A corporate communications framework is a structured way to look at the communications tools your organization is currently using. What tools are you using? Are they the right tools? If not, what tools are needed?
A Corporate Communication Framework (CCF) should not be confused with your organization’s Corporate Communications Strategy, which is about what content to communicate and how that content is communicated. The difference between the two is important because they have very different meanings and are managed by different roles within your organization. But, the better the CCF in place, the more options are available for what kind of content is created and how you can communicate it (the Corporate Communications Strategy).
Let’s step back and focus on the three questions above.
What communications tools are you using today?
We all use different communications tools – video meeting platforms, social media, email, texting, asynchronous video, and many more. The problem, however, is that most organizations have not mapped out the communications tools they are using in a structured way. They do not have a concrete current state.
But every organization has a current state, which we can dub their “informal Corporate Communications Framework”. By turning the informal CCF into a picture or diagram, you get a snapshot of your current state. Let’s look at how to do that.
2 types of communications tools
There are two distinct types of communications tools:
- Real Time communications tools (synchronous), and
- Iterative (asynchronous) communications tools
The Real Time and Iterative sets of communications tools become the two major categories for the Corporate Communications Framework.
The Real Time category includes person-to-person communication and group calls or meetings, using applications such as Webex or Zoom. The Iterative category includes instant messaging (chat) and social/work spaces, such as project management applications like Microsoft Teams or virtual whiteboards like MURAL. Iterative communications are often asynchronous.
Within each of these two categories there are two subsets of communication tools:
- Tools that are primarily used by individuals (personal tools) to give or receive a communication and;
- Tools that are primarily used to enable group communication and collaboration
It’s important to note that iterative tools are often used in real-time as well, based on the task(s) at hand or the working style of you and/or your team. Instant messaging is a great example of a communication tool that works both iteratively and in real time, but does not require all parties involved to be available in real time.
Final pieces of the puzzle
The Directory Architecture and the Integration Layers between the tools are the final pieces of a sound CCF. Adding these in gives us the final picture of the overall CCF.
The Directory Architecture is your organization’s people directory that the tools use to keep track of all the people that need to communicate together. A single book of directory is best, but with all of the tools that exist today, an environment with multiple directories is more common.
Making the multiple directories environment work requires IT integration. Integration may also be required to allow the four different subsets of communication tools to talk to each other and to enable the communications tools within applications.
Are the communications tools your organization is using today the right tools
Once your organization has a good understanding of what you are using — your current state — then you can determine if your current state is ideal or if change is needed. If you are like most organizations, you may find yourself facing one or more of the following problems:
- Your set of communication tools is not complete
- There are duplicate tools serving the same purpose
- There are too many directories
- Not all the tools work with each other, e.g. the Peer-to-Peer tools don’t work with the Group Conferencing tools
- There is a mix of legacy and modern tools performing the same role but used by different groups
- The tools do not provide a rich communication and collaboration experience
- There is no strategy around the selection and deployment of the chosen communications tools
How do you determine what the right tools are?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, as all organizations are unique, and will have unique needs. The right tools are tools that work well together, while enabling your team to communicate in the ways that work well for the work that they do.
ET Group is here to help you find them. Book a Discovery Call to find out how we can co-create a the right Corporate Communications Framework for you and your team.
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