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Academic Report

Summary

Communication plays a critical role in the way businesses undertake their activities. It is through communication that there is flow of information from one level of management to another. Any breakdown in communication flow negatively affects an organization. In advertising, communication is essential as it determines the kind of message concerning a given product that consumers receive. Of importance is ensuring the use of an effective communication strategy to directly reach the target market. A message has to be conveyed in an effective and efficient way. This ensures that recipients understand it. Additionally, the message conveyed has to be clear and be communicated at the right time. Consequently, business organizations have heavily invested in developing correct communication strategies to give them an edge over competitors. In the case of Vodafone, communicating a clear message to the audience at the right time is of essence. In order to achieve this, Vodafone uses the right media channel in carrying out product advertising.

Apart from using radio and television, Vodafone has embraced technology in advertising. The Internet offers advertisers numerous capabilities which Vodafone is enjoying as it tries to reach to a wider audience. Various company products are being advertised on the Internet. A typical case here is advertising its products on YouTube. This has helped the Company in positioning its brands to have a competitive advantage over rivals. The new product has been advertised in a compelling manner that appeals to potential consumers.  Company branding and positioning have been key in helping Vodafone to gain an edge over competitors in the everchanging environment. The paper explores how Vodafone uses the right communication strategies to remain competitive globally through the application of its key values of speed, simplicity and trust.

Communication Strategy

Business organizations consider communication as an important component of their daily activities. This has seen different organizations, Vodafone included, view communication as being central to their success hence the need to develop an effective communication strategy. Communication strategies are developed in a manner that they meet the needs of their target markets. This is through conveying the right message of an organization to the target market in an effective and efficient way. Key components of the communicated message are clarity and timing. Thus, the message should be clear to be understood by all those targeted. Moreover, the message should be communicated at the right time. An improperly delivered message draws a negative and unfavorable response from the target market. In the YouTube ad by Vodafone, the message passed across meets these two criteria. Additionally, the advertisement by Vodafone, as an internet service provider, is unique. AdSlogans (2013) states that a unique ad should apply a new technique never used before. As such, the YouTube Vodafone ad is new as it has never been used anywhere before. Furthermore, it is unique in a way that rival brands are not using the same technique in their advertising. Given that advertising is about coming up with something that is captivating; then the advertisement seems way ahead of what Vodafone competitors are using.

An effective communication strategy should help an organization in strategically positioning its product in comparison to competitors. This means that whatever the communication strategy says about products influences customer attitude towards the product. Consequently, developers of a communication strategy should ensure that customers remain loyal to their brands after they see advertisements of brands. Companies with considerable experience in their fields of operation, like Vodafone, are able to achieve this through creation of ads that not only involve creativity in words and images, but critical thinking (VanAuken, 2012).   An effective communication strategy has to ensure that objectives are achieved through advertising. According to Johnson (2013), advertising as a concept of a communication strategy plays several roles. Through advertising, there is awareness creation among the customers. Thus, customers need to be informed of the new product introduced onto the market by an organization. As a communication strategy, advertising is essential in supporting public relations through awareness creation. In the case of Vodafone, advertising its new product on the internet educates prospective customers so that they are informed of the new service.

In order to have a competitive advantage over rivals’ products, companies come up with products and services that are distinct. Consequently, using advertising as a communication strategy ensures that customers get to understand the uniqueness and distinctions of the new products (Johnson, 2013). From the YouTube video, it is evident that the unique features of the new products are demonstrated. Customers are able to see how unique the new product is from what they have currently on the market. Thus, advertising plays a critical role of positioning a product hence giving an organization an edge over competitors in its business operations. To add on this, it is essential for organizations to brand their products (McRury, 2009). Through this, products are given memorable names that create brand equity. More so, according to Johnson (2013), products undergo value addition to the eyes of the customers. Branding is also vital in creating brand loyalty where customers use your products even if your price strategy increases product price. The communication objective here aims at generating a positive feeling about your product among the loyal customers. Branding is said to go beyond just a name and logo. Brand identity entails products and services with a personality and purpose. By so doing, a brand can easily be identified through its distinctiveness and recognition in the market place (Jugenheimer & Kelly, 2009, p. 74).

