Online media are communications tools. They join
hundreds of communications tools in use. Online media allow:
Multimedia: Voice, visuals, animation, data and text are all part of
Push and interactive communication: Online media are used as mass
broadcast OR individual interactive communication. "Push" or broadcast
approaches frequently appear in delivery of news and information and in mass delivery of
e-mail (especially junk mail). Some web pages are broadcast vehicles with no interactive
component. They are on-line brochures. Interactive communication invites participation,
such as personalized e-mail, bulletin boards, chat rooms, on-line news conferences, etc.
Speed of delivery: On-line is faster than ground mail, as fast or
faster than faxing, nearly as fast as the telephone, radio and television. As
communications links upgrade, on-line will equal the speed of telephone, radio and
television. On-line telephoning and television today are crude.
Wide choices in formatting and presentation: Online includes text and
data with little formatting and highly stylized and animated web pages.
Localized and international reach: Online media can be localized to
an individual or a group through use of a restricted medium (such as an intranet) or sent
to everyone with on-line access, such as a Web page, bulletin board or chat room.
Timely and timeless: Information resides online in files that remain
A variety of technologies: On-line includes commercial and public
providers from America OnLine and CompuServe to the Internet and Web. Each delivery medium
has specific technical requirements.
Integration of online media begin with the
understanding that "business is a subset of communication. One may communicate and
never conduct an economic transaction, but one cannot conduct an economic transaction and
not communicate." (from Integrating Corporate Communications).
Integration is based on communications principles
Communication starts with the senses -- sight, sound, taste, touch
and smell. Online uses sight and sound, but not taste, touch and smell.
Communication occurs between at least two parties but is not always
bi-directional: A message may be intended for a specific person or no one in
particular. On-line is both broadcast and interactive.
Communication is informational or effective: Informational
communication transmits data. Effective communication has a message, intended receiver and
intended result. Online is both informational and effective communication.
Communication is a craft: Online requires skills and grammars just as
writing, motion picture production or radio talk shows.
Communication is affected by environment: Communication is affected
by culture, personalities, group dynamics and more. Online communication is no different.
A message-receiver and not a message-sender defines the acceptability of
a message and medium: If a target individual or group have no access to on-line, then
use of online to deliver a message is ineffective. If a message-receiver rejects a
message, communication is ineffective.
Corporate Communication should be:
The singular focus of messages and media on survival and success of a company.
Ideal timing delivers delivers information at the exact moment needed to support
economic transactions and employees.
The right message reaches the targeted external or internal individual through a proper
medium without barriers.
Defined: Defined corporate communication determines who communicates what messages
through which media to message receivers individually identified both inside and outside
The organization adapts messages, media and audiences, as necessary, to achieve
In all effective communication, choice and action rest with the individual. Corporate
communication does not persuade groups. Rather, it persuades individuals, who accept a
definition of self and of group norms.
Meaningful: The intent and purpose of the communication is clear and, as far as
possible, without multiple meanings and subtexts.
All communication uses resources and competes for attention. Measurement learns what
corporate communication works and what does not.
When other corporate media are integrated and
directed toward a specific result, online public relations should integrate with them.
When other corporate media are not directed toward a specific result, online public
relations activities need not integrate with them.
Ideally, corporate communications media are
integrated. In practice, few are. Integration usually occurs around a specific task such
as product promotion or announcement of a new mission. Organizations communicate in so
many directions at once both internally and externally, they are inherently chaotic.
Cost-effective corporate communication requires a structured and disciplined approach to
communication that few companies have time or resources to undertake.
On-line public relations can be used as a
supplementary or principal communications medium to reach targeted audiences. It is
important in both cases, however, to show that using online directly supports a company's
survival and success whether or not online is integrated with other company communications