Communications Theory Essay, Research Paper
Communications is that what binds the world. Even though it is easy to give a simple answer when asked what communications exactly is, it is difficult to explain it so that it is understood clearly. There is a lot you need to consider with it. There are different areas concerning communications and very diverse functions in this area. Through this research report we will have a glimpse in the world of communications and with it more knowledge and understanding about it.
Table of content
Introduction Page 1
Table of content Page 2
The fields of communications
Corporate Communication Page 3
Marketing Communication Page 5
Mass Communication Page 7
Public Relations Page 9
Visual Communications Page 10
Resource List Page 12
Corporate communication exists of different fields, which together have the purpose to make an image and identity of a company and its product. Corporate communication is a management instrument that combines all forms of direct communication and gears them for one another. Reputation is very important. The first goal of corporate communication is to improve the reputation of a company. A corporate reputation is a cognitive representation of a company’s ability to meet the expectations of its stakeholders.
A company benefits from a favourable reputation by becoming the first choice of customers, investors, suppliers and employees. A corporate reputation creates shareholder value, because it contributes in and of itself to the company’s competitive position. A company benefits from its reputation, because:
? It improves cash flows and profitability;
? It acts like a barrier that impedes rivalry;
? It provides a company an enhanced license to operate; and
? It raises a protective shield against downturns and crisis.
A company which is specialised in corporate communication is for example: The Corporate Communication Centre. C.C.C. is a joint initiative of the Erasmus University (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and the business community. The centre tries to co-ordinate all the
communication activities within a company and gives advice on communication policies and the organisation of communication methods. C.C.C. also offers training in corporate communication, executive courses and in-company courses.
Companies as Shell, Unilever, Compaq Computers and Ernst & Young have a good reputation. They are multinational enterprises. They need a good reputation to be the number one in their field. Especially Shell, because its product (fuel, gasoline) is bad for the environment. But by introducing Shell “Pura”, which is better for the environment, Shell is different from other gas stations. This is an example of corporate communication.
Corporate communication is found in all sectors of society. Think of hospitals, travel organisations, commercial services industries, industrial companies, universities, air companies, telecom companies and so on. Every company needs a specific image to be successful in their field.
A professional magazine like Focus is a very important magazine. Each year, chief executives of the US’s largest companies anxiously wait for the publication of Focus Magazine’s survey of America’s Most Admired Companies, the leading arbiter of corporate reputations.
To be working in the field of corporate communication you will need skills as:
? Basic communication skills (presenting, organising, researching);
? Strategic issues management (stakeholder theory, strategic issues, strategic management);
? Strategic information technology planning (improving the effectiveness/competitiveness);
? Strategic external communication (communication campaigns);
? Economical psychology (explaining the behaviour of external stakeholders);
? Employee communication;
? Public affairs: European Political Environment;
? Investor relations (trust between a firm and its stakeholders);
? Corporate branding: (a distinguishment of a company to its rivals with its customers); and
? Argumentation theory
Professions in the field of corporate communication are for example: Communications consultant, Marketer. A company hires you to improve their reputation. You can work in a lot of different companies. Think of a hospital, a university or Shell.
You can do research for companies, like the C.C.C.
You can work as a teacher of corporate communication.
Marketing communication is the act of communicating with the target group concerning a new innovation or a service in a convincing manner. It also determines that all constraints (cultural diversity, media limitations, legal problems, and so forth) are controlled so the right message is communicated to and received by prospective consumers.
Marketing communications involves advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and public relations, the mutually reinforcing elements of the promotional mix.
Once a product or service is developed to meet target markets needs and is properly distributed, indented customers must be informed of the product or service value and availability through advertising and promotion the ingredients in the marketing communication.
Consumers respond in terms of their culture, lifestyle, feelings, value systems, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions. Because marketing communication or specifically advertising’s function is to interpret or translate the need/want satisfying qualities of products or services in terms of consumer needs, wants, desire and aspirations, the emotional appeals, symbols, persuasive approaches, and other characteristics of an advertisement must coincide with cultural norms if it is to be effective.
Marketing communication is very essential because it determine that all constraints (legal and cultural diversity, media limitations and so forth) are controlled so the right message is communicated and received by prospective consumers.
Communication may fail for a variety of reasons: a message may not go through because of media inadequacy; the message may be received by prospective audience but may not be understood because of different cultural interpretations; or the message may reach the intended audience and may be understood but have no effect because the marketer did not correctly assess the needs and wants of the target market.
