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Corporate communication strategies Of Vodafone Plc

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The future success or failure of any company depends on how it is viewed by its stakeholders like shareholders, customers, consumers, employees and overall the communality where it is operated. The head of many corporations now thinks protection of their corporate reputation is more necessary than profit. Because reputation of the company will lead to customer base which results in more profit. For this reason one of the main corporate strategic management is to keep proper communication and association with both the internal and external parties related with the organization.

  • Corporate communication

Corporate communication has developed with the function of public relation of the companies. When the stakeholders of the company required more and more information then corporate managerial started to focus differently on communication rather than public relation.

We can define corporate communication as a way that provides a framework for the fruitful coordination of internal and external communication with the related parties of the organization and maintaining the reputation of the company (Cornelissen, 2012) .Corporate communication is a management tool that harmonized all internal and external communication of the firm efficiently and effectively (Van Riel)

  • The purposes of corporate communication strategies

With the advent of globalization corporations have understood that corporate reputation needs to keep in better position to gain the market coverage and to reach the market niche. Particularly four main purposes have been found regarding the corporate communication

  1. Publicity

One of the most important purposes of corporate communication is accruing publicity from the mass people in almost any possible way. Press briefing is a type of one –way model where corporation gives out their information, but no information is required from the shareholders.

  1. Public information

It is a one way model, where information is disseminated from the organization through different mass and controlled media like newsletters, direct mail, or may be internet. Most of the time negative information is overlooked.

  1. Two-way asymmetric

The flow of information between organization and its stakeholders is common, but almost it is in favour of organization. This two ways model not only disseminates information but also helps to find out new information within the organization through research.

  1. Two-way symmetric

In two-way model communication efforts are described as research and using the communication through the stakeholders to in improving understanding. In this model both the organization and the stakeholders will be in Win-Win situation that means no one’s will be jeopardized.

  • Corporate communications and corporate objectives

Messages and media are the traditional components of communication also referred as the heart of communication. But in recent days the direct link with the organization and its planning process also plays a vital role in achieving corporate information.

  • Strategic objective

 Within the organization there should have one-to-one correlation between the company’s strategic objectives as well as the listed objectives. Moreover communication must be clear enough to reach any one of the organization. For example “Goggle” and it strategic objectives “Don’t be Evil”, to achieve this in China they customized their language and other criteria’s (Christensen, Morsing and Cheney, 2008)

  • Supportive management

The responsibility of proper communication depends on top and mid level management. Sometimes communication is more than the day operation of the staffs. Managers must design what they wish from their staff and should plan according that way.

  • Targeted message

The tailored information for the targeted audience is called targeted message. In order to keep information reliable as well as useful to different users it is done within the organization. For this reason every managers need to tailor the information where necessary (Christensen, Morsing and Cheney, 2008)

  • Effective communication media

Effective communications with the employees uses all ways to reach it’s audience but most useful way to interact with the audience is direct face-to-face communication. These interpersonal skills are necessary for any type of organizations (Cornelissen, 2008) .

  • Integrated process

Both the internal and external communication of the organization needs to be integrated with the selected objectives of the organizations. This will help the corporation to achieve its objectives. For example “Vodafone Plc”, they follow proper communication strategy with their internal and external stakeholders to achieve their targeted profit.

  • Well positioned staff

The corporate communication manager needs to staff in an honorable place in the organization. Being positioned there they will be more energetic and enthusiastic to know and communicate with both the internal and external stakeholders (Christensen, Morsing and Cheney, 2008).

These criteria will be helpful to assess how corporate communication link to corporate objectives

  • The relationship between corporate communication and corporate branding

The field of corporate communication is growing and the growing field of it has contributed more and more towards corporate branding. In today’s world no organization is free from public scrutiny. Customers continue to purchase from the companies while other interested groups continuously attack the company. We know both the organizations and its products and services have image of its own. It is important for organizations to carefully nurture and protected the corporate image, identity, reputation with proper communication.

How organizations communicate their identity, image, and corporate reputation creating a strong brand will be clear through this analysis

  • Communication and Corporate Identity  

Corporate Identity is the corporate specific feature that helps it to be differentiated from others. The way how people can find and recognize the specific organization without any reason is called identity of that organization (Dowling). Such as the identity of McDonalds, Nike, Ultra, Disney, has made it easy to its customers to purchase. McDonalds does not require using its name anymore only its name will attract customers anywhere in the world.

Each and every form of corporate identity has both positive and negative results. For example if a product of a company fails then there will have low impact on the parent company. The product may fail and create negative image, but the parent company may not (Martin and Hetrick, 2006).

 It is difficult to customers finding the parent company in the market. Such as P&G sales it products in different names using different communication strategies, if any of its product is under quality the effect is not directly on the P&G marketing. As it is the parent company and it has wide range of products.

From the above discussion we can say through proper communication with the external parties corporation can create a strong identity which leads to create a strong brand.

