COMMUNICATION STRATEGY 5
Communicationis very essential in business and frequent communications with thevarious stakeholders, and more so the client is very vital.Communication is not always instrumental, unless it is proved to beeffective. While communication refers to the exchange of informationand ideas between two or more parties, effective communicationinvolves the message sent being decoded and interpreted exactly asthe initial sender had intended it to be. In our case, Toyota hasalready had its enough share of troubles and in dire need to makecrisis communication. Important to note, crisis communication must beeffective, reach the target audience and time and essentially, beable to convince the audience in regards to the intended message. Howthe message is communicated, the channels used and any other aspectrelating to communication will eventually be the main determinant ofwhether the communication was effective enough. To ensure theeffectiveness, then the full use of communication strategy cannot bedownplayed.
Inthe event of a crisis, high communication ability is a pre-requisite,failure to which the damages caused as a result of the crisis mayaccelerate. The nature of the communication must also be designed insuch a way that that the intended message is sufficiently reached,yet in a pleasing way. It is equivalent to apologizing in anunconscious way with the intention of rebuilding a relationship.Here, a communication strategy must step into its way, creating aleeway for mutual understanding and agreement between the concernedparties. According to a survey, an approximated fifty seven percentof agencies and about sixty four percent of clients agree in onevoice that in the current times, it has become increasingly hard forcompanies and firms to communicate with their clients than everbefore. This absolutely serves as a red light into how these firmsopt to communicate with their perspective clients.
Acommunication strategy basically refers to the holistic approach ofcommunication, including the formulation of communication policies indetermination of how the audience can be engaged with an aim ofensuring maximum effectiveness of the intended communication(Mulhern, 2009).In the case of a crisis communication as it is in our case study, anyoccurrence of unintended communication is highly discouraged as theoutcome may be adverse and may at times, ruin the existingrelationship and image than the damage caused at the time of theintended communication. In regard to this, a communication strategymust be able to achieve a given objective and in addition, be able tocreate certain levels of awareness and attitude either about the firmor about a certain brand. This means that proper communication venuemust be put into consideration right from the very beginning.
Historically,most firms used to design personalized messages for the individualclients, such as by the use of mails. However, with the dynamics ofinformation technology, media and communication channels have beengreatly affected. The media has hugely fragmented and as a result, itis now very hard to find the audience in the traditional media. As aresult of this, media integration is instrumental in any strategy.Integration refers to a scenario whereby different media is used topass the same information with an aim of obtaining a higher degree ofeffectiveness. The choice of the media to be used in the integrationprinciple is on the other hand dependent on the target audience. Thestrategy must also be objective in that it must be in a capacity toimpart information and rebuild the lost image to the intended idealcorporate image. Again, the budget must be considerable, withconsistency between the intended objective and the budget being inplace. A communication strategy cannot be effective if there is noguiding idea which forms the foundation of the need to communicate.The idea should be captivating in that it must have the ability toattract the audiences’ attention.
Aneffective communication strategy must be well formulated to ensuremaximum effectiveness. It is however, important to note that astrategy is not a one-time activity but rather a process and whichinvolves a number of key steps. For it to be effective, an analysisof the bigger picture must be put into place as the very first thing.In our case, the main issue is the underlying crisis(Kitchen & Inga Burgman, 2015).The main role of the communication is to avert the crisis and at thesame time, build on the firm’s image and reputation. From thisbigger picture, it becomes easier to come up with the specific goalsand objectives of the communication strategy, which forms the secondstep.
Afterthis, an audience analysis must be conducted in order to establishthe target audience. The crisis communication message is not meantfor the entire public but rather to specific groups. Here, thespecific groups are identified. It is from the identification of thespecific groups that the key message can be developed. The messagemust be precise and have the capacity to fulfil accomplish theintended goals and objectives. However, for the message to beeffective, proper channels must be used. Depending on the targetaudience, the best and most applicable channels are selected. A fewprecautions need to be considered at this step first, it is wrong toassume that paid-for media is the only applicable channels. Otherchannels which are not paid for such as use of the internet andsocial media is equally applicable. The channels should also giveroom for not only exposure, but engagement too. Finally, there mustbe specific timelines to be met in the strategy lest effectivenesswill be downplayed. Again, there should be put in place certainmetrics to be used in monitoring o the effectiveness of the strategy.
Kitchen,P. J., & Inga Burgman, I. (2015). Integrated MaketingCommunication: Making it Work at Strategic Level. Journalof Business Strategy, 36(4),34-39.
Mulhern,F. (2009). Integrated Marketing Communications: From Media Channelsto Digital Connectivity. Journalof Marketing Communications,85-102.