Overview of the strategic triangle performance frame-working
As the era of competition is ushered in, strategic planning for organizations has become a necessity. Therefore, many strategic planning models are being developed. Strategies are developed with the aim of capturing the emerging needs of organizations arising from competition and the competitive environment. Strategic plans help firms to adjust to external forces quickly. External forces are the main sources of pressure to the performance of a firm (Wübker, 2008). The strategic triangle performance frame-working that was developed by Kenichi Ohmae can be regarded as an example of the strategic plan. This is also known as the strategic triangle, or the 3C’s model. The three C’S denotes what the model suggests as the main areas of focus in a strategic plan. These are the corporation, the customers, and competition. A suggested by the model, sustainable competitive advantage in organizations can only be attained through the integration of the three c’s in a strategic triangle. The three strategic components of strategic planning, as presupposed in the model, are expounded to cover almost the entire organizational activities for complete strategic outcomes. This is critical in leading to improvement within the performance of many organizations (Lowman, 2002). Therefore, this paper discuss how the three C’s model can be applied in the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to bring achievements within the organization.
Background of the NBC
The NBC is Namibia’s public corporation that started in the early 1990s. This corporation was started as a substitute to the South West Africa Broadcasting Corporation. The corporation was set up in line with the Broadcasting Act 9 section one enshrined in the Namibian constitution. It is one of the major players in the media industry in Namibia. The corporation operates one major radio station plus nine other sub-stations and one television station. The established radio stations broadcast in English. The sub-stations broadcast in German, Oshiwambo, Nama, Damara, Afrikaans, Tirelo yaSetswana, Silozi, Rukavango, Ha and Otijiherero languages. Apart from the German language, all other languages are indigenous. The television channel, which is operated by the NBC, broadcasts primarily in English. However, it also has programming in the German, as well as other indigenous languages (Rothe, 2011).
The Namibia Broadcasting Corporation engages in the provision of dubbing and editing services. It also rents its equipment like cameras. It also engages in acquiring and producing domestic programs. The corporation has specialized in producing television and radio advertising from which it generates most of its revenues. The NBC operates in an environment that has minimal competition. Since it was established, the NBC Television channel has been operating alone until the year 2008. The One African Television was established in 2008 becoming the second television station in the country. One Africa Television Station is a private TV station. The NBC has monopolized the audio-visual industry in Namibia until recent times when a number of stations are being allowed to broadcast in Namibia (Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 2012).
Namibia Broadcasting Corporation in the context of the media industry within Namibia
Namibia has a relatively small population of approximately three million people. A majority of the population is composed of the youths who form about 80 per cent of the general population. About 67 per cent of the Namibians live in the rural areas while the remaining 33 per cent lives in urban areas. This can be attributed to a survey that was carried out by African Governance and Monetary Project in the year 2011 (Namibia: Office of the President, 2004). The development of the media in the country has been taking place since the country attained independence in the year 1990. However, for all this time, the government has been the major stakeholder in the industry (Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and Open Society Media Program, 2011).
The media and democracy issues cannot be separated. This is especially when talking about media in the developing world. Namibia can be classified as a developing nation. It is a country with a growing democracy. Therefore, the media industry in this country is still developing. Most African countries, Namibia being one of them, have adopted reforms in public broadcasting. Most of such efforts are geared towards decentralizing public media. This is achieved by limiting the role of government in controlling the public media (Namibia: Office of the President, 2004). As an African Union Member and a signatory to the AU Commission on Human and Peoples Rights 2002, Namibia has been clearing channels of independent media. The People’s Rights Resolution of 2002 prohibits the control of the media by government. It advocates for a free and independent media. In Namibia, the state only controls the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation, which is considered to be a national broadcaster (Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and Open Society Media Program, 2011).
The policy declarations in the AU Commission on Human and Peoples Rights 2002 give a framework that should be followed by countries in media development. It describes the key mandate of the public media as being the provision of access to information and ideas from societal sectors. It also recognizes the role of the media in promoting economic and socio-cultural development. The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation has been delivering most of the media mandates stipulated in the African Union’s Declaration of the principle of freedom of expression (Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and Open Society Media Program, 2011).
