External communication refers to exchanging information between a company and external entities such as customers, suppliers, investors, media, and the general public. It involves conveying messages and information about the company, its products or services, and its values to the outside world.
The focus of external communications is simple: to build a thriving relationship between your organization and your customers, other companies, your suppliers, and other entities in the value chain distribution.
So, every strategy, every message, and every image are carefully designed to create and sustain external communications with every other entity your company interacts with. Understandably, this can create a good bit of pressure to get these communications right!
What Is External Communications?
To thrive in the 21st-century marketplace, every organization must understand the importance and necessity of external communications. Even though the media and methods have evolved, the goal remains the same — maintaining a reputable brand image to increase output and sales successively.
To structure your business with no thought toward maintaining external communications is to crash your company even before it gets off the ground. It sounds harsh, but it is true. This is why many large corporations and organizations that trade different products and services sink millions and billions into maintaining a steady stream of external communications.
Your company may have fewer resources than other giant corporations. However, you can find a path unique to your organization’s visions and goals and leverage that to boost your external communications process. With the rise of the digital workplace, strategic communication within and outside is paramount to the organization’s smooth operations. A lot can go wrong within a day if there is no proper means of communication in place.
In today’s world of business, effective corporate communication is crucial and a big part of external communication. What else is? In this article, we’ll explores external communications, their importance and benefits, various channels of external communications, and how you can leverage these channels to boost your brand relations and increase productivity and sales.
What is it used for?
External communication promotes the company’s image, enhances its reputation, and builds relationships with its stakeholders. It is also used to inform and educate the public about the company’s products or services, new developments, and changes in policies or procedures. External communication aims to create a positive image of the company in the minds of its stakeholders and the general public.
Previously, before the advent of the media, companies focused on channels like customer relations, advertisements, events, conferences, etc., to foster external communications. However, the digital age soon ushered in many changes and the development of new communication channels. These channels will be explored further in the article. Before that though, we need to differentiate between internal and external communications and how they each impact your company.
Internal communications vs. external communications
Internal communication refers to the exchange of information between employees of an organization. On the other hand, external communication is directed at establishing relations and communication with individuals or entities outside the organization.
Various internal communication channels include memos, company workshops, internal meetings, intranets, etc. While internal communication focuses on coordinating and managing internal activities and employee engagement, external communication aims to promote the company’s image, generate new business, and build relationships with external stakeholders.
Even though external communications are vital, it is necessary to highlight that the goal of your company’s external communications plan can only be achieved when there is synergy between the employees and management. A good internal communications strategy in place will ensure that:
- Employees are encouraged to share creative ideas within the workplace to boost productivity.
- Conflicts are managed and resolved effectively, which in turn, increases employee retention.
- A non-toxic work environment is created and maintained to facilitate an excellent employee experience.
- Employees understand their roles and responsibilities and carry them out effectively and efficiently.
Maintaining external relations with other entities outside the organization becomes easier with good internal communications strategies. Many companies have failed at sustaining external communications because they needed (and lacked) an excellent internal structure like an intranet.
It is crucial to emphasize the advantages external communications provide for your company in the short and long run.
Importance and benefits of external communication
Effective external communication goes a long way in defining the success rate of any business. A solid external communication game makes customers feel more connected and emotionally attached to brands.
A simple monthly newsletter about an upgrade to a product or service keeps the customer in the loop with an assurance of security dealing with the brand. As an aside, it is also a great way to boost employee experience when employees receive timely updates about happenings in the company.
Here are some other advantages of external communication:
- Developing community relations: External communication helps businesses build community relationships. By sharing information and updates about the company’s activities, businesses can create a positive image and build trust with the community.
- Communicating and leveraging information: External communication helps businesses share information about their products or services and their benefits which can be used as leverage to attract new customers, retain current ones, and gain a competitive advantage in the market.
- Building brand identity: External communication is critical to building a brand identity. A consistent message across all external communication channels helps to create a strong brand identity and increase brand awareness.
- Optimizing external networks: External communication helps businesses optimize their external networks by building relationships with suppliers, investors, and partners.
- Relations with suppliers: External communication helps businesses to maintain good relations with their suppliers. By sharing information about their plans and requirements, companies can ensure a steady supply of goods and services.
External communications tools
Technological advancement and digital transformation have significantly boosted public relations and communications in the business world. There is no excuse for a lag in communication between stakeholders, as many tools have been designed to answer all of these needs for good, and with little hassle.
Your business can leverage many external communication tools to communicate with external stakeholders. The following are some examples:
- Social media: Businesses can effectively communicate with customers and establish brand recognition by utilizing social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Email: An email is a powerful tool for businesses to communicate with customers, suppliers, and investors. It is an efficient way to share updates, news, and other important information.
- Newsletters: Newsletters are a great way to inform customers and other stakeholders about the company’s activities, products, and services.
- Presentations: Presentations are an effective way to communicate with investors, partners, and other stakeholders. They help to showcase the company’s strengths and plans.
