Integrated Corporate Communication Dissertation

Pages: 52 (16981 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 52  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Business

Integrated Corporate Communication and Corporate Communication

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Integrated Corporate Communication (ICC) and Corporate Communication (CC) are the major communications and business developments of recent time, could be described as a millennial approach to business. While both have their history in marketing, they are more than simply communications or marketing approaches, but describe a synergistic management approach, in which communication is paramount. The idea that all of a corporation's public interactions helped shape its brand and its reputation led to the development of CC, which required approaching every potential interaction as an advertising opportunity, and reinforcing the brand at each of those opportunities. When the internet exploded, and it was no longer feasible for corporations to keep their internal communications from becoming external communications, it became clear that the most successful corporations were those that promoted the same messages internally and externally. The idea of an integrated corporate message is at the heart of ICC. In this paper, the researcher examines how ICC is the next step in corporate communications, both as a means of communication and as a management strategy, and how ICC helps develop brand recognition that goes beyond the brand recognition and messages conveyed through traditional advertising. The researcher does so by investigating three corporations that are well-known for their brands, as well as for their reputations: Starbucks, FedEx, and the New York Times. The research reveals that all three companies use ICC, and that this has been a conscientious approach for FedEx and Starbucks from their inception, and an approach embraced by the New York Times in 2005. ICC allows these corporations to more readily respond to stakeholder feedback, which gives them a competitive edge.


TOPIC: Dissertation on Integrated Corporate Communication and Corporate Communication Reflective Assignment

Integrated Corporate Communication (ICC) and Corporate Communication (CC) are thought to be the major communications and business developments of recent time. These innovative approaches to communications and management span the time period at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, and could be described as a millennial approach to business. CC predated ICC, and initially really focused on communication. In fact, it built upon what was already known about advertising and marketing. The early results were not necessarily cohesive; corporations could end up sending conflicting messages because advertising methods are not necessarily the best methods for other elements of corporate communication. The larger the corporation, the more likely it was to send conflicting messages because the greater the number of stakeholders, and the greater number of opportunities to send inconsistent messages. In addition, as corporations grew through mergers and acquisitions, they became increasingly likely to have diverse interests, making it more difficult to structure a cohesive corporate message. This need for a cohesive message helped prompt the need for integration in CC. That is not to suggest that integration is a new concept; corporations have been integrating different aspects of their business since corporations began. Therefore, one cannot help but wonder if there is really a difference between CC and ICC or whether the ICC is simply a new name for CC.

Prompting that speculation is the fact that there are three very-highly branded corporations that are known for their ICC, Starbucks, FedEx, and the New York Times, which were highly respected and well-branded even prior to discussions of ICC. While most consumers of these corporations may only interact with a few distinct aspects of a corporation, cohesive branding and consistent corporate communication have made these three corporations powerhouses, even during faltering economies. Moreover, all three of these corporations have had strong corporate reputations even before the advent of ICC. It would be incorrect, however, to suggest that ICC has not improved their corporation communications. This paper will explore how these three companies have used ICC to their advantage to solidify their positions as brand-leaders. It will also look at how properly-used ICC increases corporate function by increasing gains for all of a corporation's stakeholders. This use of ICC helps demonstrate why ICC is a critical next stage for CC.

Aims and Objective


The goal of this research is to demonstrate how integrated corporate communication is the next step in corporate communications, both as a means of communication and as a management strategy, and how ICC helps develop brand recognition that goes beyond the brand recognition and messages conveyed through traditional advertising.


This paper will investigate three corporations that are very well-known for their branding and solid corporate reputations: Starbucks, FedEx, and the New York Times. By investigating the ways that these three companies communicate with all of their various stakeholders, the researcher will determine whether these highly recognizable, highly branded corporations use CC or ICC. Furthermore, by looking into corporate structure and organization, the research will demonstrate that CC and ICC are not simply about communication, but also about management style.

Literature Review

One of the most difficult things about researching CC and ICC is that different people have different definitions for the terms, which can make it very difficult to come up with a cohesive definition for either concept. In fact, the idea that CC and ICC are difficult to define is so prevalent, that one finds frequent mentions of it in the literature, as well as finding conflicting definitions and literature that is not universally applicable to ICC or CC. However, this fluidity is part of the concept of CC, not a reason to abandon CC. "The corporate communications function resists a single fixed definition. It is a dynamic mixture of problem solving skills and insights. It should be viewed as a process rather than as an entity. But there are three key responsibilities encompassed within a truly effective corporate public affairs function: aiding the management of change, helping to define a corporation's role in society, [and] assisting the creation of corporate vision and purpose" (Dolphin, 1999). Therefore, it is important to understand that CC is not fixed, instead it is a process, which means that the process will be impacted by the corporation, so that there will not be a single definition of CC. In fact, when one looks at it from the process perspective, it becomes much easier to understand CC, because its amorphous nature becomes part of its definition, instead of simply being a reason that it defies definition.

Understanding CC also becomes easier when one understands that it refers to a collection of ideas, not a single approach to communications or to corporate management. According to Paul Argenti, CC is: "a department with many functions, a set of communication product, a process to communicate key messages, [and] an attitude or set of mental habits" (Argenti, 2007). When one considers how broad that makes the category of CC, it is no wonder that it can be difficult to define. However, if a corporation is having a difficult time branding itself to the public; it is having a CC problem, because the heart of CC examines how a corporation delivers its message to stakeholders.

Of course, CC problems can also be seen when a corporation is having a problem communicating with its employees. Communicating to employees in a large corporation, especially a global corporation, can be particularly challenging. First, the company has to get the same message to all of its employees, oftentimes crossing language and cultural barriers. However, corporate communication extends beyond the message, and involves the medium of delivery as well (Chin, 2005). In fact, it is the combination of message, medium, and delivery that determines whether employees will receive and understand a corporate message (Chin, 2005). If the message is unable to grab the attention of an employee for the few seconds it requires for someone to determine whether or not to read the message, the message will not be received (Chin, 2005). Therefore, determining the medium that is most likely to garner employee attention becomes an important component of the CC process, adding to its definition and helping define its parameters. Furthermore, this medium is likely to change. For example, when e-mail was still a new form of communication, it was probably the most effective way for corporations to communicate with employees. However, now that email is so subject to inundation, messages can be lost in the medium, and corporations may need to look for another medium with which to relay their messages to their employees.

The email example helps explain why one must examine CC from a historical background, so that one can understand where it came from and why it developed. Changing technologies have certainly impacted how and why corporations communicate with their various stakeholders. In fact, while corporations have always needed to worry about how the public viewed their corporate images, this concern has grown exponentially over the last few decades. That is because historically corporations were somewhat insular; therefore, there did not have to be a significant connection between a carefully crafted public reputation and a company's internal workings. One can see the evolution of corporations themselves when looking at how CC has evolved as well. Looking at corporate… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Integrated Corporate Communication" Dissertation in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Integrated Corporate Communication.  (2011, July 2).  Retrieved October 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Integrated Corporate Communication."  2 July 2011.  Web.  26 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Integrated Corporate Communication."  July 2, 2011.  Accessed October 26, 2021.