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Businesses become more complex by the day hence better methods to achieve profitability need to be effected continually. Public relations department have their hands full with new concepts that are emerging in the market place that they must quickly asses and adopt if their corporate entities are to move ahead.
Corporate identity speaks of a unique approach to product or service delivery by that particulate corporate entity. Statements and logos are some of the earliest forms of corporate identity. For a corporate entity to gain competitive advantage therefore there is need for a strategic view of communicating corporate identity. Our study is based on a typical organization called Jurlique Company of Australia. This company is a natural skin care and beauty products manufacturer. It boasts of natural formula extracts from farms in southern Australia.
2.0 Corporate Communication Activities and Tools
Corporate communication or public relations as sometimes called has become the avenue of focus for today’s corporate world. Corporate communication should be balanced and able to cater for the internal and external requirements of the organization. Internally the employee should receive communication that will generate positive attitudes towards the company more or less an internal image, while externally corporate communication should build a corporate image that the public can identify with.
The news media will play a very vital part in achieving this. While the public demand on the company may become more, the role of corporate communication will effectively address these pressures thereby sustaining the company.
The internet is one of the tools that is now being explored to provide a channel for effective corporate communication.
2.1 Theory – Corporate Communication.
Communication and PR (public relations) always relies on a number of theories.
The broad categories of these theories vary from the traditional, to contemporary to relations to mass communication. In understanding that communication complexity leads to more audience centred theories, we can choose to mention one general theory that runs supportively of corporate communication, the coordinated management of meaning.
For successful public relations we realize that a company will construct their own ideas about appropriate action and social realities while trying to coordinate their beliefs with those of others. This is exactly what Jurlique has done. Their slogan speaking much of this where nature, science and innovation are at interplay.
2.2 Current Activities and Tools
Australia is a strong advocate of eco friendly initiatives world wide. Jurlique as a company from this part of the world already echoes this fact by the strong nature based products powered website. Looking at the home page we quickly understand two aspects about Jurlique, the products they manufacture and the part of the world from which they operate. A balanced product sale and identity style is struck when we asses this website though Jurlique strikes a more product sales style when we asses their major product promotion campaign.
Much of the information posted is all about the four nature based skin care products and a strong statement of where the raw materials for these products are found. In this we see product sales style. While reviewing the home page (see appendix for page address) we can clearly notice a call to action in manner of signing up to become a ‘jurlique insider’ a strong corporate communication aspect geared towards symmetrical communication.
It is possible to also note that their innovations are conspicuously identifying with a particular niche in this case Australia.
By elaborately setting forth their range of products even with pictures (real colour) of the same, Jurlique are providing enough information for the audience to make an order of any of these products. There is a special provision for especially on line shoppers who in turn qualify for e-gift certificates. This in a way is promoting the sale activity. When we scrutinize closely the home page of this website we are also able to locate a link that communicates an identity activity. When the company invites you to become an insider, they are subtly assessing their reputation from the feedback they receive on this one.
We well know that the public always likes to identify with a successful corporate entity. With this understanding Jurlique have made the point on their home page in form of a call to action link.
Whereas an online sale of any of the nature based products will bring in income, the call to register as an insider will not have any tangible economic or income benefit but will result into a reputation boost.
This asserts the main difference between a sales activity and an identity activity, the former has income generating effects as the consumers purchases and pays for the product or service while the latter has a reputation building effect where the consumer or public commit themselves to identify with the company.
Senior executives within a company now consider communication of a company’s identity of vital corporate success. Lately their has emerged a strategic view of communicating corporate identity laying a path of evolution from corporate image, to corporate identity and most lately to corporate brand.
3.0 Corporate Identity
This is the unique and strong point or identifier of a corporate entity that distinguishes it from other entities. Positively and successfully communicating corporate identity leverages a company giving it a competitive advantage.
There are a number of factors that prompt communicating corporate identity. Some of this factor such as mergers resulting from the dynamic corporate world require redefinition of corporate identity. Turbulent business environments, deregulations and globalization call for an organization establishing channels of communicating their corporate identity.
3.1 Theory – Corporate Identity
When initiating good practices we rely on theories which are a good explainer of various variables and their interrelationship. Theory can be used to elaborate how corporate identity, image and reputation are enhanced by corporate communication. While looking at corporate identity we are attempting to define how unique a corporate entity is from other.
