Communication is a crucial tool that both small and large corporations use to access resources they require for management (Belasen, 2008, p. 45). Without an effective and incorporated communication system, corporations fail to develop appropriate structures for their business communication strategies. Since business communication involves selectively communicating company’s objectives and views to stakeholders, who are crucial for business success, it can be perceived to be a major management strategy.
Dr. John Pemberton Stith invented Coca Cola in mid 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was initially started as a spout beverage by combining syrup of Coca Cola with effervescent water. In 1887, it was patented when Asa Candler, a businessman and pharmacist based in Atlanta, purchased Coca Cola formula from inventor Pemberton John for $2,300. In 1893, it was listed as a trademark, and around 1895 its selling continued in every territory and state in the US (Hays, 2004, p. 45).
Coca Cola became a renowned drink in the late 1890s. This was majorly due to the effort and aggressiveness of Candler in marketing the product. With Candler Asa in place, the Coca Cola company increased sales of syrup by more than 4000% around 1890 and 1900. It started franchised bottling processes in the US. Currently, it operates in around 200 nations and markets selling almost 500 brands and over 3100 beverage products. The corporation has more than 92,400 associates globally and a daily consumer serving of about 1.6 billion with an operating revenue of approximately $31.9 billion. Currently, Coca Cola is the most recognized brand globally (M & PR, 2007, p. 45).
Communication refers to affecting, making common, or sharing information to support functioning of entire business or organization entities. Hence communication can be defined as an sharing information within a company or integrating various messages of businesses under a single banner (Belasen, 2008, p. 49). Belasen (2006, p. 25), quotes 1987 Jackson’s description of corporate communication as ‘the entirety communication activity created by an organization to attain its planned goals’. Full communication implies various communication forms that occur in an organization including managerial, market, and organizational interaction. Corporate communication plans in organizations including Coca Cola are instrumental in assisting stakeholders to understand a business and communicate the identity of organizations (Cornelissen, 2011, p. 87).
Corporate communication in a company is crucial for implementing strategic goals, building reputation and branding, and thus generating economic value. Hence, it is composed of various activities related to coordination and management of both external and internal communications meant to create favorable initial tips with stakeholders (Freeman, 2006, p. 68). According to Freeman’s stakeholder approach, stakeholders are individuals or groups that can impact or are influenced by company’s objectives and achievements (Freeman, 2010, p. 46). Coca-Cola corporation stakeholders include customers, consumers, employees, non-governmental organizations, government and regulators, suppliers, and local communities.
The only means to ensure that an organization succeeds in its corporate operation is by having strong centralized operations with direct links to chief executive officer. This was manifested in Coca Cola under the headship of Douglas Ivester, the former CEO. His advanced formalized, centralized managerial structure with distinct authority hierarchy and a mechanistic organization process has assisted to maintain control and escalate expansion and marketing strategies. This organizational structure was condemned by external communities. They claimed that perspective of the company was excessively global and assumed native communities (Hays, 2004, p. 134).
Under the headship of firm’s new CEO, the company started decentralizing its activities to be more local. Augmented horizontal communication is currently practiced within the company. Horizontal communication is casual communication between colleagues or peers of the same rank of the managerial structure (Cunnigham & James, 2011, p. 130). Coca Cola started adopting economies of scale and spanning in addition to cutting rate of production in worldwide plans, which allowed product design, production, and marketing to be the same throughout the continent.
Implementation of corporate communication in a company helps build constructive corporate reputation. The latter is finally affected by corporate uniqueness, symbolism, behavior, and affects performance of the organization (Cannigham & Haney, 2012, p. 48). A company communicates with its stakeholders via images and messages. Stakeholders ultimately respond by correlating themselves with certain companies. It has an impact on stakeholders’ perceptions on the prospect of the organization and, therefore, affects available resources (Bender, 2008). Reputation and identity, image, corporate ethics and community relations, crisis management, human resource management, and worker relations are important functions of a company that relies on successful implementation of corporate communication.
Identity, Image, and Standing
Corporate uniqueness is organization’s uniqueness and reality, which is linked to its internal and external reputation and image (Ludlow, 2009, p. 20). It is also a way of realizing competitive advantage. Organization’s image is a manifestation of company’s reality. Corporate image entails three dimensions:
- Product dimension: Promotional distinctiveness, competitive advantage, product support, and endorsement.
- Relation dimension: The affiliation of the organization with employees, the native community, and the government.
- Management dimension: What the organization administrative process, goals, understanding the objectives of the company and knowledge management.
Corporate communication plans of Coca Cola within the organization entail the analysis of stakeholders to appreciate the needs and attitudes of their own stakeholders. This entails carrying out a number of focus group interviews with customers aged at least 18 years and with Coca Cola company workers. Besides, it includes interviews with consumers, NGOs and the media. Constant use of white and red colors, the writing, and the model wave is an essential part of organization’s corporate image identity and is crucial to all groups of stakeholders (Riel & Balmer, 2007, p. 123).
