ANA Sky Web proposes a wide range of travel services. For ANA, the communications process is concerned with the dissemination of stimuli and their perception, impact, use, and effectiveness. Marketing communications have meaning to the extent that an individual’s predisposition or experience permits him to see, hear, or read them. ANA is the second largest airline in Japan which has 22 international routs. The strategic goal of marketing communication is to attract wide target audience and familiarize international clients with the company’s services and propositions.
ANA advertises in the Internet using web-banners and news stories. The website is the main promotional tools which helps the company to create a unique brand image and popularizes its services. Two predispositional factors govern the relationship between a message and its recipient. These are the sender set and the customer set. The former includes media, appeal, advertiser, copy, theme, and layout.
ANA uses two main colors: white and dark blue symbolizing blue sky and white clouds (ANA Home Page 2008). Audience characteristics are also important in determining what is communicated. The target audience of the Internet ads is busy professionals and repeat customers. People select what they watch or hear. This reason, ANA pays a special attention to publicity using news stories and BBC as the main sources of information dissemination. The result is selective exposure followed by selective perception and retention. Communications that agree with predispositions are more likely to be heard than those that do not.
This self-selection can be either deliberate or subconscious. As audiences also misinterpret messages by evading or misperceiving those that counter their predispositions, communications are most effective when they reinforce existing inclinations. The impact of a message on consumer behavior, which is governed by intervening variables, determines its marketing effectiveness (Smith, 2002).
Since ANA cannot control the personality of recipients, the virtual environment in which messages are relayed, the environments surrounding responses, the group norms, and the relationships of individuals to groups, they have difficulty in assuring effective communications. Changes in life styles and market environment have had a direct impact on goods and services produced, expenditures, and the consumption process. Recent years, ANA directs its messages to middle aged couples who like to travel and value active life style. For example, the effect of increased leisure time, suburban living, shopping centers, automatic vending machines, automobiles, television, and widespread geographic shifts on consumer wants and needs is pronounced.
The shift from rural to urban populations, the growing number of women employed in industry, the decrease in the length of the work week, increasing productivity, and higher incomes all shape consumer behavior and, hence, market opportunity. Purchasing decisions are affected by the customer’s life space. The life space may be segmented into an action and an orientation space. The action space refers to the arena and methods by which transactions take place, including organizational constraints imposed by business (Fill 2001).
ANA’s marketing communication strategy suggests that mass communication may essentially reinforce rather than change consumer attitudes and opinions. Such forces as group norms; interpersonal relations; the perception, retention, and selective exposure of individuals; and the impact of opinion leaders, are extremely influential (Fill, 2001). For ANA, marketing communications have two kinds of meaning, denotative and connotative.
Denotative refers to a literal or dictionary meaning of messages. “Art of flying” appeals to emotions of consumers and their decision to use ANA services. Accordingly, the words of a message should mean the same thing to the sender and all recipients. But they do not because of connotative factors. That is, the meaning of a communication varies and has implied, emotional, or evaluative meanings. It is erroneous, therefore, for advertisers to assume that their messages contain only denotative meaning and are explicit to all. Several concepts from communications theory are particularly relevant to marketing for both industrial and ultimate consumer markets. The channel through which ads travel may consist of various advertising media, salesmen, distributors, or retailers (Fill, 2001).
Similar to other airline companies, ANA uses press and TV medium for advertising purposes. In Japan, ANA pays a special attention to press and TV advertisements while for international audiences it uses the Internet medium. In this case, marketing communications serve four basic management purposes. First, they bridge information gaps existing among the company, middlemen, and customers. Second, they help coordinate the promotional activities of the total marketing system to achieve a coordinated thrust. Third, they help adjust the system to customer and consumer requirements. Fourth, they adjust and help in adjusting the product to customer needs.