Corporate identity here refers to the uniqueness of an organization and will constitute a number of components. These components would include the corporate overall strategy, its culture, its operations and organizational design.
Culture here is referring to all the assumptions, values being shared and beliefs collectively held by the corporate employees.
Operations constitutes the combined of activities the corporate entity engages in to achieve its strategy.
Organizational design speaks about the pattern of the corporate relationships. Issues concern the types of departments product versus function and the corporate overall orientation whether flat or tall are taken into account in the organizational design.
3.2 Current Identity Activities and Tools
Jurlique is an Australian company that has branches round the world dealing in beauty and skin care products. The science behind these products is that they are herbal based, extractions from nature’s provisions. This company has established farms for their raw materials in South Australia and have steadily gained an increasing consumer base over time. They are a producer and distributor of these herbal based (nature based) skin and body care products.
While this company has its presence on the internet through their website they also have a physical address and location in Sydney NSW 2000 at 219 Castlereagh Street.
Jurlique are the main distributors of these nature based products to independent retailers. They also undertake sales directly on line using the internet.
They have their slogan as Nature Science Innovation. An image of their logo is here below
4.0 Corporate Image.
This describes the manner in which a corporate entity has its products or services are perceived by the public. Corporate entities always aim at communicating a positive and desirable image. This works to enhance the corporate reputation. A number of factors drive the communication of corporate image. Business turbulence, globalization, business realignments or mergers are just a few of the factors that drive communication of corporate image. A demand that corporate entities be socially responsible has also contributed to communicating corporate image.
While managing corporate image the PR department has the task of communicating the company’s identity to those audiences. The bottom line is to develop and maintain a favorable view of the company. The process involves establishing a unique and strong corporate outlook thereby communicating this identity to significant audiences, and obtaining feedback from the audiences to be sure that the message is interpreted positively. An unsatisfactory image can be improved by modifying corporate communication, re-shaping the corporate identity, or both.
4.1 Theory – Corporate Image
Gray & Balmer (2005) continues to assert that
Corporate image is the reputation of the firm with the various audiences also known as stakeholders that are important to it. Stakeholders contribute to the company’s welfare whenever they exercise professional trust. Consequently, a company’s image in the eyes of its stakeholders is important to that company.
4.2 Current Image
We understand that image is important because it affects the perceptions of the various stakeholders and works towards the corporate profitability. Communication therefore must be well employed to ensure this end. Jurlique has effectively used he news media, the internet and the press (top flight magazine issues) to bring out this. Looking at the ‘in the press’ page on the website (see appendix for address of the page) we realize that they have engaged various magazines to publish their new products tapping into new markets, maintaining the market and image.
Building up a positive image among the general public is beneficial to the firm. Jurlique has sought to have a corporate brand; the products bear the same name as the company. By so doing they have build a strong reputation especially so in the area of natural based skin and body care products.
Studies indicate that an outstanding corporate image just like the one by Jurlique and an outstanding identity are attractive to the labour force. The general information page has an indicator of the employment opportunities with Jurlique, branding attracts attention from the labour force and so the policies of the company on employment must be open to the public for scrutiny.
Accordingly consistent corporate image is essential to all. While working on corporate image inconsistency should be avoided so as to gain confidence with the stakeholders. Consistency is directly related to stakeholder confidence and a boost to the corporate image. Inconsistencies sometimes bear speculations that are not good for the company’s image. The financial community and the shareholders as legitimate stakeholders have many the same financial and strategic concerns about the company and the company’s financial data can easily be accessed from the financial institutions.
5.0 Corporate Social Responsibility Programme and Corporate Communication
Communication serves as the bridging factor between a company’s image and identity. Therefore a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme is one of the ways in which communication achieves corporate identity and image.
The media plays a very important role in all this. We must be well aware that the media themselves have a social responsibility.
The Social Responsibility Theory, first developed in the 1940s by Robert Maynard Hutchins, is still a guiding principle for the media today.
This theory is aimed at guarding the reputation and credibility of the media which is a channel that corporate entities so often use to project their corporate social responsibility programme.
