Businesses communicate with the outside world in many different ways. In this lesson, you’ll learn about how businesses communicate with their environment and be given some examples. A short quiz follows the lesson.
External communication is the transmission of information between a business and another person or entity in the company’s external environment. Examples of these people and entities include customers, potential customers, suppliers, investors, shareholders, and society at large.
A Channel of communication is simply the method by which the organization transmits its message. Communication channels include face-to-face communication, Telemarketing, print media such as newspapers, magazines, fliers, and newsletters, broadcast media such as radio and television, and electronic communication such as websites, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and email.
External communication typically includes email, brochures, newsletters, posters, advertisements and other forms of multimedia marketing designed to attract customers, partners and suppliers to conduct profitable business transactions. Unlike internal communications, directed at employees to explain policies and procedures, external communication devices promote sales and publicity, generate sponsorship, announce events, products or services and support branding. Marketing professionals use persuasive techniques to influence others in their external communication strategies.
Companies communicate the price of their products and services by using advertisements in print media and on television, radio and the Internet. Offers, such as buy-one-get-one-free tactics, typically increase sales. Other incentives, such as bonus points or coupons, help generate customer loyalty by getting consumers to buy products at a reduced price. Additionally, companies send email messages to offer discounted prices, free samples and joint promotions with other companies using vouchers and financing deals.
By communicating with customers through direct marketing channels, distributors or business partners, companies enable sales and delivery of their goods and services in ways that end up providing benefits for each party. Companies target partners and suppliers with offers of reduce prices using communication mechanisms such as brochures, functional specifications and selling guides. Through external communication documents such as requests for proposals or statements of work, companies set up business relationships allowing them to prosper in a complex, global marketplace.
Companies promote their products by communicating the benefits and features in printed product or service literature. Functional specifications, reference manuals and other product documentation enable customers to decide if the product meets their needs. Literature also convinces potential customers that products provide a return on investment and an affordable total cost of ownership. Promotional literature tends to include attractive photos, text and descriptive language to describe product or service details. Using logos and slogans to build up their brand recognition, companies develop a market presence.
Companies present their products at trade shows and events to demonstrate their personal or business use. They conduct training courses to show people how to use product functions and certify personnel in product usage. Companies offer instructor-led training, virtual events using Web conferencing software and self-paced courses to meet the needs of busy professionals. During training events, instructors and company representatives give presentations and communicate with participants to learn about individual needs. Additionally, companies conduct surveys using online questionnaires to get feedback on product usage and requirements for new product development.
External communication strategies underpin how a business connects with stakeholders outside of the organisation. These messages influence external stakeholder’s opinions about a brand and its products or services. Enterprise’s external communication strategies are focused on its customers, potential customers, potential recruits and local communities.
Enterprise’s customer base can be divided into business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) customers. B2B customers require rental vehicles for employees whereas B2C customers have individual vehicle hire needs. Enterprise uses a different communication strategy for B2C (communication with retail customers) compared to B2B customers (communication with other businesses).
Retail is one of Enterprise’s fastest growing sectors. Enterprise focuses its messages for retail customers on its key differentiators. These include its commitment to the customer experience, its extensive branch network and its unique pick-up service. Examples of communication channels for this audience include:
For its B2B customers, the key messages focus on efficiency, being a businesses’ ‘partner’ and Enterprise’s new products and services. An example is Enterprise Flex-E-Rent – a long term rental solution between 28 days and 3 years. Communication channels to reach these customers include:
Enterprise’s dedicated recruitment website ‘Come Alive’ promotes Enterprise to potential new recruits. The site also shows recent awards that Enterprise has achieved, for example, Enterprise was awarded Graduate Employer of the Year 2013 at the National Graduate Recruitment Awards. To win this award Enterprise demonstrated excellence in attraction, onboarding, development and retention along with providing evidence of satisfaction from a cross section of recent graduate hires. Other communication channels include Facebook, Twitter and Linked In sites, all showing current employment opportunities.
Its graduate recruitment programme involves mainly oral communication. Campus brand managers actively promote Enterprise to staff and students at their university. This is supported by career fairs and written communication strategies such as leaflet and poster distribution which also help create brand awareness.
Enterprise’s public relations activities involve mass media coverage. Examples include positive articles in The Guardian and The Times about Enterprise’s strong graduate recruitment programmes and the benefits of Enterprise’s ‘onboarding’ programme for new recruits. Its commitment to planting 50 million trees over 50 years as part of its environmental sustainability policy has been widely communicated to stakeholders through its Sustainability Report, YouTube and in the press.
A bad External Communication will kill 80% of your sales. You think reading some book and attend motivational course will maintain or increase your sales consistently?
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