Image Communication Consultancy is a newly established enterprise that plans to be a leading communication firm in the industry. With the growing conflicts brought by economic and political crisis worldwide, many organisations’ images and reputation are tarnished because of negative media broadcast and negative press publications. Therefore, to stabilise and to enhance favourable image, Image Communication Consultancy firm has a collection of skilled and competent staff to deal with the hurdles that affect various organisations.
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To realise this strategic plan, Image Communications Consultancy has embarked on a vigorous campaign to solicit support from key stakeholders. Indeed, it is by a solid back up from this important public matter that the consultancy firm will sail to the other side of realising the planned objectives. Owing to the challenges that are inevitable on the way to success, the consultancy firm has established a concrete plan of action to counter any unfavourable and unforeseeable events. Included in this plan is segmentation of tasks into departments for easy identification of any hurdles.
Products and Services
Designing (Design Department)
The in-house design department will be established and will be fully equipped with the latest design software. Services in the department will include designing corporate identity letterheads, complimentary slips, business cards, conference material posters, folders, banners, programs, notebooks, newsletters and magazines, outdoor branding material banners, bunting, print media adverts, promotional material t-shirts, caps, sweatshirts, invitation cards, annual reports, brochures, CD & DVD inlay covers, and flyers.
We will handle all aspects of events including selection of venues, compilation of the guest list, inviting the guest of honour, speeches, catering equipment, program design, décor, welcome desk, invitation cards, branding, media, identifying a master of ceremony, below-the-line advertising, and post event reports.
Image Communications firm will be one of the few PR firms in America providing this service. This will allow us to help clients develop key insights into government policies and/or engage with the government in an effective and efficient manner with insightful and topical information. Over the next five or six months after commencing business, we will have developed an impressive and unrivalled network of relationships with key government officials and influencers.
Our approach will not be to communicate to the media, but rather to communicate to the clients as our target audiences via the media. This fundamental distinction, in our view, will be the key to successful public relations. One of our greatest strengths will be state-of-the-art media centre that is fully equipped with electronic broadcast cameras and an edit suite. We will be able to produce news shots in-house ready to be submitted to the mainstream media houses. We will also develop the widest range of communication materials for clients. Besides, it will be among our key goals to ensure that our clients get the widest and timely media coverage.
Our media centre will be well manned with former journalists and public relations specialists who have established strong relationships with various local and regional media. This will allow our clients to create an ongoing dialogue with the media. The constant flow of “client-media-public” information is a hallmark of the high success rate that we wish to achieve in terms of generating quality media coverage for our clients.
Employee communication is the process through which organisations share information, motivate, and build commitment with their employees. Image Communications Consultancy will assist the human resource function of its clients to execute internal communication programs. Our services will include:
- Producing internal newsletters.
- Organising staff parties, team building events, and fun days.
- Advising on CEO Communiqués and other special events.
Training & Development
We will offer training in the following areas:
- The role of corporate communications and public relations
- Evaluating the effectiveness of publics /leadership
- Documentary production brand PR
- Corporate identity
- Corporate social responsibility
- Crisis communications
- Employee communications
- Presentation skills
The objective of Image Communication Consultancy will be to ensure that the financial stakeholders have the desired understanding of an organisation’s financial performance, especially the publicly traded companies. It will also engage in planned and effective communication of results that convey important business developments and new initiatives, preparation of annual reports, investor briefings, and communication around IPOs. Our consultancy will also assist all listed companies in managing relationships with their investors through organising road shows.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Image Communication Consultancy will offer specialised advisory services to its clients to ensure their corporate social responsibilities are met given the resources that are available for the firm and the clients at large. We will identify campaigns that clients may contribute towards worthy causes such as fight against illiteracy, AIDS awareness, famine relief, support charities, and assisting the aged or handicapped among others, which are in line with the firm’s goals and objectives. All of them will help to raise social responsibility to the community. The sharing of our work experience with NGOs will provide our clients with any information about sustainable development programs they can participate in for their own good. As part of our personal responsibility and corporate citizenship, Image Communication Consultancy will participate in several projects in a bid to give back to the society. We also provide pro bono services to several clients on a regular basis in the areas of:
- Communication counsel
- Crisis and issues management
- Media production
- Design work
According to Yau-De, Chyan, and Kuei-Ying (2012, 558), effective crisis communication is the key to successful crisis management. Image Communication Consultancy will assist clients in developing effective crisis management communication systems. During crises situations, Image Communication Consultancy will take upon itself with not just the media but with all other stakeholders affected on behalf of its clients to address the situation.
