Eleanor Leslie, vice president for corporate and marketing communications of Cunard Line, Ltd. must implement a plan to appropriately balance between “strategic” and “tactical” communications in the current economic environment. Due to economic conditions, competitive pressures, general fear after the Gulf War, and the internal structure of Cunard’s organization, there was great temptation for Cunard to utilize available communications and promotions options to arrive at a more price-oriented approach to generate short-term revenues.
An appropriate balance for Cunard’s marketing communications is to allocate efforts to focus “primarily” on strategic and less tactical approach. Cunard should not implement the new organizational change in order to maintain integrated marketing communications; each channel of communications delivers a consistent message about Cunard and its products. The focal objective of these messages must communicate a common “look and feel” to support an “umbrella” brand name—Cunard and then tactical promotions can follow. In other words, excellence and elegance should dominate all of the firm’s communication activities. To focus on this image of luxury, however, it is best for Cunard to eliminate the two 4-star ships (Cunard Countess and Princess).
Short-term sales stimulation or sales promotion in response to competitors and economic recession may shift Cunard’s image towards that of less excellence and less elegance. For Cunard’s target markets—those in the top 3% to 5% income, the determining factor affecting traveling is not price because these consumers are not price sensitive, but rather because of the post war effect (see Exhibit 1). The new organizational change will utilize resources for the purpose of consumer’s knowledge and attitudes toward “individual” products rather than toward the overall Cunard brand. Different responsibilities among different groups may also lead to weakness of central control. Therefore, it...
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