Living things need communication. It is an intrinsic part of human interaction, engagement, connection and progress. Real people communicate, so as real brands.
Communication is equally important for businesses. This is not surprising as organisations are not faceless entities, but groups of real people doing things together.
Communication within a business and with its publics must be effective. It is said that effective communication affects processes, efficiency, and every layer of an organisation. Effective communication improves connections among employees.
Reports indicate that organisations with connected employees have a 25 percent spike in productivity. 25 per cent? That is huge, think about the impact on revenue, goodwill and company growth. If communication has such tremendous benefits internally, consider how much more benefits can accrue from effective external communication. The possibilities are humongous.
Clearly, every business needs to prioritize communication; startups even more so. The recent exposé by a leading tech blog in Nigeria on a tech company and how that article spilled into a viral hashtag on twitter; #HorribleBosses is a case in hand for how important communication should be taken more seriously especially tech startups.
Okay, if communication is so important why is it so relegated?
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Many times, it is due to a lack of appreciation or let me say full understanding of how it can help the firm. But this shouldn’t be. Communication can help build team bonds, position the firm, achieve a proper description of product/service, enhance relationships with stakeholders, keep customers happy and attract investors.
Communication should be an integral part of every stage of a business and all segments of its operations. Startup founders and co-founders must make communication an integral part of their business processes from the onset. I think angel investors should prioritize and ask tech founders about what investment they are/will make into communication for all stakeholders; internal and external.
It starts with an open business environment where feedback and criticism are welcome. It covers the dissemination of the firm’s message through the right channels, media and at the appropriate time. Communication is everything from a to z.
A note of caution here, communication is beyond sending out the occasional press release or posting on the company social media pages to keep the public informed about the firm. It should be 360 degree, covering all key stakeholders both internal and external. It should also be planned, consistent and strategic, with emphasis on strategy.
Strategic communication, essentially, is about ensuring that the way you communicate (as a firm or individual) can take you from where you are to where you want to be. It is the total of all your communication efforts. It should align with your purpose, create synergies, enable and enhance connections.
In strategic communications, every piece of content you develop, every article in the media, every event, and engagement, and everything you put out must show consistency in messaging.
What is communication? It is defined as the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. For a firm it is about getting your message across customers, vendors and even regulators, it is getting the employees on board and it is an ingredient for sustainable business growth.
Today, a new business may fail if enough people do not know about its existence or the function of its products and services. Communication is an indispensable part of business processes.
There is two part of communications a tech startup should focus on always: internal communications and external communications.
Internal communication is keeping in touch with one of the firm’s most critical stakeholders, the employees, investors. Experts insist that open, clear and transparent internal communications can help keep the team inspired, engaged, educated and informed at all times. This naturally makes them feel valued, involved and motivated to work towards the firm’s common company objective.
Done right, internal communication can improve decision making, drive employee productivity and boost business profitability. It enhances the work environment leading to greater trust, more confidence and improved engagement.
The platforms for effective internal communication include but are not limited to Intranet, Internal Newsletters, News Centre, Employee Surveys, Collaboration Tools, Social Employee Advocacy Tool and Instant Messaging Tools among others.
With effective internal communication, employees become advocates, ambassadors and cheerleaders for the firm even when or if they leave the firm for another.
In addition, the firm’s external publics are huge and important. Here, we are talking of customers, media, competitors, community, prospective employees and investors, the financial community, government and its agencies, the legislature and the general public at large.
No company can afford to ignore these groups of stakeholders. Effective external communication is what is required to build the company’s reputation, position it in the market and also help overcome the inevitable crisis.
Here the focus is on the right time, appropriate message and relevant audience. You cannot afford to get things mixed up. Activities covered under external communications are blogging, crisis communications, digital and social media support, industry analysis, product/service launches, media monitoring & reporting, media relations, press releases, communication strategy, corporate communication, corporate publications & magazines, media training, briefings, interviews, media conferences, and events and lots more.
The mini list above is only part of a whole gamut of activities requiring expert support to manage effectively. This is why a communication professional and or consultant should be an early part of a Tech Startup mix. They will provide immense and immeasurable support to help the company find its place, remain sustainable and indeed scale.
Tosin Adejuwon, is a Lagos based Global Public Relations Consultant and social commentator (email@example.com)