Corporate Communications in the South African Social, Political and Media Landscape

Diversity and intersectional approaches to leadership in a South African context must be reflected in marketing and public relations outputs for South African companies to succeed.

In South Africa, an appreciation of the importance of corporate communication has been evident for more than 50 years, according to a study published by Communicare. However, South Africa’s democratic transformation since 1994 has been marked by significant political, social and economic changes which have created a myriad of new opportunities and challenges for companies operating within it. These changes have necessitated  corporate communication professionals in South Africa to be attuned with corporate communication best practices and trends as well as contextual background of social, political and economic phenomena amidst which they operate.  That is, corporate communications in South Africa cannot be divorced from the politics of the country’s involvement in Russia’s war on Ukraine, economic downturn, disinvestment, the importance of women empowerment, difficult race relations and xenophobia.  Awareness of context is maintained through relationships with the news media.

The internal and external stakeholders of South African companies have multicultural, multi-ethnic and multilingual individuals representing diverse personal backgrounds, experiences, values and ethical approaches. Diversity and intersectional approaches to leadership in a South African context must be reflected in marketing and public relations outputs for South African companies to succeed.

Corporate communication professionals must also maintain wholesome relationships with local and international media houses, and, be equipped with sound knowledge of the principles of effective corporate communications. Some companies have their own in-house communications teams, while others outsource communication responsibilities to public relations or marketing companies. The lines between public relations and marketing have become blurred especially in the digital age, where the two overlap or merge.

What is Corporate Communication?

Corporate communication is defined as ‘the overall planning, execution and evaluation an organisation’s communication with both external and internal publics – groups that affect the ability of an organisation to meet its goals’, according to James Grunig.  Corporate communication encompasses a wide range of relations between an organisation and its stakeholders in order to enhance the effectiveness of an organisation.  These relations take on many different forms but broadly fall within three categories:

Public Relations(PR) – PR concerns the curatorship of a brand’s image by conveying messages to the media and to the general public. This includes crisis management. The professional body for corporate communication in South Africa is the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA), a non-profit organisation that has been accrediting PR and PR-related qualifications for the past few decades.

Marketing – Also referred to as customer relations, marketing covers communication with the general public as prospective and real-time customers. The goal of marketing is to sell a company’s services or products.

Internal communications – Companies need convey information to their employees of various goings-on at the organisation. This is known as internal communications.  

Corporate Communications Today - Regenesys Corp Ed

Corporate Communications Today: Integrated Communication

Today, corporate communication is no longer simply newsletters and press releases but takes on ‘digital disruption’ including videos, blogs, and social media campaigns. Integrated communication, which is critical for success of an organisation, refers to having a consistent narrative and voice present across all platforms. Clarity of the rationale for the organisation, unity of organisational procedures and organisational purpose, and of what the organisation does must be  integrated for successful business operations. That said,  integration is a continuous organisational pursuit and not merely a quick-fix solution to marketing management. Integration produces integrity because an organisation that is seen as a whole rather than as an compendium of autonomous functions.  Each output of corporate communication must be carefully curated to deliver memorable, clear, and focused messages that align with the company’s values and purpose.

The intentions of corporate communication are to build the company image, market the company’s products or services; maintain a positive reputation in its industry, and bridge information gaps between employees and management. The skills necessary for effective corporate communications include writing, social media, videography, presentations, data analytics, crisis management strategy, and critical thinking. The work of communications is critical for the success of any company. Corporate communication professionals have an important  role to play in the processes of ensuring companies’ continuous adaption  to the competitive international environment.

Regenesys Corporate Education in partnership with South African broadcast media expert and personality Jeremy Maggs is hosting a professional communications bootcamp in which participants learn how to deal with the South African and international media in the ever-changing, time pressured world of communications;  how to handle a workplace crisis; how best to deliver an emotive keynote address and how to offer a presentation that will yield desired results and be unforgettable. Regenesys Corporate Education develops customised solutions for businesses to maximise productivity, sharpen management skills and drive innovation for a competitive advantage.

In the short course, participants will learn to:

  • Understand and critically assess the media landscape of South Africa
  • Identify the impact and influence of social media
  • Critically analyse and discuss the nature and concepts of crisis management
  • Execute and examine crisis communication strategies
  • Create powerful messages
  • Plan and deliver keynote speeches and presentations with confidence.

For more information about this programme, send an email to or click here to find out more.

Written by Alexandra Willis

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