The marketing communicator understands the communication process and uses it effectively to achieve the advertising and promotional goals and objectives of the company.
Below is the communication process of the marketing communicator
Encoding message channel
Information source Receiver
In the communication process, each of the seven identifiable segments can ultimately affect the accuracy of the process as illustrated, the process consist of:
1. Encoding, information from the company to the target group.
2. Decoding, the message from the source converted into effective symbolism for transmission to a receiver.
3. A message channel the sales force or advertising media that coveys the encoded message to the intended receiver.
4. Decoding, the interpretation by the receiver of the symbolism transmitted from the information source
5. Receiver, consumer action by those who receive the message and are the target for the thought transmitted.
6. Feedback, information about the effectiveness of the information which flows from the receiver (the intended target) back to the information source (the marketing communicator) for evaluation of the effectiveness of the process.
7. Noise, uncontrollable and unpredictable influences such as competitive activities and confusion detracting from the process affecting any of the six steps.
Mass Communication is used to reach and involve almost everyone in a society in a short time. This is why the media used for this type of communication are so typical. Although Mass Communication has changed a lot over the years we still, mostly, use the same media people used over 20 years ago. Except for computers and the Internet which are completely new as media, the only thing that has changed is the improvement. Like black/white television screens that are now full-color screens, LP’s are no longer brought everybody wants CD’s nowadays. A lot of different Communication media are used for Mass Communication, such as newspapers, magazines, film, radio, television, recorded music and the Internet.
Skills needed to function within this field are:
- Camera operation
- Dealing with legal and ethical issues
Of course this list contains too much skills for one profession, it is just so you will get an idea of what can be done and what is needed in Mass Communication. Only the last skill, dealing with legal and ethical issues, is used in each profession. Because the goal is to reach as many people as possible, it is important to consider that one thing can make one person smile but will seriously offend another. And Mass Communication, in this case Mass Media, is not supposed to offend people in any way. And in every profession, not only Communication, we need to think about the law. We cannot just do as we please.
Mass Communication is found in almost every sector of society. In the Industrial sector it can be found in companies like NUON, for the Commercial Service Industries: KPN Telecom, Non- commercial Service Industries: Schools and several Foundations such as UNICEF. These are all just examples. Of course a very large part of companies, organizations, foundations etc. use Mass Communication. Agriculture is one of the few sectors Mass Communication isn’t found in.
Since Mass Communication is a very broad field, many professions exist in it. These professions can be very different from each other. For instance, a news anchor needs other skills than a photographer. Because there are to many professions that can be done in this field, we will show you the categories. Within these categories a lot of professions can be practiced.
- Broadcasting news
- Broadcasting production
- media management
- public relations
- Digital media
Communication is a very important nowadays and there are unions and professional associations that are active in this sector, such as:
- The Media Institute
promotes ethics, standards and freedom of speech in the media.
- The Communication Research Center
for research and problems related to Mass Communication
- Association for education in journalism and Mass Communications
Besides the unions and the associations, the professional journals and magazines are also focusing on this professional field. Some of them are online. A few of these journals and magazines are:
- Media History Monographs: quarterly online journal
- CED: the Premier Magazine of Broadband Communication
Public relations is the discipline which looks after the reputation of a company. In this field you have to perform image building or impression management. Through research, measurement and evaluation you can determine the publics concerns and expectations of the company. When you know what that is then a suitable plan can be made to full fill the expectations of the public. Sometimes the problem can arise that the wanted identity is much more positive then the actual corporate identity. That is why the message and the communications carriers must be tuned to each other so that a more efficient identity will arise.
Public relations activities contain the following:
- Programme planning
- Writing and editing
- Media relations
- Corporate identity
- Special events
- Research and evaluation
As a pr-professional you must have:
- Communication skills
- Personal confidence
- Sensitivity to other people
- Organizing and planning ability
Public Relations can be found in different kinds of fields. This is because it does not matter in which field a company operates; it still needs to communicate its activities towards the public and/or stockholders. Also internal PR can be essential for a company. The company needs to motivate their own working force in making them aware that they work for a good company so that they will work hard and proud.
Functions in this area can be:
Head PR, communications advisor, press liaison
Companies that operate in the different sectors are:
Industrial – DAF, Shell, Philips
Agricultural – Livestock holders
Commercial services – Bijenkorf, V&D, Albert Heijn
Non- commercial services – hospitals, universities, colleges, Salvation Army
Sometimes a company does not have its own department that handles public relations, this is when they attract an outside company that is specialised public relations.
