Communication in any corporate organization is one of the most important aspects of the organization since it coordinates and unites the various groups of stakeholders into one focused group. Effective communication is therefore of critical importance when thinking of success in achieving organizational goals and objectives. In this particular piece of work, the focus will be an examination of the Apple Inc communication systems with a view of identifying strengths and weaknesses and recommending a strategic communication plan in line with the organizational goals. In summary, this piece of work is an examination of the communication plan of Apple Inc with a view of recommending a fit strategic communication plan for the company which will be the driving force to achieving its objectives and goals.
Apple Inc was established in April 1976 in California USA and incorporated in January the next year as Apple Computer Inc. The company deals with the production and marketing of consumer electronics, personal computers and computer software. Since its incorporation in 1977, the company has experienced ups and downs especially due to market forces with each of the challenging threatening its survival (Linzmayer, 1999, p.10). One of the hardest times for the company was between 1986 and 1993 when it experienced stiff competition from Microsoft whose products were cheaper compared to those of Apple Inc. In its attempts to thrive, Apple Inc allied with IBM and Motorola Company and later between 2005 and 2007, it underwent the so-called Intel transition (Linzmayer, 1999, p.12). Its name changed to Apple Inc in 2007 due to its shift from computers to mobile phones. Between 2007 and 2011, the company has been known for the iPhone, iPod touch and other products.
Current communication activities
The communication activities at Apple Inc can be classified into two in terms of the medium of communication namely offline and online communications. On another aspect, the activities can be viewed as either internal or external. Online communication involves the use of internet services to pass information to various stakeholders while offline communication omits this aspect of communication (Furfie, 2008, p. 2). Internal communication, on one hand, involves communication within the organization while external communication on the other hand involves communication without the organization. Online communication at Apple Inc employs affiliate, social network, search engine, blog and forum marketing communications.
The company has also employed offline marketing communications to be more precise, TV Advertisements, Press Advertisements, Press Releases, Outdoor Advertisements, Press Conferences and Sponsorship. The combination of these communication activities has been effective in popularizing the company’s products which is the reason for the increased performance. Notwithstanding the success, the company has succeeded in selling its individual products for instance the iPhone, and the iPod touch as opposed to popularizing the company as a whole which according to Argenti is the ultimate purpose of marketing communications (2007, p. 60). Owing to this discrepancy, there is a need for an adoption of a more suitable communication plan to bridge the missing gap.
Corporate communication plan
Having established the company’s needs, the next important thing is to formulate a communication plan that will serve the purpose of the company (Riel, Van, 2007, p.70). The focus in this paper is directed toward corporate advertising as a sub-function of corporate communication.
The objective of the communication plan is to promote the company as a whole as opposed to the promotion of specific products the company produces. This is to create a strong brand name and to popularize the brand across stakeholders. This is to ensure that even if those specific products were to become obsolete due to technological change, new inventions will be readily acceptable to the customer due to the brand strength.
The new communication plan will target the customer base as the chief stakeholder but will also target the public in general. The main reason is that public opinion and perception are important to a company’s survival. Furthermore, the public image of the companies will ultimately reflect in the company’s performance whether directly or indirectly.
The company should be able to attain a 40% increase in sales of Mac and a 30% increase in iCloud by the end of two calendar years. To attain this, the company will aim at sponsoring two cricket tournaments and one golf tournament before the end of this and the same number of tournaments before the last quarter of the subsequent calendar year. Furthermore, the company will engage in quasi-political activities at the national level under the name of protecting its customers as part of social responsibility. The joint effect of the two strategies should enable the company to reach the above-mentioned targets by the end of the specified period of two calendar years. The targets are a measure of the success of the strategy.
At this particular time, the company’s prominence is based on three products namely the iPhone, iPod and iPad as opposed to the holistic popularity of a brand which is the greater purpose of corporate advertising. Other old products of the company such as the Mac have not gained popularity among users. This is partly a result of the marketing plan the company has adopted. As a result, the company needs to change the marketing communication plan from one that is product-oriented to one that has an organizational orientation so as to enable it to build and strengthen its brand name. To do this, several methods have been suggested which include sponsoring social activities like cricket and golf tournaments and engaging in quasi-political activities so as to promote the brand name of the organization.
These ideas are important in improving the position of the company though not solely sufficient but their incorporation in the overall strategy of the company is of great importance. If well employed, in their simplicity, they can tremendously transform an organization from average performance to excellent performance. Finally, this information has not only been useful to the organization but this research has given me knowledge and insight to handle such problems and to advise other organizations on strategic communication planning.
Argenti, A.P., (2007). Business & Economics: Strategic Corporate Communication India: Tata McGraw-Hill Education.
Furfie, B. (2008). PCR: UK Mac resellers demand better internal communication at Apple. UK: PCR Publishing.
Linzmayer, R. W. (1999). Apple Confidential: The Real Story of Apple Computer Inc. San Francisco: No Starch Press.
Riel, C.B.M. van & Fombrun, C. (2007) Essentials of Corporate Communication, Abingdon: Routledge.