MNG81001 Management Communication
Assessment task 4 (weighting = 35%)
In Assignment 1 we examined the changing environment for business and factors impactingon communication in today’s workplace. In Assignment 4 we explore how these changes have affected corporate communications and why it has become imperative for modern organisations to communicate strategically. Against this backdrop, the focus of the assignment is on the corporate communication function itself. Although not every organisation can include all the sub functions and responsibilities, to operate most effectively, a majority of these functions must be included in the overall communications function.
Your boss, the CEO of MnM Company, has asked you to prepare a report investigating the question: 'Why and how should managers master the corporate communication
function'? In so doing she expects you to examine the following four subfunctions within the function:
1. Identity, image, and reputation
2. Corporate responsibility
3. Media relations
4. Crisis management.
Working in groups of four, each student will write on one of these four corporate communication subfunctions. (Please note: depending on final student numbers there may be groups of three or five. In the case of a group of three students write on three of the four issues. In the case of a group of five a fifth communication issue will be made available).
Please follow these guidelines to complete the assessment:
The assessment task comprises two parts:
1. one individual section to the report comprising 1500 words (representing 60% of the final grade); and
2. group-based activities focussing on four components (representing 40% of the final grade).
i. the completion of a team contract with accompanying timeline schedule;
ii. the organisation, structure and editing of the actual report;
iii. a group-based presentation with each group member reflecting on at least one key point that they have learned researching their section.
iv. an accompanying group poster in the form of ONE PowerPoint slide for each group.
Writing a group report requires effective organisation, time management and communication skills. Students often find report writing on their own challenging, and group writing can be even more intimidating. Guidelines for approaching a group report - for structuring the report and dividing the workload, who will write what sections and take responsibility for editing, proofreading, publishing - are provided under Assessment Tasks and Submissions. Without guidelines, one or two students in a group often end up writing the group report, and this can create workload issues, and resentment when marks are distributed.
2. Details of the marking criteria and mark distribution will be available on the Blackboard.
3. At the beginning of Week 7 you will be assigned to your group. Each group is expected to produce a team contract with accompanying timeline schedule: establishing team procedures, identifying expectations, and specifying the consequences for failing to follow these procedures and fulfil these expectations. Since the basic purpose of this team contract is to accelerate your team's development, to increase individual accountability for team tasks, and to reduce the possibility for team conflict, make your contract as specific as possible. Specify:
• each task in as much detail as possible
• each step in a procedure or process, in as much detailed as possible
• the exact person(s) responsible for each specific task, and
• the exact time and exact place for completion or submission of each task.
4. Each student in your group needs to select ONE of the four corporate communication functions.
5. Start your web-based research with a search of popular business publications, even trade journals, professional journals and current affairs journals, for any information about workplace communication issues. Finally, use academic research to support your findings in relation to your selected theme.
6. Each student needs to find 8-10 secondary sources for their particular section. Please note that you are expected to use a minimum of four (4) refereed academic journals. You will be shown how to tell if a journal is peer-reviewed/refereed. Do not include more than 10 references per student.
7. You are encouraged to write a first draft of this report at least one week prior to the due date to ensure adequate time for revision.
8. Instructions on the group presentation are available under Assessment Tasks and Submissions
9. Submission details:
1. Contract: Complete, sign, and submit a copy of your finalised contract to your tutor week beginning 29th April.
2. Presentation and Poster: week beginning 27th May in respective tutorial class.
3. Individual section: 3rd
4. Group report: 4th June 9.00am (QLD time). One student submits the report on behalf of their group.
PRIOS/CDT brief for Assessment 4:
a. Purpose: To conduct web-based research into four subfunctions within the corporate communication function.
b. Reader: The CEO of MnM Company (your boss).
c. Information: Based on secondary research.
d. Organisation: Direct order approach.
e. Style: Formal. Be sure to proofread carefully to ensure that there are no sentence-level errors such as spelling mistakes, wrong word choice, incorrect punctuation, etc.
f. Channel choice: Written document and oral presentation.
g. Document design: Report format.
h. Length: 1500 words per group member for the report. Please refer to the Assessment Criteria for word length for the respective group report elements.
