Corporate Communications

Corporate Communications:  Strategy and Critique 2020/21

Due date:  30December 2020

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Assignment Brief

You are required to write a 2,000-2,500 word essay based on one of the questions below.


Your essay should be presented in an 11 or 12 point font and be 1.5 or double spaced.


It should be submitted as a Word or PDF format.


(Plan for assignment)


Using published sources, explore the social, technological, ethical, economic and political environments in which your organisation operates. You may wish to do this via a framework such as a PEST / PESTLE / STEEPLE analysis (the one you choose will depend on both the type of organisation under discussion AND your own personal preferences).


This is NOT an overview of the organisation. To do this assignment well, you will need to understand the strategic direction of the organisation in order that your analysis is based on the areas of importance to the organisation. Your PEST/PESTLE/STEEPLE analysis will consider the ISSUES and RISKS facing the organisation as well as e.g. consumer choice, competitor activity, political developments affecting the sector, social trends, etc.





Focussing on the activities of your selected organisation and using both academic and practice-based texts, answer one of the following questions which explores elements of Corporate Communications.



  1. Focussing onso-called “unethical” activities such as the use offront groups, astroturfing or sock puppetry, smear campaigns, character assassination, the circulation of ‘fake news’ online, misleading online advertising, etc, explain the extent to which a selection of the activities described by these terms might be perceived as unethical communications practice
  2. What tactics and strategies have been used by your selected organisation to overcome such strategies when it has been the target of attacks? Were they sufficient or successful – and were they themselves ethical?


OR   What unethical activities have the organisation that you investigated carried out?   Could you justify the use of these tactics?


  1. Considering the reputation of public relations practice and the desire by organisations such as the CIPR for public relations to be considered a strategic business function, is it truly possible for communications practitioners to influence organisational strategy and practice?Can you give examples looking at the organisation you explored in your formative assignment and other organisations in the same sector?


  1. “Long-term prevention goals are difficult to achieve because rewards are often delayed and uncertain (for example, wearing safety belts in a vehicle).” (Wolstenholme, 2013 p. 167). Although measurement and evaluation of campaigns is important to the public relations industry, should practitioners concern themselves with measurement when it is so difficult to measure the effects or a longer-term corporate campaign or position?  Discuss, focussing on the organisation you explored in the formative assignment and other similar organisations.



  1. Discuss how storytelling can be used as part of the internal and/or external communications process ofthe organisation you explored in your formative assignment. Consider both the advantages and disadvantages of using storytelling as acommunications strategy for stakeholder engagement.


  1. “Public affairs and lobbying … [aims] to influence public opinion and policy decisions using public or private communications. This raises concerns about privileged access for those with money and/or influence in society” (Yaxley, 2013: 253). With this in mind, and drawing on relevant examples, including from the organisation you explored in your formative assignment, discuss the question: Can public affairs be practiced for public good?




  1. The Edelman Trust Barometer ( has demonstrated a decline of trust in not just corporations but also politicians, journalists and NGOs. However, should we really see this survey as a global barometer of public opinion? Are there other ways can we establish how trust is perceived in other countries and cultures? Use examples drawn from the organisation you explored in your formative assignment and other similar organisations
  2. To what extent does an understanding of global, local and business cultures play a role in the implementation of global communication strategies? You should focus on the organisation you explored in your formative assignment (which needs to be a global player).


Suitable sources include BBC and other reputable broadcasters/ reputable national and international newspapers/news sites. Also industry research databases such as Mintel and WARC are recommended.


References must be formatted in APA 6th Edition.



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