Advertising and Brand Communication. Ramada Hotel Service Report.

1 . Introduction

This is a report outlining the current marketing objectives of the Ramada Hotel and consequently the succession with clientele in the current market. It is from this that a gap in the market has been identified and rectified with the proposal of a new marketing campaign to differentiate and re-establish the Ramada hotel.

2         Buyer Behaviour

Tourists are unlikely to revisit or stay in the same hotel on a second occasion due to variety-seeking behaviour that is very common in tourism and hospitality industry (Ariffin, 2008 and Bigne et al., 2009) known as novelty-seeking travellers. Affrin and Maghizi conducted a Research questionnaire with subjects being Malaysian and non-Malaysian guests in Kuala Lumpur. The findings illustrate men, local guests and holiday goers are more likely to have a higher expectation of hotel hospitality whereas women, foreign guests and business people have a lower expectation (Lashley, 2008).  Moreover, Star rating plays a crucial role in the expectation of hospitality (Ariffin, Maghizi, 2012) whereas the level of ones education does not alter expectations.

Noticeably cost related issues are the main influencing factor in effecting hotel choice. A Mintel report shows 22% of 1,790 stated that sale promotions was the deciding influence upon purchase of a stay in a hotel (see Figure.1) here it is important to mention the universal inference to special offers as there influence does not differ through demographic groups. Furthermore the same research Mintel conducted portrayed a strong favour towards viewing the hotel and rooms online. Note that social Medias influence has grown from 2% to 4% since 2010, as 16-24 year olds are receptive to online recommendations.  Furthermore one in ten have never stayed in a UK hotel in the past 12 months.

Figure.1 Factors influencing hotel choice, August 2012

Based 1,790 Internet users aged 16+, who have ever stayed in hotels in the UK

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Figure 1.1 Mintel October 2012- Infographic

1 . Target Audience

The target audience for the service sector is highly segmented but this report investigates the segmentation of the hotel industry and its specific targeted audiences.

The relationship a consumer has to a product is not only essential in maintaining consumers but also capturing more of that population of interest. The Ramada hotel particular target audience is the business person evidence of this is commercial airing in New York 2002 illustrating their fun facilities with a voice over “when you go to hand in your expense reports, act tired” (Beirne, 2000) admittedly this an outdates commercial but it can be argued the Ramada have maintained their stance in the market by incorporating conference facilities. Additionally target couples by promoting wedding facilities.

Research has shown people aged 16-34 are likely to have made use of hotel facilities in their local area in the last 12 months without staying as well as the AB socio economic group. Furthermore it is families with children aged 0-4 who are more than likely to stay on a family occasion as is those aged 25-34.

2. Competitors

The Ramada hotel is a chain of the Wyndham hotel group; in terms of success and popularity it is therefore arguable that Premier Inn; IHG and Hilton are the Ramada’s main competitors. As a service they all offer what are essentially the same products and services but differ dramatically in price, quality and their reputations in terms of trustworthiness. Looking at the brand-positioning map (see Figure.2) it is evident to see that the Hilton hotel stands as the Ramadas’ closest competitor measured by price and quality by star ratings and customer feedback. Comparing the two does not reveal a large gap in market share however it indicates a lack of emphasis on the quality of services illustrated in the campaigns on the Ramadas behalf or they are lacking staff training. The leader of the service market (see Figure.3)Premier Inn offer  ‘My Premier Inn’ – an online service that enables the consumer to easily make and amend bookings, save details for a straight rebuy and store preferences differentiating themselves in what is a close nit market. Furthermore, they have established themselves firmly in communities with TV advertising starring comedian Lenny Hennery bringing many connotations to the brands identity. Next is the IHG chain including the Holiday Inn in which it is fair to say the Ramada exceeds in terms of quality and value for money, however the Holiday Inn positively match their competitor’s points and reward scheme with their IHG ‘priority club’ where customers can use points to book a stay including in one of their competitors hotels. This being said the Wyndham hotel group offers rewards such as points or airline miles if the customer stays at one of their hotels and resorts It currently is the world’s largest loyalty lodging programmed providing the Ramada quality and value surpassing its competitors.

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1 . Existing Market Mix

The marketing mix consists of 7 P’s, which are imperative to the running of the service sector. As sales and promotions have risen due to the economic climate it is increasingly hard to pin point a specific standard price for rooms in the Ramada hotel which alters the buyer’s perception of value for money (see Figure 6.1), (Hoffman, Bateson, 2011) In 2002 (Beirne,2002) wrote in brand week ‘the Ramada is less about discounts and more about establishing its position in the middle.’ However sales promotions have become significant in peoples research before purchasing especially if it’s high involvement. Recent promotions are as such: 20% when you spend night in their accommodation and have linked a deal for a £20 a night deal through the independent newspaper gaining a proportion of their population of interest in the UK only which is a reasonable proportion of their 900 hotels in 57 countries (Ramada website) noticeably being MEDC’s (more economically developed countries). Figurers 4 and 5 connote the coloration of locations illustrating the emphasis on capital and large cities directly attracting their target audience.