Most of the media agencies have been under the control of the government. In respect to the audio and the visual media, the print media is significantly vibrant in the country characterized by the many players in the industry. It has more players than the audio and visual media in which the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation finds itself. All the print media companies are located in the capital city – Windhoek. They are only distributed to other major towns in the country as subsidiaries. Most of the people, especially those residing in the countryside, have limited access to the newspapers. Most of the print media resources are published in the English language. This hinders a large population from accessing the media because of the levels of illiteracy in the country. Only the Namibian Newspaper is published in more than one language (Wells, 1996). Most of the print media in the market are owned by the Democratic Media Holdings. This agency is a subsidiary of Media 24, which is a South African media company. This agency owns two dailies newspapers and one weekly magazine. Most of the printing presses in Namibia are owned by DMH (Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and Open Society Media Program, 2011).
The audio sector is quite advanced with the leading radio station being the NBC. The NBC, with its other radio stations amounting to 9, reaches approximately 95 per cent of the population. This is because of the lingual diversity of the radio channels. The NBC English service radio broadcasts for 24 hours a day, unlike its subsidiary channels that only broadcast for 15 hours a day. There are many other commercial FM radio stations in the country. These radio stations broadcast in different languages. A survey that was conducted in the year 2010 indicated that radio services belonging to the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation are the most popular in the country. With many FM stations broadcasting in the country, the NBC stations are likely to face high competition (Rothe, 2011).
In the visual media, NBC TV is the leading broadcaster in the country. Apart from the NBC, there are many other television stations in the country. One of them is the One Africa TV station. The Pay-TV DSTV, which is a local television station, was introduced recently. It operates under MultiChoice Namibia. These are the only licensed television stations in the country. The Pay-TV is very expensive since it needs subscription fees. Only a little fraction of the population can access the Pay-TV services with many others using it for commercial purposes owing to the economic status of the country. Just as the community radio broadcasting channels, there are also a number of community television stations. There is Trinity Broadcasting Network Namibia. This is a 24 hour broadcasting TV station. Most of the programs broadcasted come from the TNB International, which is an American Christian TV channel. Very little time is left for the broadcasting of local content. Tsumeb Municipality has a license for community television. It rebroadcasts programs from the Deutsche Well, a German TV station. The Namibians can also have access to foreign television channels like the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation through the satellite. For them to access these foreign channels, they must purchase decoders that help them receive transmission from the satellite (Rothe, 2011).
Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been a continuous push to have the media in Namibia attain self regulation. The efforts have yielded results since the media in the country has attained a self regulatory mechanism known as the Office of the Media Ombudsman. Clement Daniels, who is a human rights lawyer, was appointed to head the office. The self-regulatory mechanism was set up by the National Editor’s Forum of Namibia. This development took place in the year 2009. This gives members of the public a mechanism to launch complaints against broadcasts or publications in the media. All the procedures and mechanisms of appeal for complainants are clearly stipulated in the code of ethics governing the media in the country. This has been enshrined in the constitution of the media ombudsman. The appellate body is the Media Appeals Board, which was set up in line with the self-regulation mechanism of the media. The board is chaired by a retired council member. This is meant to bring the sense of responsibility in the media. It also encourages the media to be professional and obey the code of ethics that are used by the international media (Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and Open Society Media Program, 2011).
From the analysis of the media industry in Namibia, it is evident that the media industry in the country has a brighter future. The media industry is still growing alongside the economy of the country. At the moment, there is quite a relatively high number of radio stations in the country with many others expected to be licensed by the government. The number of television stations is low, especially those TV stations that are accessible to the local population in the country. There is still a big gap left in the media industry, which can be filled by the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation as it streamlines its operations. One way of attaining wholesome growth is by applying strategic growth models like the 3 C’s model.
