Q1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of SLT’s corporate culture in terms of communications as described in the case?
Sweet Leaf Tea Company has been commonly praised as a fast growing company in the beverage sector after having gained a lot of dominance in the industry within a short period of time. This would be attributed to its peculiar corporate culture which ensures the development of an intense relationship with its clients. One element that has helped to promote the fast growth of this company is due to the communication strategy that is deeply entrenched in the company’s corporate culture. Consequently, the study seeks to provide an in depth scrutiny of the strengths and weaknesses of the company’s corporate culture with regards to its communication strategies. To begin with, in its initial stage of operation the company embraced the aspect of face to face communication as a way of communicating to its clients (Bochenek & Blili, 2013). This is regarded as the best form of communication that would effectively help in marketing the company’s products. Hence, this is a unique strength that was properly incorporated in the company’s corporate culture. It is revealed that the company would attend social events so as to get a platform through which they can hold a face to face communication with the customers.
Secondly, the company has also adopted the idea of sampling in its corporate strategy of reaching out to its clients. This is witnessed when the company would choose specific locations to promote its products by offering free testing samples to the people. This is undertaken to let the consumers have a taste of the brand being produced by the company. This is a powerful way of communicating to the customers which thus, depicts the strengths of the company’s corporate culture. Lastly, after the company’s expansion phase, it moves ahead and initiates a digital platform for communication. This culture of digital communication is further strengthened by the idea of the company hiring administrators for their social media platforms. This custom of social media communication is a bright and objective way of marketing that would be beneficial for a company’s growth (Blowfield, 2012). However, one notable weakness in the corporate culture of the company with regards to communication is that the communication style adopted amongst the management and its employees is quite inefficient. Employees form an essential component of the company and should thus be approached in a much more interactive manner apart from using emails. Important matters such as the resignation of a company director should be addressed by a word of mouth to the employees.
Hence, the company should encourage a culture where employees can freely interact with the top management. Another, weakness that is seen to be developing in the company’s corporate structure with regards to communication is the shunning of face to face communication as it expands in the industry. They could have maintained their face to face marketing culture by employing brand merchandisers who would communicate directly to clients (Jorfi & Jorfi, 2012). Integration between the company’s corporate culture in terms of communication and the biblical way of life is evident. For instance, in the bible we are told that in the process of spreading the gospel to the people Jesus usually moved around the world holding meeting with multitudes of people.
In the case of Sweet Leaf Tea Company, it is asserted that the company encouraged the culture of attending social events where they could get an opportunity to meet huge numbers of people who would learn about their product. Thus, like in the biblical belief of spreading the gospel through multitudes the tea company also resolved to increase the popularity of their brand products by interacting with big multitudes of people. For instance, when Jesus used five loaves and two fish to feed a crowd of 5000 people He targeted a big population. This was when He was in his way outside the city. Thus, Jesus was keen to perform His miracles in places with big crowds of people so that they could recognize as the Son of man. It is also in the scriptures that, Zacchaeus the tax collector was forced to climb a big tree so that he could get to see the face of Jesus Christ. Hence, he pursued this so as to apprehend what Jesus was teaching. Thus people are attracted to huge crowds and thus in the current scenario this could be adopted by the firm to entice willing consumers. This strategy of reaching out to a multitude was very effective in improving the consumer’s knowledge on the products of Sweet Leaf Tea Company. Similarly, in the bible as Jesus went through the multitudes He would feed them with the gospel which was his product whereas in this case it is evident that the company also gives out samples of their iced tea for people to taste their brand.
The articles have the same view on the fact that the company maintains a strong relationship with its customers which is one of the strengths of its corporate culture. The company strives to achieve a community for its clients so as to form an interactive relationship through which they can learn and share more about their products. All the articles agree that the company has actively utilized the social media in its endeavors of developing a community of Sweet Leaf Tea products. The company has created various web pages on social media sites which include; Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Blog and MySpace (Jorfi & Jorfi, 2012). These sites have helped them to have regular communication with the clients and hence they have the ability of coexisting as one community of Sweet Leaf Tea. However, in one article the idea of the company using a fictitious person called “Granny Mimi” as a way of communicating to their clients has also made a tremendous impact in improving the culture of communication for the company.
Clients have the opportunity of been served by Granny Mimi in any issues regarding the products of Sweet Leaf Tea. Consequently, another article suggests that the company would not have utilized the most proper strategies in its corporate culture to improve on communication but it has otherwise emerged to be a top known brand in the sector. A contrast is also evident as one of the studies assets that the company’s culture of enhancing a fun and cool attitude to its customers is one of the powerful strategies used by the company (Blowfield, 2012). This is further supported by the fact that the company targets the younger generation aged between 20 -45 years and hence the idea of fun and cool in tea would be influential to these clients. In conclusion, these articles have all in one way or the other taken a direction that has given insights on how the corporate culture of Sweet Leaf Tea has impacted its communication policies.
Blowfield, M. (2012). Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Effective Board Performance. 12 (4): 414-426.
Bochenek, L., and Blili, S. (2013). Profiling corporate communications strategy: Mastering organizational learning - A dynamic maturity model for corporate communications strategic management, Marketing Review. 13 (2): 143-165.
Jorfi, H., and Jorfi, M. (2012). Management: A Study of Organizational Culture and the Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Communication Effectiveness. Journal of Management Research. 4 (1): 1-14.