Four ways to unleash comms as a competitive advantage

“How can my comms be better?” That was one of the questions we heard asked rhetorically by the 20 comms leaders we spoke to before we launched Delphi.

In today’s fast-paced, always-on world, many comms professionals feel there’s greater focus and pressure on their work than ever before. There’s always an expectation to do more, be better, and beat the competition.

We summarised this as a desire for “comms as a competitive advantage” – also the name of our report based on those 20 interviews, which you can read here. Visionary comms people – like the visionary cat in our image above – use comms creatively to differentiate their business 🙂

But what does comms as a competitive advantage look like in practice and how can you unleash it? We think there are four key elements: the story you tell, the people who tell it, the structure that enables it, and the stage on which you operate. In other words: story, teller, structure, stage.

1. Story

Creating brilliant stories will always be at the heart of comms, especially in the frequently complex tech sector. Increasingly, though, a tech brand’s “story” is really just a creative articulation of its business strategy – an emotionally engaging way of explaining what the company stands for, what makes it different, and why it matters. Whether you call it brand strategy, narrative or positioning – it’s the core story for the organisation and the starting point for creative campaigns that bring it to life.

2. Teller

Next, great comms requires great communicators. We don’t mean media training here. This is about how business leaders define their company’s brand, tell their personal stories, connect their company’s mission to their individual values, and manage complex stakeholder groups internally and externally. That’s why one of the services we offer at Delphi is one-to-one exec coaching for senior leaders.

3. Structure

So many comms challenges are structural in nature. This came up time and again in our conversations with in-house leaders. They need outside consultants to help them fix these issues at their root, with better organisational design, the right ways of working, and improved relationships between the comms function and the rest of the business. The brutal reality is that unless you start here, the majority of comms problems will never get solved.

4. Stage

Comms can provide an important outward-facing function in for organisations that are naturally inward-looking. It can study the business’s external landscape, looking at best practice, opportunities and risks – keeping the business ahead of rivals. As the conduit between the organisation and its stakeholders, comms is uniquely placed to challenge, advise and inspire.


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