Language and business [Elektronische Ressource] : international communication strategies in Saxon small and medium-sized companies / vorgelegt von Sylva-Michèle Sternkopf
377 Pages
English
Downloading requires you to have access to the YouScribe library
Learn all about the services we offer

Language and business [Elektronische Ressource] : international communication strategies in Saxon small and medium-sized companies / vorgelegt von Sylva-Michèle Sternkopf

-

Downloading requires you to have access to the YouScribe library
Learn all about the services we offer
377 Pages
English

Description

1 LANGUAGE AND BUSINESS - International Communication Strategies in Saxon Small and Medium-Sized Companies DISSERTATION zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades Doctor philosophiae (Dr.phil.) vorgelegt der Philosophischen Fakultät der Technischen Universität Chemnitz von Sylva-Michèle Sternkopf geboren am 29.01.1974 in Zschopau Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Josef Schmied Chemnitz, am 10.05.2004 2Table of Contents 1. Scope and Objectives 9 1.1. Objectives of this thesis 9 1.2. Methodology 11 1.3. Structure of this thesis 13 PART I – DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS 15 2. Profile of participating companies 16 2.1. "Mittelstand" in Germany 2.2. The selection of the sample 17 2.2.1. The region of South West Saxony 17 2.2.2. The selection process 18 2.2.3. Definition by sector 20 2.2.4. Definitiby size 21 2.2.5. Definition by year of foundation 22 2.2.6. Definition by headquarter 22 2.2.7. Definitiby export activities 2.2.7.1. Internationalisation process 22 2.2.7.2. Export rates 23 2.2.7.3. Development ofexport rates 24 2.2.7.4. Export and import countries 25 2.2.7.4.1. Export countries 25 2.2.7.4.2. Import countries 27 3. Globalisation and Marketing Strategies 28 3.1. Benefits and threats of a globalising economy 28 3.2. The marketing mix as the foundation of global marketing 30 3.2.1.

Subjects

Informations

Published by
Published 01 January 2004
Reads 11
Language English
Document size 1 MB

Exrait

1

LANGUAGE AND BUSINESS -

International

Communication Strategies

in Saxon

Small and Medium-Sized Companies


DISSERTATION
zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades
Doctor philosophiae (Dr.phil.)


vorgelegt der Philosophischen Fakultät
der Technischen Universität Chemnitz


von

Sylva-Michèle Sternkopf
geboren am 29.01.1974
in Zschopau

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Josef Schmied

Chemnitz, am 10.05.2004 2
Table of Contents

1. Scope and Objectives 9
1.1. Objectives of this thesis 9
1.2. Methodology 11
1.3. Structure of this thesis 13

PART I – DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS 15
2. Profile of participating companies 16
2.1. "Mittelstand" in Germany
2.2. The selection of the sample 17
2.2.1. The region of South West Saxony 17
2.2.2. The selection process 18
2.2.3. Definition by sector 20
2.2.4. Definitiby size 21
2.2.5. Definition by year of foundation 22
2.2.6. Definition by headquarter 22
2.2.7. Definitiby export activities
2.2.7.1. Internationalisation process 22
2.2.7.2. Export rates 23
2.2.7.3. Development ofexport rates 24
2.2.7.4. Export and import countries 25
2.2.7.4.1. Export countries 25
2.2.7.4.2. Import countries 27

3. Globalisation and Marketing Strategies 28
3.1. Benefits and threats of a globalising economy 28
3.2. The marketing mix as the foundation of global marketing 30
3.2.1. Product 32
3.2.1.1. Product portfolio
3.2.1.2. Prappearance 32
3.2.1.3. Pre- and after-sales service, planning, training, assembly 33
3.2.2. Price 34
3.2.3. Distribution 35
3.2.4. Communication 36
3.3. Planning and cooperation 37
3.3.1. Professional planning 3
3.3.2. Institutional partners 40
3.3.2.1. Bfai (Federal Agency for Foreign Trade) 41
3.3.2.2. IHK 42
3.3.2.3. A
3.3.3. Private service providers 44

4. International Communications and English as a Lingua Franca 46
4.1. The significance of English as a lingua franca 46
4.2. English in everyday business 50
4.3. Responsibilities for English language tasks 52
4.3.1. Translation tasks 52
4.3.1.1. Linguistic background of translation 52
4.3.1.2. Translation practice in SMEs 54
4.3.1.3. Bridging the gap between content and style 62
4.3.2. International contracts 64
4.3.3. Negotiations
4.3.4. Looking after international guests 65
4.3.5. International trade fairs 66
4.3.6. Presentations
4.3.7. Business correspondence and telephoning 66
4.3.8. Media relations 67
4.3.9. English version of the internet presentation 67
4.3.10. Summary responsibilities 68
4.4. Command of English of employees and executives in Saxon SMEs 70
4.4.1. Command of English of the people in charge of international
communication tasks 70
4.4.2. The "English-Gap" between East and West Germany 71
4.4.3. A positive outlook 72
4.4.4. English language training in SMEs 73
4.4.4.1. Language training as part of the personnel development
straegy 74
4.4.4.2. Analysis of the current situation 75
4.4.4.3. Definition of goals 75
4.4.4.4. Solutions 78

