Different Types of Professional Communications

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Just like in your personal life you don’t speak the same way to close family member, a neighbour or a perfect stranger, there are also many different ways of communicating in one’s professional life.

What’s the difference between internal communications and external? What do you know about B2B or B2C? Are marketing communications and public relations the same thing? The following can help demystify these different types of communications and how best to use them.

Internal communications

The word says it all – it means all the communications within, internal to, the organization. It covers communications with and among all those directly connected to the company or group – employees, managers, workers, internal collaborators, etc.

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These communications generally come from the leadership of the organization or employee managers. Their goal is to inform internal audiences about different types of news or developments, such as personnel appointments, changes to strategic orientation or goals, financial results and other achievements, or updates on new or changed processes or policies.

Internal communications can be done by a variety of channels such as emails, live or virtual meetings, formal memos or videos from management, the company’s intranet, the sending of documents from human resources, or live internal events such as sales meetings or activities to celebrate achievement of a key milestone.

The key, no matter what the size of the organization, is that internal communications be consistent with and promote the employer’s brand while reinforcing the confidence and cohesion of the teams involved. Good internal communications contribute to building the reputation of the organization by helping position it as an employer of choice.

External communications

On the other hand, external communications are targeted directly to those audiences outside the organization and are done by a variety of means: website, social networks, public events, executive speeches to events or participation in panels, external info-letters, press releases, presentations to media, and so on.

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External communications are used to reinforce the image or reputation of a business or group, to increase awareness of the organization or a product or service, to convey information to the public, to attract new clients or to increase visibility with potential clients.

Because external communications can be used for many different reasons, there are various ways they can be done. Here are brief descriptions of the main categories:


B2C stands for Business to Consumer, so means the communications activities directed to the public to attract new clients, make them aware of an issue or to inform existing clients. This type of communication includes marketing activities directed at individuals to inform clients of the existence or benefits of a company’s products or services.


On the other hand, B2B stands for Business to Business communications and refers to communications it has with other businesses, whether they are clients, potential clients, professionals or business associations or groups.

These communications could involve offering products or services if the company’s products are targeted at other businesses or other types of communications that a company might make to its partners or suppliers, such as contracts, consultancy opinions, sharing of key business data, budgets or results concerning its products or services.

The latter will demonstrate to those who have received the company’s services important data about the money or other savings the company’s products or services have produced, whether they involve human, material or information resources.

Marketing communications

Communications and marketing can come together to form a cohesive whole. This practice is called marketing communications.

Marketing communications refers to the methods used by businesses to persuade consumers to buy their products or services. All the promotional activities used to this end are covered under this type of communications.

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Among the approaches used, the most visible one is advertising (in media or through other sponsorships) but this is not the only means to attract and convince consumers. There are also sales promotions, special events, interactive marketing (involving two-way communications between a brand and its audiences), public relations, direct marketing to target groups of individuals, word-of-mouth marketing (through content sharing on social media), as well as other means.

Public relations 

As well as the other means, public relations also plays an important role in developing and maintaining the positive image of business or organization with the public.

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One of the definitions of public relations that is the most clear and complete is this one from the Quebec Society of Public Relations Professionals (SQPRP):

Public relations is a function of direction, management and communication, of a permanent nature, thanks to which a public or private organization aims to establish, maintain and promote relations of trust based on knowledge and mutual understanding between itself and its audiences, internal and external, taking into account their rights, needs and attitudes, all in accordance with the public interest.

The definition provided by the Canadian Public Relations Society follows the same theme:

Public relations is the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics, through the use of communication, to achieve mutual understanding, realize organizational goals and serve the public interest.

For your public relations, marketing communications or internal communications needs, our team has proven over the 30 years of Capital-Image that it will listen attentively to understand what will work best to achieve your objectives and will work tirelessly to achieve your goals.