Before we get to discuss communication agency jobs, let’s take a moment to understand the types of communication available.
Internal and external communication exist within a business. Internal communication relates to staff, and it may also include other stakeholders who are internal to a business. A business uses various techniques to communicate with its internal and external stakeholders.
A good company to work for has a communications culture that suits its stakeholders. Be it formal or informal communication. In this instance, the communication is regular, honest, timeous, tailored to the recipients and two-way.
This type of communication relates to how individuals communicate with others around them, whether at home or in their personal relationships. Some prefer to communicate with others face-to-face, while others prefer other types of communication, such as emails and telephone calls.
This type of communication relates to speaking or oral communication, be it face-to-face telephonically or via other digital platforms.
Even when a person is silent, they are communicating. The message being communicated differs according to the environment and the circumstances. For instance, when a person is not happy, they may choose to be silent, but their body language communicates their state of mind.
This is communication that is relayed in a written format, whether through letters, emails, reports, or texts.
This type of communication uses photographs, art, drawings, sketches, charts, and graphs to convey the message. Visual communication enhances communication by attracting the recipient’s attention, especially if the visuals are appealing.
Visual communication is also attractive as it is easier for recipients to consume.
BREAKDOWN OF COMMUNICATION JOBS
The communications industry in South Africa offers a variety of exciting jobs depending on one’s education, interest, and even experience. The positive thing is that unlike in the past when organisations relied on Human Resources departments to do their communication, now more and more organisations are setting up communications departments to handle all their communication.
We need to understand the role of the communications department within an organisation in order to unpack the specific communications jobs.
At a strategic level, a communications department must integrate, coordinate, and direct an organisation’s business communications. It develops or crafts intelligent and relevant business communications strategies, policies, directives, procedures, and protocols. It is also responsible for monitoring and measuring the impact of the communications interventions. Furthermore, the communications department must oversee the organisation’s reputation and advise accordingly.
At an operational level, the communications department must see that there is an appropriate communications infrastructure to enable the flow of critical information to all levels and corners of the business.
It must also see that there is appropriate communications capacity and skills to implement the strategies put in place and monitor adherence to communications policies and protocols developed for the business or organisation.
In large organisations with a group and decentralised structures, it is the norm to have a group communications department responsible for developing the communications strategy for the entire business, including the group and the regions or whatever naming convention is given to the decentralised structure. The group communications department would be responsible for coordinating the communication of the decentralised networks to ensure that the business or organisation has a single message or, in communications speak, the company speaks in “one voice.”
The group communications department has an oversight role and, therefore, must ensure that the decentralised structures have the necessary capacity and communications skills to deliver on their communications job while adhering to set communications procedures and protocols. Capacity would include issues such as appropriate budgets and human resources. This is important as their failure will be tracked back to the group.
STANDARD COMMUNICATIONS JOBS
Standard communications jobs that would be reflected within a Communication Department include the following:
Communications Manager/head – This communications job is responsible for developing and managing the execution of the communications strategy and monitoring adherence to communications procedures and protocols. This is in addition to managing the department.
External Communications – This communications job is responsible for crafting and managing communication with external stakeholders, including customers.
Internal Communications – This communications job is responsible for crafting and managing communication with staff and other internal stakeholders.
Media Relations – This communications job is responsible for ensuring the flow of information between the organisation and the media as a stakeholder. It is a specialised communication skill not necessarily found in all communicators.
Events Management – Gone are the days when business events were given to PAs. Now, businesses understand the importance of events in cementing relationships, launching products, and creating brand awareness. Hence, an events management function would typically be within the communications structure.
Graphic Designer - This communications job offers various exciting ways of packaging information. Business departments look to the communications department for graphic design skills or capacity. This role ensures that the information created is packaged to suit the many communications platforms available to the department.
Social Media - This communications job is essential in a communications department to keep up with current trends.
MOTIVATING BUDGET FOR COMMUNICATION JOBS
It is another thing to create all the communication jobs. It’s another thing to have budget resources to enable them to deliver for the department.
Communicators often struggle to secure the budgets they require to execute their plans compared to other departments. This is because they are perceived as spenders and not core to the business’s operations. They are seen as the “balloon people” and are often the first to be targeted when businesses implement budget cuts.
This may be because many communications departments do not place themselves at the centre of the business. They relegate themselves to the periphery, doing events and putting up “balloons”.
To successfully motivate and maintain the budget, communication departments must have relevant business communication strategies that support the entire business and its goals. If the business goals include growth and retention of customers and awareness, these goals must be reflected in the communications strategy.
The strategy must be measurable and be accompanied by clear action plans. Everything must be linked back to a specific business objective.
The department must also provide feedback on progress throughout the year to the entire business so that all internal stakeholders understand the impact and benefit derived from the department.
By doing this, the communication department is placing itself in the centre of the business, ensuring its relevance and, therefore, its right to be allocated a deserving budget.