Definition of corporate communication

Corporate communication is a management function or department, like marketing, finance, or operations, dedicated to the dissemination of information to key constituencies, the execution of corporate strategy and the development of messages for a variety of purposes for inside and outside the organisation.

In today’s global corporation, this function serves as the conscience of the corporation and is responsible for the organisation’s reputation.  Previously called “public relations” or “public affairs,” corporate communication has taken on new importance in the 21st century as a result of corporate scandals or crises at companies like Enron and Toyota.

The department usually oversees communication strategy, media relations, crisis communications, internal communications, reputation management, corporate responsibility, investor relations, government affairs and sometimes marketing communication.

The person running the department is the chief communications officer of the firm, and reports directly to the chief executive officer in many of the top global organisations due to the critical importance of the function today.


Jon Iwata, the chief communications officer for IBM, oversees a large department focused on both marketing and communications for the company.

This global function is responsible for IBM’s communications to all key constituencies including customers, employees and communities.  It also plays a role in shaping and executing the company’s Smarter Planet strategy, and initiative focused on developing sophisticated systems to make the world a better place like smart grids and efficient water management systems.

Jon works closely with Sam Palmisano, CEO of IBM, on strategy execution, and is a member of the company’s most senior management team. [1]