How to avoid the 7 Sins of Corporate Communication

epic-failureWritten by Chipo Mapungwana

Every so often, in many companies , corporate  and marketing communication loses its way and makes a misstep and in some cases, falls flat on its face. In doing so, companies lose the attention of their staff and customers and generally annoy their communities and stakeholders. In this post are some ideas about how you and your company can avoid some of these pitfalls.

Sin 1:  Making it about “me”

Does your company produce magazines, emails, newsletters, etc, for staff and customers  that read more like MBA dissertations, Board financial reports  or PHD theses? There is nothing wrong with such communication, if only they were not  distributed to the generality of the staff population or your polite customers who are too civilised to unsubscribe from your online emails or magazines.  Remember the Greek  myth about a beautiful young man called Narcissus? He liked his own reflection so much that he could not stop looking at himself and he starved to death, just  looking at his own reflection.

What to do

Marketing and internal corporate communication messages are not about you. Communication should be about your audience.

Sin 2: Trying to cover too much

Have you noticed how people who are really good at being interviewed  can answer  questions in one sentence. In fact those who are really good at it are able to turn the questions and their answer to suit their own agendas. Many companies try to put too much information into their communication messages and as a result, the audience, be they staff or customers fail to pick the most important points about the message.

What to do

When communicating with your customers or staff, pick a single point and focus on getting that point across.

Sin 3: Using complicated , abstract concepts

Too much education may actually be a bad thing in corporate communication. We feel that we have to use all the words that we know and all the theories that we have learnt to impress our audiences. We think that the more learned and complicated we sound, the more people will pay attention to us. This belief is unfortunately not true. See how you feel after reading the following:

A common concern within organisations exercising  cost control is that project teams are under resourced. Even armed with the most through strategy, messages may get lost in the general noise of the business. It is intriguing  that some businesses continue to support  costly scattershot communication channels instead of  opting for smarter customer driven messaging. By  adopting strategic  practices, encouraging ownership and introducing self-governance, communication practitioners can improve penetration through empowerment.

There is a message in there somewhere.

What to do

Make your internal and external communication messages simple, easy on the eye and ear.

Sin 4: Losing the human element

Why do many companies communicate like there are no humans on the other end. I am constantly puzzled by Annual results presentations where shareholders are subjected to jargon, complex words and figures that skirt around the real issues. Shareholders want to know in simple words, why and how  the company made money or lost it and what the company will do to increase their dividend next year. Customers want to hear real stories, voices and real experiences.

What to do

Tell stories. Share experiences. Communicate in ways that have meaning and impact to your audience.

Sin 5: Creating a dense thicket of information

Those of us communicating in the 21st Century are pretty lucky  to have so many tools and channels that we can use to be effective. We have Word processing, PowerPoint, graphics software, video software and a lot of ways to create great content. So there is no excuse for companies to bore customers and stakeholders with laborious, meandering sentences and think lifeless paragraphs.

What to do

Make your corporate communication messages easy to navigate, interesting to read and if you can, create visuals  and make your corporate messages audible. That is the great thing about on line communication.

Sin 6: Going on too long

Anyone who has ever made a speech knows this mantra. “Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell Them. Tell them what you said.

What to do

Say what to you are going to say as briefly  and simply and as interestingly as possible.

Sin 7: Lecturing

Lecturing and its annoying companion, hectoring  your audiences is not an effective way to communicate and grab  your audience’s attention. People do not like to be talked to as if they were in junior school. Yet some companies create marketing communication messages that tell customers that they are fools not to use their products, making customers questions  choices that they make in choosing their preferred  brands. Customers won’t love you for trying to make them feel foolish.

What to do

Provide instruction and not a lecture. Persuade and don’t bully. Create conversations and not a one way flow of words.

For Brand reputation and social media marketing consulting and training, contact Chipo on


About chipomaps

A brand reputation, marketing and new media trainer and consultant. Constantly curious, constantly learning.
This entry was posted in Marketing, Public Relations and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to How to avoid the 7 Sins of Corporate Communication

  1. dongrgic says:

    Great advice as always. Thank you for sharing.

  2. chipomaps says:

    Thanks Don. Your comments are appreciated.

  3. tinorumbidza says:

    Very insightful . Thanks hey

  4. Sheunesu Manhando says:

    Great analysis

  5. Ruth Ramiso says:

    Well said Chido. Thank you for sharing.

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