With effective management, company’s standing can be a priceless asset that makes a company more flexible in today’s competitive environment. Corporate standing is affected by the manner in which the organization projects its picture through behavior, symbolism, and communication. It is only multi-stakeholder’s build that can be utilized to measure the extent to which company’s communication system is effective. When there is inadequate information for stakeholders to make decisions about an organization, at times they will rely on company’s reputation to fasten the decision-making process.
Crisis Management and Culture
During the times of crisis, a good status acts as a cushion for companies (Schindhelm, 2012, p. 87). After more than 200 people were reported to be feeling ill in 1999, the company was enforced to recollect its soft munchies in western European countries such as France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Netherlands. Taylor explains in his research study that communication strategy and public relations of a company should be implemented on a worldwide scale. He made this conclusion by using 1980 Hofstede’s cultural dimension theory. It explains the extent to which values are affected by various cultures of countries. Taylor suggests that in states with high uncertainty avoidance and high power distance, people strongly react to conflicts by forcing the authority to place veto on Coca Cola’s correlated products sales. On the other hand, authorities of states with low uncertainty avoidance and low power distance fail to react to the conflict (M & PR, 2007, p. 345).
Organizational culture was also required to precisely comprehend the environment the company was set out on. “Culture includes that prototype relative to behavior and human action results which maybe hereditary” (Cornelissen, 2011, p. 8). Under the leadership of a new CEO, Coca Cola adopted the approach known as “think local, act local” in its marketing. It highlighted why addressing customers’ cultural needs is important in the local market. He made the observation that even though Coke was a worldwide brand, consumers did not drink Coke worldwide. Consequently, Coke has been employing localized plans in advertising, marketing, and public relations by performing wide-ranging stakeholders’ analysis. Besides, the corporation adopted a risk management plan that included operational, financial, environmental, ethical, and social reflection and implied that through risk identifications and possible impacts these factors could have on business, they can focus on specific fields and spot ways to effectively control their influence on company’s functions (Hays, 2004, p. 58).
Corporate Ethics and Community Relations
Coca Cola is currently working to be a model citizen by extending to locals and engaging in charitable and social activities. Similar to reputation, corporate relation and ethics with outside stakeholders are imperative in creating a positive image of the company. Social liability and corporate ethics of Coca Cola help build the integrity of the company. In 1960, Davis Keith claimed that corporate social liability refers to actions and decisions of the business taken for reasons partially above company’s technical or direct economic concern. Stakeholder management is crucial here since it brings together objectives of the company with expectation and claims made by a diverse stakeholder group (Riel & Balmer, 2007, p. 167).
Human Resource Management and Worker Relation
Human resource management is an important management structure within a company, and effective communication is important for successful HRM. Human resource management is a section of management process specializing in people’s management in companies (Bender, 2008, p. 150). HRM highlights that workers are important to achieve enduring competitive advantage. Practices of human resource management should be incorporated alongside the corporate strategy. Human resource experts assist organizational managers to attain both competence and impartiality goals (Bender, 2008, p. 67).
Coca Cola works on improving communication and workers’ relations and deems that they are essential components of the organization success. Workers’ relations involve the work body dealing with maintenance of employer-worker relationship that add to satisfactory productivity, morale, and motivation. Basically, workers relationship deals with detecting and solving problems involving people, which are affecting or are due to affect work conditions.
The most esteemed internal stakeholders are workers since they deliver the produce to external stakeholders of the company. Internal corporate communication takes place within the department of the company as portrayed in Van incorporated corporate communication model. It is defined as communication between company’s strategic managers with its inner stakeholders (in Coca Cola’s case is its workers). It is intended to increase dedication to the company, responsiveness to its dynamic environment, and comprehend its evolving objectives (M & PR, 2007, p. 145). Coca Cola company follows analogous structure about internal communication as displayed in the model of Welch and Jackson. In an organization, corporate messages communicated directly to workers help strengthen workers obligation towards overall objectives of a company. Similarly, direct communication between bosses and their workers assists in building a sagacity of belonging to the company. Sense of belonging ultimately motivates workers to promote responsiveness and comprehension of company’s brand to outside stakeholders.
Coca Cola organization integrates both soft HRM and hard HRM in their organization depicted in the option model modified by Analoui. This replica reflects a more holistic advance to human resource manager.
Frameworks and Policies of Human Resource Manager Input Stage
This model embodies communication strategy with more emphasis on human resource management employed by global corporations such as Coca Cola. It describes how policies of HRM input stages are created at superior management levels based on the information and knowledge gathered from external, internal, and personal sources. Strategies are then taken to line and operational organization stages where they are executed, and ultimately terminate at an output stage that impacts the company, individuals, and society leading to improved performance, effectiveness, and work life quality. Representation proves effective as it observes organization culture and individual as well as insight of stakeholders regarding the company. This can be understood on a global basis for an organization such as Coca Cola (Hays, 2004, p. 189).