Corporate communication has come a long way from stiff press releases and business brochures, full of business lingo which very little of the general public could understand. As the trend for transparency and personal communication between businesses and potential customers increased, so did the availability of media and technologies to make this communication possible at all levels.
Living in a Mobile World
Currently, the greatest territory open for exploration for PR managers, CSR departments and communication specialists is the mobile environment. Mobile phones have become a staple in our daily lives, either as professionals or private individuals. There are more business deals and financial transactions performed on mobile phones than by any other means. Likewise, when a person gets in touch with a company or brand for the first time, they are most likely to initiate the search and communication through a smartphone.
For this reason, the question asked in the title is legitimate: how mobile is your corporate communication? How flexible are you in offering both your prospects outside your organization and your employees and collaborators within the organization the possibility to connect with you, or with each other, in the most convenient and modern way?
Understanding the Customers’ Expectations
The general public is the trendsetter in mobile communications, and the statistics provided by the 2015 TeleTech Mobile Customer Expectations Study show mobile consumer interactions by industry:
- 70% with the bank where they have their credit cards and savings account;
- 53% with various retail brands from which they purchase various products;
- 38% with their cable/internet service provider;
- 20% with their health insurance company.
Further on, when asked during the same survey whether they prefer interactions through a dedicated mobile app or a web app the respondents’ preferences ranked as follows:
- 63% prefer to interact with the bank through a mobile app;
- 48% choose to install retail companies’ dedicated mobile app;
- 33% prefer to communicate with their cable/internet service provider through their mobile app.
The numbers for web apps are inferior to the mobile app with the exception of retail, where 50% of the respondents answered that they would rather use the company’s mobile website for browsing and making purchases.
What about Your Employees and Business Partners?
Corporate communication does not refer strictly to communications directed at the general public and prospects. It is also a matter of internal communication – coordinating overseas branch offices, collaborating across departments and different locations, and offering your official partners and distributors a reliable knowledge base to retrieve marketing materials, know-how, further their learning and be informed of the latest news from the company.
Today’s landscape of employment and the workforce is extremely complex: there are expats, deployed by the central office to develop new markets or strengthen a newly formed branch, and there is also an increasing percentage of remote workers who perform their job duties from home.
For all these people, mobile communication is the most efficient, fast and reliable way to perform their work at the highest productivity level and with the greatest accuracy. Even in traditional brick-and-mortar companies, the BYOD (bring your own device) policy encourages employees to use their personal smartphones for work and business purposes.
The only way in which these three categories of employees – expats, remote employees and BYOD carriers – can perform their work efficiently and in strict compliance with the confidentiality rules enforced by companies is through dedicated mobile apps.
An estimate by independent research company Forester, shows that 2016 will see a global expenditure of $6.4 billion in social collaboration tools and apps. Large corporations like Cisco and Microsoft have already joined this trend, providing their customers with specialized mobile apps and business collaboration suites which can be installed and run on smartphones, tablets or notebooks.
Can You Afford to Be Left Behind?
The answer to this is clear and simple: No. Statistics, trends and research point toward a world of mobile corporate communications which will become more and more sophisticated and specialized. By joining this trend while it is still on the growing path, your organization has the opportunity to learn and to adjust. When the trend reaches its plateau, every single mistake will be drastically sanctioned because the expectations, both from the general public and from your business partners and employees, will be huge and supported by experience with other companies.
On the other hand, you need to understand the benefits of having a solid mobile communication strategy in place. Mobile apps are proven to create more customer loyalty than web apps and are still ad blocker free, meaning that you can channel a part of your online advertising towards your mobile app and reach people who have installed ad blocking software on their mobile phones.
Also, when it comes to collaboration tools, mobile apps for internal company use are becoming more and more sophisticated, while maintaining competitive prices. Companies which use these solutions have seen a decrease in their administrative costs, an increased productivity from their workforce and a higher level of employee loyalty.
Collaboration has never been easier, even between people living on different continents. Your organization can benefit from the advantages offered by emerging economies and explore young markets, while maintaining its core activities at the central headquarters. The possibilities of remote work are endless and exciting.
So, why would your organization want to be left behind in a mobile communications world?
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