ANA creates a unique marketing mix involving TV ads and press advertisement, public relations management and WWW. For ANA, effective advertising means an integrated promotional system that reaches from primary producer to ultimate consumer. Communications flow to markets through long, complex channels that include manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, consumers, agencies, and media. Each unit breaks the chain and passes on the information as it sees fit (Fill, 2001).
Advertising messages are meeting increasing competition from a plethora of other ads, from other media, from competitors, and from all the activities that vie for a person’s attention (Smith, 2002). As output swells and communications facilities increase, more claims are made on consumer time and the cost of marketing communications will skyrocket. Recent years, ANA increases its international advertising in order to attract international customers and popularize the brand. The company uses Facebook and BBC as the main channels of communication.
ANA identifies the task of marketing communications as to get people or markets to progress from a state of unawareness, or even negative reaction, to one of positive action. The stages in this progression are unawareness, awareness, comprehension, conviction, and action. Opposing the marketing communications in this endeavor are such countervailing forces as competitors’ communications, predispositions, noise, brand loyalty, and habit (Fill, 2001). ANA’s personnel and advertising and research agencies direct the message into the transmission channel. Because of distortion, competitors’ messages, or misinterpretation, noise develops within the channel and between the channel and receiver, with a resulting transmission of “noninformation.” When stimuli are decoded in the market, the meaning of the message is shaped by predispositional factors and connotative factors that surround communications.
The objectives of awareness, interest, desire, or sales may be achieved (Smith, 2002). The creative and innovative powers of the sales force are tapped under the market-area manager concept. Effective sales force management depends on good planning — establishing realistic objectives and specific sales goals (Paley, 2006). In ANA, sales-training programs, which used to be considered a luxury by most companies, are now recognized as a requisite for effective sales performance. In dealing with technical products, more sophisticated customers, keener competition, and tight profit situations, competent, well-informed salesmen are vital (Paley, 2006). Wells et al 2005).
The orientation space includes numerous economic, psychological, and source factors influencing buyer behavior. In the household, performing purchasing activities to satisfy all the wants of one’s family and friends through the evaluation of an overwhelming array of available goods and services is an impossible task (McDonald and Christopher 2003). Within a family unit, wants and needs are not directly known. Usually one decision maker, the wife, purchases for the group. She acts as household purchasing agent with the responsibility of maintaining and improving the family’s stock of goods in order to provide for the wants and needs of members of the household. The housewife, therefore, must anticipate consumption needs and try to obtain the best value for the money (Paley, 2006).
In order to improve its communication strategy, ANA should advertise in international press including such publications as The Times and The Economist. A lack of consensus often exists within a company as to what advertising is designed to do. All of these are legitimate advertising tasks, each of which requires a different solution. It is germane to distinguish the task of maintaining market position from that of cultivating and developing new markets. Marketing management must define its advertising tasks unambiguously before effective campaigns are launched.
Also, the major goal of marketing programming should be programming the marketing mix. It balances marketing resources and marketing inputs in terms of the communication mix, distribution mix, and product and service mix previously described (McDonald and Christopher 2003). Marketing programming should be a process of devising or arranging the correct order in which various mixes should be initiated and completed, based on flexible application, evaluation, and revision (Paley, 2006).
Sales or advertising managers should not concern themselves with which group gets the biggest budget or is more important to the company. Rather, they should develop the most effective total marketing communications. Both should assess their relative contributions to the total marketing task and view each other as alternative and supporting communications resources. As alternatives they present management with different means of cultivating markets.
- ANA Home Page. 2008. Web.
- Fill, C. 2001, Marketing Communication: Contexts, Contents, and Strategies. 2. edn. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
- McDonald M., Christopher M. 2003. Marketing: A complete Guide. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Paley, N. 2006. The Manager’s Guide to Competitive Marketing Strategies. Thorogood.
- Smith, P.R. 2002, Marketing Communications: An Integrated Approach, 3rd edn, Kogan Page Limited: London.
- Wells, W.P., Mariarty, S., Burnett, J. 2005, Advertising: Principles and Practice. Prentice Hall; 7 edn.