Vodafone as an organization has been able to achieve brand identity of its products. Its brand can be identified anywhere in the world. The Company is customer focused, passionate, reliable and innovative (Vodafone, 2013). In essence, communication objectives aim at increasing the market share of product use through advertising. This is through increasing the percentage of consumers willing to use Vodafone products over those of competitors. Furthermore, advertising encourages current customers to use Vodafone brands more frequently. In the meantime, advertising creates product awareness on the new product among potential customers. As such, advertising engages new users who had never used the product before hence increasing its market share.

An effective communication strategy in advertising entails clever, as well as thorough media planning. Appropriate channels of media are essential to advertise finished products so that the target markets are informed of the new products. The combination of media chosen for advertisement should provide the maximum impact to an advertisement (Hackley, 2010, p. 138-139). For one to choose the most appropriate media mix, they should be in a position to understand the reading, as well as listening habits of the target audience. Additionally, organizations should determine how they might reach their target audience before finally settling on a given media mix to use. These, among other different factors, determine the media mix to be used in advertising. On the other hand, a key constraint among organizations is their budget. Different organizations choose varied media channels depending on the financial resources at the disposal for advertising. Common media channels include radio, TV, outdoor or the press (Green, 2011, p. 7). Each of these has its own financial requirements.

The media selected has to match the needs of product’s target market. According to Lamb, Hair and McDaniel (2011), understanding the target market is vital in determining which media to use in advertising. Age of the target market is a key factor. For instance, if advertisers want to reach teenage females, then the most appropriate media channels could be fashion magazines, which are widely read by teenage girls. However, it is evident that newspapers and the television network appeals to a wider audience as compared to other medium. Furthermore, flexibility of the medium chosen matters too when it comes to advertising. For instance, in the past, there were versions of magazines which were produced once or twice a month. In such a case, it becomes difficult to use it in an everchanging business environment currently. On the contrary, advances in information technology have drastically changed this. At the moment, there are various electronic ad images and layouts that can be accessed while production is still ongoing.

Given that flexibility is such a key determinant here, the Internet, television and radio advertising, thus, form the best media channels for advertisers. Here, it is possible for an advertiser to make changes to a radio ad before it is aired. Similarly, the Internet ads can be changed within minutes with just a click of the button (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel, 2011, p. 509). Moreover, the Internet offers advertisers with a unique chance for accessing specific groups hence meeting demands. On the other hand, the Internet as an advertising channel is limited in a way. The greater control that people have while searching for what they want, and diversity, makes it difficult for advertisers to target a certain audience (Cook, 2001, p. 31). However, this does not affect advertising in a negative way. Consequently, for Vodafone to reach its target market, the best media mix is the Internet, television and radio given their flexibility. The use of these three media channels is complementary as they support each other. This is already being used as the ad on YouTube is a typical case.

The target audience can either choose to overlook an ad or believe it. This mainly depends on the way an ad is presented in the media. For instance, the way an ad is packaged determines how the target audience will view it. A properly packaged ad will be attractive to consumers hence a temptation to try out on the product. Consequently, the new Vodafone advertisement on YouTube has been professionally undertaken. The inclusion of a crying child’s voice makes the advertisement so attractive to users and very compelling. Additionally, through product testing, consumers can believe one’s advertisement of a given product. This is an activity undertaken before marketing a new product on the market. According to Jugenheimer & Kelly (2009), an item can be sent to consumers’ homes for them to try the new product. On the other hand, it may be difficult to test a new service. This is attributed to the fact that services are normally offered by service vendors. As such, it becomes hard for vendors to move from home to home or business premise doing service testing. For the case of an internet service provider, if there are connections throughout the country, it then means that it can work anywhere. In such a case, testing is not necessary.

Conclusion

Communication strategies are very vital for companies. The advertising industry is a typical example. Communication strategies help in developing effective and efficient mechanisms to help in product marketing. In essence, reaching the target market of a given product is key in achieving organizational goals. Business organizations only make sales after informing consumers about a new product. This is through advertising to create awareness among the consumers. Choosing the right media mix ensures that the target market is reached. A number of factors do determine the media channel to be used. Advertisers should consider the age of the target audience before choosing the media channel to use. Secondly, it is imperative to consider frequency. Here, the number of times an individual is exposed to a message within a given period determines the frequency. Audience selectivity helps advertisers to choose which media channels to employ. Lastly, advertisers do consider flexibility of a given medium before they use it. Some media channels are more flexible compared to others hence are more suitable to use. All these factors combined give an organization a competitive advantage over rivals. 

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