How to build a communications function for growth

The communication function in fast-growing tech companies differ from its counterpart in more mature companies. High pace and demands on flexibility apply to priorities, working methods, and choice of channels.  The strong connection between their communication and the overall purpose of the business permeates priorities for main messages, communications themes, and how issues are handled. This is shown in a study based on in-depth interviews with communications directors in European fast-growing tech companies carried out by Diplomat Communications.

According to the interviews communication efforts in these fast growing companies are generally prioritised based on the value they add in building the brand, attracting new customers, and managing problems and obstacles to growth. In many of these companies you can also find a channel agnostic approach where different communication channels and formats are added, tested, deleted or developed over time. Disruptive and fast-growing business models, furthermore, come with their own set of challenges in relation to society at large, including critical opinions and regulatory pressure.

In general the companies included in this study use data-driven analysis and testing in their communications efforts. However, how these analyses are used varies widely, sometimes resulting in a clash between the communications function and other functions of the organisation. Some describe it as very difficult to establish accurate methods to measure reputation. A data-driven approach is more noticeable for internal use and for marketing communication than for PR towards editorial media. When it comes to internal communication one of the companies mentioned taking the pulse of the organisation to probe how employees perceive and experience different decisions.

Some of the interviewed companies talk about how strongly value-driven cultures facilitate growth and commitment. At the same time, such cultures set an expectation of taking a position on issues that lie outside the organisation. Examples from the study are Black Lives Matter (BLM), the climate, and LGBTQ+.

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