Furthermore due to intangibility of services consumers lack the objective of sources to form evaluations so turn to the physical attributes. (Hoffman, Bateson, 2011, page 221) The Ramada combines: ambient conditions, space, functions and signs to create a holistic environment. (See Figure 8.3) A noticeable example of this is the ambient colour scheme throughout the décor; Red, white, and creams creating an emotional influence on both customers and employees generating a physically comfortable environment. (Hoffman, Bateson, 2011, page215) This adds to the brands identity creating recognitions with the Logo and personality differentiating the Ramada from its competitors establishing a halo effect (See Figure 8.5). Additionally, as a high-risk involvement purchase it is imperative for the brand to be trusted which as discussed the colours are warm and exciting but it is the staff that is acting as part time marketers to provide the customers with luxury service. Further products have been added to the Ramada service creating a halo effect such as free wireless conference rooms, international breakfast and a Ramada range of bathroom products that differentiates from the competition.

1. Campaign Objective

This campaign is combination of communication tactics to achieve a range of marketing objectives. (Dahlen, 2010) Through the research of the current marketing communications and investigations into the feedback of customers experience (see appendix number 1) results provided and overwhelming gap (Appendix number 2) in Ramada’s Customer Service satisfaction rate which is an integral part of the service being provided. The objective is to campaign to create awareness of The Ramada’s outstanding customer service skills using an integrated marketing communication externally on the proviso that staff training is provided internally to match the promise of the new campaign.

2 . Target Audience

The campaign proposed aim is to expand the current population of interest to younger couples aged 18 – 34 who would stay in the hotel as well as using the facilities whilst campaigning for a family market with our message of excellence customer service and facilities – all whilst maintaining the business clientele. A Mintel report suggested that 23% of people stay in ‘holiday centres’ for weekend breaks – a gap in Ramada’s market that could be accessed for romantic weekends away (see Figure.6)

Figure.6

Length of Last Holiday Centre Visit, August 2011

Base: 793 adults aged 16+ who have been to a holiday centre

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1 . Campaign

Out of home is the desired primary channel of communication proposed to start in Westminster tube station following on through a chain of events to Trafalgar square. This would target the business community as they commute through the central streets of London maintaining their custom by affecting their awareness of Ramada as a brand and promoting the valentines weekend for them and their significant other. Additionally a Mintel report illustrates that the majority of people who want to travel in the UK will be interested in visiting London (see Figure 7). Based on that, Trafalgar Square was chosen for the campaign because it will target tourists, another population of interest. 

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Sales promotion is required to help the conversion of prospects (Dahlen, 2010). The valentines’ weekend promotion is an introductory package encouraging an early trial and eventual adoption of the Ramada’s services whilst encouraging increased usage from the Ramada’s current Target audience. A Mintel report shows that “Almost six in ten people agree that they research holiday prices more thoroughly since the recession/economic downturn began”(Mintel, 2011). Based on that, a promotion will be integrated in the campaign offering a package deal for 2 with full use of spa facilities at a competitive price made aware after the publicity stunt in Trafalgar Square.

 

The publicity stunt is targeted for the macro environment defending Ramada’s image and reputation. This campaign is a series of events leading up to the big stunt in Trafalgar Square. People will first see posters pinned up around the Westminster tube stations and catch screenings of the 30-second advert on the digital screens. As people leave the tube station mascot aliens will hand out balloons and leaflets of the sales promotion for valentine’s weekend with a message “With love from Ramada”. The theme of Aliens links into the theme of the advertisement staring an alien customer (See Figure.8). Finally the trail leads to Trafalgar Square where an alien flash mob will be held at the prime time of foot traffic through London city to generate a larger amount of awareness.

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As part as an integrated marketing communication campaign, direct marketing has been incorporated with the objective of collecting customer data and building on long term customer loyalty and generating leads for future sales (Egan, 2007). An online competition will be launched along with the sales promotion on The Ramada website with links from Wyndham and Social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The competition is to post a picture and description of a romantic gesture this year to win the valentine’s weekend away in a Ramada resort of your choice in the UK for free.

 

References

 

Ariffin, A.A.M., (2008) Understanding novelty-seeking behaviour in meeting tourism: a measurement development approach. International Journal of Event Management 11(4), 170-190

Ariffin,A.A.M., Maghzi,A. (2012) A preliminary study on customer expectations of hotel hospitality: Influences of personal and hotel factors. International Journal of Hospitality Management 31 ,191-198

Bigne, J.E., Sanchez, I.S., Andreu, L., (2009) The role of variety seeking in short and long run revisit intentions in holiday destinations. International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research 3 (2), 103-115

Beirne, M. (2002). Ramada post stakes in middle ground. Brandweek. 43 (32), 10.

Beirne, M. (2000). Ramada aims higher, ups media push. Brandweek. 41 (3), 65.

ComplaintNow, (2013) Ramada Inn. Available from: Available from: http://www.complaintnow.com/?complain_session=forum&forum_show=board&opc=lookup&message_board_id=10811

[Accessed 24th January 2013]

CustomerServiceScoreboard, (2013) Complain Ramada Hotel. Available from: http://www.customerservicescoreboard.com/Ramada

[Accessed 24th January 2013]

Dahlen, M., Lange, F., Smith, T. (2010) marketing communications: A brand narrative approach. West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley& Sons Ltd, page 429

Dahlen, M., Lange, F., Smith, T. (2010) Marketing communications: A brand narrative approach. West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley& Sons Ltd, page 426

Egan,J., (2007) Marketing Communications. London, United Kingdom: Thomson Learning, page 290

Hoffman, K.D., Bateson, J.E.G. (2011)Services marketing: Concepts, Strategies &Cases. 4th ed. USA: South-Western Cengage Learning

Lashley, C 2008, Studying hospitality: Insight from social science, Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 8, (1), 69 – 84.