Image Communication Consultancy will specialise in conceptualising, planning, and executing high standards, quality events involving heads of state, business leaders, and global personalities. Our services will include compilation of guest lists, invitation of guests, venue set up, preparation of all media materials, and overall program co-ordination among others that are within our capacity.
Our competitive edge
To cover up on our competitors’ weakness, we shall introduce certain services that our competitors will not be offering. Examples of the services will include revising our modes of payment, offering online services, motivational talks, and credit policies. Besides, we will offer better services. Our business will also make use of the modern technology in the delivery of services to its clients. Bitner, Brown, and Meuter assert that the adoption of modern technology enhances efficiency, hence acting as a plausible means of attracting and retaining customers1. The business will also capitalise on research. There will be no business action that will be taken before carrying out the necessary research and analysis of the results of any subject or issue that the firm will have at hand. Sealing of the current loopholes in public relations market will also be our core business since this crucial practice is what many customers are lacking.
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The business is about offering consultancy services. Therefore, it is a partnership business that is strategically situated in the United States, Northern Carolina. The company will undertake both projects, ad hoc and contract works, and designing the communication program to suit the clients’ need. Core staffs that are fully supported by specialists when required will guarantee personalised service. The company will be a wholly American-owned company specialising in communications, public relations programs, and event management including fundraising, lobbying, advocacy, motivational speaking, leadership training, guidance and counselling, editing and publishing, and communication auditing.
The major objective of Image Communication Consultancy is to be the regional public relations leader in communications by executing clients’ requirement professionally, effectively, and efficiently. The business also aims at being synonymous with regional professionalism and quality and to constantly keep our attitude on the pulse of the communications industry. It is also the objective of the company to have a healthy and successful company that is a leader in customer service and one that has a huge loyal customer following. The business also aims at being recognised as the leading integrated public relations firm in the region.
Background of Owner and Management team
Image Communication Consultancy is a partnership firm comprising three members. The partners bring in new knowledge and skills since they are public relations and communication specialists. The three owners will be part of the senior management team.
There exists a large market for public relations and communication consultancy. The current market in product design, employee relations, events management, corporate social responsibility, financial public relations, and other facets of public relations is not yet met.
Since the venture that Image Communication Consultancy wants to enter is profit-oriented, we shall have to carry out an effective marketing analysis. We shall begin by carrying out a systematic research, which will help us know about our intended market. The reasons for carrying out market research and analysis is to know:
- The target market (our customers to be)
- Market size and trends
- Competition in the market
- Estimated market share for the services that we want to introduce.
The two kinds of market research that Image Communication Consultancy is going to employ include primary research and secondary research. In secondary research, the firm will source information from trade journals, organisations’ magazines e.g. APRS (American Public Relations Society) publications, magazines, demographic profiles, and industry (service profile). This information will be accessed through our visits to public libraries, online, vendors from related service industry that we want to engage in, and government agencies among other credible sources. While employing primary research, we shall gather data on our own by carrying out surveys and focused-group interviews to learn about our target customers’ preferences, our competitors, market trends, our estimated market share, and market needs and demand.
Expected Size and Growth Rate of our Market
The business is expected to grow at a speedy rate, to break–even, and to outdo its competitors by its third year. Success and growth in venturing into the market will be achieved through various methods of appealing to customers. One of the methods is through advertising. Image Communication Consultancy will employ advertising as its form of commercial mass communication that is purely designed to promote the sale of its services or a message in its organisation/firm. The second method will be via direct advertising by presenting information about our services directly to consumers.
This will include catalogue sales and other solicitation for mail or telephone orders, distributing information about local businesses through the mail, and other direct presentation or delivery of advertising to potential customers. The business will also use the World Wide Web to expand its market. This strategy is a computer-based network of information resource that combines text and multimedia. The information on the World Wide Web will be accessed and searched via the internet, a global computer network. The market is also expected to grow via efforts of sales promotion. Sales promotion will be one of the techniques we are going to use as a marketing process to close the sale of our services to potential customers by providing the incentive to make a positive purchase decision.
Expected market share and industry trend
The business expects to increase its market share in a gradual manner. Although there is a great competition in the communication market today, there is still a large market whose needs are not yet met. According to Churintr, the expected trend in the market is that the information age will increase the need for public communication consultancy2. Bitner, Brown, and Meuter confirm that the adoption of the information communication technology in the world will also hype the need for various facets of public relations3. Image Communication Consultancy is therefore targeting to improve its market share within the course of the next three years.
