Corporate communications professional

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Ample communication is vital today, especially for organisations wanting to project a positive image in the market. Corporate communications professionals are the important bridge between stakeholders and the masses.

These professionals lend a face to the often faceless, or sometimes inaccessible higher level personnel such as managing directors and shape the voice of the company.Good corporate communications professionals are always in demand, particularly if they have been in a particular industry for at least three to five years.

What a corporate communications professional does

When a journalist wishes to get in touch with a company for an official quote from its spokesperson, the first point of contact is usually the corporate communications executive or manager.

This corporate communications professional then interviews the spokesperson involved and crafts the official quote to be released to the media.

The corporate communications department monitors the media for publications where the company name may have been mentioned; and ensures that the organisation is portrayed in a positive light.

Occasionally, the corporate communications professional may write press releases pertaining to certain industry trends to pique the interest of the media; to keep the company brand name top-of-mind when a journalist is writing a new article.

Fighting crises

Sometimes certain incidents may occur that could potentially mar a company’s reputation. For example, an employee may leak insider information that is detrimental to an organisation; or may behave inappropriately in public and get bad publicity.

This is where corporate communications teams have an important part to play in making sure that there is a crisis communication plan in place – Knowing what to say and when the appropriate time is to say it.

What you need in corporate communications

As a corporate communications professional, you will need:

· Excellent communication skills – both verbal and written

· To be a “people” person

· Innovative ideas to pitch story angles to the media

· To manage the expectations of management and the media

· Relevant industry experience and to always keep up with the latest industry trends

Your career path

Corporate communications professionals often start at the executive level after obtaining professional qualifications such as a university degree. They may move up to a managerial level after three to five years’ experience; with additional job responsibilities of managing the corporate communications team as a corporate communications manager. A professional can expect to become a corporate communications director heading a regional or global portfolio after obtaining at least eight to 10 years’ experience.

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