WHITE PAPER Business Communications: the Overlooked Fundamental

Business Communications 101:
A Primer for Businesses

Many businesses — too many! — do everything right except communicate... with their customers, with their market and with their community. Let's review what business communication is, how its facets work together... and how many businesses lose out by not making use of a comprehensive communication strategy.

Business Communications: The Big Picture

In a nutshell, business communication is everything you do that speaks to everyone outside the business. It's the written, visual, and sometimes audible content that comes from you and is received by everyone else.

Too vague? Maybe. But it's important not to restrict your notion of “communication” to basic things like press releases and product announcements, or even just to advertising and sales materials. Communications are everything that represents you and your business to the world, including:

More than just those individual categories, communications is the combination and intersection of them all. An advertising campaign, for example, might spread across several categories. Image is formed by many of them working together. A presentation might be a key element in your branding strategy.

There are further layers of breakdown below these categories, as well: an individual ad is made up of visual elements, written elements and sometimes audio elements... and ‘visual elements’ further breaks down into pictorial elements, graphical elements and design elements. Every one of these elements benefits from skilled handling.

Complicated? You bet. And every available element you aren't using is costing you potential exposure, customers and profit. Worse, every element you are misusing or using badly is costing you as well. Communications is like any tool: you not only have to use it, but use it right. A hammer is a good way to drive a nail, but it's also a great way to smash everything in sight. Too many businesses are either afraid to use the tool... or misuse it, smashing opportunities instead of making them.

What makes it worse is that too many of those same businesses compound the problem by assuming that outside marketing, promotional, creative and communications support is unnecessary, too expensive... or just too “fancy” for them. They persist in throwing money and time at piecemeal efforts that are poorly planned and directed, and often working in different directions, and then wonder why the efforts aren't getting results.

Here's a hint: marketing books, seminars and webinars mostly get it wrong. The more they claim to have sure-fire secrets, tips and tricks, the more likely they are to be business ‘snake oil’ — nonsense, outdated or maybe successful in the guru's world but nowhere else. There are no magic shortcuts. Planning a communications, marketing and promotion strategy that does more good than harm and gets the biggest possible bang for the budget — and within a defined budget — is not something that can be learned in three easy steps, 101 secret tricks or a gosh-wow seminar... any more than you learned your business that way.

The value of a comprehensive communications strategy can only be realized with professional expertise. If you don't have it — really have it — then the only way you can get effective results is by hiring it. Without expert oversight, planning and execution, the money you spend on marketing and promotion is likely wasted.

If there's one message we'd like you to carry away from this article, it's this:

Professional communications management is not only more effective than unskilled efforts, but is more cost-effective, with a higher return on investment... and can be cheaper overall. The chances are good that NitroPress Communications can do more for your business than your current efforts, for less cost in time and money.

Go ahead, read that again. Then get in touch and let us prove its truth.

Piecemeal vs. Professional Approach

Some readers may be surprised to see things like image, signage and packaging included in the list above. Most smaller businesses that lack a professional approach to marketing and communications tend to consider many of the above items separate issues, often divided by whoever provides them. Signage is the province of the local sign shop. Printed items like business cards and brochures are the responsibility of the local printer. Sales materials are the job of the sales manager and staff. The web site is in the hands of a web guy. Social media is something everyone looks at but nobody's really in charge of. Image is... whatever comes from the collection of those scattered elements.

This approach is extremely common, even in businesses too big to be taking such a loose and wasteful approach. It's almost universal (for wholly understandable reasons) in small companies that don't have the internal resources to handle everything.

It's also costly, counter-productive and wrong. There's a tendency to brush off professional expertise in all the areas of business communications — a feeling that it's not that hard to do. A notion that being the business expert is good enough to promote it effectively. The idea that the local newspaper, printer, sign shop, web developer and whatever other individual providers you can call add up to all the expertise you need.

Even more so, there's a sense that it's not really necessary — that all a business has to do is be good at whatever it does and hang out an ‘Open’ sign. There's a belief that only big companies and Fortune Some-Hundred firms need anything as exotic as a “communications agency.”

The truth is, any business of any size and with any marketing, promotional and “communications” budget can benefit from professional services. Even the smallest business can benefit from taking a "wholistic," comprehensive approach to communications, and even the largest can benefit by focusing time and money where they're most effective. There is immeasurable value in bringing all these elements under a single, focused plan. Like so many practices, when the goals are seen as part of a whole, everything gets done more efficiently and without anything falling between chairs. Coordinated efforts support and enhance each other in ways that separate efforts don't.

A professional approach to business communications brings instant effectiveness to every dollar and man-hour spent on the efforts. Experienced planning and coordination makes every step pay dividends. Avoiding ineffective approaches, especially the faddish ones promoted by the hot guru of the week, keeps the focus on truly productive efforts.

The NitroPress Communications Approach

NitroPress Communications has been around long enough to see the same fads come and go, always in a new coat of paint and always promising miracles. We know which ones didn't work the first time, or burned out their effectiveness long ago. We know some old tricks that still work in today's business world... and a few that others have forgotten and not rediscovered yet.

We believe in the power of comprehensive communications — a business plan that makes use of every appropriate avenue of communication, working in concert to engage the world outside the business: clients and customers, the market in general and the community.

We bring a sweeping range of expertise, capability and insight to the problem of effective business communications. We can effectively replace every individual provider of communication, marketing and promotion services you're now using, and supplement your in-house assets. We can develop a targeted, cost-effective, budget-sensitive plan to give your business the most effective voice it can have.

All you have to do is communicate with us.