Journalism - Strategic Communication: Getting Started

Starting Points


Preparing a Company Report

When you need background information on an industry, company or other consumer segment for your Strategic Communication class, you will need to think about three different types of information that you need to find and synthesize:  Consumer demographic/psychographic information, Media-related information such as articles in trade publications, and Business/Industry information.  This guide is intended to help you find resources in each of these three areas.   

                Consumer Analysis

Types of information about consumers that can be found:

o    Databases such as ABI/Inform, Business Source Complete, Mintel, and SRDS Local  Market Audience Analyst are good starting points. 

o    KU Libraries have several books that might give you some pertinent information American  Generations, Best Customers, and Lifestyle Market Analyst. 

o    There are several websites that can give you general demographic information that might be  useful, too.

                Media Information

                                Media information gives you information about what is being said about a company or industry.
                                These types of resources include:

o    Trade publications, newspapers, and article databases such as ABI/Inform, Business  Source Complete, Communication and Mass Media Complete, and Regional Business News.

o    Journals such as Advertising Age, Adweek, etc.

               Business/Industry Information

                                Types of information about companies/industries that can be found:

o    The company’s Web site and media kit will tell you what they want you to know or think about them. 

o    Business and Media wires will provide new product announcements, new hires, position announcements, etc

o    Company/Industry databases Standard & Poor’s Net Advantage, Business Insights:Essentials can provide information on the company’s financial health and outlook, how they compare with peers in their industry, barriers, challenges, and opportunities.

o    Advertising databases such as Redbooks can tell you which advertising agencies the company uses for each brand and how much they spend per media.

o    Government/Quasi-government databases such as EDGAR can provide inside information (risks, losses, litigation, board members, company executives) that must be disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission and shareholders if the company is public.

                                Company Challenges

                                 Search business databases using terms “risk,” “challenge,” etc.   Look for the Datamonitor SWOT analysis in
                                 Business Source Complete.  Look at S & P Net  Advantage, and EDGAR’s take on the company’s challenges.

Industry Trends

 Identify the “industry” in which your company does business.  This could mean identifying the “lines of business” by NAICS or SIC codes.  Business Source Complete, Business Insights:Essentials, S & P Net Advantage will be helpful.  The government’s economic census will be valuable to monitor, as well.  

 Competitive Analysis 

Check to see if Datamonitor has created a SWOT analysis for the company.  If they have, it should be in Business Source Complete.  Standard & Poor’s Net Advantage, and Business Insights: Essentials can provide insight into the competitive nature of the industry and how peers compare.

 Product or Service Analysis 

Learn about the products and services offered by the company.  Have distribution and pricing models changed?  Might they need to change to keep pace or move ahead in the market?   Check Business Source Complete and Communication and Mass Media Complete for advertising/marketing campaigns, including past and present successes and failures.  Check to see if innovations in technology and distribution models have changed or provide opportunity for change. 

                Market Analysis 

Market share can often be found in Business Source Complete, and Business Insight: Essentials.  

                SWOT Analysis 

Find the company’s SWOT analysis in Business Source Complete.  Use this as an example, but use the information that you’ve gathered from your searches to create a more comprehensive SWOT analysis. 

 This form was modeled on the Strategic Communication libguide, Preparing a Situation Analysis, University of Missouri - Frank Lee Martin Journalism Library

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