The corporate based strategy – Namibia Broadcasting Corporation
In the three C’s model, the corporation occupies the top corner of the triangle. For strategic plans to be meaningful and result-oriented, the whole organization or corporation, as in the model, has to be fully pictured. The corporation has to be properly understood. This is in reference to every department and section, and the nature of environment in which it operates. This gives an opportunity of understanding the corporation and the dimensions that can be taken when formulating the general strategies. Specific strategies are derived from the general strategies. Therefore, the general strategies are critical to the successful formulation and implementation of specific strategic plans. The formulation of corporate based strategies for NBC can help the company to stand out in the media industry. Strategic plans are aimed at maximizing on the strengths of a corporation (Albarran, Chan-Olmsted and Wirth, 2006).
Strategies that are applied at the corporate level are used in giving the corporation economic strength so that it can easily overcome competition. The corporation has enjoyed protection from the government given that it is a state owned corporation. This protection has insulated the company from the competitive pressures from the new entrants into the media industry. The government of Namibia has been licensing television and radio stations entering the industry. Privatization of the corporation would be a wise strategy of opening up the corporation to development. The corporation has to be left to operate like other private entities so that it can craft creative ideas of expansion. Though competition is feared by many business organizations, it remains to be the key to creativity for many organizations. The corporation has been sleeping on opportunities since it has not been striving to make profits (Albarran, Chan-Olmsted and Wirth, 2006).
There are certain areas where the NBC can focus. The media industry is very large, and companies can choose to specialize in the audio-visual or the print media. The NBC has been a leader in the industry within the country. The corporation has operations in the audio and visual sector of the media industry. With several radio stations and one television station, there is an opportunity for the company to exploit in the media industry. It already has many listeners to its radio stations and viewers of the television channel. The NBC has a good chance of gaining access to other fields in the industry like the print media. In the first place, there should be the strengthening of the radio broadcasting after which the television or the visual sector of the corporation will be developed (IREX, 2010).
The corporation has major strengths that are supportive of its existence in Namibia and the industry. The NBC has been the sole major player in the audio-visual media. This has made the NBC the most known media house in the country. In this case, the corporation has a competitive and comparative merit over other broadcasting or media companies in Namibia. The diversification strategies were adopted by opening various radio stations broadcasting in the industry. This is a strategic strength to the company. The other supportive factor is a comparative advantage in that the corporation is state owned. In this case, it enjoys support from the government. The NBC has the widest coverage in Namibia, and it is the only station that has the capacity to source for content from the whole of Namibia. Most people in the country listen to the station, and many companies choose to air their adverts through NBC due to its widest coverage. The NBC has to look at these strengths as a basis on which it can integrate development initiatives. The major competitive areas in the corporation come from the other community stations, which are capturing the audiences. The other area affecting the competitiveness of Namibia Broadcasting Corporation is the rise in costs of operation. Operating under the government has added to the burden. This is because most of the activities of the government are aired without pay to the corporation (Tyson, 2006; IREX, 2010).
Make or Buy for NBC
Fluctuation in the demand has significant effects on corporations. It necessitates a change in strategies so that the organization can maintain the profit track. The corporation has a good edge over other competitors in the industry. It can take advantage of this and develop corporate relationships with the upcoming agencies in the private sector. An example is airing their programs through the private channels. There are various ways in which the corporation can deal with the rise in operation costs as it is proposed in the model. The separation of functions is one of the options. The corporation can give each of the radio stations some level of autonomy. This can be realized by allowing them to operate independently though under the overall control of the corporation. These radio stations can make choices and adopt measures of cutting the cost. This is something that cannot be easily achieved when the corporation is working collectively.
Each organization tries to make adjustments in order to meet any rise in the cost of operation. However, caution has to be taken when cutting down costs. A critical look has to be given on each activity before deciding on where to cut costs. The main activities of the organization are usually exempted from these cuts. Such activities define the business and are essential in keeping customers in the market. As part of cutting down its cost of operation, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation announced some changes. Early this year, the corporation made an announcement that it was going to cut on the number of hours it broadcasts per day. The corporation also stated that strategies aimed to reduce its expenditure on local programming were going to be implemented. The changes also involve the cutting of the television broadcasting time. If these changes are implemented, then the radio and television stations will not operate for 24 hours each day. These changes were announced in February this year by Albertus Aochamub, the corporation’s director general. The corporation also announced that it might be forced to start imposing charges on government advertisements and the coverage of government events. The corporation also revealed that it was operating on a deficit budget and was in need of a bail out from the state (Sennitt, 2012).
