The communication department can only aspire to excellence if they are characterized by achieving a close alignment between their own objectives and those of the business. However, linking the communication strategy with the overall objectives of the organization remains an ongoing and unresolved challenge in companies around the world. Despite the frequently claimed need for a fully aligned communication strategy, as a precondition for value creation communication, there are no commonly used tools, practices, or guidelines to ensure alignment.
A distinction that the communication department must understand
There is a difference between internal and external alignment which can bring the necessary clarity to the concept of alignment:
- Internal alignment is of all internal processes, structures, systems and employees towards a common goal. Organizations aim to create a fit between corporate values, culture, organizational identity, and business strategy to ensure consistency. Inconsistencies between a company’s strategy and culture generally cause confusion among employees, implying that the company does not practice what it preaches. Creating an internal alignment of employee attitudes and behaviours with corporate values is the responsibility of the communication department and contributes to efficient internal workflows and successful collaboration. within the organization.
- External alignment is about the alignment of the corporation with its external environment and the multifaceted beliefs and values articulated by different stakeholder groups. Even the most carefully defined strategy will fail if it is not aligned with what stakeholders expect from the company. Therefore, creating an external alignment is an important precondition for gaining stakeholder support. Misalignment, by contrast, generally results in lower acceptance levels and reduced legitimacy. In today’s dynamic and changing environments, corporations need a high level of flexibility and adaptability to ensure alignment with environmental demands, something the communications department must be able to accomplish.
Benefits of strategic alignment
The strategic alignment of the messages sent by the communication department is a key prerequisite to contribute to value creation in the most efficient and effective way.
Beneficial impacts on corporate success include:
- Improved strategic positioning through ongoing review of corporate strategy and ongoing alignment with changing stakeholder expectations.
- Identification of competitive advantages by detecting new trends in the external environment and taking advantage of critical information for corporate adjustment.
- Improving the trustworthiness and credibility of the corporation among the stakeholders, providing communication activities and messages that are aligned with its expectations. This can foster beneficial relationships and improve business reputation.
- Increased internal efficiency and reduced costs through increased employee engagement, if their attitudes and behaviours are aligned with corporate objectives and culture.
Linking the messages of the communication department with the corporate strategy is possible, although it is not easy. Achieving this depends on various organizational factors, such as size, hierarchies, corporate culture, and accessibility to administrative decisions.
Although each company is different, to achieve strategic alignment the work of the marketing department must begin by analyzing the business objectives, the reflection on where we are now and where we want to go and finish by linking communication objectives with business objectives.