In digital business, the key to successfully establishing a brand is to create reach with added value. Whether via networks, chat channels, telephony, or face-to-face – companies must strike the right note. Successful customer approach and long-term employee motivation are not a matter of luck, but the result of a professional communication concept.
Communication is probably the oldest social activity. Only the exchange of information through language and signs made it possible to create complex communities. For trade, science and politics, communication has always been the supreme discipline: without diplomatic skills it is not possible. In the age of digital communication, addressees must be convinced within seconds. How do you achieve this goal?
Communication 4.0: Man and machine merge
Communication is never one-way, it has at least two communication partners. Our eyes decide, because the majority of the brain is concerned with the processing of visual impressions. We intuitively grasp the other person’s message with all our senses – movement, facial expressions, gestures, volume, intonation and speech melody. Only then do we interpret the speech intention, compare it with the information content and react.
Digital communication in the 21st century is hybrid and cross-media. While transmitters and receivers were still clearly distinguishable in analog telephony, this no longer applies in the virtual world. Internet posts have a life of their own: Likes and Shares generate viral hits and Shitstorms that haunt the net as memes, detached from the actual author. Instead of a holistic perception, we experience a fragmented collage of communication on the Internet.
Communication is becoming more and more automated. Content masks, automatic translation tools and intelligent data pools reduce workload. Avatars and bots replace real conversation partners on portals, online games and in customer support. Artificial intelligence takes care of checking inquiries and formulating contracts. In networks and search engines, algorithms decide on sorting, relevance and visibility of content. This results in both opportunities and risks for communication.
Methods for successful communication management
Corporate communication is a constant dialogue with the influencers. Influencers of the company are customers and employees alike. The company’s appearance on its website, articles in online media, social media posts, Wikipedia, search engine entries and online evaluations contribute to the overall public image of the company. Since the latter cannot be manipulated, a sustainable and authentic communication concept is important. Here are a few strategic tips on what to look for.
External communication – quality before quantity
There is an almost infinite number of ways to publish content. The temptation to produce mass goods is great, because the net potentiates the possibilities of communication: according to Metcalf’s law, the benefit grows proportionally to the number of possible connections.
But much does not always help much. Don’t follow every new trend immediately – especially if you don’t have enough capacity for it. It is better to fill one or two channels with good content than to serve them all by force. It doesn’t always have to be social media: Websites and blogs offer a wide range of possibilities for storytelling and the production of high-quality and entertaining content. Create a reason to encourage customers to return to your website regularly.
Keep it simple: Proven methods such as newsletter marketing are successful ways to target customers. Especially existing customers are best convinced by call-to-action calls in regular personalized newsletters. If you use an analysis tool to document A/B tests and the evaluation of click conversion, you also have valuable data at your fingertips for continuous newsletter optimization.
Internal communication – the message counts
Transparent communication is the basis for a good working atmosphere. Ensure that employees learn company news through internal channels and not from the press. Tools such as internal newsletters, intranet and company blog are suitable for this. Video conferencing, online presentations and integrated reporting tools simplify communication beyond local restrictions. A Software as a Service (SaaS) solution is available for sharing data, dashboards and shared platforms: Applications can be implemented quickly, they are secure, on-demand and cost-effective through accurate billing.
In a healthy corporate culture, employees and managers alike feel challenged and valued. Train your employees as ambassadors for the company. Ambassadors transport the company’s concerns to the outside world. With satisfied employees who see themselves as an integral part of the company, a win-win situation for everyone.
Tools and skills for digital business communication
In addition to the classic email, there are now numerous programs and apps: Messenger, Voice over IP (VoiP) or so-called issue tracking systems. For PR tasks such as monitoring, writing content and posting, there are tools that organize and facilitate content planning and measurement. The advantages of digital communication systems are obvious: flexible project management, real-time documentation and Omni Channel customer approach.
Managing digital communication is a strategic challenge. Communication managers must be able to adapt to different target groups with confidence and flexibility. This requires entrepreneurial thinking, knowledge of legal principles, journalistic skills and excellent crisis management skills. Place strategic management at the interface between marketing, public relations and community management. This guarantees one-stop communication.
Solutions for communication problems
Besides purely technical transmission problems, communication disruptions are caused by problems of understanding. They are often caused by different expectations of communication. The causes are different information levels, personal value horizons and life experiences. In the case of internationally operating companies, intercultural aspects are added.
Some disturbances are unforeseeable, others are avoidable. Be aware that data exchange via technical communication channels distorts intuitive perception. This makes it difficult to assess others – especially if you have never seen them in real life and the first impression is missing. But the correct use of digital channels can still improve communication. It is important to take countermeasures early on in the event of disruptions!
1. Create clarity
Define channels and rules for communication. The abundance of channels can lead to redundant communication and confusion. This in turn can result in poor information and more work.
2. Listen to
Disruptions in the workforce and customer relations can be identified in good time through complaint management, surveys and one-on-one meetings. Fast and precise crisis management is essential for a positive corporate culture and/or optimal customer experience.
3. Clarify competences
Avoid unnecessary communication problems in the project. Define exactly who has which tasks at the beginning and do not change this during the course of the project. This is best done with agile methods like Scrum, where roles are assigned.