Mintel (2011) British Lifestyles, Consumer Expenditure, Infographic

Ramada worldwide website (2013). Available from: http://www.ramada.com/

[Accessed 29th January 2013]

Innovation proposal. Making money out of garbage

 Assignment 1 – Innovation Proposal

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Contents:

1.0        Introduction

2.0        Main body

2.1        The calculation of the initial investment

2.2        The problems which could arise in developing the concept

3.0        Conclusion

3.1 Personal reflection

Making money out of garbage

1.0 Introduction

The purpose of this report is to identify the usefulness of garbage and how to make money of it. Innovation is not just about opening up new markets – it can also offer new ways of serving established and mature ones. (John Bessant and Joe Tidd, 2011) Currently, there are thousands of different trading enterprises in the world-market, for instance, markets, shops, cafes, ect., that use products in the package, which then goes to trash (plastic bottles, waste paper, boxes). The major parts of these wastes are simply thrown into the container. Such business idea, as recycling of plastics should be taken seriously into the consideration. Persons discharge tons of such trash daily. It can be pressed and sold to the factories that will recycle it again, thus, making non-waste production. More and more businesses are turning their attention to the environmental business projects that will not only produce goods and provide services, but also solve the world’s environmental problems.

2.0 Main body

It is believed, that one usual resident throws out approximately 300 kg of rubbish per year and one-third of this amount is plastic products. These utilized plastic bottles can be used as raw material for the production of plastic bottles once again; in consequence it is possible to get a non-waste production, as it was mentioned above. This is a very profitable business because it needs more than 200 years to decompose one plastic bottle.

It is also interesting to notice, that raw material can be a use for other things like bristle brushes for cleaning machines, paving tiles, various accessories, even clothes and many other things, that people use every day. The advantages of such business for the environment are obvious. Used product comes from the consumer for free and then it is processed in a completely new product and sold to the consumer at a reasonable and profitable price. In this case, both sides are completely satisfied – consumers are able to get cheap goods, and manufacturers – plenty of willing buyers and free raw materials. It is also possible to make a deal with a local dump and organise the direct delivery of raw material to the factory. Portable mini-processing factory will be convenient for those who want to organise this business in quite a lot of cities. The cost of such mini-factory is about £120 000. Clearly, there is a strong possibility to collect more than one ton of plastic bottles different size and colours in a rubbish dump per month.

2.1       The calculation of the initial investment

It is required to purchase special equipment or a mini-factory which needs substantial initial investment but if it had a short payback period, then it would be worth taking risks to open this kind of business. “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” – and it is hardly possible to innovate without taking risks. (John Bessant and Joe Tidd, 2011) Fully staffed equipment costs approximately £80,000. The efficiency of this factory stands for around 1 ton per hour, that amounts approximately 24 000 plastic bottles. What is more, every business definitely needs certain numbers of employees. There should be at least 9 skilled workers to serve this line, who will also process on different stages of manufacturing of raw material (primary processing, sorting and selection of spilled material). The one worker’s average salary can be at about £800 per month. It is obvious, that there also are expenses such as utility bills – about 25% of gross profit.

2.2       The problems which could arise in developing the concept

Successful innovation requires good management, appropriate finance, skills and a supportive overall climate. (UK Government White paper on Competitiveness, 1994)  However, it is not easy! Any enterprise or factory may face the problems of different characters – financial, technical, employment, transport or even communication. The trouble with innovation is that it is by its nature a risky business. It is impossible to predict whether what is planned to achieve is going to work out or even that it will run at all. (John Bessant and Joe Tidd, 2011) The main challenges of the garbage manufacturing business are the followings:

v  Poor management; Insufficient Capital; The problem with paying taxes and wages timely; Bank loans.

v  Obtaining of a license (usually requires 3-5 months to get it).

v  Location (safety, accessibility, parking).

v  No website (advertising and marketing problems).

v  Poor quality of the equipment; electricity and water problems.

v  Employment (lack of well-qualified employees, working hours).

v  Vehicles problems to collect garbage in various cities / villages / rubbish dumps.

v  Communication (misunderstanding with staff, disagreement, complaints).

3.0 Conclusion

It is true, that to make money out of the garbage is much easier than it seems. John Bessant and Joe Tidd (2011) state that anyone can get lucky once with innovation – just by being in the right place at the right time.  In fact, it is a good idea of environmental business in large cities, where loads of garbage is thrown day by day.

3.1   Personal reflection

In general, the recycling garbage process can build up quite a beneficial business in different industries. The main advantage is the absence of special competitors. By recycling trash, the humanity keeps clean their houses, streets, cities, forests, rivers and seas. Today, people doubtlessly need to review and reorganize the collection and disposal of garbage. Doing such type of business, not only the most important world’s ecology problem will be solved but someone’s own financial problems as well.

References:

John Bessant and Joe Tidd, (2007) Innovation and Entrepreneurship ,

John Bessant and Joe Tidd, (2011) Innovation and Entrepreneurship. 2nd ed.

John Legge & Kevin Hindle, (2004) Entrepreneurship Context, vision and planning

John W. Mullins, (2003) The new business road test: what entrepreneurs and executives should do before writing a business plan. 3rd ed.

Michael A. West & James L. Farr, (1990) Innovation and creativity at work. Psychological and Organisational Strategies.

