External communication and personal mission

publication date 28.02.2010

Without positive values - will not positively valuable external communication

The right external communication, a uniform corporate style, etc. do bear fruit. If the company has not set its corporate culture well, including positive internal values, it will - sooner or later - hit its ceiling. The fundamental policy is always laid down at the top positions.  If the oragnization´s founder considers manipulation, coercion, misinformation as being the norm, then, it might be assumed they are going to use such a style even while building their own company.

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Currently, every organization is considering what they are going to invest their finance into to ensure the highest possible return, while, at the same time, needing to advertise themselves and their products. This is why the external communication is so vital. Still, we sometimes see real wasting of money, time and human potential. 

I would like to share with you my experience in external communication of a multi-level marketing company (further referred to only as MLM). 

First of all, I set my eyes on their corporate logo. The purity of its design and its welcoming shape amazed me. I happened to meet a person representing that MLM company. She showed me some promotion materials in very good taste which were - wordlessly- appealing to human desires as well as parental instincts. Then we checked out the company´s website. Again, all levels of the Maslow pyramid of human needs depicted tastefully, with the minimum of words. It was apparent that the MLM organization really takes care of its uniform visual style. For this reason, I was wondering what their next external communication would be like. 

I learned they had been paying great attention to the media relations, that is, to articles and press releases, while painstakingly preparing package events and advertising their support for charity organizations. As far as here everything would be all right. Everything changed the moment I got familiar with their seminar for recruitment of new dealers. Although I saw a presentation brimful of motivation and aspiration, starting with instinctively providing for the family and ending in materialization of love. The text implied the material was a well-disguised manipulation, providing incomplete and doctored information. The ideal picture of the company was suddenly clouded by doubts along with the question: „What is their corporate culture like?

Before long it was obvious the dealers were being systematically and intensively bombarded with half-truths about supposed successes, while being kept in the dark about failures after the fashion of  „those who are not with us are against us“. A trained representative of the company starts asserting that implanted routine towards their subordinates as the MLM team is being built, their peers, but also towards the company management. What a surprise to the dealer when, after some time, the company managemnt takes leave of their keen representative! 

This cycle of „producing“ a successful dealer and subsequently laying off an „arrogant“ and tackless person takes place in this firm more often than not. When customers and the other „comrades-in-arms“ enquire about the reason why a particular person has been given the sack, the terse reply will follow: „Well, THEY have been spoiling the goodwill of the product, the organization, the owners.“ One could almost parapharase a sencence from the period of The Great French Revolution saying that  ... the implemented mode of communication shall eat its children.

Why is the company wasting its goodwill so much? 

Indeed, they have invested no small finance into the external communication. In order to get the right answer, one needs to know about the internal communication, as the two modes of information flow - both the external and the internal one - make up an inseparable whole. The foundations of both of them are laid by the most important people: the company´s top management and owners.

Provided that the organization´s founder considers manipulation, coercion, misinformation to be the norm, they will, presumably, use such a style in building up of their company. They will reflect in the external communication with the media, customers, suppliers, as well as in the internal communication with employees. At the same time, though, the company must expect such a constellation of corporate values will keep coming back in the manner of behaviour and conduct of their employees, and in the way customers will assess their company. 

Conclusion

What is there to be said by way of conclusion? All the elements of the external communication - when executed correctly, in collaboration with experts and specialists, and with plenty of money spent on the public relations, the uniform corporate style, etc. - will surely bear fruit. If the company, however, has not set their corporate culture well, including positive internal values, it will - sooner or later - hit its ceiling. The unfortunate situation is not going to change by merely firing incommodious employees, the change has to begin in the top positions. The company´s owner should put himself the fundamental question: „What is my ultimate personal mission, what is the creed and mission of my company?

Blanka Urbánková

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