- Events/Conferences: Events and conferences allow businesses to network with stakeholders, showcase their products and services, and build relationships.
- Press releases: Press releases are an effective way to share important news and updates with the media.
- Blogs: Blogs are an excellent tool for businesses to share information, insights, and ideas with customers and other stakeholders.
One great benefit to many of these tools is that they cost less to implement and maintain than traditional external relations. This ensures that no matter your company’s financial capacity, you can find several tools to help you get off to a great start.
Another important factor is that external communications will increase sales and reduce customer turnover if carefully built and sustained. These savings and enhanced ROI can be further utilized towards investing in more communications tools as the organization expands.
Tips for developing an external communications plan
Developing an effective external communications plan is crucial for any organization. Knowing the tools is not enough though. It would be best if you had a team ready to design a plan suited to your company’s needs.
Listed below are some valuable tips to assist you in crafting a profitable external communications strategy:
- Know your audience: A deep understanding of your audience is the initial step in formulating a successful external communications plan. Understand the people you are trying to reach, including their interests, values, and needs. This will help you create messages that resonate with them and connect with them on a deeper level.
- Select the right platforms: Once you know your audience, the next step is to select the right platforms to reach them. Consider the social media channels they use, the publications they read, and the events they attend. Use this information to create a plan that targets the proper channels and platforms.
- Deliver value: Your external communications plan should focus on delivering value to your audience. It is vital to offer valuable information that supports problem-solving, learning, or enhancing their lives. This will help you build a relationship of trust and credibility with your audience.
- Be relatable: People connect with people. Your external communications should be relatable and human. Utilize true anecdotes, individuals, and concrete encounters to establish an emotional connection with your audience. This will help you build a strong and lasting relationship with them.
- Listen and respond: External communication is a two-way street. Listen to your audience and respond to their feedback. This approach will strengthen your relationship with your audience and demonstrate your appreciation of their viewpoints. According to Social Habit, 80% of consumers expect companies to respond to their comments or questions on social media within 24 hours. Companies can enhance their reputation and foster a more loyal customer base by actively listening and promptly responding to feedback.
- Show off your unique personality: Your external communications plan should showcase your brand’s personality. This could be in the tone of voice you use, the style of your graphics, or the types of stories you share. Showing off your unique personality will create a stronger emotional connection with your audience and stand out from the competition.
To design an external communications plan tailored to your company’s goals and objectives, you must invest sufficient time, energy, and resources to achieve great results.
Also, note that an external communications plan is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It must be constantly reviewed in light of the company’s goals, results (or lack thereof), and the changing needs of the entities involved, especially the customers.
Examples of companies doing it right
Here are some examples of companies with excellent external communications. These companies have not only adopted various communication channels to boost brand visibility and image, but they have also adapted their methods over the years to fit the new demands of the digital age while maintaining a great employee experience strategy to execute their missions. These companies include:
- Nike: Nike is known for its inspiring and empowering messaging. The company’s Just Do It campaign is a perfect example, encouraging people to push themselves to be their best version. Nike also leverages social media to bond with its audience and cultivate a community centered on its brand.
- Apple: Apple’s external communications align with its reputation for cutting-edge and stylish products. The company’s marketing materials maintain a clean and contemporary aesthetic, and its messaging emphasizes the benefits of its offerings, such as heightened productivity and creativity.
- Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola’s external communications are all about happiness and joy. The company’s messaging is designed to make people feel good and connected. Coca-Cola also uses social media to build a community around its brand and share positive stories and messages.
- Airbnb: Airbnb’s external communications focus on the experiences people can have when they travel. The company’s messaging encourages people to explore new places and connect with locals, which helps to build a sense of community and adventure around the brand.
- Tesla: Tesla’s external communications are all about innovation and sustainability. Tesla’s communication strategy emphasizes the advantages of electric vehicles and their environmental impact. Furthermore, the company utilizes social media to engage with its audience and keep them up-to-date on its offerings and endeavors.
Note that the goal is not to copy these organizations. Instead, see how some of their approaches fit into their business models, study their results (successes and struggles), note how they constantly evolve, and then apply this knowledge to create an external communications plan that is right for you. And be sure to explore using tools tailored to your needs.
External communication is an essential part of any business strategy. It involves creating and sharing messages with external audiences, such as customers, suppliers, investors, and the media. By developing a solid external communications plan, businesses can build relationships with their audiences, create a strong brand identity, and grow their networks.
By following the tips outlined in this glossary and learning from companies doing it right, You can create effective external communications that deliver real value to your audience with less stress by simply incorporating these strategies. Simpplr is an employee experience platform leveraging powerful AI capabilities to transform the work experience for billions of people worldwide. It can help you better understand your internal audience and apply that understanding to better connect with your external audiences. It’s worth a demo to consider, for sure!
You can start today by exploring how Simpplr’s modern intranet and corporate communication tools can help inform your external communication strategy and identify existing gaps and flaws. We also offer advanced training for a successful implementation and give your employees valuable information that keeps your company on the global market map. Reach out for a demo to see it in action!