Nigel King & Neil Anderson, (1995) Innovation and Change in Organisations

Stuart Read, Saras Sarasvathy, Nick Dew, Robert Wiltbank, Anne-Valerie Ohisson, (2011) Effectual Entrepreneurship

 

http://www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au/upload/images/Recycle_Bin_big.jpg

http://www.eforearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/recyclingearth.jpg

http://onlineinvestmentincome.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/investment-income.jpg

Bibliography:

John Bessant and Joe Tidd, (2007) Innovation and Entrepreneurship ,

John Bessant and Joe Tidd, (2011) Innovation and Entrepreneurship. 2nd ed.

John Legge & Kevin Hindle, (2004) Entrepreneurship Context, vision and planning

John W. Mullins, (2003) The new business road test: what entrepreneurs and executives should do before writing a business plan. 3rd ed.

Michael A. West & James L. Farr, (1990) Innovation and creativity at work. Psychological and Organisational Strategies.

Nigel King & Neil Anderson, (1995) Innovation and Change in Organisations

Roes Jay, (2003) How to Write Proposals & Reports that Get Results

Stuart Read, Saras Sarasvathy, Nick Dew, Robert Wiltbank, Anne-Valerie Ohisson, (2011) Effectual Entrepreneurship

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). Its significance and issues.

The purpose of this essay is to explore integrated marketing communications philosophy, its significance and issues, and the importance of external and internal audience within IMC. It also demonstrates the comparison between different marketing writers’ opinions and thoughts by providing a critical analysis with integrated arguments. To support all these theoretical arguments and statements, a number of well-known industry examples are shown and discussed in this essay.

Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is a concept of marketing communication planning that recognises the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines (i.e. general advertising, sales promotion, public relations and  direct response) and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communication impact. (Percy, 2008) According to Fill (2009), IMC can represent both a strategic and tactic approach to the planned management of an organisation’s communications. It also requires that organisations manage their various strategies, resources and messages in order to enable meaningful engagement with target audiences. In other simplest words, IMC is the bringing together all marketing communication activities across relevant audience points to achieve better brand coherence. (Pickton, 2005) The concept of integrated marketing communications is not a new idea however it has become much more popular in recent years. The main objective of IMC is to influence or directly affect the behaviour of the certain communication audiences. Further, IMC makes use of all forms of communication which are relevant to the customer and prospects, and to which they might be receptive. The IMC process begins with the prospect or customer and then works back to outline and determine the forms and methods through which convincing communications programs should be developed. Fill (2011) states that a wide range of elements need to be integrated. These include the communication tools, message and media, brands, the elements of the marketing mix and strategy, agencies, employees and technology. Integrated marketing communications are more expected to occur when organisations attempt to interact with their different internal and external audiences. To the extent that IMC may be targeted at many different audiences with various goals, it is more possible that not one but multiple messages may be used. What is important is that those messages should be consistent, clear and complimentary. It is interesting to note that stakeholders, including customers, automatically integrate brand messages. This means that as long as the gap amongst different messages are suitable, then management’s task is to manage the process and try to narrow these gaps that might be perceived. Successfully employing an IMC campaign requires using a diversified promotional and media mix that reflects the same visual and verbal tone of voice. A good example of this is Dove’s “Celebrating Curves” European campaign. In 2004, they re-launched its “Firming” line with the goal of repositioning the brand. The campaign focused on real women in their thirties rather than on younger and perfectly physical shape women. Dove went against tradition and the campaign reached success by creating a unique position for the product in the mind of targeted customers. Fill (2009) states that the elements of marketing mix also must be integrated because they also communicate. It is believed that all elements, for example, the price and values, the product in terms of quality, design and physical attributes, the overall service quality, will be harmonised to maximise impact and enable customers to test the brand via pre-, actual and post-product use. Brands are a form of integration itself. They need to be attractive to a number of different audiences and to do this it is essential to develop brands that appeal to diverse consumer groups. At a strategic level, integrated marketing communications have its foundations in the global business strategy of any organisation. If a low cost strategy, for instance, Asda, is being pursued, it can be worthwhile to complement the strategy by using messages that either stress any price advantage that customer may benefit from or at least do not suggest luxury. The next element that should be integrated states that IMC cannot be stable unless it is supported by all workers. It is agreed that all employees should accept a customer focus and ‘live’ the brand. It can be achieved through the various training courses and this commonly requires a change of culture and a long-term period of adoption of new technologies. Technology also needs to be integrated into not just only the overall information system strategy but also the marketing strategies of organisation. (Fill, 2009) For example, technology can be used to develop effective web sites, customer contact centres, advertising campaigns or database. Agencies play a vital and critical role in marketing communications and if IMC is established it cannot be completed without the clear participation of all those working on the supply side. A move to integrated marketing communications requires a radical change in agency performance measures. IMC provides opportunities to cut communication costs and reassign budgets, it has the potential to produce synergistic and more effective communications. Also, integrated marketing communications encourage coordinated brands development with internal and external participants. It is believed that integrated marketing communications provide for increased employee participation and motivation. On the other hand, IMC encourages centralisation and formal/bureaucratic procedures within organisation and normally requires cultural change from employees and encourages resistance. Further, IMC has the potential to severely damage a brand’s reputation if incorrectly managed. As it can be seen, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. However, some benefits are not always achieved because of difficulties of implementation. Several of them requires to do much with quality and ability of the employees involved as they have to do with benefits of integration. Percy (2008) suggests that in order to successfully implement integrated marketing communications, it is essential to understand the roles of traditional advertising and promotion in the marketing communication mix. Strategic planning for IMC includes a five step process. Firstly, the target audience must be selected and identified appropriately. Secondly, managers should determine how the audience makes brand decisions. Third step establishes how the brand will be positioned within marketing communication, and selects an advantage to support that positioning. Next step suggests to set the communication strategy; and final step involves matching the appropriate media option to that strategy to optimise delivery and processing of the message. During this planning process, the manager must begin to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different advertising and promotion options in order to satisfy the communication objectives. Almost every marketing communication task is an opportunity for IMC, and identifying the main touch points for communication comes from an understanding of how customers make brand decisions. This is the main element of strategic planning process. The best industry example of implementing IMC successfully is the Body Shop. It has been claimed as a highly popular international chain of retail stores. The product ingredients are all natural and are bought from developing countries; and none of the testing is done on animals. The company does not use traditional advertising. They use a range of marketing communications tools and has done very well to integrate the disparate components in order to create special impact. Basically, the aim is not on producing a creative ad that only grabs attention or gets an audience to laugh. Many marketing communication specialists get carried away by developing amazingly creative work that wins them communication award. (Sirgy, 1998)