Forecasts for the first three years of operations, long-term loans, and Equity invested
|Amortisation development and expansion||$17500||$19504||$22,082|
|Company vehicle||$17000||$ 27019||$39911|
|FF and E||$23000||$31,015||$41329|
Liabilities and Equities
|Long term liability||$93537||$86 467||$79397|
|Total liabilities||$106 542||$113183||$120387|
|Total liabilities and equity||$129,333||$155,913||$189,287|
Environmental and Industry Analysis
Industry demand, substitute products, and our competitive situations using five forces
Weakness of our competitors
Our competitors are lagging behind in the latest technology in the market. This will give us a competitive advantage over our rivals who still use the outdated technology, which is obsolete in the contemporary society. Our technology is up to date. We use modern equipment such as projectors. Besides, we have a website that will help us link with our potential prospects. Our competitors do not have public relation skills, knowledge, and professionalism from high institutions. However, we are having more skills and knowledge from university, which will come in handy in terms of helping us execute our services in a professional way.
Our competitors work for short hours. We realised that our competitors do not open their businesses during normal working hours. At times, they do not inform their clients when they will not be operating especially during public holidays and/or during auditing periods that require closure of the business. Thus, we intend to open our business from 8:00 to 5:00 in the evening. They also do not have good customer relations.
They do not provide customer care services like treating them well as well as seeking feedback from their prospects. Further, they do not respond to complaints raised by customers. Caruana asserts that customers are likely to withdraw from a business that does not offer attention to their dissatisfaction4. Our competitors do not take their services to people. They do not advertise their services. Moreover, they rarely go out to seek prospects. Instead, they wait for customers in their magnificent offices without taking their services to the remotely located places.
Our Competitive Edge
To cover up on our competitors’ weakness, we shall introduce certain services that our competitors will not be offering. Examples of the services will include revising our modes of payment, offering online services, motivational talks, credit policies, and offering better services.
Image Communication Consultancy will operate from Monday to Saturday. Practitioners will be required to report at the workplace at 8.00am. There will be a lunch break from 1.00 to 2.00pm. They will be expected to leave at 5.00pm in the evening.
Method of Selling our Products
Our services will be on a personal basis. Since we are professionals in these areas, we shall deliver our services to our clients. However, based on our high expectations that the business will expand soon as time goes by, we will employ other specialists in film making and video shooting to assist us in carrying out our consultancy services.
The Porter’s five forces method is one of the ways of analysing forces that shape industry competition. According to Porter, these forces are “degree of rivalry in the industry, threats of new entrants, threats of substitutes, the bargaining power of customers, and the bargaining power of suppliers.5” The current strengths of competitors in the market include the fact that they have a larger share in the market in terms of customers. The competitors command a larger share. The market niche of our enterprise will also be small since the business will be new. However, it will pick up after marketing and advertising. The firm’s consultants have already laid out strategies to enter the market and secure a considerable share within its first three years. It is estimated that by its fourth year in the market, Image Communication Consultancy will command the largest share of the public relations and communication market in America.
Our competitors have long established themselves in the market. They are also known by many clients who solicit for public relations consultancy services. Many of potential prospect have established loyalty to them. Thus, we have to strategise our marketing skills to win over their minds in an effort to break the monopoly. Strategies to touch the hearts and minds of our competitors’ clients have been laid down. Our business wills endeavour to offer that which is prominently lacking from the competitors’ desks. Clients’ loyalty will also be cemented through professionalism and commitment in public relations. Caruana observes that customers will be more attracted to businesses that offer them satisfaction6. Such will be the case of Image Communication Consultancy firm.
Our competitors are also strategically located in premises that are magnificent and easily accessible. This gives them an added advantage to win many first prospects who seek public relations consultancy services for the first time. In addition, their location has a larger parking space for vehicles besides being near the highway. Image consultants have understood this as one of their threats to their potential market. The business has therefore rented a parking lot for about 100 vehicles in a building that is annexed to their offices. Proper displays and use of appealing colours on bill boards and signboards around the office have also been put in place. Moreover, the increased radio and television advertisements will make the business a common name in the country.
The fourth force is that the competitors have experience in the market since they have worked for many years in the consultancy service. Although they are not well trained in public relations profession, they so far have gained skills in the field of consultancy because of their many years of being in the field where they have had opportunities to interact with a variety of clients. However, the modern world has increased knowledge on various issues. The market welcomes professionals and professionalism. It is at this premise that Image Communication Consultancy stands.