A few companies who are specialised in public relations are:
The Blake Agency – premier public relations
Anderson & Associates – public relations Inc.
The McRae Agency
When we think of visual communication, we think about the communication we can see. Visual communication is the organisation of visual information for printed material to exhibit, advertisement, packaging, multimedia and interactive design. It is a career field which uses electronic and interactive media, such as; websites on the Internet, (video) film, and television, as well as traditional mediums; presenting information and ideas by means of type and image to communicate ideas, such as; posters, books, newspapers, art and photography.
To deliver good work as a visual communicator you have to be very creative. To succeed as a visual communicator you must have it in you, to put yourself into other people. If you cannot do this, you are not able to reach people, you want to reach them because you do not know what they want, need, think, etc. You cannot do the same thing twice in this field; you always have to come up with something different and refreshing. So you should always be in for a change and never stand still. A visual communicator also has to have a critical mind and the ability to solve problems. Knowledge how to transform information in a visual form is very important, as well as the ability to do that designing by using computers and other aids.
We think that visual communication is very important for the field of communication. With visual communication you can reach a large audience as well as a small audience. You can also make it very clear for which group, for example the advertisements, are meant. People always like to be approached in a personal way. With visual communication they get this kind of approach very often. With this approach they can identify themselves with the product or service a company is offering.
We think that the most important media (which is used on the field of visual communication) is nowadays the Internet. People can find really everything on it. There are lots of advertisements and things like little video clips and music to make a product or service more attractive and at the same time it chooses their target group, so people of this group will react on it. Also the television is still very important for this field. Almost everybody watches television everyday, so they feel that everything they see on it is very close and familiar to them, they get even more involved if they see something, which really affects them. Further we have got newspapers, billboards, displays etc. that also play a part in the field of visual communication.
You can find visual communication in lots of sectors of society (if not all of them). Nowadays almost everybody is presenting himself or herself to the world. If we only look at the Internet, we will already discover pages of scouts, house agents, assistance organizations, pencil manufacturers, libraries, super markets etc. So everybody tries to present themselves and the easiest way is by using visual communication, because with this kind of communication everybody has got a great opportunity to express themselves and attract the right people.
Visual communication is used by a lot of companies. They use it to communicate; present people information. There do exist a lot of communication professionals in this field. For example: Web designers, Graphic designers, Photographers, Filmmakers, Advertisement makers, Text Writers and Artists. Thanks to the technical revolution there are a lot more visual communication professionals now. The success of the Internet made a lot of companies realize that this would be a new medium of visual communication and this medium would reach millions of people. So there is a large demand for visual communicators who are specialized on ‘The Web’. Such as: Web designers, Digital image-makers etc.
Almost every company uses visual communication. A known company that operates in this sector is for example: Benneton. This is a clothing company that became famous with their shocking billboards without text with a photo of for example a man dying because he has A.I.D.S. These billboards shocked the world and everybody was talking about it. By using a photo, the company was communicating with people. The company was expressing their thoughts and ideas; it wanted that the rest of the world would take notice of this decease. The communication was successful, because it caused a response by the public. That was an example of traditional visual communication by using a photo; there are also a lot of known companies using new visual communications by using the Internet. For example, an Internet provider like World Online, uses a website to communicate with their target group. The website has to look good so it will attract people. If the website looks good it will give people the idea it is a professional and reliable organisation.
On the Internet we found a couple of international organisations which were specialised on visual communication. For example; The International Visual Communication Organisation
It is an organisation that keeps track of all the changes in the field and regularly holds meeting to inform all the visual communication specialists.
There is also a professional journal that is called Visual Communications Quarterly.
It is co-sponsored by the Viscom division (also a visual communication organisation) and the National Press Photographers.
The Media Institute
The Communication Research Center
Association for education in journalism and Mass Communications
Media History Monographs: quarterly online journal
CED: the Premier Magazine of Broadband Communication
The Blake Agency
Anderson & associates
The McRae Agency
Who is in charge? Corporate communications or corporate marketing?
A European survey amongst the top reputation leading companies
Centre for corporate communications, mem institute at the university of St. Gallen,
Switzerland working paper, 1999 Markus Will, Malte Probst and Thomas Schmidt
The reputational Landscape
1997 vol 1 C. van Riel and C. Fombrun