In recent years, a number of internal and external forces have urged companies to pay increased attention to the role that corporate advertising plays in marketing communications strategy. Despite this increased importance, a comprehensive view of current corporate advertising practices does not exist.
In spite of the increased importance given to the role of corporate advertising, little has been done to provide management with an integrative view of the current corporate advertising practices. The objective of this study is three fold: 1) to find out key issues related with corporate advertising 2) importance of the usage of corporate advertising in an organization in the context of Singer 3) Critical review of the core message to be used for Singer and mixed media approach to perform corporate advertising.
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What Is Corporate Advertising?
However, with the advent of modern corporations with multiple product and/or service offerings, a different type of advertising has appeared, the primary purpose being to promote the corporation. “Corporate,” “institutional,” or “corporate image” advertising has been defined with some very basic consistency since the 1950’s but has broadened to include “advocacy” and “issue” advertising (Ewing 1982; Heath and Douglas 1986; Heath and Nelson 1985) and the current “hybrid ads” (Winkleman 1985), which blend product and company promotion.
Corporate advertising may also influence consumers’ knowledge about products marketed by the corporation (Hartigan and Finch 1986;Winkleman 1985). Main Types of corporate advertising can be categorised as follows:
Image or Institutional advertising
Key Issues in Corporate Advertising
There are many functions that corporate advertising can perform and most of the companies spend millions of money. Technically majority of companies don’t know how to do advertising since they are being getting low results from corporate advertising. Some practices remain far behind their potential since marketing and advertising are used incorrectly.
Extremely Expensive to Do a Better Job
In the present situation carrying out a successful corporate advertising campaign can be very costly because it has many inbuilt components such as production, designing, etc. It is an additional large investment for the company which will not give proper results as the organization expects.
e.g.- In the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, most of the Indian companies, many corporate pitched on the expected success of the Indian cricket team which involved extremely expensive endorsements, production costs and fowrad bookings in channels and match broadcasts. India’s early elimination at the quarter final stage, rendered many of the adverts unbroadcastable due to the anger that was built up against the team.
On the otherhand, these monies, if channelled to consumer and trade promotions, would have had a far higher level impact on generation of sales.
Large reach enable the organization to reap the benefits of corporate advertising. As an example a TV add might not reach the target segment since currently people avoid advertisements and they don’t pay attention towards ads. Only one out of five consumers has a positive attitude towards advertising (InfoTrends, 2010). Also if the product distribution system is not in line with the advertisement (e.g, products are not available in those areas) it’ll be a huge cash outlay for the organization. This process must be statistical and focused if a company wants to become successful in corporate advertising. This can happen due to the following reasons:
Organizations haven’t looked at their advertisements from consumer’s point of view and didn’t share their unique selling proposition.
Lack of consideration when selecting media which means organizations assume what consumer read, watch, or listen to is what their prospects enjoy as well.
Opportunity cost is high when compared to other mediums such as social media and personnel selling which have large reach and better targeting abilities. Contrary to mass scale advertising, social meadia llows people to choose the adverts that are of interest to them and view / explore if it is of interest to them. This also drives search for more information and sharing with others, even if no action in terms of purchase is generated.
Social media has been growing at a fast pace and it cannot be ignored by organizations. With Web 2.0 individuals get the opportunity to interact with each other about their personal experiences, buying preferences etc. The organization can convey the message to many target groups using social media at a lower cost and in a widely expanded way and this medium is very useful and easy to measure their advertising efficiency.
Figure 1: Social Networking Growth by Worldwide Region
Source: www.compete.com, 2009
Difficult to Measure the Efficiency
Corporate advertising is a pull medium where organization cannot always expect it to translate into sales. Because cost per contact has been an issue for many organizations because the amount they spent hasn’t effectively resulted in sales.
There is difficulty in ascertain where the adverts pulled in customers vs those who would be attracted by the brand it self.
Uncertainty of the Situation
Corporate advertising will either be helpful to increase the corporate reputation or be misunderstood by the consumer which will lead to damage their image. This can happen due to miss interpretation by consumers about the company such as ethical issues. In such situations company has to bear a huge cost due to add withdrawal.
Not Exciting, Not Addressing the Consumer
Most ads are made on a “one size fits all” thus turning some viewers off. Corporate advertising can be very creative and give “a nice, warm feeling” but sometime it will make little or no effort to address the reader’s needs. Sometimes it will build the reputation but not result in purchasing. Organizations should stamp and convey their current or desired position in advertisements without stating the obvious.
Importance of Corporate Advertising for Organizations and Singer
According to research carried out it is evident that most of the companies haven’t identified the core essence of corporate advertising because they are entrapped with product advertising. Corporate advertising should brand a company the way that product advertising brands a product.