5.1 Theory – CSR
According to Garriga & Mele’ (2004)
The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) field presents not only a landscape of theories but also a proliferation of approaches, which are controversial, complex and unclear. Oyewole (2001) also suggests that
these theories span four broad groups which are instrumental theories, in which the corporation is seen as only an instrument for wealth creation, and its social activities are only a means to achieve economic results; political theories, which concern themselves with the power of corporations in society and a responsible use of this power in the political arena; integrative theories, in which the corporation is focused on the satisfaction of social demands and ethical theories, based on ethical responsibilities of corporations to society.
In practice, each CSR theory presents four dimensions related to profits, political performance, social demands and ethical values.
5.2 The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility at Jurlique
Table 5.2.1 below provides a summary of the role of CSR at Jurlique
Maintain an open policy about employment opportunities
General Information page on employment at Jurlique(see appendix for address)
Provide information on the products, and established channels of complaint management and consumer feedback
General Information page on employment at Jurlique(see appendix for address)
There no cited philanthropy activities by Jurlique
Branding and promotion of nature based products which are chemical free and therefore consumer and eco friendly.
Home page of the company has information on this (see appendix for the page address)
Looking at the table 5.2.1 we can infer that the strong point by Jurlique is undoubtedly the promotion of nature based skin and body care range of products. The firm in so doing is silently green marketing. The main raw material farms being in the southern part of Australia, Jurlique are making a strong point concerning their policy on environmental issues. The fact that their raw materials are hand picked asserts to the fact that the whole production process is kept as free as possible from chemicals that may result from mechanized farming methods. Through this Jurlique portray a strong CSR activity as concerns the environment.
6.0 Communication Programme and Stakeholders
Communication is primarily concerned with corporate image and identity. These are important to the stakeholder in helping them assess their perception of the corporate entity. When the communication programme is such that its inadequate, loopholes result leading to speculations which can be detrimental to the corporate reputation and identity.
As the communicators within an organization, there is need for them to identify all the potential stakeholders from within and without the company and initiate appropriate mechanisms to address all the stakeholders’ information needs.
6.1 Jurlique’s Stakeholders
While effecting this communication it’s vital to consider the stakeholder theory Freeman (1984, 1994) whereby the “stakeholder concerns are incorporated into strategic planning progresses, with stakeholders’ competing interests kept in balance.”
The stakeholders for Jurlique would range from consumers, to government regulatory agencies, distributors and retailers of their products, the general public, their employees, social action organizations and financial institutions.
In choosing to use the internet Jurlique have tried to address the needs of several of these stakeholders by availing their information requirements.
6.2 Stakeholder and CSR Consistency
While maintaining a consistent CSR a company is able to win consumer trust which is what Jurlique is doing by offering the public and consumer a stake in the company through sign ups to the ‘jurlique insider’ stakeholder. For Jurlique its not just important to be a consumer. They have an initiative to let one sign up as an insider. While becoming an insider the stakes in Jurlqiue are likely to rise. This will in turn affect the way one interacts with Jurlique which is part of Jurlique’s CSR initiative.
6.3 Image, Identity and CSR Consistency
Critically analyzing Jurlique as a nature based skin and body care Production Company it can be noted that they are strong advocates of a defined CSR based on the environment. Their identity and image are consistent with the CSR. Their influence may not go unnoticed when it comes to influencing the public to join in and be part of the percentage that approves their production process as ‘jurlique insiders’.
6.4 Image and CSR Consistency
Table 6.4.1 below summarizes the Image and CSR consistencies at Jurlique
Looking at the website posted we see Jurlique maintaining an open policy about employment opportunities pointing to a consistency with CSR.
Jurlique strong promotional campaign on their website providing information on the products, and established channels of complaint management and consumer feedback is consistent with CSR
The branding and promotion of nature based products which are chemical free and therefore consumer and eco friendly throws in a sustained public campaign towards CSR.
Looking at the table above we can infer from the table that Jurlique have an identity consistent with the CSR.
7.0 Communication Recommendations
Corporate communications serves a very vital part in the overall corporate success. Communication should therefore be handled from a strategic point of view to enable the corporate entity to compete effectively. The internet as the study shows plays a very pivotal part in ensuring effective corporate communication which can enhance the corporate identity, image and reputation. From the study we can conclusively state that Jurlique’s identity is consistent with its Corporate Social Responsibility.
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