For a business organization to excel, reap profits and maintain a positive reputation, the role of communication remains as a central component. Without effective communication, the possibility of blunders and misunderstanding followed by poor productivity remains. Communication is not limited to merely talking to each other; in fact, it entails much more on a corporate level which features everything from all the spoken and written engagements on an internal or external level. It is within this context that during the digitalized age, it becomes straightforward to establish a miscommunication or spread unintended messages which can jeopardize the image and reputation of the business organization (Frost, 2018)
The objective of this research paper is to examine the corporate communication of Gulf News- which is one of the U.
A. E’s oldest prestigious media organization which has maintained high levels of standards and excellence when delivering news and media material around the world. We will cover the following aspects in the research paper; the company overview of Gulf News, examining its reputation, its corporate communication functions and proposing ideas on how Gulf News can improve its corporate communication strategy.
The history of Gulf News goes back in 1978 when the publisher launched itself even though their circulation was 3000. It was the same year when on 30th September the publisher launched its tabloid format followed by the format modifications to broadsheet which was under the new ownership of Abdul Wahab on 1st January 1980. This was followed by the launch of the weekend magazine titled: “Al Ju’ma” (History of Gulf News, n.
The firm experienced problems as the ownership changed and there were no investors who were prepared to take such a risk, the publication was at the verge of closing. However, things changed in 1984 when there were a group of three visionary leading businessmen who bought the publication and relaunched it on 10th December 1985 under the name of “Al Nisr Publishing LLC” (History of Gulf News, n.d)
Remarkable achievements were made within a few months of Gulf News settling into its new marketing and circulation team, new printing technology, new premises and revamped editorial along with the production team who were able to use the new technology. Thanks to the multi-prolonged marketing strategy that achieved its advertising revenues that plummeted by more than 40% during the first three months followed by the subscriptions which took a significant leap. By 1987, Gulf News started distributing in GCC countries along with Bahrain. This was followed by a string of other new developments which witnessed the publications upgrading their image, methods of working and expanding their distribution. Also, getting socially active by organizing and sponsoring events, i.e. sponsoring the first Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament (1989). Others include launching its yearly Gulf Business Awards (1989), and the most prominent achievement is in 1996 when Gulf News launches it is premier online edition through its website. In 2012 Gulf News launched its Hindi FM station and video bulletin which indicate its keenness to expand itself into the technological arena online and entertainment (radio station). As time has progressed, Gulf News witnessed new changes which aligned with the changing demands of time and people (History of Gulf News, n.d)
Generally, Gulf News has a positive image and reputation in the eyes of its stakeholders who are mostly its readers, advertisers, and distributors. According to Mohammed Al Mezel, the managing editor of Gulf News, Gulf News has not only recorded and reported the outstanding journey of the U.A.E growing into a modernized state but even gained success in becoming a regional leader in the media. Considering the U.A.E has shifted into a higher level of growth, this has resulted in the Gulf News doing the same, mainly perceived as a reliable and authoritative journalistic organization for its target audience in fresh and innovative methods. The fact that Gulf News possesses an extraordinary character and ability to inform, explain and report on all appropriate events on various platforms. Evolving into new media platforms has certainly favored Gulf News, not only is it a market leader but is even capable and flexible in facing such challenges and maintaining its high position (Gulf News prepares to market four decades as a regional media leader, 2018)
The five examples illustrating corporate communication strategies employed by Gulf News when reviewing its website are mentioned as follows:
1. Subscription & creation of an account: Creating an account with Gulf News (i.e. through Facebook or your email) to read the latest news and stay in touch with new developments and access their different media platforms online. The user can subscribe to the alarm bell icon on the website which delivers the latest information to your email. By doing so, Gulf News will increase its users subscribing to their service.
2. Connect to their different social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn: you can check out the information on these social media channels: audience engagement is direct and more accessible. By doing so, Gulf News demonstrates its willingness to be perceived as a people’s publisher which can be accessed across various leading social media channels.
3. Sharing information from the actual article which has an icon giving the user an option to share the information; this way the information becomes viral and Gulf News can achieve its goal of spreading the information from its hub.
5. Have your say: in this section, users can share their stories, news, opinions or even tipoffs. Users can send in an email or contact the number provided which indicates Gulf News is aware that mishaps, problems and new information can come through its employees or the public of relevance. By having this section in place, they are demonstrating an open work culture of tolerance and excellent communication skills as a listener.
The two recommendations for Gulf News to improve its corporate communications strategy are explained as follows:
1. Giving employees the importance, they deserve through their website: highlighting the role of their employees and how are an asset to the success and functioning of Gulf News. Perhaps create a new section on their website which focuses on corporate information which would foster and highlight employees and Gulf News as a possible organization for investment or collaboration purpose.
2. Introducing the Whatsapp chat line: this would feature breaking news which can be shared by users or people who may feel they have a tip-off or an idea to share. By having this hotline number in place would help in getting undiscovered information. Perhaps having a chat hotline on their website which is an interactive feature that can assist the user directly by providing them with the information they are searching for but cannot locate it clearly on the website.
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