The costs incurred by the corporation include the travelling expenses for its journalists and hire of some equipment during outside broadcasting. The manager general announced the possibility of disentangling the corporation from the state and letting it operate as an independent entity. While the corporation has announced these changes, it will be required to monitor its activities and adjust accordingly. The move of the private broadcasting agencies will be monitored as strategies are adopted to adjust to the changing environment. The move towards privatization is a good strategy. However, this might take quite long as it involves amendments to the legislation governing broadcasting in Namibia. The corporation might be forced to negotiate with other media houses and share some costs such as the cost of hiring broadcasting vans. This can only work well when it is guided by a positive spirit of competition. Otherwise, it may turn lethal if not well guarded (Kisting, 2012).
Plans of cutting down on costs need to be approached with caution. Cost reduction strategies will automatically affect the normal functioning of the corporation. When cutting down costs, it is important not to cut costs on essential activities or functions. This can cause significant damage to the organization. The major cost factors for the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation come from within the industry while the others adding to the cost of operation arise from the general economy. When choosing the cost-effective strategies, the company has to assess its expenditure and identify areas where cuts in costs can be made. Costs can only be cut on functions that are non-essential, and which contribute less to the output of the corporation. The other way through which costs can be trimmed is by teaming up with other like-minded corporations and sharing resources and functions (Kisting, 2012).
According to Shankar and Carpenter (2012), customers or clients form part of what defines the survival of any organization. Also, any strategies that are aimed at maximizing growth must pay attention to customers. For strategic planning in organizations, clients are one of the major pillars on which strategies are built. The interest of customers has to be given a first priority by a company or organization. A company that puts the priority of its customers at the forefront of its operations becomes enticing to investors and other parties. Segmentation helps in the effective understanding of customers of the organization. The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation has many customers in the country. These include people who listen to or view their programs. Statistics have shown that NBC’s radio stations are the most popular in the country. Its television is also watched by the largest audience as compared to other television stations in the country (Shankar and Carpenter, 2012).
Customer-centric corporations have been reported to make huge profits than organizations which do not have customer-centred policies. In marketing, customers are considered to be the valued treasures for organizations. They buy products and services enabling the firm to acquire income hence significant capital on which to operate. In the media consuming society, there are many consumers of media products and services. However, the audience is too general. Policies of gaining loyal customers for the company will be crucial. Sustainability in business is most of the times dependent on customers who are loyal to the products or services of the corporation. Customer-based strategies can be subdivided into various categories basing on a number of factors. This includes segmentation of customers by objectives, segmentation basing on customer coverage, re-segmentation of customers and adopting the marketing mix (Shankar and Carpenter, 2012).
Organizations that are customer-centred will have a wide scope of the consumption needs and patterns of their customers. There exists a wide range of consumption trends amongst a wider base of customers. The organization must be able to understand and differentiate these customers. This aids the organization to attend to the segmented needs as per the different categories of customers in an effective manner. Segmentation is attained through studying the customers. It becomes easy to tally the customers’ needs after categorizing or segmenting them. Therefore, these needs can be achieved through implementation of certain policies. The customer segments in the media industry or market is quite elaborate. This comes from the fact that the media covers the entire population that has different tastes in what they receive from programming (Peppers and Rogers, 2011).
The NBC has different categories of clients. There is a general audience, which listens and views the programs that are broadcasted by the corporation. The second group of customers, which is perhaps the most valued, is composed of corporate organizations and individuals who air their adverts through the corporation. This category of customers is the main contributor of revenue for the company. The company airs commercials for them. However, the second category of customers is dependent on the first group. It can be noted that advertisement is a critical aspect of any business undertaking. Firms spend a lot of money on advertising. Corporate organizations will thus want to air their adverts using media houses that have many listeners. This assures them of reaching their customers who are among the audience. The corporation will be required to improve in programming so that it can capture the needs of its general audience. It must come up with programs that are appropriate to the elite class or population, as well as those programs that favour the local population. Different age groups and genders like or will be attracted to different programs. Therefore, diversifying programs is critical to ensure that all the demands of the various age groups are addressed in the programs of NBC (Peppers and Rogers, 2011).