A variation of audiences, stakeholders and publics, need to be measured within the context of a marketing communications campaign or variety of campaigns. Organisations such as Tesco, Apple, Nokia, Ryanair and Microsoft all operate across a number of sectors, marketplaces and countries and use a range of marketing communication tools to engage with their different audiences. For marketing to be successful many people have to be involved in the communication process both with organisation and outside it. (Pickton, 2005) Marketing communications should be an audience-centred activity and in that sense it is essential that messages be based on a stable understanding of both the needs and environment of the audience. The audience members may be external and internal to organisation. They will represent a selection of potentially different groups which have a direct or indirect effect on business performance and are selected to receive marketing communications. The stakeholder concept recognises that various networks of stakeholders can be identified, with each network consisting of members who are focused on supporting the organisation either in an indirect way or directly via the added-value process.  External audiences are individuals or groups outside of organisation, and not closely connected, at whom its communications and promotional efforts are aimed (Business Dictionary, 2013). For instance, the government, competitors, suppliers and shareholders, media, trade associations and customers. The relationship that organisation develop with the media are very important in ensuring that the message reaches their existing and potential customers. Customers represent a major stakeholder audience and are often the target of public relations activities, because, although members of the public might not be current customers, the potential they represent is important. By creating awareness and trust it is possible to create interest which may turn into purchase action or favourable word-of-mouth communications. This is achieved through media relations. Blakeman (2007) states that integrated marketing communications talk not to a target audience but to a single individual within the target audience. The customer must not only use the product but also be enthusiastic to recommend and repurchase the product or reuse the service again. Integrated marketing communications need to consider the roles and influence of each in order to manage the total process effectively.Also, external stakeholders will use the company’s financial information and other publicly open information for a number of purposes. Government will use this information for assessing tax payments, potential investors will use the information to make investment choices, media will use them for public awareness purposes, and analysts and stock brokers will use them to advise clients or potential investors.

Blakeman (2007) describes internal audiences as stakeholders or those who have a stake or vested in the company’s success and reputation. For example, employees, unions or managers. The employees of any organisation are major stakeholders and represent an opportunity to use word-of-mouth communication. It is believed that employees need to be highly motivated, stimulated and involved to perform their job at a high level. The role played by all employees of an organisation whether or not they formally meet customers or other external publics are significant when facing a direct contact with customers as they influence customer perception of the organisation. Generally, internal stakeholders have a large influence on how the company runs. For example, the company’s owners will take part in important business decisions. Customers are also internal stakeholders that are extremely important to a business as the extent to which their needs are met will influence the company’s sales. Company’s managers and employees also influence the company’s day to day operations by the various business decisions that they make. According to Dahlen (2010) the importance of understanding target audience requirements and the need to create long-term meaningful dialogues is seen as the key to successful IMC. Engaging stakeholders involves starting good communication between a company and its stakeholders and then maintaining a profitable relationship with them. Through this relationship, stakeholders can have their word and the company can listen and respond. The Cadbury Company established relationships with their stakeholders by consulting regularly with their employees, responding to their needs and aspirations and generally treating them very well.  By doing this the company’s products became popular with customers who chose to buy their products. Today, Cadbury continues to listen and work with its stakeholders. Engaging with stakeholders helps ensure potential issues are addressed, or changes communicated and understood. For these reasons it is essential for companies to find techniques and means of engaging with all their stakeholders, including shareowners whose willingness to hold shares underpins a company’s financial position. (The times 100)

Fill (2009) believes that in order to be successful, marketing communications should be grounded in the behaviour and information-processing needs and style of the target audience. Through the understanding of an audience’s preferred communication environments, business organisations try to develop and represent messages for its stakeholder groups, before assessing and acting upon any responses. By sending messages that are of important value, audiences are encouraged to offer attitudinal, behavioural and emotional responses. For examples, the Chivas Regal Whisky company has developed a reputation and set of values associated with good quality, friendliness with customers and special experience when drinking Chivas. Their main goal was to reach a massive audience by providing something valuable that would improve the customers’ lives. The creation of independent social network web site, called thisisthelife.com and sponsored by Chivas, helped people to share travel experiences and show what they want to enjoy next. The site’s banner says that it is sponsored by Chivas but otherwise it is devoid of commercial messaging. Without having an opportunity to message customers directly with brand information, this method adds value and serves to engage audiences and allow them to share experiences with each other. Another example of audience orientation is in O2, the second-largest mobile telecommunication provider in the United Kingdom. They developed a new campaign called ‘A world that revolves around you’, which was based on the insight that prepay customers felt neglect. Customers were offered the opportunity of a 10 per cent refund of their top-ups every three months. By understanding the media used by this consumer segment if became possible to develop a media mix that was oriented around the target audience. The result of this was a media plan that involved email, SMS, MMS, online chat rooms and brand street events. Around 50 per cent of O2’s customers took participation in the campaign. Integrated marketing communications mean different things to different people. Opportunities to develop IMC appear to fluctuate according to a number of factors, including organisation size and development. (Fill, 2011)

