|1. Understand the importance of corporate communication|
|1.1 discuss the purpose of corporate communication strategies|
|1.2 assess how corporate communications link to corporate objectives|
|1.3 analyse the relationship between corporate communication and corporate branding|
|2. Be able to conduct an internal corporate communications audit|
|2.1 plan an internal corporate communications audit|
|2.2 conduct an internal corporate communications audit|
|2.3 critically evaluate the effectiveness of current levels of practice|
|3. Be able to conduct an external corporate communications audit|
|3.1 plan an external corporate communications audit|
|3.2 conduct an external corporate communications audit|
|3.3 critically evaluate the effectiveness of current levels of practice|
|4. Be able to plan the development of a corporate communication strategy|
|4.1 plan the objectives of a corporate communication strategy|
|4.2 select the audiences to influence with a corporate communications strategy|
|4.3 plan appropriate measures to monitor a planned corporate communications strategy|
|Notes on exactly what must be done to succeed in the assessment are written below, then followed by a reminder of the content of the module, organised according to the assessment criteria above.
Assessment Criteria Notes
To generate appropriate evidence, learners will need to research information and make decisions based on their findings. The internal and external audits and the planning of a corporate communications strategy will develop from the choices made as a result of learner research.
For 1.1, learners need to show that they understand the crucial role that corporate communication plays in organisations. This needs to be more than just a simple statement. Learners need to expand the discussion, taking into account a number of points such as image, standards, stakeholders, vision and the global nature of communication.
For 1.2 and 1.3, there are opportunities to link the requirements for corporate objectives and corporate branding to the organisation learners will use to conduct audits. Learners need to assess how corporate communications link to corporate objectives and analyse the relationship between corporate communication and corporate branding. This can be developed as an introductory section to the audits conducted to cover the assessment criteria in learning outcomes 2 and 3.
For 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3, learners need to conduct an internal and an external audit of corporate communication in a selected organisation. This will involve learners demonstrating that they have planned the audits before conducting them. If a ‘live’ organisation is used, this may require consultation with appropriate personnel within the organisation. The audit of external stakeholders can be particularly sensitive. Learners need to seek approval and permission from appropriate personnel for the methods they intend to use. Learners will be required to select appropriate methods of conducting internal and external audits which may or may not be the same for both audits. This will depend on a variety of factors such as the type and size of the organisation and the methods that are feasible in the circumstances. Once the audits are completed, learners will have a bank of information on current corporate communication practice within the organisation.
They need to use this information to critically evaluate the effectiveness of current levels of corporate communication practice in the organisation.
For 4.1, it is not expected that learners will develop a comprehensive corporate communication plan. Learners need to plan the objectives of a corporate communication strategy for their chosen organisation. The objectives will develop out of the communications audits and the evaluation of current levels of corporate communications practice used as evidence for the assessment criteria in learning outcomes 2 and 3.
For 4.2, learners need to select the audiences they want to influence with their corporate communications strategy. The nature and size of the audience will depend on the nature and size of the organisation. The selected audience needs to be appropriate and include internal and external stakeholders.
For 4.3, learners need to plan appropriate measures to monitor their planned communication strategy. The measures need to be workable, cost effective and clearly linked to the strategy.
Unit Content – linked to Assessment Criteria
1. Understand the importance of corporate communication
Purpose: creates an effective bridge between the organisation and the public; creates and reinforces a positive image about an organisation; effective and timely dissemination of information; smooth and affirmative relationship with all stakeholders (internally and externally); allows all employees to understand the vision and direction of an organisation; encodes understanding of communication tools and techniques; encodes sophisticated approaches to global communication; the importance of two-way communication
Links to corporate objectives: supports strategic goals and objectives; supports management and human resources initiatives; helps employees understand organisational strategic goals and objectives and the reasons behind them; promotes strong corporate culture, company loyalty, corporate philosophy, corporate citizenship; promotes transparency and accountability; focuses efforts and resources on the activities and audiences most likely to have the biggest impact on the organisation
Links to corporate branding: communicates the essence of the organisation; promotes confidence in the quality and performance of the organisation’s products or services; ensures adherence to corporate brand guidelines; minimises discrepancies between the organisation’s desired identity and brand features; clarifies and embeds the brand strategy, brand position, brand identity and brand message
2. Be able to conduct an internal corporate communications audit
Methods: eg planning and launching, surveys, questionnaires, panels, interviews, critical incident analysis, network analysis, participant observation, document review, focus groups; survey participants, channels for distributing survey questions, how to receive completed questionnaires, evaluating and reporting
Internal communication processes: efficient and effective, integrated and coordinated systems; communication channels and flows; the grapevine, networking, conferences, newsletters and company magazines, video conferencing, email and websites, roadshows, seminars, training and appraisals, team meetings, team briefing processes, updating systems, vertical teams, action sets; lateral, downward and upward communication systems; interdepartmental/divisional; information as power; confidentiality and data protection; testing and evaluating information; primary and secondary data; organisational structure and culture; listening skills; megaphone management; unfreezing and selling change; developing synergy; evaluation processes; participation levels; types of strategy; systems thinking; connectivity; learning organisation; intellectual capital and knowledge management; strategic intelligence; decision making and taking
3. Be able to conduct an external corporate communications audit
Methods: eg planning and launching, surveys, questionnaires, panels, interviews, critical incident analysis, network analysis, participant observation, document review, focus groups; online methods eg online surveys, questionnaires, video conferencing; survey participants, channels for distributing survey questions, how to receive completed questionnaires, evaluating and reporting
External communication processes: efficient and effective, integrated and coordinated systems; networking, conferences, partnerships, joint ventures, customer and business forums, action sets; stakeholder inclusiveness and integration; communication channels and flows eg news releases, reports, advertising, online communications, speeches, interviews, websites, social network advertising and discussions eg Facebook, Twitter; developing relationships of trust, creating synergy, connectivity, systems thinking, inter- organisational participation processes, research processes, websites, expert institution linkage; breaking down barriers; information exchange and negotiation; intellectual capital and knowledge management; strategic intelligence; decision making and taking; collaborative advantage; collaborative capability; ‘boundaryless’ organisations; virtual communications; incrementalism; scenario building; win-win and zero-sum theory
4. Be able to plan the development of a corporate communication strategy
Strategy for effective communications: communications as infrastructure; strategic objectives; strategic implementation; planned and emergent strategies; strategic drift; monitoring versus evaluation; feedback processes; setting and measuring outcomes; action planning; agreeing timescales; cost- benefit analysis; feedback systems; control loop; target revision; regular and exception reporting; surveys and interviews; iterative processes; formal and informal knowledge channels; measuring inputs; processes; outputs and outcomes; quantitative and qualitative measures; 80/20 rule; disseminating awareness; sustainability
This Assignment is based upon the Pearson Edexcel Strategic Management and Leadership from August 2010 Programme Specification found at http://www.lcbuk.org/pdf/Edexcel_level7_SML.pdf