5. Marketing and advertising 80
5.1. Marketing as discourse 4
5.2. The significance of marketing instruments in SMEs 82
5.2.1. Trade fairs 83
5.2.2. Direct marketing 84
5.2.3. Media relations 85
5.2.4. Sales agents 86
5.2.5. Print advertising and online promotion 87
5.2.6. PR and events 88
5.3. National and international marketing spending 90
5.3.1. General results 90
5.3.2. Exact spending on individual marketing tools 94
5.3.2.1. Trade fairs 94
5.3.2.2. Sales literature 95
5.3.2.3. Intert 96
5.3.2.4. Print advertisements and media relations 98

6. Trade Fairs 100
6.1. Importance oftrade fairs forSaxon SMEs 100
6.2. Benefits of trade fairs 101
6.3. Cost factors 103
6.4. Common flaws in trade show presentations 104
6.5. Effective use of trade fairs as a platform of communication 106
6.5.1. Preparation 106
6.5.2. Presentation at the stand 108
6.5.3. After the fair 115
6.6. Domestic vs. international trade fairs 118

7. Advertising and Sales Literature in Saxon SMEs 121
7.1. Function of sales literature 121
7.2. Types of sales material in SMEs 122
7.3. International literature 127
7.4. Intercultural adaptation 128
7.4.1. Awareness of intercultural differences 128
7.4.2. Guidelines for intercultural adaptation 130
7.4.3. Intercultural adaptation of concept and style 133
7.4.4. Adaptation of product names 134
7.4.5. Visual adaptation: symbols and colours 136
7.5. Summary 138 5

8. Internet and Online-Promotion 139
8.1. Theoretical and linguistic background 139
8.1.1. The Internet as the communication tool of the future 139
8.1.2. The language ofthe internet 141
8.1.2.1. General observations
8.1.2.2. Structure and navigation 144
8.1.2.3. Style and readability 146
8.1.2.4. User-friendliness 148
8.1.2.5. Scannability 150
8.1.2.6. Conciseness 151
8.1.2.7. Objectivity
8.1.2.8. Credibilit
8.1.2.9. Graphics 153
8.2. Practical analysis: international online marketing in Saxon SMEs 156
8.2.1. Online marketing strategy 156
8.2.1.1. Retrievability 157
8.2.1.2. Areas of use of the world wide web 162
8.2.1.3. Keeping the website up to date 163
8.2.1.4. E-commerce and online shops 164
8.2.1.5. E-Mail campaigns 167
8.2.1.6. Linguistic localisation 169
8.2.1.7. Cultural adaptation 173

9. Media Relations 177
9.1. Building successful relations with the media 177
9.2. International media relations 181
9.3. Guidelines for successful media relations 182
9.3.1. The media database 182
9.3.2. The text type 'press information' 183
9.3.3. The right perspective 185
9.3.4. The righmanner 188
9.3.5. The press kit 190
9.4. Benefits of professional media work 191
6
PART II – SEMIOTIC AND LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF PROMOTIONAL
LITERATURE
10. Functional Analysis of Advertising 194
10.1. Conveying information 194
10.2. Motivating the customer tobuy 196
10.3. Reinforcing the decision to buy 199
10.4. Socialising 199
10.5. Entertaining
10.6. Strategies to achieve the communication objectives 200

11. Linguistic and Semiotic Analysis of Advertising 204
11.1. Linguistic features of the language of advertising 204
11.1.1. Functions of advertising language 204
11.1.2. Functional and practical stylistics of advertising language 210
11.1.3. Lexical features of advertising language 211
11.1.4. Grammatical and syntactic features of advertising language 215
11.1.4.1. Syntactic features 215
11.1.4.2. Spelling 217
11.1.5. Ambiguity in advertising language 220
11.1.5.1. Semantic ambiguity and puns 220
11.1.5.2. Syntactic ambiguity 225
11.1.5.3. Ambiguity ofreference 225
11.1.6. A Pragmatic approach to the language of advertising 226
11.1.7. An illustrative linguistic analysis of headlines 227
11.1.7.1. Stylistic features of headlines 228
11.1.7.2. Linguistic peculiarities of headlines 229
11.2. A semiotic analysis of visual communication in advertising 235
11.2.1. Functions and visual rhetoric 235
11.2.2. Types of visualisation 238
11.2.3. Other visual elements 241
11.2.3.1. Corporate Design
11.2.3.2. Colours 242
11.2.3.3. Fonts 244

