Corporate communication can be described as a management function that is mainly dedicated to disseminating the information, execute the corporate strategy and develop the media relation of an organisation. Media relations are the functions for corporate communication managers are well known and they make the media relations for the organisation. In this study, Kurumba Maldives, a resort has been chosen for this study. In the first section of the study, precise description of the business has been described with mission and vision statement. In addition, a description of image and reputation of corporate sectors has been provided. In the latter part of the study, theoretical knowledge of organisational reputation has been applying the concept of the chosen organisation Kurumba Maldives. In the final section, the concept of media relations has been highlighted. Moreover, the principles of good media relations have been explained on Kurumba Maldives organisation.
An overview of the Kurumba Maldives
Kurumba Maldives is a well-known resort and it is 4.5-star resorts situated on the island of Vihamanaafushi, in the greater Maldives. This resort is managed by Universal Resorts. Kurumba Maldives was the first resorts that opened in Maldives in the year 1972 (Kurumba.com, 2017). This resort was designed by famous architect Mohamed Shafeeq. This resort has eight restaurants inside it and it has 180 rooms included villas. ‘Kurumba' usually the local word Maldives people use for coconut. This resort started with 30 rooms and local Maldivians started this resort. The founders of the resort were Mohamed Maniku and Ahmed Naseem. Kurumba Maldives is basically an island that provides varieties of accommodation to the guests and it provides large choices in bars and restaurants. This resort gives vibrant entertainment and it organises social events for the visitors. The organisation arranges charity events and it provides help to the orphanage. However, it provides maximum work in waste management and they started a recycling centre at Kureet.
The mission statement of Kurumba Maldives is to be the most hospitable resort in the world through creating heartfelt customer services for the guests. The resort strives to create meaningful opportunities for the employees to create high values for the guests and make the positive impact on the society also.
The vision statement of the resort is to fill the earth with warmth and light by showing the exceptional guests experiences and continue to deliver corporate responsibility (Kurumba.com, 2017).
Kurumba Maldives believes in hospitality where they are passionate in delivering the guest experiences. The resort believes in integrity that must right things for guests, employees and society. Leadership is another value for the organisation and they believe that they are team players in every aspect. Ownership is another value for them and the owners can take decisions and actions. The most important value of the organisation is ‘now’ as they operate in each work with a sense of urgency.
Awards and Recognition:
Kurumba Maldives resort has gained numerous awards and achievements. In the year, 2008, it got the award of Indian Ocean Leading Resort and in the year 2010, it got Maldives Leading Hotel award. There have been so many achievements including Number 1 resort in Asia and in the year 2016, it got the award of Maldives Leading Resorts.
Definition of Identity, Image and reputation
Identity, image and reputation are closely linked in the world of the corporate sector. As stated by Argenti (2015), identity is the visual manifestation of the organisation’s reality as it can convey the organisation’s logo, name, products or services and motto. Visual manifestation can be called company’s identity. Moreover, the identity of the organisation can be reflected through the buildings, uniforms, stationery and tangible pieces of evidence that the organisation communicates to the customers. It is needed to tap the conscience of the customers and for this, the organisation needs to create a strong identity. Shaping the identity of the organisation is one of the key features that must be surrounded by the organisation's core values, standards, philosophies and goals. Names, logos and tagline help to illustrate the organisation’s identity and it makes the differentiation in the marketplace. An example of corporate identity can be taken of FedEx as they changed the name of the brand Federal Express to FedEx. This is the corporate touch of customers’ vows and the organisation fulfilled this. Identity audit of the brand wanted that the name of the organisation must be changed.
Image of the organisation is related to functions of how constituencies perceive the company based on all messages it sends through logos and names. The image is included the expression of corporate vision and constituencies can have certain perceptions before the organisation start interaction (Christensen & Cornelissen, 2013). Perception is based on the organisation's interaction with the customers. As an instance of the corporate image can be given to Nike Inc. as the organisation has an allegation of a sweatshop in China and issues of child labour has affected the image of Nike. Nike invested significant time on making the image of the Nike through investing on media.
Reputation is an entity’s perception to the public about its products, business and brands. The reputation is by far the extent to dictate the status and relationship with employees and customers. Corporate reputation is the collective representation of past images of an organisation. The reputation of an organisation is a sum of Customer image, community image, investor image and employees' image. As stated by Eberle, Berens & Li (2013), reputation is the outcome of many applications that can be made from identity. The good reputation of the organisation can attract the customers and retain employees within the organisation. Toyota has been using the global reputation through corporate social responsibility since the long time as they work for community engagement. Moreover, a government of Maldives sets the target of 1.4 million tourists in Maldives (Hotelmaldives.com, 2017). In this case, a reputation of Kurumba Maldives will be effective in attracting maximum tourists.
