Language and Business

Language and Business

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Inhaltsangabe:Abstract: 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 are 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 hey 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 type of advertising copy with the linguistic features actually used by Saxon SMEs in their 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-GlApckler'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. Table of Contents: 1.Scope and Objectives9 1.1Objectives of this thesis9 1.2Methodology11 1.3Structure of this thesis13 PART IDISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS15 2.rofile of participating companies16 2.1Mittelstand in Germany16 2.2he selection of the sample17 2.2.1he region of South West Saxony17 2.2.2he selection process18 2.2.3Definition by sector20 2.2.4Definition by size21 2.2.5Definition by year of foundation22 2.2.6Definition by headquarter22 2.2.7Definition by export activities22 process22 rates23 of export rates24 and import countries25 countries25 countries27 3.Globalisation and Marketing Strategies28 3.1Benefits and threats of a globalising economy28 3.2The marketing mix as the foundation of global marketing30 3.2.1Product32 portfolio32 appearance32 and after-sales service, planning, training, assembly33 3.2.2Price34 3.2.3Distribution35 3.2.4Communication36 3.3Planning and cooperation37 3.3.1Professional planning37 3.3.2Institutional partners40 (Federal Agency for Foreign Trade)41 3.3.3Private service providers44 4.International Communications and English as a Lingua Franca46 4.1The significance of English as a lingua franca46 4.2English in everyday business50 4.3Responsibilities for English language tasks52 4.3.1Translation tasks52 background of translation52 practice in SMEs54 the gap between content and style62 4.3.2International contracts64 4.3.3Negotiations64 4.3.4Looking after international guests65 4.3.5International trade fairs66 4.3.6Presentations66 4.3.7Business correspondence and telephoning66 4.3.8Media relations67 4.3.9English version of the internet presentation67 4.3.10Summary responsibilities68 4.4Command of English of employees and executives in Saxon SMEs70 4.4.1Command of English of the people in charge of international communication tasks70 4.4.2The English-Gap between East and West Germany71 4.4.3A positive outlook72 4.4.4English language training in SMEs73 training as part of the personnel development strategy74 of the current situation75 of goals75 5.Marketing and advertising80 5.1Marketing as discourse80 5.2The significance of marketing instruments in SMEs82 5.2.1Trade fairs83 5.2.2Direct marketing84 5.2.3Media relations85 5.2.4Sales agents86 5.2.5Print advertising and online promotion87 5.2.6PR and events88 5.3National and international marketing spending90 5.3.1General results90 5.3.2Exact spending on individual marketing tools94 fairs94 literature95 advertisements and media relations98 6.Trade Fairs100 6.1Importance of trade fairs for Saxon SMEs100 6.2Benefits of trade fairs101 6.3Cost factors103 6.4Common flaws in trade show presentations104 6.5Effective use of trade fairs as a platform of communication106 6.5.1Preparation106 6.5.2Presentation at the stand108 6.5.3After the fair115 6.6Domestic vs. international trade fairs118 7.Advertising and Sales Literature in Saxon SMEs121 7.1Function of sales literature121 7.2Types of sales material in SMEs122 7.3International sales literature127 7.4Intercultural adaptation128 7.4.1Awareness of intercultural differences128 7.4.2Guidelines for intercultural adaptation130 7.4.3Intercultural adaptation of concept and style133 7.4.4Adaptation of product names134 7.4.5Visual adaptation: symbols and colours136 7.5Summary138 8.Internet and Online-Promotion139 8.1Theoretical and linguistic background139 8.1.1The Internet as the communication tool of the future139 8.1.2The language of the internet141 observations141 and navigation144 and readability146 8.2Practical analysis: international online marketing in Saxon SMEs156 8.2.1Online marketing strategy156 of use of the world wide web162 the website up to date163 and online shops164 campaigns167 localisation169 adaptation173 9.Media Relations177 9.1Building successful relations with the media177 9.2International media relations181 9.3Guidelines for successful media relations182 9.3.1The media database182 9.3.2The text type 'press information'183 9.3.3The right perspective185 9.3.4The right manner188 9.3.5The press kit190 9.4Benefits of professional media work191 PART IISEMIOTIC AND LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF PROMOTIONAL LITERATURE 10.Functional Analysis of Advertising194 10.1Conveying information194 10.2Motivating the customer to buy196 10.3Reinforcing the decision to buy199 10.4Socialising199 10.5Entertaining199 10.6Strategies to achieve the communication objectives200 11.Linguistic and Semiotic Analysis of Advertising204 11.1Linguistic features of the language of advertising204 11.1.1Functions of advertising language204 11.1.2Functional and practical stylistics of advertising language210 11.1.3Lexical features of advertising language211 11.1.4Grammatical and syntactic features of advertising language215 features215 11.1.5Ambiguity in advertising language220 ambiguity and puns220 ambiguity225 of reference225 11.1.6A Pragmatic approach to the language of advertising226 11.1.7An illustrative linguistic analysis of headlines227 features of headlines228 peculiarities of headlines229 11.2A semiotic analysis of visual communication in advertising235 11.2.1Functions and visual rhetoric235 11.2.2Types of visualisation238 11.2.3Other visual elements241 Design241 12.A Linguistic Analysis of International Sales Literature in Saxon SME's246 12.1Evaluation of samples246 12.2Qualitative sample analysis253 12.3Analysis of individual criteria262 12.3.1Perspective262 12.3.2Use of pronouns / referents265 12.3.3The title266 12.3.4The headline concept267 12.3.5Subheads and captions268 12.3.6The slogan268 12.3.7Stylistic devices269 12.3.8Syntax270 12.3.9Register271 12.3.10Spelling and grammar273 and punctuation273 12.3.11Conventions275 12.3.12Interference276 interference276 interference278 12.3.13Visual appearance, scannability, use of photos279 12.4Summary281 PART IIIMERGING RESULTS 13.Conclusion: International Communication in Saxon SMEs and the Functions of a Communications Consultant284 13.1Management of international communication tasks in Saxon SMEs285 13.2Areas of improvement from the companies' perspective287 13.3Comparison with the communicative needs defined in this study288 13.4The concept of a resource or communications consultant289 13.5Executive summary296 Zusammenfassung der Arbeit auf Deutsch297 Appendices Appendix I:Blank questionnaire used as a basis of the empirical investigation309 Appendix II:Questionnaire with results316 Appendix III:Linguistic analysis of 24 sample brochures232 Bibliography354 List of Abbreviations378International Communication Strategies in Saxon Small and Medium-Sized Companies Sylvia-MichAule Sternkopf ... that the addition aquot;Germanyaquot; is stated in address lines, and that each telephone number is completed by the country code 0049.

Title:Language and Business
Author:Sylvia-Michèle Sternkopf - 2004-07-27


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