The concept of image and reputation is largely dependent on the service the organization is providing. Maintaining the image and reputation is important for the business organization as it will help to maintain the brand value for the organization. It has been seen that there are different metrics on which the brand value and the reputation of the organization are maintained. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the different perspective for maintaining the brand value of the organization. Apart from that,the organization has to provide proper services to the consumers so that the review of the organization can be positive in the market. The paper will discuss the different aspects of maintaining the image and the reputation of the organization.
The concept of identity, image and reputation is thoroughly related to the corporate world and is of utmost importance for business enterprises. The alignment of the image and identity of an organisation creates a strong reputation for the firm. In order to develop an adequate and appropriate image, identity and reputation of the firm, effective corporate communication strategies or functions are essential for addressing the challenges in introducing the perception of the company. This paper discusses the key points of distinction between organisations through image and identity. Additionally, the relationship of image and identity to the development of reputation has been mentioned. Identity management, the significance of a brand reputation, as well as the role of employees in this regards is investigated through this study.
2.0 Identity and image
The identity of an organisation is regarded as the visual representation, manifestation or expression of the reality of the firm, through the conveyance in terms of the logo, brand name, services, products, vision, motto and more of the firm (Hayhurst 2017, p. 120). On the contrary, the image of the company may be established as the reflection of the identity of the organisation. Additionally, it may be stated that the viewpoint of the constituencies of the organisations may be summarised as the image of the company. For instance, the “swoosh” logo of the company Nike represents athletic excellence, and the ubiquity of the logo adds to the quality of gears and apparels marketed by the company (Childs and Jin 2018). On the other hand, regarding the aspects of the image, allegations against the company, in terms of child labour as well as sweatshop conditions of working have impacted the company image negatively.
The brand image, as previously mentioned, is a reflection of the brand identity. The logos depict a significant sense of revelation in this regards (Bresciani and Del Ponte 2017, p. 383). For instance, the Cat Empire logo illustrates the eye of a cat, as depicted in Figure 1. In order to efficiently manage the aspects of corporate communication function, it is essential to be able to develop a strong brand identity and image. The crown on the eye of the cat may correspond to an entirety of an empire. Thus, the logo may contribute significantly in terms of distinguishing organisations from one another (Thecatempire 2019).
Figure 1: Cat Empire logo
(Source: The cat empire, 2019)
In order to shape the identity and image of an organisation, it is imperative that the company focuses on the critical domains of tangible evidence, related to the vision philosophies, standards, core values and goals of the organisation. Taking the concept of tangible evidence into account, it may be stated that the brand name, the motto as well the logo aids in the development of a visual conception and perception regarding the company. It may be stated in this regards that corporate communication functions may be attributed to the promotional aspects of the same. For instance, the development of adequate PR or media relations for a company is vital in terms of developing an identity or image of a company (He et al. 2016, p. 243).
The brand refers to the brand name and the activities corresponding to the brand. For instance, considering Wesfarmers, Australian retail has developed its brand name, through promotional activities, offering massive discounts, and other benefits to the customers. This has inevitably led to the growth of the target audience and a number of loyal customers for the brand.
Logos play a crucial role in the development of a mental or psychological image of the brand and its appropriate representation (Machado et al. 2015, p. 87). Taking the example of Qantas Airways, the logo depicts a kangaroo, which is the national animal of Australia, on a red background (Qantas 2019). The simplicity, as well as the tribute to the nation, contributes to the development of a strong sense of recognition of the brand (Qantas 2019).
Figure 2: Logo of Qantas Airways
(Source: Qantas 2019)
3.0 Identity management in action
Identity management of an organisation can be adequately addressed through the use of PR, promotional activities through the media channels as well as productive and fruitful CSR strategies. According to Black and Veloutsou(2017, p. 420), it has been evident that the co-creation of brand identity is essential taking the brand community, the individual consumer as well as the brand into account to yield fruitful outcomes. In addition to that, IAM or Identity and Access Management are a vital domain, governed by the IT department of a firm, which provides subtle guidelines for the protection of the information and data of the company. In case the information is leaked, the company may suffer reputational as well as financial losses, through the loss of customers, as a result of the negative publicity (Benn et al. 2016, p. 829).