Analysis of the Kurumba Maldives’ corporate reputation
In the beginning of the Kurumba Maldives, this remote archipelago was inhabited by only fishermen and this place was unknown to the world. That was the time during the early 1970s. There was only an airstrip on the Huhule Island where the present airport is situated. In this scenario, the resort Kurumba Maldives was established and it was started with small hotels with villas. The founders of the Kurumba Maldives demanded that they did not about tourism and it was the tourists who helped to grow the business. This place has immense natural beauty and people want to spend time in natural elegance. Kurumba Maldives has been providing the heartfelt services to the guests and Kurumba sets the benchmark of hospitality in the Maldives region.
Corporate reputation is important for both internal and external stakeholders of the organisation (Mazzei, 2014). Perception about corporate reputation actual and it can emanate both inside and outside of the organisation. The reputation of an organisation can be positive or negative through the perception of the guests and the management's perception of the growth or reputation is depended on the question ‘what are we seen to be?' Stakeholders of the organisation are very important in creating corporate reputation and it has 7 key dimensions. It is related to the stakeholders' touchpoint analysis and it helps to understand the drivers of stakeholders' perceptions through news source, social media, email and word-of-mouth. Dimensions of the reputation are related to the services and products that the organisation is offering to the customers. Services of the Kurumba are high quality and value for money and they fulfil the customers’ needs. It is also related to how far it is innovative and innovation is required in the marketing also. In this respect, Kurumba Maldives offers best possible hospitality to the guests with specialised villas and it adapts quickly to the market. It has been into innovation of services to the guests. The significance of the resort is that the walls of the villas are made from coral stones. The roofs of the villas are made of palm thatch (Kurumba.com, 2017). In case of the employees, workplace is very important. Kurumba Maldives makes the best workplace for the employees and they train the employees in customer service policy. Kurumba Maldives hires experts from Italy in order to add value to the economy of Maldives. This organisation sends employees to England, Sri Lanka and Singapore to take training. Governance of an organisation is one such dimension, in this regard; Kurumba Maldives has value to listen to corporate governance only in order to take any decisions. In addition, corporate citizenship is related to the social responsibility of the firm and the extent it meets the legal, economic and ethical responsibly (Carroll, 2015). Kurumba Maldives does charity, it runs an orphanage and most importantly, it does waste management so effectively. In the marine environment, the organisation safely provides the guests with the experiences of snorkelling, scuba diving and boating. Before they provide the adventure, the organisation provides the education about marine biology and safety of the marine environment. In addition, Kurumba Maldives provides scholarships to the high potential Maldivians in order to grab successful career. However, leadership is another dimension of reputation, in this case, Kurumba has its parent organisation, Universal Resorts and there they have a board of directors in order to take any decision. Lastly, the performance of an organisation is calculator of the reputation. Kurumba Maldives has been doing the best performance and it provides royal services to the customers. It has grabbed various international awards in the tourism and hospitality awards. In this year of 207, they already got Thila award for best Luxury Theme Restaurant in Maldives (Kurumba.com, 2017). It got the rank of 4 in all-inclusive resort in worldwide. Several times, it got the award of the best resort in the Maldives.
Corporate reputation is related to the overall consistent performance that is reinforced by effective communication. Most importantly, customer image, community image, investors’ image and employees’ images of the firm effectively create corporate reputation (Kim, 2014). Current performance, leadership and internal behaviours are consistent with the organisation's reputation. Optimum positioning of the organisation can be related to its recognising strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, reputation can be perceived by stakeholders through current practices of corporate communication. Vision and mission of the organisation set the identity of the organisation with creating a brand image. Firms can provide advertisements and it can help the organisation with the building of brand image. Kurumba Maldives takes the Corporate Social Responsibility seriously and they care for society. According to Floreddu, Cabiddu & Evaristo (2014), CSR reputation model speaks about CSR moral, CSR discretionary and CSR relational and these are the elements that an organisation should take the initiatives. An organisation can take some corporate social responsibility measures in order to increase the brand reputation. These measures are philanthropic responsibilities in the society and it is related to be the good corporate citizen that must contribute to the resources to the community. Ethical responsibilities are about being ethical in corporate responsibility and it is obliged to do the right things. Legal responsibility is about to obey the law as laws are societies codification and economic responsibility is about the profitability of the organisation as this is the foundation upon which all others rest (Perez, 2015).
Figure: CSR Reputation Model
(Source: Birkey et al., 2016)
Kurumba Maldives leads a musical festival and this is fundraising events for the orphanage they run. Kudhakudhinge Hiyaa orphanage is run by Kurumba Maldives and currently, this orphanage has more than 222 children in the residence. Kurumba Maldives ensures the childhood plays and development of training programmes to the children. ARC is the association of NGO and they work in association with Kurumba Maldives in order to provide help to the community's orphans. In order to do the best possible solution for the environment, Kurumba Maldives boosts the growth of recycling centre in Maldives. Kurumba Maldives grinds the glass in order to reuse the cementing and they share the recyclable plastics (Kurumba.com, 2017). This resort works for the betterment of energy efficient works. In Maldives, people use mostly diesel based power consumption. In the last few years, the organisation has been striving to reduce the energy consumption. Moreover, most importantly, Kurumba provides support to the community children through training and development and they name it as ‘Heart of House'. Kurumba Maldives organises the cultural events and they ask the local brands to perform. These CSR initiatives can open the culture, legitimacy and corporate reputation for the organisation.
