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Question:

Discuss abouth the Corporate Communication Plan.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Samsung was found in the year 1938 in South Korea. It entered into the electronics industry business in late 1960s and has expanded its area of operations worldwide for mobile phones and semi conductors. Its rapid increase in revenue has made it a noticeable company and today ranks 4th worldwide.  The success can be attributed to the strong development and strategic plans it made. The economic development of South Korea is largely influenced by Samsung and it is the driving force for media, politics, and cultures. The revenue generated by Samsung is estimated to be 17% of the GDP of South Korea. It has comfortable and conveniently established itself in the global markets. As it is rightly said that bad news travels like fire, the company has to be very tactful in communicating such a critical matter that is likely to bring in a lot of negative feedback and criticisms.

Communication standards and conventions in business

The standards aim at the set of activities adopted by the management in managing the external and internal communications are such a way so as to maintain the favorable viewpoint of the company. The coherence, credibility and ethical value of the message need to be maintained. It helps in translating the vision and mission of the company into cohesive message value for the stakeholders. It is an integrative communication structure linking the stakeholders of the organization (Samsung, 2015). Hence, the organization follows a strong pattern of communication that helps in attaining a strong position.

The aims of these standards of corporate communication are as follows:

  • Minimize discrepancies with reference to the message that is being communicated. It ensures that the message is properly communicated and that the related parties are able to understand it with precision.
  • Delegation of tasks of communication
  • Formulation of effective decision-making Decision making is highly influenced with the aid of proper communication (Youndt & Snell, 2004).
  • Coordination with the government and regulatory authorities. The communication leads to a strong link between the company and the regulatory bodies which in turn provide a strong benefit. It leads to transparency and creates better understanding (Freedman, 2013).
  • Mobilization of internal and external support. When the communication process is strong internal and external course of action is well defined and hence have a better support.

The communication philosophy has to be first decided upon and then policy decisions are to be made about:

  • The benefit of the intended audience has to be identified
  • The key issues and hierarchy of issues has to be listed down
  • The flow of information has to be decided – visual or verbal
  • The type of graphics and text to be used is to be identified
  • The approved font styles has to be selected
  • The font size has to be decided based on the hierarchy of the information
  • Use of proper logotypes, trade names, and trademarks has to be followed
  • The flow of communication should be directed by bullets, tables, color, left justification, etc.

The purpose of these standards is to ensure consistency in the internal and external corporate communication and to maintain the corporate image by the use of communication standards. The corporate image of any organization can be enhanced with the aid of strong communication as it links the organization with the outside world (Freedman, 2013).  

 


These communication channels and protocols are used to inform and persuade people, specifically stakeholders. Therefore, a vital role is being played by the communication process. It is effective in enhancing the goodwill and improves the link up with the external environment (Nisen, 2016).

Current Scenario

Cell phone exploding due to faulty chargers is not a new thing. But in this case, the exploding of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has become a serious issue. The root of the problem lies in the battery and since the phone does not have a removable battery, the company has made the decision to recall the cell phones sold both at home and abroad (Khoury, 2016). Out of several millions of phones sold, less than 0.1% of the users are affected but still it continues to be a hazard and the company is not ready for a gamble that will spoil its image.

The company will have to face a lot of disclosure and transparency related issues as the customers would like to know the results of the research that have led to this problem. If the process of communication is strong it helps in maintaining a cordial relationship with the external and internal environments and contributes to the success (Kamis, 2016).

Thus it is a crisis communication in this scenario. In crisis communication, the public relations aspect occupies a special position as the company tries to defend its public reputation. There is an investigation from the government agency, shareholder lawsuit, media inquiry, criminal allegation, environmental regulations violation and a host of such problems involving legal, financial and ethical standing of the company (Walter, 2016). 

Objective & Scope of Communication Plan

As a major catastrophe has occurred leading to tangible destruction, it is an irreparable damage to the reputation of the organization. It is having a significant potential impact on the financial structure of the company and hence the communication should be in such a way that the company admits its mistakes and assures that the customers will not suffer more damage (Robert et. al, 2010).

 


The scope and objective of the communication plan are to assure that the customers will not suffer from any risks or hazards and to provide the required assistance to ensure a hassle free replacement. Any kind of assistance with reference to the return of the phone will be provided and the money will be refunded (Kamis, 2016).

This is the core objective since it does not wish to fall low in the eyes of its customers. The company still seeks continued trust and hence wants to communicate the same in the best possible way.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall – Official Company Statement

It reads that Samsung has announced a voluntary recall of all the original or replaced Note 7 phones as the device gets overheated and can pose a significant risk for the customers. This recall is in accordance with the regulatory requirements.

