same goes for “communication” since we no longer just write and talk, we text, we Tweet, we convey more than just words or sounds. We empathize, we sympathize, we educate, we elucidate, we “feel your pain”. We “Skype”, we “YouTube”, we “post”. We “message”.
But what message and to whom?
In answering that question we have to understand the actor and the script, the player and the game.
The word “corporate” comes to us from the Latin (surprise!) verb “corporare” which means “to make into a body”. Webster’s defines it as “of, relating to, or formed into a unified body of individuals”. While the corporate entity, then, certainly refers to commercial enterprises supplying the world with its material needs, it equally refers to those concerned with the cerebral and spiritual. The term brings together blue chalk striped suits, Dockers, dungarees, and uniforms with lab coats, gowns, robes, and vestments. It has come to describe more than a group that requires a FEIN but also a collection of individuals that are unified, shared, communal and united. And they must communicate with clarity, efficiency and unity.
And there’s pressure. Today’s competitive world and business cycle is Cool Hand Luke’s warden and is just as intolerant of any “failure to communicate.”
Corporate communication in the 21st century has to “message” more than the facts, figures, and accomplishments of the business or group. It has to include a sense of historical perspective in the context of the present with a lead or vision into the future. And this can only be done when the communicator understands the soul, the sense of purpose, the “calling” if you will, of the corporate body. The sun has not, and will not, set on the role of the press release. But the gloam of the day is here for the concept that the press release is the chief end of the public relations office.
“Executive Director of Communications”, “Dean/Vice Dean of College Relations”, “Vice President of Corporate Communications”, call it what you will, but the job is now bigger and broader than a 3pm press deadline. It requires deliberation and introspection into the very heart and soul of the corporation. It requires an ability to adhere these aspects to all corporate publications in all their forms.
It requires an understanding of the corporate soul.