Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Communicating Strategically

This chapter explains the basic theory behind all kinds of communication, ie the way the organizations communicate with various groups of people. A coherent communication strategy is critical for a company to enhance its reputation, to convince the shareholders that the company is still worth investing in, or to get customers to buy more of its goods and services. This strategy depends on the three components of speech as described by Aristotle. They are
1. The Organization

2. The constituency
3. The message
4. The Response

Developing an Effective Organization Strategy

There are various steps involved in developing an effective organizaion strategy. They have to be very well followed in the organization in order to determine what strategy is effective and what is not.

Determining objectives

The first part of an effective organization strategy is to determine objectives as to what the orgnization wants each constituency to do as a result of the communication.

Deciding What Resources Are Available

An organization has to know what resources are available in order to effectively communicate the determined objective. Those resources mostly include money, human resources, and time. Money plays an important role in terms of how to communicate a determined objective. Dealing with a matter like this, organizations should take the long-term objectives in consideration rather than short-term cost savings.Human resources a considerable issue in the setup of an effective communications strategy. How many employees should be work on the communication matters of an organization? Time is another important factor in determining an organization’s communication strategy. The allocation of time for communication should be determined by the long term objectives of the communication purpose and not seek short-term solutions.

Diagnosing the Organization’s Reputation

It is important for an organization to know what reputation it has. Reputation is based on the constituency’s perception of the specific organization. Besides an overall good reputation, organizations can have a limited or lacked/damaged credibility reputation. Limited reputation is the case when organizations are only known in a narrow range of constituencies. A lacked or damaged credibility can occur when certain event s negatively influenced the reputation of the organization among the constituencies. These events can either be in the control or beyond the control of the organization.

Analyzing Constituencies

An organization has to know who their constituencies are, what each thinks about the organization, and what each knows about the organization in question. Depending on size, kind, and nature organizations have different kinds of constituencies. In general we can divide primary constituencies (employees, customers, shareholders, communities) from secondary constituencies (media, suppliers, government, creditors). Sometimes organizations have to wisely choose to which constituency to communicate first. Also, constituencies interact with one another and can have opposing interests.

Delivering Messages Appropriately

A corporation must decide two things when communicating: How to deliver the message and what structure the message should have. When selecting a communication channel, an organization has many choices like Fax, Memo, E-mail etc. It is crucial to find the appropriate medium for the objective to be delivered. Furthermore, it has to be decided whether the structure of the message should be direct (right to the point) or indirect (first explain reasons, and then go to the main points).

Constituencies Response

An organization should give the constituencies the possibility to respond to its message. This is important to determine whether the communication had the desired result.

Personal experience

During my internship in an insurance company, the was a new fund offered to the customers. Many customers complained that all the details regarding the new fund offer was not revealed to them and they were kept in dark. The company had to refund the investment to many policy holders. This is an example of bad communication strategy.

Corporate communication-4th edition, Paul A Argenti

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