Benefits of Corporate Advertising in General
Corporate advertising is more efficient in building recall for a company name than product advertising and creation of a good citizen image through consistent & dedicated effort. Frequent corporate advertisers rated better on virtually all attitude measures than those with low corporate ad budgets
Reducing the Perceived Risk, Prompt Buying:
From the past most of the reputed companies branded themselves due to usage of very strong advertisement slogans. Those slogans have been designed to influence consumer habits. These types of corporate advertisements are powerful than the visual product presentations as consumers are more likely to recollect the popular brand messages due to constant media exposure.
e.g., In Britain, Glaxo Wellcome filled television screens in 1996 with the slogan, “Man has no greater enemy than disease has no greater enemy than Glaxo Wellcome.” (The Economist, 1998)
Get Rid of Negative Perceptions:
If a company is unpopular with or misunderstood by opinion-formers to an extent that it harms its business, that can be diminished through proper usage of corporate advertising.
Articulate the Strength/Power of the Company
A good proportion of spending on advertising may also signal to potential customers and competitors that a company is rich and important.
e.g., Honeywell, another American giant, has borrowed GE’s theme and is about to launch a more modest $4.5m campaign, showing how its mundane range of thermostats and controls “touch” people’s lives. (The Economist, 1998)
Ability to Generate Corporate Contacts
Corporate advertising will help to acquire more business consumer due to the popularity and reputation of the company. Business customers are more likely to be wooed by price, product range and personal relationships.
Increase the Trustworthiness
Corporate advertising, says its target audience is much broader than for normal consumer goods advertising. It is aimed at three specific constituencies: business customers; opinion-formers (investors, politicians, activists, media) who can influence share prices or strategy, and employees.
Cherish subsidiaries and Enter New Markets
Not only to enhance the parent company image, corporate advertising can be used to permit or encourage subsidiaries. Particularly where they are engaged in manufacturing operations-to identify themselves to their own customers, prospects and other important, local publics. Also this will enable the company to enter into new business/markets under the same name.
By performing corporate advertising it covers all the products and services associated with the company and its strategy which always aligns with the mission and vision.
e.g., General Electric spends 40% of its $100m advertising budget on this kind of corporate advertising. Its “we bring good things to life” campaign has been running for almost 20 years. (The Economist, 1998)
Enhance the Goodwill:
Corporate ads can be used to express their philanthropic, CSR and community idea which will be capable of improving their goodwill.
e.g., New York – Toyota launched a new corporate advertising campaign, highlighting the company’s economic impact, environmental commitment, and social responsibility. Built around the question “Why Not?”, the campaign will include print and online ads, as well as a new television commercial directed by an Academy-award winning cinematographer. (The Economist, 1998)
Exert a pull for New Hires
Boost both employee management relation & employee morale enabling all members of the internal public to discover a new vitality. Perhaps the best reason for corporate advertising is to reach employees. It can be a good way to attract bright new recruits.
Essential Benefits of Corporate Advertising for Singer
As explained above Singer will be able to obtain many more advantages by perusing corporate advertising in a meaningful way. One of the most important things that Singer needs to remember is that they need to follow the best practises if they want to improve corporate reputation through corporate advertising. Following are the key benefits they can achieve through corporate advertising-:
Go after Singer’s target audience: Since Singer’s product advertising couldn’t reach their target segments, corporate advertising can be the most effective way to convey the organization purpose of existence and values which will help to grab the attention of Singer’s potential customers.
Highlight Singer’s competitive advantage: One of the keys to all corporate advertising is to emphasize the strengths of the company, those factors that give Singer to gain a competitive edge. Too many ads might be witty but fail to sell the benefits of the corporation unlike product advertising.
Establish an image: As explained in the previous chapters Singer lacks the corporate reputation due to quality concerns and negative perception. But performing good corporate advertising with measure objectives will open a way to increase customer image, awareness and trust.
Suggest you expand this area a bit more.
Critical Review of Singer’s Tagline and Media Approach
Singer has conducted few corporate advertising but, has spent millions for that purpose with product advertising. Singer sells their own consumer electronic products and global brands like JVC, Phillips, Panasonic, and Samsung etc. Since they are doing many businesses, corporate advertising is the best option available for advertising. As explained in the previous section about personality, Singer has been aiming higher end customers since they have less belief in the Singer products quality. Inconsistent slogans and lack of intelligent advertising has led to this situation which has in turn caused poor performance in some of the product ranges.
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If a powerful tagline can address a key issue, that would boost their reputation and image. (e.g, Adidas introduced its mainstream marketing slogan “Impossible is nothing” in the year 2004 with the intention to capture the essence of the Adidas brand.). In order to become successful in the future, Singer needs to deliver a simple, catchy core message in a consistent way using corporate advertising. The proposed tagline for corporate advertising is as follows
Singer has been using this as a slogan but not for corporate advertising or product advertising. Since the tagline is very strong changing the context of the usage will add more value to the organization. Which means the way they have used should be changed. This tagline is very simple and most importantly it reminds the history of Singer’s long journey of 135 years. This core message communicates the benefits of customers who create intrigue, interest and attention and therefore it will be able to persuade consumers. This tagline shows the consumers can trust the company since they have been in the industry for such a long-time with consistent quality products and to draw their attention on a specific product which results in buying. Higher social class people who had negative ideas about Singer products will be persuaded by this message. Being a cost leader has harmed the Singer corporate image but proper usage of this message will help them to overcome it.
