How Does Communication Management Consultancy Affect the Reputation of Companies?
Communication Management Consultant and Communication Activist K. Gönenç Atakan
Could you briefly tell us about yourself and your expertise?
K. Gönenç Atakan: I am a Communication Management Consultant and Communication Activist with a sociology degree who has been in the press and communication sector for 18 years. I have worked as a senior manager in national and international communication agencies that are well-known in Turkey and ranked in the top 10. I have provided consultancy to companies that provide services and solutions in many global and local sectors. I have not been involved in the corporate and press side of communication, but I can say that I have a good command of the processes related to both sides since I regularly work together with press laborers and carry out communication activities of brands/institutions.
For a long time, I have focused on organizations that focus on technology (not just technology brands). In addition, I am also interested in platforms where young people are present. For example, we are doing preliminary work for a youth platform supported by the European Union, the name of which I cannot disclose at the moment. Through these and similar projects, we aim to take the future of both communication and communication with young people to a new level.
What should we understand from the definition of Communication Management Consultancy/Consultant (CMC)?
We can explain Communication Management Consultancy as a service that provides expertise to plan, develop and implement the communication strategies of a company/institution. Through this consultancy, we determine the communication tools and tactics that should be used in order for the organization to reach its target audience with the right methods and in the most effective way. In addition, other communication issues such as crisis management, internal communication, and public opinion management are also an important part of the consultancy services offered…
In short, Communication Management Consultancy is a very important tool to help companies achieve their goals and can only increase the reputation of companies when implemented correctly.
What exactly is the connection between this definition and ERAI’s main service, management, and investment consulting?
ERAI is a very specialized and important company in its field. The Management and Investment Consulting services are crucial for companies considering/planning to invest in Turkey and it is extremely valuable. Of course, the adaptation of investor companies to the versatility and multiculturalism in our country also depends on their command of the dynamics of communication and the methods used here.
At this point, thanks to the strategic partnership we have realized with ERAI, we will act as a link not only for the financial status of companies in their investment and management processes but also for the communication they want to establish with individuals and institutions in the local arena. I can honestly say that we have brought the concept of consultancy to a much more layered and professional level.
Can we say that the communication sector is in a state of change?
Of course… In fact, with this move, I believe that we have contributed to a different direction and change in the communication sector. In recent years, the communication sector has been experiencing rapid change. The reasons for this change include developments in technology, the widespread use of the internet, and the increasing use of mobile devices. In particular, technologies and solutions such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and digital assistants are creating a major change in the communication sector. Thanks to these, customers’ needs can be responded to more quickly and effectively.
Almost everyone now has access to the internet, which is changing the communication preferences of customers. On the other hand, even though traditional communication channels have been replaced by digital communication channels, there are still age groups that remain in the traditional field and shape their daily lives accordingly. Therefore, there is as much need for traditional structures as there is for digital communication according to the needs of communication. The truth of the matter is that it is much more important than before to have a multi-faceted perspective and to be able to reflect this in communication.
On the one hand, you define yourself as a Communication Activist, why?
Because, as I mentioned before, we are now in a process in which our memorization about communication is broken and it rebuilds itself in different forms and methods. This is a period in which sameness is denied, different approaches are adopted and put into practice, and even become compulsory. Therefore, we need a sincere and new language. This is the case both in the eyes of individuals and society and in the eyes of companies. Consumers are now making deep inquiries about the sincerity of stereotypical and formal words and messages that are said for the sake of being said, and I find this very valuable.
The readings I have made in recent years and the changes in consumer behavior also show this. Consumers care so much about the bond they have established with their brand that they internalize any behavior (positive or negative) that comes from there and quickly reflect it to their purchasing and spending habits. For example, we have seen the most concrete example of this for brands after the earthquake disaster on 6 February 2023. Brands (even), which were perceived negatively in the eyes of the user for a long time, created a positive or more positive brand perception with the steps they took in this unfortunate period. Of course, this was not, and should not have been, a race to get a good result or a share from a bad event, but the user melted this in his own traditional reaction and reflected it in his behavior in this context. What I mean is that in this transformation process we are in, users are more open to brands than ever before and they expect and demand brands to approach them with the same sincerity. For this reason, with the discourse of communication activists, I want to contribute to the development of this sincere language and to place this perspective as the basis of some of my works.
Why are communication investments of brands important? Is it indispensable?
There is only one answer to your first question: Reputation.
If I answer according to the “is it indispensable” part of your second question; if it is not done in the right way, I can answer that it would be better if it is not. Yes, communication investments are very important; they are one of the most important ways to interact with consumers. Yes, communication investments help brands to promote their products and services by communicating directly with their target audience. Yes, communication investments of brands also increase brand awareness. Yes, a good communication strategy ensures that the brand is remembered/recognized by consumers; this increases the brand’s market share. Yes, it helps customers establish an emotional bond with the brand and builds loyalty in the long term. But… While doing all this, if you are not doing what you need to do to manage your reputation, all your communication investments will be wasted. If you do not place your reputation on the basis of communication investments, if you cannot reflect your perception and reliability, the connection point between the consumer and your brand will not be strong enough.
What are your recommendations for young communicators?
As with everything else, education and training should come first, but this does not mean graduating from the relevant field.
- Do/try to do an internship.
- Be a good observer during your work.
- You can work with everyone but you cannot get along with everyone, stick to the person(s) you can get along with and learn from them.
- Be a good team player but also emphasize your individual skills.
- Improve your communication skills. I will draw attention to politicians as they are a good example of this. Watch local and foreign politicians. Try to analyze how consistent and contradictory their body language, discourses, and what they convey.
- Expand your network, but with the right people.