  • Communication and Corporate image

Source: (Simcic Brønn, 2009)

From the above graph we see that corporate image is just the reflection of corporate identity. We can define corporate image as a person’s belief, ideas, and feelings about an objective. Corporate image is the perceived summation its entire organizational works (Marken1994/1995).

Effective communication strategy will help the organization to place its products into the customer’s mind, to be related with it and to remember the products or core value of the products after a long time.

  • Communication and corporate reputation

In most cased image and reputation are used interchangeably. Corporate image is the global evaluation of a person regarding the organization (Dowling 2001). While corporate reputation is the imposed values like honesty, integrity, responsibility derived from the individual corporate image (Dowling 2001). Good corporate identity leads to better image of the organization which results in strong corporate reputation to the customers.

Source 🙁 Fombrun 1996)

The graph shows that corporate reputation is the sum some shareholders images about the organization. Strong customer image, investor image, employee image will lead to corporate reputation.

  • The relationship of Corporate communication strategy with Brand

Graph: Own creation

From the above discussion we can say that corporate communication both the internal and external communication related with the stakeholders of the company. The customers, investors, community, employee all are related parties with the organization. Proper communication strategy will lead to strong image, identity, and reputation of the firm which results in strong corporate brand.

  • Planning and reporting or communications audit

As communication leads to corporate objective so communications audit is necessary to identify the strength and weakness of the present internal and external communication strategy. Through the communication audit it will be possible to provide information to encourage employee’s engagement, and increase organizational productivity. 

Types of audit Internal versus external

Source: (Gerdemann, 2010)

  • Steps for conducting communications audit

By following ten steps we can complete the communications audit of an organization. These steps will be followed in both internal and external communication audit functions. In later section I will discuss about the communication audit of Vodafone Plc. 

Ten steps of internal and external communications audit 

Source: (Organizational Communications Audits, 2009)

Stakeholders of Vodafone:

Source: (, 2013)

  • An internal communication audit of Vodafone plc

Internal communication audit is done within the organization. There are various methods that are used in internal communication auditing of Vodafone plc

The following audit methods are used both in internal and external auditing of a chosen organization. Vodafone plc follows those methods for their internal auditing 

Source: (, 2009)

  • Interviews

 The most common used method of communication audit. The responsible audit person of Vodafone plc will take the interview of managers, employees, staffs, and engineers about their current strategies.  It will take 30-60 minutes per interview and costs are minimum to acquire depth knowledge.

  • Surveys

 The responsible person will prepare the questionnaires and collect information. It will spend only 20-30 minutes to collect standardized information at a moderate cost. 

  • Critical incident analysis

 The purpose of this analysis is collection of examples of experiences that’s memorable to staffs to see how communications strategies are performed within situational context. Each analysis will take 20-30 minutes to acquire specific information at lower cost.

  • Network analysis

This method is mostly used by Vodafone plc because; it reveals the communication structure of Vodafone plc which may be different from its organizational structure. Network analysis will take 20-30 minutes to gather necessary information and it is very expensive.

  • Participant observation

 The person responsible to auditing on Vodafone plc also takes part organizational activities those are involved in communications to review how and when practices are performed. 

  • Review of documents

The person may review the communications documents like newspapers article, press briefing of mangers to assess the development and targeting the communication materials.

  • Focus group

It is another method used by the auditor in Vodafone plc. Five or ten people forms group and discuss on communication strategies and performance over the time scale. It takes long time particularly 1-2 hours to collect depth information with moderate expense.

  • External communication audit of Vodafone plc

External communication refers to the communication with external parties related with the organization. These external parties include customers, shareholders, suppliers, investors, creditors etc. As Vodafone is a mobile service provider company they need good customer relationship to effectively launch their product products.

Method time cost information
Interview with customers 30-60 minutes


moderate Qualitative and depth data 
Surveys 20-40 minutes Moderate Standardized data
Network analysis 20-40 minutes Expensive analysis Specialized information
Focus group 1-2 hours moderate Specific, depth data

Interviews with customers

 Vodafone arranges different customers interaction programs to reach near the customers. They arrange different competition, advertisements, and quiz competition to interact with customers in India’s market (, 2014).

  • Surveys

 It is another way of communication with external parties. When Vodafone first arrived in India they surveyed their customer base and took marketing strategies on that information. Moreover Vodafone has 147.47 million customers 2.5 million with 3G is also the result of survey (, 2012).

  • Network analysis

  It is also used by Vodafone Plc as their external communication tools. In order to acquire specialized data in different location Vodafone arrange network analysis with the external stakeholders.

  • Focus group

 One of the most important external communication audit methods, In order to launch new products Vodafone creates focus group with different qualitative customers. Such as if they want to launch a talk package with younger’s, then they form focus group consisting of younger in different regional area of India (Vodafone, 2012).