Therefore, it may be noted that managing the identity and image of a firm is one of the significant activities to be undertaken by the top management as well as the managers and employees. The attitude, behaviour and productive outputs of the company aid in the growth and development of the company. Additionally, taking responsibility for certain negative publicity or proving innocence is essential for the reputation, image and identity of the company. A subsidiary of Wesfarmers, Target has come to light for an accounting scandal in 2016, amounting to approximately $18 million had affected the company (Sabharwal 2016). The company immediately took action by shifting the outlet to Melbourne from Geelong. However, the loss of about 900 local jobs had a severe impact on the local economy (Sabharwal 2016).
The reputation of a brand or a company may be significantly influenced by external factors such as media relations, relations with investors, as well as financial relations. However, the development of the reputation is a prolonged process, which is created over time, through the perception of the activities and the benefits to the stakeholders. It may be mentioned in this regards that the reputation of a firm is strongly and thoroughly dependent on the image and identity of the organisation (Fatma et al.2015, 851). Reputation chiefly refers to the perception of a brand or an entity by the public.
A positive reputation of a firm or an enterprise may lead to increased growth in sales and profitability of the company. This is developed through loyal customers of the brand. Often the negative publicly poorly affects the brand reputation, which can be handled efficiently through taking responsibility or proving innocence in order to gain the trust of the consumers. Therefore, focusing on community relations, as well as government relations, may prove beneficial for tackling business risks (Benn et al.2016, 830). Maintaining suitable relations with the government may attract government funding, as is noted in case of the SSO (Sydney Symphony Orchestra), thereby, garnering a lot of attention from potential consumers and the public.
Figure 3: Reputational stakeholders
(Source: Benn et al. 2016, p. 832)
It is to be taken into account that internal as well as the external constituencies play a crucial role in the development of reputation. Financial relations, corporate advertising and effective communications both within the organisation, as well with the external constituencies of the organisation are important for dealing with the risks (Benn et al.2016, p. 830). Additionally, it may be stated that developing proper communication channels for the communication between the public to gather feedback may also be effective. As per the article by Urde and Greyser (2016), the combination of brand reputation and identity may be integrated in order to develop an effective managerial framework which may aid in the alignment of the development of the brand. Regardless, it not followed thoroughly as a potential limitation or drawback has been identified with respect to the corporate communication functions, highlighting the process of identity to the creation of reputation (pg 90).
Stronger reputations are built over a period of time, through public activities such as investments and donations in charities. Furthermore, the development of appropriate CSR strategies may lead to the effectiveness of corporate communication functions. It is to be noted that creating an image or identity which is appealing to the consumers, and aiming to develop a positive image for the customers, helps in building a suitable reputation for the firm.
Employees constitute one of the aspects of the internal stakeholders of an organisation. In order to create a sustainable and attractive proposition for brand identity or image, it is imperative to have the support of the employees. For instance, the flow of proper information through the hierarchical, matrix or flat structure of an organisation is essential, along with an actively functioning channel for gathering feedback. Ensuring communication between the internal constituencies may only aid in creating a positive image for the firm (Blackand Veloutsou2017, p. 417). It is to be noted that executive communications and marketing communications are essential in order to cater better to both the public as well as the employees. Ensuring proper flow of communication ensures employee satisfaction, employee retention, and a reduction in employee turnover rates, which positively promotes the company reputation, identity and image.
This study chiefly focuses on the key features of corporate communication functions through the development and effective management of identity, image and reputation. It has been identified and evident that shaping a brand image and identity requires creating a strong mental set up for the public as well as the potential consumers. Additionally, the internal stakeholders are thoroughly involved in this regards. Furthermore, the importance of reputation as well as logos, help create a positive impact on the public on behalf of the brand. Examples have been drawn from companies such as Target, a subsidiary of Wesfarmers,Qantas Airways and The Cat Empire. Major scandals, as well as the significance and depiction of the logos and the importance of the same to the brand, have been determined and discussed in this study.
There are certain recommendations that can be maintained in order to implement corporate communication and maintaining the brand value of the organization. These are-