This course includes five short writing activities that will require you to create different types of technical communications. These are designed to actively test your understanding and to apply your knowledge to potential real-world situations. These writing activities also provide practice in communicating your reasoning in a professional manner.
Determining Audience Needs (Module Five)
As the new corporate communications manager, you have developed a good idea of the various internal and external audiences for communications across the enterprise.
You have learned that IG is organized into six main areas, and each area has its own structure:
- Research and Development (R&D): New Product Development and Product Enhancement teams
- Manufacturing: Detroit, Shanghai, and Purchasing teams
- Sales and Marketing: U.S. Sales, U.S. Marketing, European Sales, European Marketing, Partner Management, and Online Sales teams
- Technical Support: the exception, as there is only a single team handling this function
- Finance/Accounting: Corporate Finance and Corporate Accounting teams
- Human Resources: Corporate HR team with ties to HR representatives at each work site
In addition to the internal departments, IG staff interface with a wide range of external entities and individuals, including customers (large accounts, individuals via web sales), distribution partners, component suppliers, subcontractors (design and occasional manufacturing). IG also contracts with Amazon to handle all its product logistics—warehousing, packaging and shipping, and returns.
IG will soon launch a new accessory for the Office Drone: Speaker+. Speaker+ attaches to the Office Drone and allows the person controlling the Office Drone to have a voice conversation with a person near the Office Drone. The Corporate Communications team is responsible for developing communications for all stakeholders to announce the launch of this new product.
Write a memo to your communication team that uses specific details to address the following:
- Analyze IG’s internal and external audiences.
- Recommend how the new product announcement for Speaker+ can be tailored to the needs of each of IG’s audiences.
International Gadgets (IG) is a multinational company of 1,300+ employees and over $4 billion in revenue. Headquartered in Manchester, New Hampshire, the company designs, manufactures, sells, and supports a variety of low- and high-tech business productivity tools.
IG has manufacturing facilities in Detroit, Michigan, and Shanghai, China, and sources component parts from suppliers in Vietnam, China, Brazil, and the United States. While IG maintains sales offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Munich, Paris, Moscow, and Brussels, its products are sold throughout the United States and all of Europe and in China through a partner firm. IG employs a direct sales force targeting its top 1,000 customers, and it also sells via its website. Sales offices also include service and support operations, managed separately from the sales teams. The company is considering expanding more directly into China and exploring the possibility of opening a sales office in Beijing.
IG’s current top-selling product is the OfficeDrone, designed for workplace monitoring. The OfficeDrone is a small, unstaffed aerial vehicle for indoor use that includes real-time video monitoring and a targetable built-in water pistol and reservoir. The OfficeDrone is marketed to management and security teams to break up water cooler conversations and other nonproductive behaviors among groups of workers.
IG has introduced several new products and experienced rapid growth during the past year, with many new employees in all departments. The management team has greatly expanded as well, including several first-time managers, and is experiencing difficulties in functioning as effectively as in the past. Communications within and between all parts of the organization, external partners, and suppliers and customers are at serious risk of completely breaking down.
In a recent example, Detroit Manufacturing was unable to meet a product delivery deadline because of parts shortages from supplies. (The component parts originated in Brazil and had been seriously delayed due to a dockworkers’ strike at U.S. West Coast ports.) Manufacturing believed they had informed Sales of the delay, but Sales indicated they had never received that information and ended up losing the customer to a competitor. In another example, European sales were impacted when Switzerland unexpectedly devalued its currency, impacting IG’s profitability. Revised profitability forecasts were provided by several of the European sales offices, but others did not understand the request from the corporate office because of how it was worded, and the delay in response led to unnecessary costs.
What to Submit
This memo must be 2 to 3 pages in length (plus a cover page and references) and must be written in APA style. Use double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins. Integrate at least one resource cited in APA format. Review Purdue Owl: Memo for suggestions and formatting guidelines on memo structure.