Integrated communications are the integration of formerly specialised communications functions into one organisational system that conveys a consistent set of messages to all the target audiences. (Pelsmacker, 2013) IMC focuses on building a long-term relationship with target groups by means of consistent interactive communications, rather than aggressively assuring the customer to buy a company’s products. The essay also outlined the difference and importance of internal and external audiences within IMC. Different authors’ viewpoints and arguments were supported with some successful industry examples, such as Dove, ASDA, Cadbury, Body Shop, Chivas Regal Whisky and O2 companies.

 

 

 

 

References        

Blakeman, R (2007). Integrated Marketing Communication: Creative strategy from ideas to implementation. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. p.21, 125

Business Dictionary. (2013). External Audiences. Available: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/external-audiences.html. Last accessed 6th Dec 2013.

The Times 100 ; Cadbury Schweppes. (2013). The importance of engaging stakeholders. Available: http://businesscasestudies.co.uk/cadbury-schweppes/engaging-stakeholders-in-a-business/the-importance-of-engaging-stakeholders.html#axzz2nvAqm8wP. Last accessed 19th Dec 2013.

Dahlen, M et al. (2010). Marketing communications: A brand narrative approach. Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. p. 48

De Pelsmacker, P et al (2013). Marketing communications: A European perspective. 5th ed. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited. p.25

Fill, C (2009). Marketing Communications. 5th ed. Essex: Pearson Education Limited. p.16, 18,267

Fill, C (2011). Essentials of Marketing Communications. Essex: Pearson Education Limited. p.136-137

Percy, L (2008). Strategic IMC. Oxford: Elsevier Inc. p.5, 26-28

Pickton, D and Broderick, A (2005). Integrated Marketing Communications. 2nd ed. Essex: Pearson Education Limited. p.4, 26.

Sirgy, J.M (1998). Integrated Marketing Communications: A systems approach. London: Prentice-Hall Ltd. p.5-6.

Social Enterprise Employability Fair

Social Enterprise Employability Fair advertising at Northampton University.
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The event tooImagek place at Northampton University Park Campus, Library Hall on 28th Feb 2013.
Here is my printed leaflet type advertising made in Photoshop. Image

A number of local social enterprises in Northamptonshire were invited to the university to demonstrate their business offerings for employment, volunteering opportunities and work placements. Also, this essay is a self evaluation of the event. It includes an outline of all the aspects of the event analysing if they were successful or not and if they require improvements on future events by commenting on my own individual performance and ways of future self development.

That was such a perfect experience that our team faced with. “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” (Booker T. Washington)

Operations Management, Total Quality Management. Royal Mail Company.

1.0         Introduction

The purpose of this report is to demonstrate and analyse an understanding of Total Quality Management (TQM) and the concepts within it. The report also describes the Royal Mail public limited company and explains the main operational processes that are needed to deliver the company’s products or services. Different authors’ viewpoints cover a brief review of Total Quality Management and a theory of the three concepts such as customer focus, employee empowerment and six sigma approach, which give benefits to a user. To support all these theoretical arguments and statements, a number well-known industry examples are shown and discussed in this report.

2.0         Description of organisation

Royal Mail Plc. is a well-known mail service company in the UK and Northern Ireland which was initially established in 1516. Royal Mail Group delivers a six-days-a-week, one-price-goes-anywhere postal service to more than 29 million addresses across the United Kingdom. They provide a wide range of services and products for customers in the United Kingdom or overseas. For instance, Royal Mail offers “1st and 2nd Class mail” delivering letters and parcels all across the UK with the “Sign-For” proof of delivery opportunity in order to avoid deception or theft. There also are two guaranteed services such as “Sameday” or “Special Delivery” which warranty the delivery within an hour and provide a compensation up to £20,000. It is also interesting to note that there is a special postal service called “Articles for the Blind” and designed for blind or visually impaired people as well as the charities that work hard to improve their lives. Another attention-grabbing service is “HM Force Mail” which offers discounted mail delivery to a friend or loved-one in the armed force overseas. International delivery services are quite similar to the UK mail system. Airmail service delivers the parcels and letters to Western and Eastern Europe within a couple of working days, while it may take a whole working week to deliver to any other country like Turkey, China or Taiwan. Royal Mail also worries and respects those customers who receive mail. For example, “Keepsafe” service protects the letters and parcels for up to 66 days while person is away from home for a long period of time. There is an opportunity for customers to choose the needed length of this service, i.e. 17 days absence costs £12.40 and 66 days costs £41. “Po Box” particularly designed for people who live in shared accommodation or want to receive confidential or private mail. Also, this service gives an opportunity for receiver to collect the parcel from another convenient place in town. Royal Mail Shop has a range of products such as stamps, pre-paid envelopes, frames and albums, games for kids, toys and pins, personalised and dinosaurs stamps, Doctor Who movie products, famous football players stamps and six decades of Royal Portraits pack as well as books and DVDs. Official web-site has a useful media tool known as “Track your item”. By entering a 13 characters number, customer becomes aware on what stage of delivery process the parcels or letters are. As it is known, Royal Mail is a large-scale business which serves each family member at any age, gender and occupation every day operating across 42 countries and delivering 360 million parcels every year. They collect from more than 79,000 large and small businesses in the United Kingdom. Many customers come from eBay (multinational internet corporation), Amazon and other online marketplaces as well. All operations processes have one common thing, they all take their ‘inputs’. They do this in different ways and the main four are known as the Four V’s profile, Volume, Variety, Variation in demand and Visibility.  The graph (1.0) shows that Royal Mail Plc. has a high Volume. That means high repeatability in the everyday processes due to familiarity of the process, also, there is specialisation, systemisation, more capital intensive and low unit costs. Variety dimension relates to the different types of actions that are being performed. The Royal Mail is in the low side of the scale which means that procedures are well defined, routinised and, of course, a low unit cost. Low variation in demand scale shows that the company has a stable and predictable demand, routine and low unit costs. The visibility dimension refers to a customer’s ability to see and track the order online. The Royal Mail has a high visibility which involves short waiting tolerance, satisfaction governed by customer perception, besides, customer skills are very important and the received variety is obviously high.

