Corporate and marketing communication can be valuable strategic tools, and how their definition depends on the type, size and mission of an organization. Marketing communication usually encompasses promotional activities related to the sale of product, provision of services, or fundraising or enrollment solicitation. Corporate communication addresses broader stakeholder interests -- internal and external -- in the company, and often includes mandated functions related to government regulations and financial reporting.
Corporate communication strategies and functions focus on building, maintaining and sometimes defending the reputation of a either a for-profit corporation or nonprofit institution. Corporate relations managers usually report directly to, and receive direction from, the president or chairman of a company, or at least the executive suite. They are usually charged with development and implementation of strategies and communications programs that position the company in a positive light with varied stakeholders including customers, employees, shareholders, media, international partners, communities in which the company operates, elected officials and government regulatory agencies, and the public at large.
Corporate Communication Specialties
How much is taken on in-house depends on the organization and its need for flexibility in programming. A corporate communication staff often will be surprisingly small but in charge of distributing communications functions to other departments, such as human resources. They also may be responsible for hiring and monitoring extensive external resources such as financial relations, public affairs and public relations, advertising, employee communications, and international relations firms. They also will call in crisis management, event planners and community relations specialists as needed.
Marketing Communications Produces Revenue
Corporate communication functions are not usually expected to produce revenue, but marketing communication activities most certainly are. Marketing communications managers and staff are usually assigned to a specific marketing manager or to a product or service brand, or recruitment or fundraising function team. They develop strategies and implementation plans to promote the revenue streams from the sale of products or services, or to increase incoming donated funds or enrolled students.
Marketing Communications Primary Functions
The most prominent marketing communications functions are product advertising and public relations. Both work heavily with broadcast, print and online media to reach consumers. Advertising involves purchased purchases space, while public relations seeks things like free article placements. In some instances, developers of collateral materials -- brochures, catalogs, recruitment materials -- dominate marketing communications activities. Event planners also play significant roles. As with corporate communications, companies may opt for in-house departments or use marketing communications managers to oversee the extensive use of outside advertising and public relations agencies, graphic design firms, broadcast producers and event planners.
Steven Sester has written and published for others as a public relations professional since the 1970s. His areas of expertise include the fine and performing arts, home improvement, emerging technology, alternative healthcare, environmental and sustainability issues, entrepreneurship and a variety of other topics. He is a graduate of the New College program at San Jose State University.