  • SWOT analysis of Vodafone communications strategy

Source: (India, 2012)

  • Objectives, audiences, and assessment of effectiveness of corporate communication strategy

  • Objectives of corporate communication strategy

Communication plays a vital rule in the success of any organization. Every firm has to decide the ways by which they will communicate with their stakeholder. Different communication strategy can be applied in corporate firms. 

  • Coordinate activities within a firm

To perform business activities smoothly higher management should continuously communicate with mid-level management (, 2010).Vodafone wants to set industry standards in terms of service quality, new type of service. For implementing this mission of Vodafone Plc has to develop superior communication strategy 

  • Improve quality of decision by two way communication

Organizations can improve their decision making process by ensuring two way communication strategies (Oliver, 1997). Sometimes lower level employees have much knowledge about customer than higher level management. They directly deal with customers. Vodafone Plc also develops two way communication strategies with its lower level employees and agents.

  • Increasing the understanding of staff

An efficient corporate communication strategy can increase the knowledge level of employees of an organization (Oliver, 1997). If employees communicate instantly about each matter of the company then every employee will know the pros and con about it. Vodafone Plc uses on time communication systems for this purpose 

  • To here and act upon the demand of customer

Vodafone Plc maintains contact with its customer all the time. A customer can book his seat through online system. Online ticketing system of Vodafone Plc is much secured. Customer can also submit their complaints manually or through online. 

  • Enhance the reputation of organization:

A balanced communication strategy helps to provide superior customer service. Now in hypercompetitive world there is no alternative to gain competitive advantage other than providing superior service (Riel and Fombrun, 2007). Vodafone Plc has to compete with other airways so to attract customer it needs to differentiate its services.

  • Audiences influenced with corporate communication strategy

Corporate communication strategy formulated with a view to influencing different internal and external stakeholders. Audiences need to be influenced given below

  • Employees

Employees are the main audience of any corporate strategy. Without efficient internal communication it’s not possible to outperform the competitor (, 2007). There should be strong communication system within an organization. Vodafone Plc is able to create a superb on time internal communication system.

  • Investors

Investor should be properly influenced to invest in organization. Especially publicly traded companies has to maintain close communication with different class of investor such as, individual investor, institutional investor and sophisticated analyst. Different strategy should be applied to influence different type of investor (, 2007)

  • Customers

Customers are the main asset of any organization. So they should be nurtured properly.  Vodafone Plc take care customers 24 hours by allowing them online customer service and giving the opportunity to check the provided service. Customer can able to use their mother language in Vodafone Plc website because the website supports different languages (, 2012).

  • Partner organizations 

Vodafone Plc has partner relationship with India and thousands of individual and institution. Vodafone Plc needs to maintain corporate relationship with them. 

  • Media

Now a day in business media play a vital rule. Vodafone Plc maintains continuous communication with media such as TV channels, online advertisement, BBH and many other media. For advertisement Vodafone Plc chooses different online, electronic and print media (, 2012).

  • General Public

When an organization conducts its business it should be conscious about general public. Without the support of mass people an organization cannot be succeeded. Communication strategy should influence these general public (, 2007).

  • External National Stakeholders

Vodafone Plc has to maintained close communication with different regulators of the country. Because, close communication might help Vodafone to take some facilities from them;

  • Political Figures

 Parliament is the supreme institution for imposing any restriction or inaugurating liberalization in economy (, 2008). Especially in third world countries political persons want to influence every sector of a country. So, political figures need to be influenced with special communication strategy.

  • A plan for monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of corporate communication strategy

For better performance of any initiative taken depends on regular monitoring and taking corrective measures. To monitor the effectiveness communication strategy different approach can be applied. These are 

  1. Output based method, 
  2. Impact based method and 
  3. Outcome base method
  • In output based method level of activity is considered. In internal communication strategy number of newsletter issued, brief documents about team meeting issued. For external communication strategy media coverage volume, tone of media in their coverage, number of press release issued, usage of website or specific section of website etc. are considered (, 2010).
  • In impact based method changes take place in an organization is considered. Survey of stakeholder opinion, online feedback systems are used to evaluate the effectiveness. Vodafone Plc use online feedback system to evaluate the effectiveness of the corporate communication strategy (Small Business –, 2009). 
  • In outcome base method behavioural changes are considered. Rate of stuff turnover is an important measure of communication strategies effectiveness. Most of the times if communication strategies are not appropriate than turnover rate will be higher. Result from the communication audit is an important medium to measure communication effectiveness (, 2010). Communication audit try to identify each and every strength and weakness of communication system. Audit system should be formulated in proper way that will be able to detect any inconsistencies in corporate communication strategies. Customer satisfaction is also another indication of effective communication strategy. Only an effective communication strategy can lead to superior customer satisfaction. 
  • Conclusion

As we have known from our discussion that customers continuous to purchase products or services but other stakeholders of the organization always find ways to interact with the organization. It’s the responsibility of the manager to keep proper communication with both internal and external parties of the organization. How the corporate communication strategy works? And its efficiency and effectiveness should be audited by the responsible person.


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