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The movablefeast we call corporate
communicationshas always been,well,
- --

"This whole is boundtogether within


one underlyingstrategythat extends
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L...L ~...- movable.With shameI admitto writing visual corporateidentityto a single
someyears agothat corporate designstylefor literature,exhibition
communicationsdid not exist. It was showrooms,reception areas
(' - just a fashionablenamefor the encompassingcolour,materialchoice,
-.J
combinationof consumer, photographicstyle,type faces andtone
governmental,employeeand of voice."
communityrelations. Hewent on to talk aboutthe coming
Mama Mia what a faux pas,to mix use of sound and musicalsignaturesas
my languages.Today,I earn a living reinforcementto the visual signifiers,
advisingcompaniesin this but more of that later.
"fashionable" discipline,arguingit is BernardGuly,MD of View,the brand
.J- the central plankof organisational and digital communicationsagency,
~[~u~ communication.
Timeschangeand never moreso
arguesthat BernardCarey'slist of
messagecarriers will play a growing
part in the three E'sformula,acting as
than in the years ahead.Writing at the
facilitators.

f~
time of the millenniuma business
pundit prophesisedthis decadewould "Companiesnow havethe abilityto
be aboutthree E's:education, incorporatetheir CSRinitiative into the
..,., environmentand ethics.Companies way they usethe web to graspthe
U I would haveto react to customerswho reputationalhigh groundand pushthe
were better "Educated",have a positiveaspectsof their work to the
growing interestin the "Environment" front" (seewww.gsk.comfor examples
and aboveall, be forced to operate of his approach).
11 within rigorous"Ethical" standards.For Unfortunately,despitethe lip service
once a forecast about public relations we hearfrom headsof corporate
was spot on. affairs,few companiesachievea high
Talkingfilms BernardCarey,director and enoughlevel of co-ordinatedattack.
soonousted colleaguein consultantsSound There is a lamentablelack of
the silent Strategiesand onetime director of understandingby managersof how
~I corporatecommunicationsat the meaningis processedandtaken from
movies.But SmithsGroup,at Roverand Lucas, corporatematerial,especiallywhen it
despiteour summedup the situation in corporate is purelyvisual and unwritten.(seemy
jl communicationsby saying:"Corporate article in Behindthe Spinin May 2005).
ability to add
identity has cometo representmore Get the message right
soundto everymediumfrom than a designsystem.It now embodies "
websitesto mobilephones,the PR a company'swider valuesand Everyonetalks the talk. Kate Nicholas
positioningwithin its stakeholder wrote in PR Week (3 March 2006)that
industryhas yet to give its clients' she counted30mentionsof podcastsat
diaspora.
publics anythingworth listening to. "It includesall forms of visual a conferenceshe attendedyet "there
ReginaldWattsexplains why a interface betweena companyand its appearedto be a disconnection
publics.Somecompanieshavemultiple developingbetweenthe new media
soundstrategyfor a public andthe businessof day-to-dayPR".
brandsfor subsidiaries,product groups
relationscampaignwill soon ~; or single productswith their own So muchtalk about deliverysystems
meanexactly that! 11 identity andlogo. goes on yet manyheadsof
communicationstill fail to gettheir
messageright.Without a full scale
positioningaudityou mightas well
whistle in the wind.
I havelost count of the positioning
auditswhere my questionto the CEO
on the companypositioningreceives
the replythatthey are a "company
offering high qualityproducts,with
excellent after salesservice andvalue
for moneyproducts".
I bite my lip atthis point and refrain
from replying"and I supposeyou
are kindto animalstoo".
Motherhoodand honesty
does not build reputation,
nor gain listeners.
If the message
strategyis to work, it
shouldbe basedon a
clear positioning
statementof a few
paragraphsonly,no
WarandPeace, please.
Thestatementneed
includeonly a small

'rhfi'$o(jnd Strategies team