The fifth force of competition from our competitors is that they have a stronger financial base since they have been in the communication market for a long time. The competition is therefore not likely to be levelled since the competitors have better financial groundings. Their stock will also be more compared to low stocking in our company at the beginning of the year. However, Image Communication Consultancy has more technical and knowledge skills.
The wealth of knowledge that the management brings in is likely to draw the attention of most of the clients who receive services from the competitors. In addition, since there are only a few public relations consultancies in America, these companies seem to enjoy the monopoly of the market, hence the reason why they offer substandard services. However, Image Communication Consultancy will bring in freshness and professionalism in the market. Since customers want the best in terms of satisfaction, the firm’s consultants will stand for the best and nothing less. The core values of the business will market it in a better way.
Manufacturing and Operational Plan
Manufacturing and operation plan will involve business’s production, facilities, location, space requirements, labour force, inventory control, and purchasing
Image consultants will operate from Monday to Friday from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. Image consultants will be operational all year round.
Mr. Joel, Ms. Ketran, and Mr. Suelda will be the only employees of Image Communication Consultancy firm for the initial two years of operation. In case there will arise a need for reinforcement of human resources, the business will hire qualified personnel on a contract basis. These professionals will be paid half of one proprietors’ remuneration for their services. The employees who will initially get into the company through contract basis will later on be absorbed into full employment according to their performance. The business forecast that within two years, it will reach 60% of its operational capacity. At this point, the company will hire extra, but part-time professionals on a full-time basis. In addition, the company will also hire an administrative assistant. More human resources will be added with an increase in business revenue and expansion.
The firm’s consultants look forward to incurring costs for business liability insurance. It is estimated that the business will pay $4,000 every year.
Operating Capital needed
The start up of the business will have high demands. For instance, the business must have enough working capital for the initial three months. The initial capital will be raised through members’ contributions. Since the three proprietors have been in self-employment and other entrepreneurial activities, they have saved enough funds to kick start the business. The three members have also dedicated themselves to work on a full-time basis for the business for at least three years. This has been ratified through signing of contracts. The business forecasts that it will require about $20,000 as its working capital.
This money will enable it meet its operation costs. Since the business expects low activities in the initial months of operations, the business will therefore be much involved in proposal development and marketing using the available capital. As the business grows and/or begins a series of activities and open up contacts, it will require more capital. The business will therefore consider taking long-term loans from micro-finances. These loans will be fully serviced through the profits drawn from the business.
Office Requirements and Asset Acquisitions
Image Communication Consultancy will lease office space located at:
453 Duncan Avenue, Suite 1002, Introit, North Carolina. This office space will be leased and will be enough to accommodate all its office equipment such as computers, fax machine, photocopier, and other communication machines. The company will spend about $5,000 to renovate the office to a real public relations firm that reflects its corporate identity. The company will pay a monthly rent of $500 for the office. In addition, the business will spend the following on location; renovations $5,000, equipment and furniture $5,000, field machines $20,000, and $ 9,000 on software. Hence, a total capital cost of $39,000 will be required.
Additional machines and offices will be acquired as the need arises. Image consultants will accept payments by cash, cheques, and/or visa. The business will also offer credit to account holders. All clients will be required to repay their loans by a net of 30. The program will enable the business to avoid cash flow problems. There will be a late payment charge of 2% of the total outstanding balance for the project.
The company will equip itself well with technical and business skills. The three proprietors who are also the employees of the company for the first three years have a wealth of technical skills. For example, all the three are holders of Masters of Science in Public Relations from recognised universities in America. In addition, Mr. Joel holds a diploma in accounting from the Harvard University. Ms. Ketran is also a holder of a post graduate diploma in human resource management, and Mr. Suelda also brings in a wealth of experience in public relations after having been in the industry for 15years.
Benefits to Community
Image Communication Consultancy will benefit the community through economic development, community development, and human development. The company will provide employment to many unemployed young people in Northern Carolina. In addition, the company will offer financial advice to young people with high entrepreneurial spirit. Companies will also benefit by acquiring knowledge and skills in community relations, employee relation, and customer relations. Yau-De, Chyan, and Kuei-Ying observe that the inception of Image Communication Consultancy will reduce the rate of conflicts that various companies in this region experience7.