Customer Segmentation by objectives
Different customers derive different satisfaction from the corporation at different times. There is a group of clients who are interested in entertainment. Others would want to be educated while others need to be updated on the on-going both in the country and outside the country. The corporation has to adjust its programs so as to capture the different objectives of the listeners or viewers. Special programming has to be introduced with different programs covering certain themes that suit the objectives of listening or viewing by the customers (Shankar and Carpenter, 2012).
So far, the corporation has tried to satisfy one major need of its general clients by airing programs in diverse languages. For NBC to capture the corporate world, it must aim at maximizing the coverage of the general audience. The real and potential customers of the companies that advertise through the corporation are to be found among the general public. Therefore, business firms will only get significant outcomes from the adverts if they can reach as many people as possible. As part of advertisement, business organizations also cover their events through the media, and they cannot opt for media agencies that are incapacitated (Shankar and Carpenter, 2012).
Segmenting Customers by coverage
Marketing costs, as well as marketing coverage, have to be studied to ascertain the benefits of covering a large market in relation to its costs. For media houses, covering a large market is beneficial. Larger market coverage will mean that the corporation will air its programs to a bigger region attracting a considerable number of customers. The Namibia Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts throughout the nation. It thus has customers throughout the country. The NBC will dissect its market basing on its customer categories. Dissecting the audience will aid the organization in adjusting programs to meet the specificities of each group or category of customers. This will also aid in improving its programming besides discovering new sub-categories of clients. As the new categories of audiences and needs are discovered, future strategizing will be made easy. In this case, the corporation will achieve a big share of the market. This will enable it to adjust the charges on advertising, improving programming, promoting its programs, and covering the entire Namibia and even the neighbouring countries (Shankar and Carpenter, 2012).
The competitor- based strategy
Competition is something that is unavoidable in a liberal economy. The strategic frame-working performance model recognizes the essence of dealing with competition. Ability to tame competition means that the organization will make profits. Competition can be generated from within an industry where a firm operates or from the general economy. Where competition exists, firms must learn how to come up with competitive strategies to sail through the competition.
The Power of image in Namibia Broadcasting Corporation
Strategies of dealing with competition are necessary in firms. For organizations to adjust to competition, they must monitor their competitors and adjust their strategies relative to what their competitors are doing. Competitive strategies often aim at positioning the products in the market through the use of differentiation techniques. Differentiation of products in the media industry can be quite difficult as most of them have a similar line of production. However, it is the audience or customers who can differentiate between the qualities of programs of different media organizations (Chan-Olmsted, 2006).
The NBC can use the power of image in attaining a competitive advantage over the other broadcasting corporations. The power of an image can be very influential in boosting business for an organization. Image is built through reputation. This can be pegged on the history or quality of products and services offered to customers. The NBC will count on both history and service quality to build the best image. One of the NBC’s determinants of quality in the media industry is its profile. The profile and the personality of the staffs of the corporation play a very big role in strategic positioning of media corporations. This has proven to be effective in many media houses in Africa and the world over who even hire highly profiled staffs from other countries. The NBC needs to set high standards when hiring staffs. The organization can also outsource for highly profiled media personalities from other media agencies in the country and even outside the country. The more it will acquire these personalities, the more it gain audience and attract customers and marketing agencies who will want to use these personnel in advertisement (Eastman, Ferguson and Klein, 2006).
