Pick a brand and go to its website. Locate as many forms of communication as you can find on the website. Conduct an informal communications audit. What do you notice? How consistent are the different communications in working towards a consist method?
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For the discussion question, I choose Cadbury is a multinational confectionery brand with its base in the United Kingdom. I visited their UK website as in cadbury.co.uk/ to understand about the forms of communication they use in their website. In addition to that, they’ve several other websites tagged to geolocation such that they can provide customized service to people of the set region.
While exploring the website, I found multiple forms of communication that were used in the website like the inclusion of cookies, and other data which they use to send internet ads in Google, Facebook and other platforms. A business should be able to communicate with all the stakeholder with the use of the website as that is something like a face of the organization to the world in the current trend which they’ve been able to do to most of the extent (Pace & Faules, 1989). They’ve provided several call-to-action, appealing color composition matching their brand and photos to encourage people to make a purchase. Also, they’ve been able to hit that soft corner by allowing people to customize their own bar and the ability to buy Cadbury gifts. They’ve been able to connect with potential job applicants with the use of career page. They’ve also not left behind people with certain disability behind with compliance with standards of creating an accessible website. In addition to all those, the business had added FAQ pages such that general questions can be answered by reading that.
Cadbury appears to have kept the communication with its visitors in focus with providing an opportunity to them to contact them also on their free phone number with numbers dedicated for different purposes such that people don’t get startled in the process. This also ensures that their employees aren’t left hanging with a question they’re not familiar with. Cadbury also uses a website based contact form where they collect all the details and get back to it within 3-7 business days as per the information they sent during the process. Cadbury also collect the email address of its user if they sign up for it which they use to email you at times about exciting news, offers, and competitions from Cadbury. I also found that they provide a tracking system for the products order which is really convenient.
Cadbury also tried to connect other platforms of theirs like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from their website with links to these platforms both in header and footer section of the website. While looking at their Facebook page, they had an impressive response time of one day, which is good for the business of that scale with so many customers flooding their inbox. They were also equally active and engaged with the customers in all of these platforms. While no link to their YouTube channel was to be found in the website but looking at it for the frequency at which they create ads, I found that they make ads in multiple languages while focusing each ad to a certain zone.
The process of strengths and weakness of both internal and external communication channels is called as communication audit. It is also a method through which they can understand the practices used in past, know about the knowledge about the product from the target market, how good or bad the current communication methods used are working and what can be the future communication methods that can be used (Greenbaum, 1974). With the communication audit, the company can evaluate their goals, efficiency, reach and satisfaction of the communication strategy in place while also understanding about them better (Barnett, Hamlin & Danowski, 1982).
While conducting an informal communication audit of Cadbury, lots of inconsistencies and loopholes could be discovered. With their Facebook-based support taking a day or more to respond back with a simple question detailing about what they need to further process the request is something people don’t like. They could have rather used automated system requesting people to send those details soon anyone sends the message. In turn, they can create a chat system in their own website separating it as per the unit such that the requests are directed to the right unit only. They don’t seem to have integrated marketing communication which means that they don’t use the same message on all the communication channels. Looking at their New Zealand and Australia based website, they show a completely different picture of Cadbury. The consistency and promise factor is missing. With regard to videos being missing in the website, they could have embedded a YouTube promotion of theirs or a product intro or even a welcome message to the website such that they do have some voice added in addition to the graphics and text that are there in the website. So, there are areas which need and could be improved that are discovered with the informal communication audit.
Barnett, G., Hamlin, D., & Danowski, J. (1982). The Use of Fractionation Scales for Communication Audits. Annals Of The International Communication Association , 5 (1), 455-471.
Greenbaum, H. (1974). The Audit of Organizational Communication. Academy Of Management Journal , 17 (4), 739-754.
Pace, R., & Faules, D. (1989). Organizational communication (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Communication audit is an indicator of the communication practices of an organization and their effectiveness. It comprehensively evaluates an organization’s ability to send, receive and share information within and outside the organization. It helps to identify whether an organization is being successful in communicating in meaningful ways with its customers and stakeholders or not (Scott, 2007). Communication audit is also important for finding out the major problems in communication such as frequent misunderstandings, information blocks, information gaps, information duplication or misrepresentation.
