Communication strategy is the blue print of how the information is going to be disseminated in the intended customers about the product or service, once it is developed. This strategy is composed of a mix like sales promotion, advertising, direct marketing and public relations. It varies from business to business and from place to place (Steyn, 2004). An effective and efficient communication strategy help in building and maintaining connections thus making business reach it goals and achieve its objectives. On contrary, a bad or poor communication strategy hinders and disrupt the channel of information, thus making it difficult for each level to understand the message clearly and act accordingly. Singtel Optus Pty Limited and TPG Telecom are two of leading telecommunication companies in Australia. Firstly, SingTel OptusPty Limited working under brand name of Optus, is second largest telecommunication company in Australia and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SingTel. Optus deals in various communication services including mobile, local and international telephony, services of internet and satellite, business network services, digital media services and subscription TV (SingTel, 2009). On other hand, TGP is also a telecommunication company that deals in providing variety of communication services to more than eight millions of customers including residential users, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), wholesalers and large corporate. It deals in different services like internet, broadband, voice over IP, television subscription (TPG, 2014). This report aims at discussing the nature of communication strategies of both these businesses in light of communication theories. Further, it explains which strategy proved successful and which didn’t. And, lastly, the impact of these strategies on each company will be given. The scope of this work is widespread, providing a base for other businesses to follow suit.
In 1991, Optus got license as second general carrier and thus started providing long distance call at rates that were much cheaper than Telstra. For providing services to the customers, it has owned its network infrastructure and operated from it. Moreover, it also uses the whole sale services provided by Telstra and National Broadband Network. It is providing services to the end users both directly and also through wholesale services providers like Amaysim and Exetel. In addition to this, it also provides services like wireless internet and broadband, along with Satellite and 4G Mobile under ‘Yes’ brand. It has more than 8,700 of employees. It has segments of customer face (CFU’s) that are divided into four units: Optus Business, Consumers, Small and Medium Business, and Optus Wholesale and Satellite (Naikal, et al., 2013)
TPG Telecom Limited is another Telecommunication company in Australia and has earned the name in the fixed-line broadband as being the second-biggest provider. It serves over 1.7 million customers providing various services like internet, voice and data solutions. It also owns PIPE network infrastructure and cloud-hosting company having largest submarine cable network and fiber operation in United States and Asia. It also provides Fiber-to the-Basement (FttB) services to home users of internet. In 2017, it also came in limelight in Australia because it became fourth mobile operator. Thus, TPG deals in services like mobile telephony, online television and internet service provider (TPG, 2014).
3. Compare and Contrast Nature of Communication of Both the Companies
Communicating with stakeholders is fundamental for the success of Optus. These stakeholders are both external and internal. Internal stakeholders include employees and strategic managers of organization while the external ones include consumers, and society in general. Optus uses state of the art Intelligent Communication strategy to communicate with its entire stakeholders following the model of System theory in which each stakeholder of Optus is arranged in a group to interact and achieve its objective (Almaney, 1974). As every level of organization needs a specific set of information, Optus Intelligent communication that is backed by xMatter providing cloud technology creates a message and then deliver it to the right audience. Notification is generated in business language and it is disseminated to all from senior management to technical team and all others stakeholders. Optus also uses a proactive communication strategy to stay in touch with the external stakeholders i.e. customers. It is based on customer relation life cycle strategy. In such communication organizational psychology phenomenon is used i.e. customers act according to anticipatory behavior rather than directly reacting to some specific situation (Allen, 2015). The basic goal of such communication is to decrease the frustration by mitigating issues of customers. Different channels are used in such communication like social media responsiveness, chats, multi-channel contact and opt-in notifications during every stage of the lifecycle. In this way, Optus anticipate the interaction and then streamline it accordingly to ensure that it is personalized for each and every customer. Moreover, Optus App, employee road- shows, emails, newsletter and media releases is all the part of communication strategy that is followed by it.
On the other hand, TPG also have an extensive communication strategy to bring everyone in the circle of communication, be it executive suite or office pod. The board at TPG is responsible for ensuring timely and efficient communication between company and various stakeholders like shareholders and customers so that correct information can be delivered. It uses a multi-faceted approach like calling meetings daily, thus bringing in use day-to-day interactions. In this way each and every member becomes a brand ambassador of the company and represents the value of the company in meetings, presentation, in sending email and on phone (Bridges, et al., 2000). The Employee Relation policy is also followed to provide relevant information to employees and ensure open communication between them and management. The Organizational Information Theory comes into work here because in order to increase the level of commitment of employees to organization and built up sense of belongingness, it is necessary to provide the exact information (Daft & Lengel, 1986). In addition to this, it also uses newsletter, direct strategy launch announcements made by senior management and a handbook of value proposition of TPG. Similar to Optus, media release is another tool used by TPG for communicating with its external stakeholders providing a complete range of information about companies’ performance and new launches. However, it differs from Optus in one aspect that it provides information to the external stakeholder through the Investor Relation page on its website, thus enhancing its relation with them so that it can be used to achieve the goals of TPG an evidence of Social Capital theory (Cheney & Christenson, 2001).
As far internal communication is concerned, it falls under the supervision of organizational management department following model of integrated corporate communication- communication between internal shareholders – employees and strategic managers of organization. The Organizational Information Theory comes into work here because in order to increase the level of commitment of employees to organization and built up sense of belongingness, it is necessary to provide the exact information.
Optus although uses various communication strategies for communication, but the use of social media as one tool didn’t proved productive for it. It used this communication strategy with a thought that many of its customers are actively using Facebook and Twitter and it will be easy to get their feedback. However, the comments given by the customers are mostly negative and it is not able to respond it properly, thus this shows a failure of their communication strategy (Elizabeth, 2013). However, the intelligent communication strategy proved to be fruitful for Optus because it provided a path to communicate with the right audience and with single notification, the whole team is informed.
Similarly, for TPG, the board which serves as a bridge between employees and senior management by communicating the interest and concerns to senior management and the Employee Relation Policy proved to be successful communication strategy for TPG. However, its failure to communicate the right information to customers through advertisement made it in hot water and made it face a court trial (Paterson, 2014). This communication strategy proved unsuccessful for it because the misleading information couldn’t be corrected soon and it was spread throughout the consumers.
The communication strategy of both the companies although had little flaws, but overall the impact proved to be helpful in expansion of the businesses. The reason is that they were able to target each and every stakeholder be it external or internal. Moreover, the strategy was not confined to single tool, rather it had complete mix i.e. Intelligence technology by Optus, newsletters, websites, meetings and social media etc. This enabled them to reach the maximum stakeholders thus resulting in success of these businesses. The strategy of collecting feedback from the customers and from employees and then communicating them forward also added to the success of these both companies. Moreover after merger, the connections of increased of TPG thus making it gain more profit, which is in line with the working of Social Contact theory (Cratchley, 2010).
Communication strategy is the heart of businesses. Without a proper strategy it is impossible for businesses to be successful. The case of Optus and TPG are glaring example of how they used effective communication strategies based on Organizational Information Theory, System theory and Social capital theory and achieved the pinnacles of success. They used different mix to cover each and every side of communication strategy to connect employees and make the managers equip with skills to communicate the right information to all stakeholders. This is what the essence of a right and effective communication strategy is: providing right information to both internal and external stakeholders.
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