12. A Linguistic Analysis of International Sales Literature in Saxon SME's 246
12.1. Evaluation of samples 246
12.2. Qualitative sample analysis 253 7
12.3. Analysis of individual criteria 262
12.3.1. Perspective 262
12.3.2. Use of pronouns / referents 265
12.3.3. The title 266
12.3.4. The headline concept 267
12.3.5. Subheads and captions 268
12.3.6. The slogan 268
12.3.7. Stylistic devices 269
12.3.8. Syntax 270
12.3.9. Register 271
12.3.10. Spelling and grammar 273
12.3.10.1. punctuation
12.3.10.2. Grammar 275
12.3.11. Conventions
12.3.12Interference 276
12.3.12.1. Lexical interference 276
12.3.12.2. Syntactic interference 278
12.3.13. Visual appearance, scannability, use of photos 279
12.4. Summary 281

PART III – MERGING RESULTS
13. Conclusion: International Communication in Saxon SMEs and the Functions of a
Communications Consultant 284
13.1. Management of international communication tasks in Saxon SMEs
285
13.2. Areas of improvement from the companies' perspective 287
13.3. Comparison with the communicative needs defined in this study 288
13.4. The concept of a "resource" or communications consultant 289
13.5. Executive summary 296

Zusammenfassung der Arbeit auf Deutsch 297
Appendices:
Appendix I: Blank questionnaire used as a basis of the empirical
investigation 309
Appendix II:Questionnaire with results 316
Appendix III: Linguistic analysis of 24 sample brochures 232

Bibliography 354 8 9
1. Scope and Objectives
1.1. Objectives of this thesis

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the German
economy. Against the background of continuing globalisation, they are increasingly
faced with the challenge of internationalisation. This study was designed as an
empirical investigation of how well SMEs in the federal state of Saxony are prepared
for this task of the future, which measures they take in order to market their products
and services in the global marketplace, and it tries to identify their strengths and
weaknesses in this respect. The very nature of this thesis is thus a truly
interdisciplinary approach, investigating marketing aspects as well as linguistic
factors.

The main focus was on the language small and medium-sized companies use for
their international communications. English has long become the lingua franca of the
globalising economy, and this study set out to investigate how well SMEs are
prepared to meet the linguistic requirements imposed on them by global business.
Enterprises in the new German states are widely believed to be disadvantaged with
regard to their communicative competence in English, since English played only a
minor role for decades, but has risen to decisive significance within the past couple
of years, taking many companies and their employees by surprise, finding them not
as well prepared as their colleagues in the old German states.

Still, finding their way to the new export markets in Western Europe, the Americas
and Asia is vital for the survival of Saxon economy, and communicative competence
in English as the lingua franca of international business is the major prerequisite for
achieving this objective. Corporate communicative competence involves various
aspects, including the foreign language skills of the employees – covering the entire
range of linguistic skills from oral communication including listening and speaking,
giving presentations or participating in negotiations to writing skills ranging from
reading and writing of various text types, including media literacy.

Apart from the personal linguistic competence of the employees, the "corporate"
linguistic competence of the company also plays a major role for the perception of
the company on its international markets. Therefore this study focused on
investigating how well SMEs present themselves in their corporate literature and on
the internet, which instruments from the wide-ranging selection of marketing tools 10
they apply for communicating with international markets and how the linguistic
quality of their international market communications can be assessed.

The objective is to provide small and medium-sized companies with a tool to
maximise the effects of their international communication efforts based on the
analysis of the current state of the art and on the evaluation of previous studies in
this field. Theories from the field of functional stylistics provide a useful scope for
such an approach. Although the aim of this study is not to establish normative
requirements with regard to how corporate advertising literature should be written, a
functional style analysis will provide the basis for suggestions of what could be
improved with regard to the functions these text types have to fulfil. These
suggestions will be based on a comparison of the established features of the text
1type of advertising copy with the linguistic features actually used by Saxon SMEs in
2their marketing materials .

It is suggested that the implementation of the concept of the communications
consultant will be one efficient way to improve international communication
management in small and medium-sized companies. By analysing communicative
tasks in SMEs and by providing a theoretical background, the concept of the
communications consultant will be put on a scientific basis, and the need for
professional support in international communications for SMEs will be underlined.

The idea of the communications consultant actually sparked this entire study. After
reading Zeh-Glöckler's study on English in Saxony and contemplating the concept of
the Sprachenberater she suggested, I compared her findings with my practical
experience from everyday communications in Saxon SMEs and developed the idea
that the concept of the language consultant might be put on an even wider footing,
serving as a true communications consultant. The major difference between these
two concepts is that the communications consultant has a stronger focus on
marketing, taking responsibility for all aspects of international marketing
communications. Therefore I designed a questionnaire dealing with a great variety
of factors influencing and determining the international marketing strategy of a
company and then linked the results to linguistic theories in an interdisciplinary
approach. The actual feasibility and possible ways of implementing the concept of a
communications consultant will be discussed in the final chapter of this thesis, taking
the findings from the questionnaire and the linguistic analysis into account.

1 Cf. chapter 11.
2 Cf. chapter 12.