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Marks & Spencer: Strategic Business Communication Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jun 20th, 2020

Propaganda proliferated by Boko Haram

Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad also known as Boko Haram is a militant Islamic group in Northern Nigeria. The term Boko Haram derives its meaning from the native Hausa language, which loosely translates to prohibition of Western education. Even though Mohamed Yusuf, a charismatic Muslim cleric, founded the militia in 2002, it launched its military operations in the year 2009.

The dreadful actions aimed at causing havoc majorly in Christian strongholds characterise the activities of the group. The group target government facilities, churches and security agencies. Besides, Boko Haram militia attacked the government girl’s secondary school in predominantly Christian state of Borno and kidnapped over three hundred girls. The kidnappings prompted abuzz of media criticism of Boko Haram for carrying out such an inhuman act. In their defense, the militant group embarked on different propaganda techniques to justify their actions.

One of the techniques the militia used is to sensationalise Islamic religious belief system. Boko Haram makes adherents believe that the scriptures within the Holy Book guide their actions. Quran considers non-believers in the teachings of Allah as transgressors. However, such teachings do not apply in any traditions of Quran. Boko Haram forbids any Muslim from engaging in any political or social activities associated with the cultural practices, beliefs and policies of the western nations. Besides, the group constantly opposes the Nigerian government, any form of western education and dressing among other practices.

Secondly, Boko Haram has been propagating fear among the Christian population. In particular, the terror group constantly reports forceful conversion of the captured victim to Islam. The group uses fear propaganda to cause panic among the population and get ransom from the authorities and the victims’ families. Third, experts argue that Boko Haram systematically applies testimonials from Muslim clerics to incite the predominantly Muslim north against the largely Christian south. Precisely, the group uses this propaganda strategy as well as emotional words that make Muslims feel strongly attached to their course.

The communication strategies and tactics of Marks Spencer Inc

Marks Spencer is an international firm that specialises in home appliances and apparel products ranging from clothes to fixtures and food items. The firm operates in approximately seven hundred locations in over thirty-four countries (Marks & Spencer, 2012). The firm applies the James Grunig’s model of press agent or the publicity model of public relations. The model emphasises on the need for a press agent or publicist to champion the communication strategy of the organisation. The model endorses the press agent through enormous media coverage in an attempt to promote the visibility of the firm’s products in the market. Generally, the truth is not an absolute requirement. Similarly, understanding is not a necessity under this model.

Recently, Marks & Spencer acquired the services of actress Caroline Quentin’ voice in advertisement on visual media. The voice stresses on what makes M&S food special and different from others. A television advertisement of the firm’s spring women wear featured Brazilian model Anna Beatriz and former footballer Jamie Redknapp as the face of men’s wear.

The second model is the public information model. According to Grunigi, the model emphasises on the importance of passing accurate information to the public. Besides, the model is a one-way communication that does not seek to persuade the audience or influence their perception in any way. The relevant information is released to the audience who need it to clarify on contentious issues. In July 2012, amidst the ban on genetically modified food, Marks & Spencer released a press conference highlighting on their business methods and the organisation’s commitment to ethical programs. In other words, the firm has utilised the model to provide information concerning its dealings and the products.

Strategic communications, marketing and public relations

Strategic communications involve the development, dissemination and assessment of communication to advance the mission of an organisation. Generally, strategic communications involve the examination of organisational communication strategy from a multidisciplinary approach (Hallahan et al., 2007). The whole package comprises a number of disciplines that include marketing, advertising, management and public relations.

Public relations have the sole purpose of establishing and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship with the organisations’ customers, employees, investors, government and community leaders. Consequently, marketing staffs require such mutual relationship in creating awareness and promoting sales of the organisations’ products and services (Hallahan et al., 2007). The disciplines need strategic managers to facilitate the orderly operations of the organisation by supplying needed information.

Even though the disciplines can be used interchangeably to mean the same thing, strategic communication management proves to be more appropriate. The term strategic communication is a multidimensional concept that highlights on the notion that communication is the center of success in any program undertaken by the organisation. Moreover, strategic communication involves the examination of an organisations’ presence in society as well as creation of public culture and the discussion of social issues, which is key to marketing.

The complex nature of the world today has prompted organisations to pursue effective measures that ensure firms remain admired and most attractive to all stakeholders (Hallahan et al., 2007). Additionally, research indicates that various communications disciplines have similar strategies of achieving their objectives. Therefore, organisations acknowledge the need to coordinate communications by the convergence of different concepts of information management across various disciplines such as marketing and public relations.

Several corporations in the United States and Europe have adopted Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) concept to explain the nature of the services they offer. For instance, the Mercer Human Resources Consulting Group adopted the term strategic communications management to describe all its services that pertains to any form of communication. The term seems right as a unifying framework of analysing communication by the group.


Hallahan, K, Holtzhausen, D, Ruler, B, Vercic, D & Sriramesh, K 2007, “Defining strategic communication,” International Journal of Strategic Communication, vol.1 no.1, pp.3-35. Web.

Marks & Spencer 2008, Plan a report confirms M&S as first carbon neutral major retailer. Web.

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