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Evaluation of the Communication Strategy

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In further pursuance of the communication strategy adopted by McDonalds it is important to interrogate the model used and the effectiveness with which the message was passed and feedback received. Dr. Schramm developed the popular Schramm’s model that included the entire process of communicating a message to a party and receiving feedback. A modern marketing company must have in mind all the steps that a message should go through before it achieves its purpose. It follows that they should construct it to their advantage so that the message meets its purpose without being misinterpreted or misunderstood. On this line, this paper will interrogate the communication failure of McDonalds in promoting GM’s Hummer product (Beder, 2009).

The source and encoding: the source was clear to the intended buyers but the encoding process demands more attention. Studies note that for a message to be appropriately received the sender’s encoding must be done in awareness of the response to the receivers decoding process. This implies a need of understanding how the receiver interprets message signals. McDonald’s had not done a comprehensive study that would adequately equip with an ability to package their message successfully. As witnessed from the reaction by parents, the message was sent to the children but was addressed to the parents. They had not only missed in packaging, but also in understanding their consumer’s reactions. One company posted a blog that indicated their most natural reaction to this message: they argued that from a child’s perspective the giveaway was simply a toy and not an advertisement promoting the use of a vehicle with a record of any known environmental benefits (Infotech Theory, nd).

Field of experience: this is defined by Schramm as the values, beliefs, experiences and meanings applied by an individual or a group in understanding a message. Mostly the connotative meaning attached to a message by means of a field of experience is responsible for the different meanings attached to a message. In a marketing strategy, the ability of the business to ensure that their field of experience interacts maximally with that of the receiver underlies the success of a communication strategy. McDonald’s ability to ensure an overlap of their field of experience and their target market recipient was a complete flop. They failed to read the mood of the time, which was characterized by an agitation of environmental and pocket-friendly automobiles. The evidence of failure and the negative response was rapid with comments such as: McDonald’s not only wants our children to guzzle calories but also guzzle fuel. Such was the response to the high fuel consumption of the Hummers (Managerial Marketing,nd).

Channel and encoding: the channel selected in this marketing strategy was an informal channel likely to be distorted by factors  such as noise, this informal channel of using children cannot be described as appropriate since the distorts were endless and immediate. This was so because the use of a child intermediary to reach a parent portrayed McDonald’s as unprofessional in its approach to marketing.

The encoding process evidently produced a reaction that was in contrast to the intended impact. The explanation lays in McDonald’s failure to understand the consumers thought patterns appropriately. Schramm notes that lack of this congruence encourages distortions in the message. The distortion can be selective, leading to the receiver deriving meanings that did not exist; this is referred to as amplification. The receiver amplifies the message; McDonald’s targets read underlying motives that did not exist in the message initially, they claimed that the campaign was intended to teach their children to adore ideals that could not consider the environment. On the other hand, while encoding, the receiver may also omit some of the intended meaning. This is referred to as leveling; this was the case when all the positive aspects of the campaign went unacknowledged as positive due to predetermined beliefs (Managerial Marketing, nd).

Feedback: This part informs the sender of the effectiveness of his/her message. McDonald’s lacked an appropriate and elaborate feedback mechanism that would have informed them accordingly. Had this not been the case, they would have considered changing tactics or dropping the campaign totally. The continuous aggression in marketing a product receiving a negative response is indeed an indicator of an ineffective communication feedback (Badar, nd).

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