Customers owning this device have to power it down and contact the vendors or retail outlets from where they have purchased the same. The contact numbers and the online link for refund are also provided.

Apart from this the company also acknowledges offering a credit of $100 upon selection of another Samsung Smartphone and a credit of $25 for the purchase of another brand of Smartphone in exchange for the current owners of Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Reception

Customers have felt that the company could have had detachable batteries on the phone which would make it much easier for the company to replace. It is likely that the company is processing faster refunds in the US but same might not be the case in the rest of the world. These non-timely refunds are tarnishing the image of the company in countries like India. The problems seem to be never ending as these phones are also being banned in airplanes after a so-called safely replaced device exploded in the US flight (Katkyama, 2010).

 


Thus the communication is not received to the best of its form and is adding worries for the company and its customers.

Ethical Framework of Business communication

The ethical framework requires that if the company realizes something is wrong with the product or its distribution and consumption, then it should make immediate attempts to withdraw the same from the market and not wait until complaints are lodged or regulatory authorities step in and force the company to take such steps (Dahlen et. al, 2010).

In this case, there were more than 50 cases reported worldwide after which Samsung announced its decision to withdraw. This makes a few people view that the announcement of recall came in a bit late though the company might require time for investigation and research into the real causes.

Identification of relevant stakeholders

Samsung strives to create value for the stakeholders. The management believes in active communication with stakeholders. This helps to strengthen the relationship and bring transparency thereby leading to an effective atmosphere.  The factors and interest in decision making are communicated. Further, the important stakeholders need to be updated that helps to enhance the goodwill and this can be done with the help of an effective communication process.

The relevant internal stakeholders are

  • Employees including Managers and Executive personnel
  • Owners

The relevant external stakeholders are

  • Shareholders / Investors
  • Customers
  • Media
  • NGO
  • The Government
  • Local Communities
  • Suppliers

Samsung uses an array of communication channels to engage in productive relationship driven conversation with customers where they are free to express their honest opinions about the matters related to the company. The communication type and pattern depend on various factors. The country of origin plays a leading role as a pattern of language differs. (Slaper et. al, 2011)

The communication channels used by Samsung are depicted below:

Source: 2013 Sustainability Report

The receivers of communication are belonging to different countries, different cultures, and languages. Hence there are common issues like receptivity, effectiveness and perception value of the message, so on and so forth (Newman & Scott, 2013).

Same is the case with managing teams and people from different countries as Samsung is having an operation in almost all the major countries of the world. For instance, a message seen as critical in the East might not be perceived to be the same in the West. Hence to aid a smooth communication flow, Samsung follows the below pattern.

Different Communication Styles

Across cultures, the words and phrases used might be interpreted differently. For instance, in countries with English as the native speaking language, the meaning of the word “yes” is different from “may be, I’ll consider it, definitely so” and the right use of right words for different audiences needs to be decided (Belch & Belch, 2012). The degree of assertiveness also differs across cultures. Hence, the pattern of communication plays a leading role in shaping the destiny of the organization. It depends on from one country to another and thereby the place of operation needs to be considered to attain a better result (Sustainability reporting, 2012).

Different attitudes towards conflicts

A few countries view conflict as a positive thing whereas a few other countries wish to avoid it. Also the manner of dealing with conflicts in different countries. The Eastern countries like to work out conflicts quietly and also in form of written communication while in the U.S people are encouraged to deal directly and in face-to-face meetings to resolve conflicts. Hence, the perceptions matter when it comes to resolving conflict (Byford, 2016).

Different Approaches to knowing & disclosure

Every country has a valid, acceptable and most trusted means of access to information and knowing. While word of mouth is preferred in one country, web based might be preferred in another. Acknowledging these means, the appropriate method of disclosure is selected (Ballot et. al, 2006). 

The ethnic, family, educational, personality differences exist in ever culture. Thus the differences in multi-lingual communication channels and requirements are respected and practiced.

Samsung’s formal & informal communication channels

The formal communication channels are through official statements announced on the website of the company or by making a press release. Formal communication is direct in nature and is considered to be authentic.  The advantage of this communication is that the company accepts and owes liability and responsibility for whatever is said in the statement. It carries evidence and hence has a strong validity.  The disadvantage of this method is that it cannot differ or alter or take back what is said and published. Therefore, once said or approved it will remain as it is and cannot tamper in any scenario.

 


The informal communication channel is more of a word of mouth and grapevine started through a few contacts of the company and spread to the public. The advantage is that this provides temporary relief for the worrying customers whereas the disadvantage is that there is no responsibility or liability created as it is more of an oral communication spread through different mouths. Therefore, the informal communication cannot be considered as an evidence because it is not from a formal source.