3.0         Description of main operational processes

The tables (2.0 and 3.0) describe two operational process in Royal Mail in a sense of Inputs, Transformational Process Activities and Outputs.

Inputs

Transformation Process Activities

Outputs

Resources

Store/shop

Shop products (envelopes, stamps, etc.)

Staff members

Counter

Scales

Till

Bags

Royal Mail van

Technical equipment

Transforming resources

Petrol/diesel/gas

Electricity

Online payment system

Delivery options choices

Postman

Drivers

Customer

-Customer selects delivery method

-Customer prints the label and sticks to parcel or signs up an envelope and sticks some stamps

-Customer goes to post office (or wait till collection)

-Checking weight, putting items in a bags or mailbox by post office staff

-Payment from customer if needed (for extra service or items)

-Royal Mail Plc. receives a request to collect items from post offices

-Delivering items to the main RM office

– Sortation by area, postcode and service options, weight, size, etc.

-Dividing items between postmen and van driver postmen

-Delivering to addresses

-Knocking on the door to give a parcel/letter to customer

-Customer signature if needed

-Thank customer

Satisfied customers receive their parcels and letters

Wastes

Gas/Petrol/Diesel

Electricity

Time

Torn postmen bags

Table 2.0 Overall process

Inputs

Transformation Process Activities

Outputs

Resources

Computer

Cheque with 13 numbers

Transforming resources

Electricity

Time

-Customer receives a cheque from post office (if the item has a tracking system option)

– Customer goes online on http://www.royalmail.com

-Entering 13 characters tracking number in a special box area

-Pressing the button ‘Track’

-Customer sees if the item was delivered, signed or not yet.

Customer becomes aware and satisfied about the delivery process and can provide this number to a receiver to track.

Wastes

Electricity

Time

Table 3.0 Tracking system process

4.0         Literature review on TQM

Total Quality Management covers both the techniques of quality assurance and the approach of total quality control. A number of implementation models have been put forward by the quality gurus, who include Feigenbaum (1991), Juran (1993) and Slack (2010).

Feigenbaum (1991) states that TQM is an effective system for integrating the quality development, quality maintenance and quality improvement efforts of the various groups in an organisation so as to enable production and service at the most economical levels which allow for full customer satisfaction. In 2010, Slack, Chambers and Johnston claimed that TQM means covering all the parts of the organisation. For an organisation to be truly effective , every single part of it, each department and each activity along with every person on each level must work properly together, because every person and activity affects and in turn is affected by others. In other words, TQM is a system of activities directed at achieving delighted customers, empowered employees, higher revenues and lower costs. (Juran, 1993)

One of the most significant aspects for the success of any business is its customers. Customer focus means seeing a product or service from the perspective of value to the customer. It is essential to satisfy all the needs of internal and external customers and keep them satisfied. Juran (1993) points out that customer needs may be clear or they may be distinguished; they may be rational or less than rational. To create customers, those needs must be discovered and served. Business must try to find out what people want or expect to see, how much and how often they will buy and how their post-purchase satisfaction will be guaranteed. Customer satisfaction is a relative concept that varies from one customer to another. A customer might be satisfied with today’s products or services but not satisfied with them in the future. For instance, while one customer may consider a BMW vehicle perfectly satisfactory, another may not. However, if the BMW customer wins the lottery, the BMW may no longer be satisfactory; now the customer may have a preference for a Volvo or a Mazda. Each person defines quality in relation to his individual expectation at a specific time. Slack (2011) suggests that the operation’s view of quality is concerned with trying to meet customer expectation. If the service or product experience was on a highest level than expected then the customer is satisfied and quality is perceived to be excellent. If service or product was less than the customer had expected then quality is low and the customer may be dissatisfied. If the service or product matches expectations then the perceived quality of the product is seen to be acceptable. There is a small possibility for running a good business enterprise without having a clear customer focus concept. An example of the best customer satisfaction is John Lewis store operating in the United Kingdom since 1864. The “Which?” Magazine (2013) announced it as the UK’s best retailer at the Verdict Customer Satisfaction Award 2013 beating Apple, Liz Earle and others. Also, in 2010 JohnLewis.com was named “Best Online Retailer” by achieving impressive scores from a 14,000 of shoppers.

