What is Corporate Communications?
Corporate communications is the study of communications theory as it applies to business and office environments. As a subject, it encompasses all modes of business communication from print to electronic to online media. Students in corporate communications programs study strategies for effective interaction between businesses as well as from businesses to their investor and client bases. While they study for this degree, students also develop and refine their written, oral, and digital communication skills.
The Corporate Communications Degree
As the name implies, corporate communications degree holders often find work in the business industry in various roles focusing on messaging and spokesmanship. Corporate communications degrees are available at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels. There are also a few business schools that offer the corporate communications degree as a PhD.
Corporate Communications vs. Marketing Communications
While it’s easy to conflate corporate communications and marketing communications degrees, there is a crucial difference between the two. The two communications fields are distinguished from one another based on each degree’s intended audience. A corporate communications degree focuses on the study of how a business presents its message to the media, investors, and clients. A marketing communications degree, on the other hand, concentrates on how a company conveys messaging to potential consumers. So while a corporate communications major studies effective public relations, social media, and investor relations, a marketing communications major looks primarily at sales.
Corporate Communications vs. Public Relations
Business students looking to narrow the focus of their major sometimes have to choose between corporate communications and public relations. In this instance, the distinction is that PR is considered to be an element within the corporate communications degree. Corporate communications also oversees employee messaging, investor relations, and government relations in addition to PR. Students who know that they want a career in public relations can choose that field as an academic concentration. Whereas students who aren’t as certain of their career path should pick the more general corporate communications major.
Would I Make a Good Corporate Communications Major?
As the name implies, corporate communications requires proficiency in business studies and strong skills in the communications field. With that in mind, students considering this major need to be knowledgeable about current business news and have an interest in learning about how the most successful companies spread their messaging to their employees, investors, and the media. Additionally, they also must possess strong skills in reading comprehension, business writing, and public speaking.
Corporate communications utilizes all media and takes many forms. Because of this, companies also look for graduates with strengths in graphic design, photography, event planning, or social media. If you possess a good portfolio in any of these areas and can apply it to the corporate world, it’s worth considering this major.
Finally, another aspect of corporate communications is crisis management and handling the media. In the real world, this field sometimes involves dealing with real time crises and stressful environments on tight deadlines. You’ll also need the ability to maintain your composure while working in a stressful environment and the poise to present an effective response to a crisis in order to be an effective corporate communicator.
Currently, community colleges do not offer degrees in corporate communications at the associate level. However, students interested in eventually pursuing this degree can get a start by earning a 2-year associate degree in communications and then transferring to a 4-year institution. This associate degree covers the basics with classes in writing and speaking skills and provides the foundation needed for a degree in a public relations-related field.
A bachelor’s degree in corporate communications features a number of classes from both business and communications departments, as the degree encompasses public relations and writing. Courses at the baccalaureate level include: writing for publicity, business writing, research methods, communication techniques, and report writing. In addition, this degree features business-related foundational classes in accounting and corporate auditing. A bachelor’s degree in the corporate communications field can usually be completed in four years.
In addition to business classes, the bachelor’s-level program features lessons in graphic, visual, digital, and document design. Corporate communications students learn techniques such as persuasion and social media composition. Many bachelor’s degree programs also feature internship opportunities to give students a chance to experience business environments in the real world.
Corporate Communications Jobs with a Bachelor’s Degree Include: Corporate Trainer, Marketing Writer, Advertising Writer, PR Specialist, Communications Director, Marketing Manager, and Media Relations Specialist.
The average corporate communications degree salary ranges from $48,000 (Marketing Writer) and $67,000 (Corporate Trainer) to $73,000 (Communications Director) and $81,000 (Marketing Manager) on the high end of the scale.
Although several jobs are available with a bachelor’s degree, students who wish to land a position at the next level on the corporate ladder can attain a master’s degree in corporate communications. Many of these master’s degree programs focus on building specific industry-related skills but there are a few that are more research-centered. Skills-centric concentrations include classes like corporate identity management, public relations principles for nonprofits, digital media management, corporate crisis management, and principles of employee communication. Research-oriented master’s degree programs are focused on preparing students for the PhD. Master’s degree programs can usually be completed within two years.
The PhD program in corporate communication challenges students to pursue in-depth research in this field. Students at the PhD level choose research concentrations like media management, social media, campaigns, and stakeholder communication.
Corporate Communications Jobs With a Graduate Degree Include: Consumer Marketing Manager, Campaign Manager, Consumer Insight Manager, Corporate Communications Senior Manager, and Corporate Communications Director.
The average salary for these positions ranges from $54,000 (Campaign Manager) and $63,000 (Consumer Marketing Manager) all the way up to $105,000 (Consumer Insight Manager) and $133,000 (Corporate Communications Director).