With this tagline people will start to associate the communicated characteristics in the slogan with the products such as quality and olden gait. It will be highly successful in rejuvenating Singers’ image in the public and will also earn numerous awards. Singer as a whole will become a cult and can be the re-emergence of the company as an important player in the electronic appliances industry in decades to come.
Recommended Mixed Media Approach for Singer
Corporate Advertising is no longer simply about visual appeal. Particularly in this web 2.0 has become a vital ingredient of an organizations branding strategy, developing the right media mix holds the key to building powerful brand equity.
TV, News paper, and Radio advertisements can be used in a corporate advertising campaign at a high level where they can express their idea in a more epic way but the cost might be really high. TV advertisements are one of the easiest ways to communicate the message more emotionally and visually.
TV advertisements can be expensive but it can bring out the message what Singer wants to convey visually which will be evaluated below. Radio advertisements could also be done to spread the message to the mass population in a cheaper way.
According to InfoTrend researches print medium ads are significantly doing better than other mediums.
Figure 2: Global Ratings of Different Advertising Media
Source: InfoTrends, 2010
Advertising through newspapers and magazines can be a very cheap option and it also can target the rural population as well as the high class people.
Social Media & Online Advertising
Singer’s corporate advertisements should be posted on sites such as Cricinfo, Wow and social networking sites such as Face book, Linkedin, Online newspapers, Hit add online magazines etc. as these are the most visited sites by an individual in Sri Lanka.
Source: www.compete.com, 2009 Source: www. Alexa.com, 2009
Figure 3: Top 10 Social Networks Figure 4: Top Sites in Sri Lanka
Use of social and internet media is very emerging which has been discussed above. The progress and the efficiency of their advertising can be monitored very easily (e.g., daily hit rate on the website). The segments which cannot be reached by the traditional ways can be targeted.
Singer competitors have been very active in these areas where Sony, Panasonic, Samsung are being doing many outdoor advertising campaigns. To increase the corporate reputation and build the brand equity this strong tagline can be communicated very broadly using this medium. Singer has to spend money carefully even if those mediums are cheap such as hoardings, road shows, participations in business fairs, exhibitions, etc.
Strategic Films and Corporate Video Production
This is been a latest and more important process in corporate advertising. Usually these kinds of media approach cannot be seen in product advertising. This has become necessary elements of road shows, exhibitions and other promotional campaigns and also corporate video production is a very important tool for branding an organizations corporate identity.
E-mails can be used to spread their corporate advertising core message to consumers easily and cheaply. The graphically designed corporate advertisement can be placed on an e-mail and it can be sent to various people which might prompt an interest within the viewer of the e-mail. Significant growth in email and internet would enable to convey the message to a broad geographical crowd.
Source: TRC (www.trc.gov.lk), 2009
Figure 5: Email & internet growth (1995-2009 December)
How they Deliver the Message Using the Recommended Media Mix
The key issue here would be the upliftment of the image of singer SL in to that of a brand that sells quality electrponics vs cheap, meant fr lower income segments. The campoaign should address High quality, modernity and technology advancement affordable to all (not cheap)
Thus the folliwng message is proposed to be carried out in key media.
A well known super star like Lasith Malinga (Famous Cricketer) who has a good charisma within the country can be used to promote their corporate brand where people will start believing him and change their perceptions and result in buying products.
For this purpose Singer can run a TV advertisement that features Malinga who is looking to his parents to get an advice to purchase a LED 3D TV, where his father reminds of the Old Singer TV at home, which is still working well. This advert if placed well, will drive that Singer products are not inferior in quality and they are highly trustable on performance with latest technology (Innovativeness).
Social media such as Facebook and Youtube should be used and advertisement videos should be uploaded where people will be able to watch and give their feedback instantly. Also Singer can publish the reviews of popular people who are using Singer products in those websites with eye-catching images.
Financial and Political Constraints of Recommendations
In this section the only highly possible political (organization) and financial barrier which obstruct the successful implementation of corporate advertising would be discussed:
Singer has not conducted much of corporate advertising which is a new concept for them. Processing developments will require change in terms of learning regarding corporate advertising.
Due to proposed web 2.0 involvements the technological skills of the employees need to be improved to get the potential of the emerge of social media.
Training and development should be provided to the employees for improving their creative and innovative thinking skills which will be helpful to corporate advertising.
Singer carries out product advertising and conducting corporate advertising would demand more expenses which can be an additional expense.
Physical resources such as vehicles might be needed additionally to carryout corporate advertising.
Hiring a celebrity for advertising is an expensive affair since the person maybe well known and hence higher charges are applicable.
There would be extra expenses inspite of product advertising been conducted in parallel.
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