Beyond Tech & Tools

Plant growing with care

Here is a paradox: The communications department can be the most misunderstood department in an organization. 

Too often, an organization’s leaders reduce communications to the management of tools, such as social media, media production and websites, or to media relations, which is primarily a public relations function.  

When given the space to fulfill its mandate, communications drives organizational growth. It must run through an entire organization and be in on strategic planning meetings, since its primary responsibility is to communicate the organization’s mission, both internally — to contribute to staff working efficiently and on target — and externally — to the organization’s various audiences, including clients, investors, donors, community members, stakeholders, media and other constituencies.

In other words, the communications function makes an organization’s mission palpable and relatable, bringing it to life in a very cluttered, distracted world.

Communications professionals understand that every aspect of an organization communicates — its materials, brochures, website, products, logo, etc. — even its office space and organizational chart! And every aspect either communicates in support of the stated mission and values or against them. Nothing is neutral.

With this understanding in hand, a communications professional bears the responsibility of sharing with an organization’s leadership which of their activities support the organization’s mission and which work against it. (A good trait to have to thrive in the communications field: a thick skin.)

In sum, communications is primarily a strategic function, and then a practical one — crafting messaging for various audiences, carefully discerning which media would be most effective in advancing the organization’s mission — and not the other way around.

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