CORPORATE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT: EXAM – 76%

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By achieving 76%, this exam resulted in an unexpected personal milestone of progression. Throughout the majority of tasks in third year, I was instructed to analyse a firm’s current situation and with this information, suggest a strategy for the future of the company. One can find the challenges initially faced in my other blog posts. However, I believe my success in this exam exhibits the progression I have made in efficiently applying this practice.

The exam was slightly unique, in that it was open-book and that I was asked to prepare a two-page analysis of the case-study organisation, Sports Direct, to be included in the exam. The open-book nature and the prior knowledge of the case study meant I was able to gather useful information, allowing me to construct highly detailed and specific answers.

The exam had three questions. The first was previously informed to be either CSR or Ethics. The other two were a raffle between ten topics. Commonly with exams, advice from tutors involved; out of the ten topic areas, choose four or five to cover in depth, increasing the likelihood of two of them coming up.

Sports Direct was specifically chosen because of the damage its reputation had received from various stakeholders. Through rigorous research of Sports Direct, looking at the historical timeline of negative media coverage and the manner in which Sports Direct handled the situation. I was able to see the links between the company’s failure and the theory covered in the unit.

The extent to which I achieved this was extremely surprising. When one has prepared specific questions for an exam, the anticipation of whether they are going to come up is immense. This is intensified even more where, instead of covering four-to-five topics, I had gambled with only preparing three. Time was a major influencing factor of this but I was also quietly confident that these were by far the most important issues. Despite my confidence, I was absolutely stunned when I opened the paper and saw, the three questions I had prepared for the second part all featured in the exam in the exact way I had written them. I was able to answer three out of the four question (although only two were needed) and essentially write down my answers word-for-word.

At the time I brazenly thought, I couldn’t have gotten luckier if I had written the exam myself. However, on further reflection, I found a great deal of pride in managing to analyse a company’s situation and prioritise the most important actions, to the extent that I had reached the same conclusions as my tutors through their choice of questioning. I believe this grade showcases the ultimate progression I have made through repeatedly engaging with this analytical practice and gives me great confidence for my future work and career.


Email: hudacummings@gmail.com

LinkedIn: Yehudah Cummings

Twitter: Yehudah Cummings

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Corporate Reputation Management: Report – 85%

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This assignment asked myself and a partner to create a report with the plans for a corporate communication campaign designed to enhance corporate reputation. Like previous assignments, we were given the freedom to choose our own firm to examine and were tasked with conducting a situation analysis. However, the analysis was much shorter, just four pages long, meaning it had to be prioritised much more rigidly than the ten-page VW analysis. We chose to study Kellogg’s, which presented unique challenges that had to be overcome.

My partner and I used the analysis to decide on one issue to focus our communication campaign on. We proposed six SMART objectives: three business-orientated and three communications and created a campaign message. Using Mitchel et al. (1997) framework, we conducted in-depth stakeholder analysis, which enabled our target publics to be accurately and justly determined. We focused on consumers, media and shareholders.

For consumers we proposed three initiatives:

  • An interactive sporting event at England’s first game of the 6 Nations, themed around the 1990s hit UK TV show Gladiators.
  • A social media competition in partnership with FitBit: #BeatTheBadges.
  • Local community development in collaboration with the This Girl Can sports-orientated initiative.

Our activities strategically targeted the consumer behaviour trends identified from the situation analysis, while staying inline with Kellogg’s corporate image, enabling the enhancement of its reputation.

We used a variety of media tools to communicate with our target publics:

  • A national media press conference
  • A host of press releases, including: national, local, specialist and social media.
  • A press day at the Manchester Factory
  • Bloggers and other online influencers.

The media channel complimented the activity it attached to, such as social media press releases for the Fitbit competition, in order to create a streamlined integrated campaign.

This assignment presented unique challenges and in overcoming, I believe to have learnt more about the process of analysing a company’s situation and weighing up the most important aspects to take action upon. When we discovered Kellogg’s impressive reputation, my partner and I rationalised, the ideal action did not lie with outlandish PR stunts but rather with engaging activities that compliment the brand and help bolster its reputation.

We approached with a considerable amount of respect towards Kellogg’s, being mindful of conserving its reputation over other more extreme tactics. This assignment impressed upon me, that just because the task gives unbridled freedom to choose any communication tactics, there are some instances where erring on the side of caution is the most favourable strategy for sustaining reputation and long-term success.

My partner and I received 85% for this task, a grade I’m very proud of, given the obstacles we overcame.


Email: hudacummings@gmail.com

LinkedIn: Yehudah Cummings

Twitter: Yehudah Cummings

Facebook: Yehudah Cummings

Click to view my CV.