With the increasing use of technology, websites has been one of the easiest and quickest ways to know about to know about any brand. The websites should be designed in such a way that it provides all the relevant information required by the users easily and provokes desire to buy the product or service advertised through website. The website should be consistent in the message and information they provide through different mediums.
For this assignment, I picked the website of Daraz Nepal, a popular online shopping site of recent time. It provides solution for shopping needs of people by showcasing different famous brands within same roof. The layout of the website is simple and user friendly. It has used graphics and images pretty well that can attract the viewers to the products offered. The search engine at the top of the website can be used for looking for the products, brands and categories we need. In order to make the search easy, different categories of goods and services offered are listed on the top left corner. When we place the cursor to a certain category, the list of items related to that particular category are displayed along with some visuals. There is help section nearby the search engine that help us in tracking the already placed order. As we scroll down, the deal of the day column is seen. Here, different items are offered at discounted rate for particular time and the time within which the buyers should place to get the discount is also displayed.
It displays different items offered under different categories with the price that helps to make the purchasing decision easier. Unlike other websites, the information of the company is placed at the bottom of the page. So as the user reaches to the bottom of the page, s/he already has idea about what the website is trying to communicate.
Being an online shopping site, the major aim of the website is to persuade people to buy the things offered in the site and in my opinion, daraz is doing it pretty well. Every information is guided towards the products and there are different deals and offer to attract the attention of the readers. Through everything in the website, it is trying to communicate the same message: to place the order and get things delivered at your convenient place. So I think there is consistency in the message delivery.
However, once we open the website, it takes some time to load the images that can be improved. The company could add a section to allow the users send their feedback in the website. Apart from these, the website is attractive and user friendly. It aims on enhancing the shopping experience that is clearly depicted through its website.
Scott, S. (2007, August 27). Communications audits: How effectively are you communicating? Retrieved from Charity Village: charityvillage.com/cms/content/top...
Best Buy Co., Inc. provides consumer electronics, home office products, entertainment products, appliances and related services. It was founded in 1966 in Minnesota, United States as an audio specialty store by Richard M. Sculze and Gary Smoliak. It operates through two business segments: Domestic and International. The Domestic segment is comprised of the operations in all states, districts and territories of the U.S., operating under various brand names, including but not limited to, Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile, Geek Squad, Magnolia Audio Video, Napster and Pacific Sales. The International segment is comprised of all operations outside the U.S. and its territories, which includes Canada, Europe, China, Mexico and Turkey.The company offers expert service at an unbeatable price more than 1.5 billion times a year to the consumers. Also, the company has operations in the U.S. where more than 70 percent of the population lives within 15 minutes (McWilliams, 2004).
Going through the website, we can find simple layout that anyone can easily use and find products from the top search bar, it is that easy. The user interface is very simple and easy to use and if there is any question they offer chats for the customers for any queries. As they claimed for their presence on shop for electronics, computers, appliances, cell phones, video games & more new tech; they have beautifully portray graphic with HDTVs, laptops, and drones.
Figure1: Home page of Best Buy
Best Buy offer varieties of product that are related to technology from appliances, TV & Home Theater, Laptops, and Phones to audio, video games, movies, health, fitness, home, garage, smart home and even added Drones. Most of the product that I have bought from Best Buy either had the same price as the original store. Also, Best Buy offers free shipping to you doorsteps if your order is $35 or more than that which is very convenient for the people who want to shop staying home.
Figure 2: Products Column of Best Buy
Best Buy is that they have the authentic and genuine from different retailers, which are in condition. Best buy offers different products from different retailers like Apple, Samsung, Sony, Intel and others. They do not just sell laptops but more product line from those retailers.
Figure 3: Brands Column of Best Buy
To engage more customers they offer deals like the deal of the day, hottest deals, student hub etc. Also, there are giving deals to every person from high-class consumers to low class where they can buy brand new latest technology in a discounted price.
Figure 4: Deals Column of Best Buy
Here, it is all about giving the best service for the after sales. There are different services that are provided to the consumer to protect or maintain their product for a longer period of time. Best Buy has a 24 hour chat support where the consumers if they have any question they can directly chat with the geeks to fix any problems.
Figure 5: Services Column of Best Buy
This all clearly shows that they are not just selling products for a cheaper price but also maintaining the relation with the consumers by providing the best after sales service.
