As an associate at Strategic Communications, a global public relations (PR) firm, you have been tasked with a tricky messaging campaign. Boundless Footwear, the well-known shoe company, has been outed publicly in regards to its treatment of international workers. A blog focusing on workforce relations posted a story with multiple anonymous sources from Boundless Footwear claiming employees were forced to work extra shifts to meet the increase of product manufacturing. In addition, the workers were not allowed to take personal days off around an important culturally observed holiday because there was no additional work coverage. Finally, some workers mentioned insulting and disparaging remarks from management regarding their diversity because they were not able to meet the longer work days.
Boundless Footwear executives are asking Strategic Communications to create a campaign that manages this particular crisis; also, Strategic Communications is being asked to develop a generic push for buying its shoes. You will choose which audiences should be targeted for this campaign. Additionally, your manager would like the campaign to include a communication plan to Boundless Footwear that explains how globalization bears on the campaign, as well as how technological advances help or hinder the situation. Boundless Footwear will begin selling its shoes worldwide through a series of international partnerships and the release of a new website. The company anticipates doubling the number of shoes sold over the first 18 months of the release. Products are expected to be ready within 45 days.
Boundless Footwear is a regional footwear company manufacturing athletic shoes for the past 10 years. Over that time, the company has seen a steady increase in sales within the region, including double-digit increases the last three years. The continued success has prompted the company to move to global distribution of its shoes. The company has manufacturing and distribution centers in 10 different countries throughout southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim. Boundless Footwear employees have recently come forward noting their concerns regarding the treatment of employees, including recognition of beliefs, family commitments, and availability to work extra shifts despite not having any regulatory standards citing the number of hours worked to meet production demands.
Boundless Footwear’s workforce consists of workers from 10 different countries with up to five different languages spoken among the employees. Employee classifications range from administration to manufacturing operators. Anonymous reports emerging online in blogs and social media posts, as well as an internal company-culture survey, have demonstrated trends of concern related to workforce treatment around the number of hours worked, and lack of awareness of cultural beliefs and priorities because employees were required to work extra days and longer hours that forced the forfeiture of recent holidays while sacrificing time with family. Of the survey respondents, 50% felt the work environment had become too stressful. One employee claimed he was let go from his position because he had taken a day off during a busy work week to observe an important holiday in his culture. Workers have increased the number of hours they work by as much as 50% some weeks to meet the supply and demand of global product release. The company does not have established policies on overtime.
Boundless Footwear anticipates a successful global launch of its shoes based on demand from early product orders. The United States has the most pre-order requests, but the recent controversy regarding workforce claims of treatment and extended working hours has some U.S.-based companies reconsidering selling Boundless Footwear products. Some companies fear that selling these shoes will give the perception they were a contributing cause to the workforce claims. Boundless Footwear is also in need of assistance from Strategic Communications to assure the U.S. buyers that the workforce claims are under control and to establish faith in the global product launch.
Boundless Footwear wants the Strategic Communication press release to focus on the small to midsize U.S. businesses. The press release must consider regulatory telecommunication rules from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Review the FCC’s section, Compliance guides for small business, and identify any regulatory specifications you need to follow for the press release. You may choose to add any information applicable to Boundless Footwear’s executive team in the FAQ document as necessary.
The pending global release of the Boundless Footwear products and recent negative media noting the unfair treatment of international workers make this communication plan a sensitive, yet timely, one.
Communication Plan, Parts I and II
* Part I: Press Release: The press release should address the U.S. small businesses’ concerns about being associated with the poor treatment of workers and about selling such a company’s products. The audience for the press release should focus on the customers (U.S.-based small businesses), providing them with an update on the worker accusations and cross-promoting the value of Boundless Footwear shoes.
* Apply principles of intercultural competence to created communication. Include the following in your response:
* Describe how Boundless Footwear can better address globalization and localization of workforce conditions, given its past errors
* Analyze globalization’s effect on communication in the context of the scenario. Include the following in your response:
* As global communication and technology continue to grow, how can the company utilize technology such as digital media to reach diverse audiences?
* How can understanding cultural diversity improve organizational communications in a global setting?
* What specific strategies will be beneficial in increasing sensitivity to employee diversity and cultural preferences? Consider technology and training approaches, as well as possible company policy revisions.
* Discuss regulatory specifications from relevant institutions for informing the company’s approach to global and intercultural communications. Include the following in your response:
* What specific regulatory specifications and impacts shape regulation related to intercultural communication, media laws, and social media messages?
* Which regulatory telecommunication bodies impact company policy, and what is the extent of government impact regarding the release of organizational communication?
* Part II: Global Product FAQ Release: The FAQ document should prepare Boundless Footwear executives with talking points related to the employee accusations. This is an internal document and not meant for external release. Your Global Product FAQ Release document should address working conditions to meet global-product-release supply and demand. You have been provided with a template that includes pre-populated questions.
* Identify audiences appropriate for consumption of communication based on intercultural principles. Include the following in your response:
* What is an audience-appropriate message framework addressing the treatment of workers and working conditions to meet global-product-release supply and demand?
* When communicating with diverse internal audiences (such as employees), how should the company use intercultural principles to communicate effectively?
* When communicating with diverse external audiences (such as the public), how should the company use intercultural principles to communicate effectively?
* Describe communication impacts of global and intercultural communication, specifically detailing implications of advances in communication technology. Include the following:
* What impacts do reliability and technology tools, such as blogging and social media, have on organizational communication and processes related to public perception of the treatment of workers?
* What is the extent of applicable regulatory communication agency policies in FAQ responses (i.e., if multiple answers need to be developed for a single question to meet a regional governance communication policy)?
* How does technology, such as social media and social networking, impact communication with diverse audiences?
What to Submit
Every project has a deliverable or deliverables, which are the files that must be submitted before your project can be assessed. For this project, you must submit the following:
Your two-part communication plan should include the following components:
1. Press Release (External) The press release should be approximately 1 page in length.
2. Global Product FAQ Release (Internal) use the Global product FAQ Release template in the resource provided and write a response for each question
The press release must include the following:
Applies principles of intercultural competence to created communication for addressing globalization and localization of workforce conditions
Analyzes globalization’s effect on communication, and includes use of technology to reach diverse audiences and highlight cultural diversity understanding for improving organizational communications
Discusses regulatory specifications from relevant institutions, considering their impact on intercultural communication, media laws, and social media messages, as well as company policy
The Global product FAQ release must include the following:
Identifies audiences appropriate for consumption of communication based on intercultural principles, including approaches for communicating with diverse internal and external audiences (such as employees), and how the company should use intercultural principles to communicate effectively
Describes communication impacts of global and intercultural communication, specifically detailing implications of advances in communication technology, and includes impacts of technology tools on diverse organizational communication and processes related to public perception of the treatment of workers
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