According to Churintr, industrial actions where there are disagreements between employing companies and its human resources will also be reduced through employee relations8. Image Communication Consultancy will train the management of various industries on how to relate with their employees. The community will therefore benefit by having stable employments in various companies in North Carolina. The firm’s consultants will also provide for corporate social responsibility. This program will be conducted in both continuous and occasional basis. The company will offer free conflict resolution services throughout the year. It is through this program, which will be wholly sponsored by the three proprietors that the consultants will give back to the community while also ensuring close contact with them. In addition, the firm’s consultants will also conduct tree planting in various forests in America.
Moreover, they will offer career guidance in at least five schools in America. Since the business will also be involved in image management and restructuring, it will also assist young people to brand and re-brand themselves in the competitive market. It is projected that the business will offer free sponsorships after its third year of operation for learners who are talented in the field of communication. These learners who will be selected from poor families will enjoy full high school and university scholarships from Image Communication Consultancy. The students who will also be balanced by gender will also enjoy the privilege of becoming employees of the company in the future.
Bitner, J, W Brown & L Meuter, ‘Technology Infusion in Service Encounters’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 28, no. 1, 2000, pp.138-149. Web.
Caruana, A, ‘Service Loyalty: The Effects of Service Quality and the Mediating role of Customer Satisfaction’, European Journal of Marketing, vol. 36, no.7/8, 2002, pp.811-828. Web.
Churintr, P, ‘Perceived Organisational Culture, Stress, And Job Satisfaction Affecting On Hotel Employee Retention: A Comparison Study Between Management And Operational Employees’, Employment Relations Record, vol. 10, no. 2, 2010, pp.64-74. Web.
Porter, M, ‘The five forces that shape strategy’, Harvard business review, vol. 3, no. 1, 2008, pp. 56-63. Web.
Yau-De, W, Y Chyan & W Kuei-Ying, ‘Comparing Public and Private Employees’ Job Satisfaction and Turnover’, Public Personnel Management, vol. 4, no. 3, 2012, pp. 557-573. Web.
A Table for competitive Analysis
|Factor||Strength||Weakness||Competitor A||Competitor B||Importance to customer|
|Product||Time saving products||Not known by many customers||Has many products in the market||Has few but known products||important|
|Price||Situated in average-life standard environment||Can’t fit very low class customers||High prices for services and products||Below average prices for products||Important|
|Quality||Made and provided by PR professionals||In adequate marketing facilities for services||Has no professional PR practitioners hence low quality||Has few professionals but not committed to duties hence slow in delivery||Very important|
|Selection||The available products are well packaged||New entrant into the market||Has many products hence allow customers to select from variety||Has few products hence customers don’t have variety||Not important|
|Service||Professionalism in delivery and design||Not many customers are familiar with it||Few services on offer and few professionals for delivery||Variety of services to offer but non committed officers to deliver||Important|
|Reliability||Experienced officers||Not many customers have tried the services||Reliable due to its stay in the market||Not reliable due to it lack of professionals||critical|
|Expertise||Graduate PR officers in management||Not readily accepted in the market||Is reliable due to its presence in the market over the years||Low expertise due to lack of professionals||Not very important|
|Company reputation||New in the market and professionalism based||Not well established||Has high reputation due to its many years of practice||Has bad reputation due to it lack of Professional PR personnel||Critical|
|Location||Located in proximity to its target customers||Has to take time in establishing a market share in the location||Not strategically located for quick accessibility by customers||Strategically located by poorly branded for quick identification by customers||Important|
- J Bitner, W Brown & L Meuter, ‘Technology Infusion in Service Encounters’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 28, no. 1, 2000, pp.138. Web.
- P Churintr, ‘Perceived Organisational Culture, Stress, And Job Satisfaction Affecting On Hotel Employee Retention: A Comparison Study Between Management And Operational Employees’, Employment Relations Record, vol. 10, no. 2, 2010, p.64. Web.
- Bitner, Brown & Meuter, p. 138. Web.
- A Caruana, ‘Service Loyalty: The Effects of Service Quality and the Mediating role of Customer Satisfaction’, European Journal of Marketing, vol. 36, no.7/8, 2002, p. 828. Web.
- M Porter, ‘The five forces that shape strategy’, Harvard business review, vol. 3, no. 1, 2008, pp. 57. Web.
- Caruana, p. 828. Web.
- W Yau-De, Y Chyan & W Kuei-Ying, ‘Comparing Public and Private Employees’ Job Satisfaction and Turnover’, Public Personnel Management, vol. 4, no. 3, 2012, p. 558. Web.
- Churintr, p. 64. Web.