Informal Communication Audit of Best Buy
Kotler & Keller (2016), in their book Marketing Management, informal communication audit is the evaluation of the organization’s ability of sending, receiving, and sharing the information about various tasks in an organization. For Best Buy, I don’t think there is any problem regarding to their services of sending, receiving, and sharing the information. They are offering offers plus discounts to different occasions with very cheap customers are attracted easily to buy from Best Buy. They have their customers that are loyal and also returning product is very easy and convenient (Oliver, 2002). In the same way, their user interface is very simple and easy to use and if there is any question they offer chats for the customers for any queries.
Consistency of different communication method
They are communication through a lot of mediums from socials media which says people who liked this product or new offers. The advertisements they give in newspaper and the deals they show in the homepage of the website also helps make the customers aware. They also show us our purchase history and even checking any product we are able to see the ratings of the product and also the feedback of the buyers regarding the product.
To sum up, Best Buy mission to make technology more human, to make it easier to explore, learn and understand how the latest tech can enrich our life. I think it is on its way to grave all the success through customer satisfaction.
Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2016). Marketing Management . Boston: Pearson.
McWilliams, G. (2004). Analyzing customers, Best Buy decides not all are welcome. The Wall Street Journal Online.
Oliver, R. L. (2002). Value as excellence in the consumption experience. In Consumer value (pp. 59-78). Routledge
According to the American Marketing Association, integrated marketing communications(IMC) can be defined as "a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time”. (Kotler & Keller, 2011). Integrated marketing communications cover the broader concept which approaches planning marketing and promotion programs and coordinating various communication functions. It helps an organization to develop a total marketing communication strategy that includes advertising, direct marketing, interactive or internet marketing, sales promotion, publicity or public relations and personal selling.
At present, the IMC has enabled marketers to utilize the new ways of communicating in order to achieve its specific communications objectives. Initially, marketer used traditional promotional mix elements that included advertising, sales promotion, public relations and personal selling to promote their brand’s features and competitive superiority. On the contrary, today, marketers have the richer array of communications possibilities in addition to those traditional means. It means direct marketing and online/internet and digital marketing is added that helps the marketer to reach their audience quickly to promote their brand and its offerings. (Batra & Keller, November 2016).
Alibaba.com is the largest E-commerce platform in the world and it is also delivering the product in all over the world. Alibaba.com CEO Jackma said that "Yours main duty is only manufacturing the product and we are the bridge between you and the consumer.” So from this statement we can clearly conclude that Alibaba.com enable business to transform the way they market, sell and operate Alibaba.com provide the fundamental technology infrastructure and marketing research to help merchant, business and other business. Alibaba.com business are comprised of core commerce, cloud computing, digital media, entertainment, innovation, initiative and others. Alibaba.com has a strategic relationship ship with art financial services (BRENNAN, 2017). Alibaba.com has also its own online payment platform (Ali pay) so that customers can easily order the product and pay the price through Alipay.com. The main thing about Alibaba.com is, the design of website has a direct impact between customer and seller. It has very simple layout so any non - technical resources can use and order the product and pay the price very easily by using their web portal. They make the system easier and hope everyone are satisfied to use the system They are one of world largest online marketing portal and they have lakhs of item in their web portal and we case buy this from our home very easily. They have own shipping and delivering houses (Ali Max) so we don’t use other shipping agency like DHL and FedEx. We can buy the goods from its systematic and effective website. The web portal of Alibaba.com is very simple and detail. They provide each and every detail in the web like pricing, feature and company name. If we have any problem then we can also discuss with Alibaba.com team through this web, in web portal has included the chat feature so we can easily communicate with them. In Alibaba.com sometimes we negotiate the price by doing the discussion/chatting of Alibaba.com representative. When I was studying in Undergraduate level and we had a major research work on the topic "Power line communication system” we ordered the product from Alibaba.com and they were able to send the product within five days. So we were able to submit our major project on time. Due to this the Alibaba.com really made me happy at that time. It directly or indirectly added the value in my life through my academic success. So finally, we can clearly say that marketing is all about creating, communicating and delivering the customer value. So the main purpose of big online business houses are how to make money through marketing career.
Batra, R., & Keller, K. L. (November 2016). Integrating Marketing Communications: New Findings, New Lessons, and New Ideas. Journal of Marketing: AMA/MSI Special Issue Vol. 80 , 122-145.
