Communication is commonly defined as ‘the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing or signs’ (Smith and Taylor).
Communication is a process of transferring information from one entity to another sharing a repertoire of signs and semiotic rules. The information is encoded and channelled by a sender to a receiver via some medium. The receiver then decodes the message and gives the sender feedback.
Communication embraces auditory means such as speech, song and tone of voice and there are non-verbal means such as body language, sign language, touch, eye contact and writing.
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Researchers concluded that social factors were also important in the way in which audiences interpreted texts. The theory helped explain why certain media campaigns failed to alter audience’s attitudes and behaviour.
Multi Step Flow Theory
Over the past few decades, technology has revolutionised our lives and has significantly transformed mass communication. During the 20th century, edge-breaking theories were presented in relation to the communication field. Two particular theories included: The Uses and Gratifications Approach & The Dependency Theory.
- Uses & Gratifications Theory
Katz first introduced the Uses and Gratifications Approach, when he came up with the notion that people use the media to their benefit. In 1948, Lasswell suggested that media texts had the following functions for individuals and society:
* Cultural Transmission
The Uses and Gratifications Approach views the audience as active meaning that they actively seek out specific media to satisfy their needs.
This approach has 5 basic assumptions that provide a framework for understanding the exact correlation between the media and the viewers.
Bulmer and Katz expanded this theory and published their own in 1974 stating that individuals might choose and use text for the following purposes:
* Personal relationships
* Personal identity
Since then the list of uses & gratifications has been extended, as new media forms have emerged.
-The Dependency Theory
Another theory that has emerged and has become quite prevalent is the Dependency Theory and in a sense is an extension or an addition to the Uses and Gratifications Approach. This theory is an explanation of the correlating relationship between the media content, the nature of society and the behaviour of audiences.
MARKETING THEORIES OF COMMUNICATION
Rogers Diffusion of Innovation Model
This extension of the product lifecycle was developed by Everett Rogers in 1962 and looks at who adopts products at the different stages of the life cycle. Rogers identified 5 types of purchasers:
2. Early Adopters
3. Early Majority
4. Late Majority
The most widely accepted and used theory of communications is the work of Shannon and Weaver. It is a liner model that suggests that the effectiveness of communication in marketing is due to the transmission concepts and ideas through the use of accepted symbols. This model is still the most used one in relation to marketing communications. Holm (2002) argues that 70-80% of effective communications use this linear approach.
Schramm’s model (1955) shows a straight linear model of communications: Sender---- Message---- Receiver....