Critical Evaluation of effectiveness of Communication plan

As it is very easy to protest, a few customers had started protest from the initial cases shouting slogans against the company and the miserable fact is that such incidents have occurred in different parts of the world (Khoury, 2016).

Thus though the company believes and has made the best of its efforts, it is still not a complete assurance and customers are acknowledging the host of difficulties placed despite the refund and exchange process. It needs to be noted that the process of communication cannot be the safeguard once the customers have a negative notion. However, the same can be filtered and removed by the possible acts of communication in the long run.

Conclusion

It can thus be seen that the company has definitely suffered a drop in the sales due to this unfortunate incident which is more of a technical snag and not an intentional act by the company. Hence, the shortfall cannot be tagged as a voluntary act by the company however, the aftermath cannot be ignored. The company has also apologized for all the inconveniences caused on the appropriate media and forums. Thus the veracity and level of professionalism of the communication is vital and can possibly try to save the company (Simonin, 2016). The possible act by the company reveals that the company has tried its level best in terms of communication to save the patronage.  Despite the communication plan made by the company, the damage is huge and it might take a long time for the company to revive its position.

 

References

Ballot, B., Heitger, D. L. & Landes, C. E. (2006). The future of corporate sustainability reporting: A rapidly growing assurance opportunity. Journal of Accountancy 20, 65-74

Belch, G. E., & Belch, M. A. (2012). Advertising and promotion: An integrated marketing communications perspective. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Byford, S. (2016). Samsung recalls Galaxy Note 7 worldwide due to exploding battery fears. Retrieved December 18, 2016 from https://www.theverge.com/2016/9/2/12767670/samsung-galaxy-note-7-recall-fire-risk

Dahlen, M., Lange, F., & Smith, T. (2010). Marketing communications: A brand narrative approach. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons.

Freedman, L. (2013).  Strategy. Oxford University Press

Kamis, N 2016, Value chain and competitive advantage of Samsung,  viewed 11 September 2016, https://dewimir.blogspot.in/2012/11/value-chain-and-competitive-advantage.html

Katkyama, H. (2010). Significance of Lean Management and Contribution toward Customer Satisfaction . Industrial Engineering Magazine, 47,  22-27.

Khoury, R.E (2016). Samsung Galaxy Note7 global recall due to exploding batteries could be imminent.Retrieved December 18, 2016 from https://www.androidpolice.com/2016/09/01/samsung-galaxy-note-7-recall-due-exploding-batteries-might-imminent/

Newman, A, & Scott O. (2013).  Business Communication. Mason: South-Western

Nisen, M. (2016).  Acknowledge a crisis, Samsung is trying to improve its corporate culture, Retrieved December 15, 2016 from https://qz.com/288923/samsung-is-trying-to-improve-its-corporate-culture-amid-crisis/

Nisen, M. (2016). Samsung Has A Totally Different Strategy From Apple, And It's Working Great.  Retrieved December 15, 2016 from  https://www.businessinsider.in/Samsung-Has-A-Totally-Different-Strategy-From-Apple-And-Its-Working-Great/articleshow/21250813.cms

Robert C, Brian H.L & Paul C 2010, How to Understand Business Finance, Kogan Page Limited

Samsung. (2015).  Samsung: Annual report and accounts 2014, Retrieved December 15, 2016 from https://www.samsung.com/se/aboutsamsungfile/SAMSUNG_SUSTAINABILITY_REPORT_2015_ENG.pdf

Samsung. (2016).  Samsung Corporate profile.  Retrieved December 15, 2016 https://www.samsung.com/us/aboutsamsung/corporateprofile/

Simonin, D. (2016).  International Strategy: The Strategy of Samsung Group. Retrieved December 15, 2016 from 2016,https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285370984_International_Strategy_The_Strategy_of_Samsung_Group

Slaper, T. F., & Hall, T. J. (2011). The Triple Bottom Line: What Is It and How Does It Work? Indiana Business Review. 86(1), 6-10.

Sustainability reporting. (2012). Using sustainability to drive business innovation and growth 2012, Retrieved May 30, 2016 <https://www.deloitte.com/view/en_IN/in/index.htm>.

Walter, D. (2016). Official recall for exploding Galaxy Note7 phones coming, Samsung and US confirm.  Retrieved December 18, 2016 from https://www.greenbot.com/article/3119205/android/official-recall-for-exploding-galaxy-note-7-phones-coming-samsung-and-us-confirm.htmlYoundt, M. A. & Snell, S. A. (2004). Human resource configurations, intellectual capital, and organizational performance. Journal of Managerial Issues, 16(3), 337-36
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