Juran (1993) states that empowerment is the process of delegating decision-making authority to lower levels within organisation. It means encouraging people to take the initiative and develop their scope and being supportive if mistakes are made. When employees became more empowered in their work, the sense of responsibility becomes more meaningful. Slack et al. (2011) suggest that staff could be asked to contribute their ideas for how the operation might be improved; or staff could be empowered to redesign their jobs. The Credit Union Times newspaper (2012) describes employee empowerment as a culmination of many of the ideas and principles of employee satisfaction that are discussed and analyzed regularly in a variety of books and journals focused on the subject. The main benefit of employee empowerment is generally seen as providing fast responses to customer needs, it enables an employee to think, behave, act, react and control the work in more autonomous, self-directed ways. When employees feel more empowered in terms of control ability, in other words, when the organisation delegates employees sufficiently or at the promised level of decision-making authority, the employees are more likely to trust the organization and to agree on the mutual influence. (Hiebert, R.2011) In 2005, McDonald’s, the quick-service restaurant, allowed family members to cover each other’s shifts without getting a manager’s permission. By doing this, the company stimulated people to become more qualified and flexible as well as cut absenteeism and improved staff retention. Another example of successful employee empowerment comes from ‘Innocent’, fruit Smoothies Company, which sells its beverages throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and Paris. The company allows each member of staff to work in the way that suit them best. Staff are encouraged to work from home. For instance, the youngest employees work four days a week to allow them to do a college or school work or six weeks off in order to fulfill the worker’s ambition to go travelling.

Greasley (2013) describes six sigma approach as a quality improvement initiative launched by Motorola, the electronics and communications system company, in the USA in the 1980s. Six Sigma provided a common worldwide language for measuring quality and became a global standard. (Source: http://www.motorola.com) This allowed Motorola to become the first American company who won the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award in 1988. General Electric (GE) defined Six Sigma as a disciplined methodology of defining, measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling the quality in every one of the company’s products, processes and transactions-with the ultimate goal of virtually removing all defects. The main aim of Six Sigma is to meet the needs of customers. Motorola concluded that true customer satisfaction would only be achieved when products or services were delivered on time, without defects or early-life failures and when the product did not fail in handling. To achieve this, the company focused on removing manufacturing defects but then realised that issues were caused due to the latest hidden defects within the design itself. Any Six Sigma implementation aims at improving customer satisfaction, by mean of improved processes capability. (Brun, 2011) The DMAIC approach is one aspect of a framework for implementation of the Six Sigma concept. This approach emphasizes the use of statistical tools to collect data at every of the five steps of define, measure, analyze, improve and control. It also requires the involvement of stakeholders such as well-qualified employees, suppliers who deliver high-grade inputs to organization and customers. Today, the Ford Motor Company is extremely successful since 1980 as they have been following the TQM at all levels of production. The DMAIC process helped the company to build an overall business strategy and focus on immediate customer satisfaction issues. (Sheid, 2011)

5.0         How concepts could help Royal Mail Plc.

Every organisation or business company face a number of omissions which could be improved and Royal Mail is not an exception. Firstly, Royal Mail’s online tracking system is not working properly and must be improved in order to achieve an excellent customer satisfaction. There are some complaints from customers who state that the system does not provide enough information about the exact time, place and name of the receiver. Secondly, some people argue that they would prefer to pay for weight of the parcel or letter rather than size. People poorly pack the parcels in the hope to save some money and meanwhile not exceed the size. When the receiver gets the damaged parcel or letter, he becomes dissatisfied with the delivery service and writes a complaint to Royal Mail with the request for compensation. Dissatisfied customers are risky. All these disadvantages could be improved if Royal Mail paid more attention to Customer Focus concept. Further, lots of parcels and letters are sometimes damaged by inappropriate handling manner of postmen. By providing more productive and long-term training courses and practice tasks from the CEO to the lowest-level worker, the organisation could improve the employee empowerment. As it has been previously mentioned, the DMAIC methodology is a quality strategy for improving processes within organisation. Each step in cyclical DMAIC process is required to provide the best possible results which lead to successful TQM. By defining and measuring the customer issues and performances of processes, analysing them in order to identify defects for improvement, and then find out the best innovative solution to improve the process or prevent the future ones, the Royal Mail organisation can control and run its business successfully.

6.0         Conclusion

This report discussed and analysed different authors’ viewpoints and thoughts about Total Quality Management and three concepts by providing some successful industry examples like John Lewis, McDonalds, Innocent Smoothies, Ford Motors and Motorola Companies. The report also described the Royal Mail Company, its products and services as well as two operational processes. Each concept has been applied to Royal Mail Company in order to show how it could help to reach a high standard TQM in running such a worldwide business.

References

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Emerson,A.L (2012).Credit Union Times: The Benefits of Employee Empowerment. Available: http://www.cutimes.com/2012/02/15/the-benefits-of-employee-empowerment. Last accessed 23rd Nov 2013.

Feigenbaum, A.V (1991). Total Quality Control. 3rd ed. Baskerville: The Kingsport Press. p.11, 12, 15.

Greasley, A (2013). Operations Management. 3rd ed. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. p.410-412, p.197

Hiebert, R. (2011). How employee empowerment influences organization–employee relationship in China. Public Relations Review. 37 (4), p.435-437.

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