Analysis of media relations
Media relations are related to the working with media and it has the purpose of letting the people know about the organisation’s policies, mission, vision and practices. The media relations of an organisation should be consistent, positive and credible manner (Fombrum, Ponzi & Newburry, 2015). The PR team of an organisation coordinates directly to the people who are responsible for giving the features and news to the mass media. The main aim of the media relations is to maximise the positive sides and features in mass media without paying directly to the advertisement. As supported by Foroudi, Melewar & Gupta (2014), media relation is the communication between organisation and sections of the media that are interested in its activities. Media relations are the process of developing, improving and building on an excellent relationship with media channels that have the purpose of excellent communication. In case of Kurumba Maldives, the purpose of media relation is to achieve the corporate goals and increase the audiences of awareness of the image status and reputation of the organisation. Kurumba Maldives educates the people about the benefits or advantages that the organisation can offer to the guests and community people as well. Media relations team of Kurumba Maldives makes the public aware of the value of the resort and communicate the CSR activities of the organisation. As opined by Coombs (2014), media relation can provide free advertisements for an organisation and it can rescue when the crisis arises for the organisation. Moreover, media relations are extremely helpful in the extension of marketing expenses and it is credible publicity. It is an essential tool for the corporate communication and media relations can create a better reputation and positive impression for the organisation. In addition, media relations are cost-effective way to measure the service quality.
There are two types of media through which organisations can communicate to the public, one is traditional media and other is new media. In traditional media, advertisements of TV, radio, newspaper and magazines are significant. These types of traditional media had important roles in past, however, they are costly media (Chaney & Martin, 2013). In advancement of technology, new media emerged with the blog, YouTube, online TV channels, social media, podcast, online magazines and online communities. Key contents of promotions must be short and engaging. Key contents must have main information that can communicate to the target consumers and the message should be clear, simple and meaningful. Contents of the key message should reflect the objectives of the firm and it could have an illustration. According to Mai & Hoffman (2014), media partnership can enhance the organisation's reputation and it can extend the marketing to the wider audience. More sponsors from the public would come and it increases the availability of diverse resources. Kurumba Maldives resort makes a partnership with social media in order to increase its brand image and reputation. However, two common media relations can be formed through a press release and press conference where plan event can occur. Moreover, in the end of 2015, the climate change issues and natural disaster issues lowered the visiting of guests in Maldives, media partnership with media through press release helped Kurumba Maldives in mitigating the crisis. As pointed out by Maier (2016), people can act on perception after gathering information from media and this policy helps in building organisation’s reputation. Kurumba Maldives has Facebook and Twitter pages. On Facebook, it has more than 38k likes and it has more than 1100 reviews. The resort’s PR team is active on Facebook and it posts images and discount offers on Facebook to engage people. On Twitter, Kurumba Maldives (@kurumbamaldive) has more than 3k followers and it has twitted more than 1200 posts. In the building of good media relations, it is important to know what journalists want and identify the right spokespersons. Spokesperson of the organisation needs to spend time with journalists and maintaining a close relationship with media can be helpful for an organisation.
The first principle of good media relations is telling the truth to the public and since the beginning, Kurumba Maldives has been telling the truth to the media. It is needed that information of the organisation must be in line with the organisational goals. When Kurumba Maldives organised a press conference for climate change issue, it managed media in the right manner. Kurumba Maldives plans the strategy in disseminating the information publicly in right way. As suggested by Black (2013), the principle of media relations is evaluating and monitoring the spokesperson's performance who undertakes the key message. It is also needed that media can access the factsheets and brochure of the organisation easily that creates transparency. Media relations are related to giving important to useful messages only that can demonstrate the action. Lastly, Kurumba Maldives has to handle the media as it is Maldives number one resort and they need to respect the media in public and remain humble.
It has been noticed that Kurumba Maldives has had a natural growth of the business and corporate identity, image and reputation have always given the business success. Corporate communication is important for developing the messages for the organisation for various purposes outside and inside the organisations. Corporate communication is the voice of an organisation and it saves the organisation from a crisis situation. Kurumba Maldives is in the hospitality industry and it has been following the CSR techniques in order to maintain the brand image and reputation. Kurumba Maldives does fundraising activities, it helps to the orphans, it provides employees’ training, it does waste management and it helps the community in reducing energy consumption. Kurumba Maldives follows seven divisions in maintaining the relationship with stakeholders that help the organisation in maintaining external functions and internal communication as well. Kurumba Maldives organises press conferences in making media relations and it has its social media pages in order to communicate with the public. Kurumba Maldives has a website in order to have booked. Significantly, ensuring consistent and accurate communication among stakeholders can help the organisation in smooth going.
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