BRENNAN, T. (2017). ALIBABA’S NEW ‘UNI MARKETING’ A GAME CHANGER FOR BRANDS. Ali Z illa News Portal of Alibaba Group .
Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2011). Marketing Management. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Choosing Tuborg beer to understand its many forms of communication around the world, I came to the find out that they have tried to communicate, successfully might I add, that Tuborg is fun. They have their punch tag saying ‘open for fun.’ The advertisements consists of young crowd dancing and having fun after opening Tuborg. It has focused its attention on experimenting and having fun and is the sponsor for many musical festivities. Talking about its target segment, their marketing strategy to get to the youths has been through music. All youths of all countries come together regardless of age, gender or race as music unites them. Tuborg has been trying to step into this wave of music to reach out to the young crowd. They are the official sponsor of many music festivities around the world. They main mantra for effective communication to it past, present and future customers is to show itself as a synonym to music and fun. Even in Nepal it is the main sponsor for Arbitary live and other musical festivities "Apart from barley and hops, festivals have always been a key ingredient of Tuborg. We have quenched the thirst of many generations. From hippie fangirls screaming their lungs out of their barely covered bodies up to moshpitting Nirvana-fans and festivalgoers shaking their onesies to the beats of Major Lazer. Whenever you’re having music-in-a-field fun time, you can bet your Wellington boots that Tuborg is around, making sure you never miss a beat. (Tuborg)” This can been seen in their website which talk about their international music campaign where they have chosen three musicians from different countries. They release music and tracks with the sponsorship of Danish Lager brand Tuborg and these artists have also collaborated with other international artists like MO and Justin Bieber. These trio go around various countries collaborating with different cultural sound and signature style. They share their vision as "Tuborg is a lager made for global exploration with roots in exporting both lager and music culture throughout the world. (Group, 2017)” Following their many communication technique in advertisement and sponsorships it can be seen that they are consistent in communicating their love for spreading music and fun throughout the ages. This main campaign has already set its roots throughout multiple generations all around the world and can clearly been seen in our own local context as well.
Group, C. (2017, April 5). Tuborg Unveils New Music Programme ‘Tuborg Open’ With Major Lazer Collaboration. Retrieved from Carlsborg Group: carlsberggroup.com/newsroom/tuborg...
Tuborg. (n.d.). Music Festivals. We’ve Never Missed a Beat. . Retrieved from Tuborg Open: tuborg.com/tuborg-open/music-festi...
I have picked Gillette as the brand of which I am going to make an audit. I have chosen this product as I am loyal to its razors while make frequent visits to its web-page to know the new products of this company.
While going through the website, I went through these kinds of form of communication (Gillette, 2016)
About Us : Giving details on the company
Coupons and offers : attracts Company to buy the product to utilize their discount and offer benefits
Shaving tips : Gives details on how we can shave, how some shave designs can be made and what are the other areas which we can use the razor. This helps in persuading to buy the products on other hand, while helps in creation of new areas of product positioning.
Shave club : Purchase of the products on basis of custom made packages or deal
Shop products : Online purchase of Gillette products
Email : Enquiry of the products and other information
Reviews : Reviews of people on Gillette’s product FAQ
According to Parboteeah, Valacich and Wells ( 2009), impulse buying is a widespread phenomenom and a good website with an awesome human-computer interface can boost this buying, that now counts 40% of total online market. For the company like Gillette, that has been thriving on Premium Pricing by creating a value, a very interactive website is needed and the website is indeed interactive. We can view different types of product, with a 360 degree view, and details on the features/comfort attached with a products. Generally about us, e-mail and reviews are related to marketing the product additionally shaving tips and coupons are also directly related to marketing.Shaving Tips makes people aware of the company’s product on one hand while on the other, it might increase the views of the web-site, that can help in value creation of Gillette products. Shaving Club is again directly related to marketing of Gillette’s Product. It helps customer’s to plan their subscription of gillette razors, its cartridges and other products of Gillette. Online sales of products is directly related to sales. So, Looking at them they are all consistenlty working towars increasing sales.
Gillette. (2016). Gillette . Retrieved from gillette.com/en-us 6
Parboteeah, D. V., Valacich, J. S., & Wells, J. D. (2009). The Inﬂuence of Website Characteristics on a Consumer’s Urge to Buy Impulsively. Information Systems Research , 20 (1), 60-78.