Internet is a tool that many organizations are using to gain a wider market. Many media houses across the world have opted to use Internet broadcasting to reach the global audience. This has proved to be effective as many people from Namibia and other parts of the globe can access the Internet. Therefore, airing through the Internet is beneficial to the corporation. The major competitor in the country in terms of technological advancement is the DSTV, which is operating under the MultiChoice Company. However, the DSTV is quite expensive to the population of Namibia. The NBC will make arrangements and export their programs to the Internet from where they can be accessed by many people thereby expanding its market. As the other community media stations strive to capture the local population, the NBC will have gained an international audience. A considerable audience on the international scene will further open up the corporation to opportunities that are available in the international market. Commercial Internet providers began working in Namibia in the year 1996, and up now, they have made a milestone. The rates of Internet connection are cheap and can be afforded by the corporation (Eastman, Ferguson and Klein, 2006).
Changes in products and customer mix
The NBC has attained a good level of trust from many people in Namibia. Many people like and tune to their stations. The corporation will cement its relationship with their customers through continuous respect and fulfilment of their needs. In determining the needs of the audience, market research will be a helpful tool. The quality of the corporation’s signals will be constantly checked and upgraded so as to make sure that the audience receives their programs without technical hindrances. Comprehensive customer relations and communication will be used in detecting any flaws in programming. Channels of constant feedback and interaction with customers through promotions and open forums will be set.
The marketing mix principle adds to the competitiveness of a company. This is especially on the improvement of the marketing function in the corporation. The product being the first focus of the mix calls for NBC to identify its products, which are the programs it televises and airs on the radio. This is what the company is selling to the audience or its customers. As explained earlier, improvement in programming will come from the understanding of their customers and their needs concerning the programs. Airing a variety of programs will be an option since the market is composed of different audiences or customers. Setting the price affects a single group of customers – those people who air programs and adverts through the corporation. The corporation has to set friendly policies of negotiating prices for their customers. These policies must be rational and economically feasible to the customers. Customers must have a say in the prices that are set on the services of the corporation. Fair prices will be appealing to customers who will be attracted to keep buying the products.
Profit often occurs as an end product of the interaction between the different functional activities in the organization. The NBC will continue to invest in activities that will help it in understanding of its customers and addressing their needs effectively. The organization will start to network with other foreign media houses to reach a much wilder audience hence maximize on profits.
Profits form part of the motivating factors for corporations as they indicate the success of the applied strategies. It is important for a corporation to know the level of income that is being fetched from each strategy. Blanket coverage of profits is not a good idea for corporation. Weak functional areas or department in the organization is identified basing on the amount of profits generated from the department.
The NBC has two major functional departments of broadcasting, which are the radio and television. Therefore, while computing profits at the end of a financial year, profits from each of these areas will be calculated before being put together to get the cumulative profits. Departments fetching low profits will form part of the priorities for the review process. A review of performance produces results pointing to the reasons why the department is under-performing. Adjustments are made to improve on the weakness and address the challenges so that these functional departments can be productive in the future. This consumes resources but is a measure of ensuring that profits are maximized in the corporation.
Revenue growth is the main objective of organizations that are in business. The costs must be minimized as much as possible for profits to be maximized. While applying cost cutting strategies in the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation, the management will be careful not to tamper with the needs and expectations of customers. Strategies like reducing broadcasting areas may have grave consequences to the company. Therefore, they must be approached with caution. Profit maximization in organizations has its risks. The corporation can focus on singular strategies that fetch immediate profits while ignoring other sectors that fetch profit on the long-term basis.
The strategic performance frame-working is a comprehensive model that can be tailored to streamline performance in organizations. The Three c’s model addresses three areas that are essential in keeping business on truck in the organization. This includes the organization itself, the customers, and competition. As strategies are made by focusing on these three areas, the overall business growth is reached. This is a very comprehensive exercise. The Namibia Broadcasting Corporation is a corporation that has been in existence for many years. With the liberalization of the media environment in Namibia, enhanced competition has been emerging in the industry. The suggested strategies as discussed can be very helpful if they are fully applied appropriately. If the corporation is fully privatized, it will focus on growth and implement competitive strategies as the strategic performance frame-working suggests. These strategies are developed and applied in a continuous manner. This is because the success or failure of a given strategy results in the formulation of other strategies. If all the areas in the strategic triangle model are given the attention that they deserve, the NBC will maximize its profits. The corporation can become a benchmark in the media industry not only in Namibia, but also in other countries within Africa and the entire world.
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