Communication styles of JcPenny vs Sears

COM 2224 Business and Professional Writing
Team Analytical Report Assignment a 200 points

a? This assignment is due during Week 8 on Thursday at 11:59 p.m., EST/EDT.
a? Each team must submit one copy of the assignment to
a? Each team must e-mail one copy of the assignment to the instructor by the due date. Attach the document containing the assignment to the e-mail.

Context
During the course, you will work with your team to write an analytical report that compares and contrasts the communication styles of two nation-wide or international companies from the same industry.

To make sure that each team member is able to participate fully, try to choose companies that each team member can access. The Yahoo! Finance Industry Center provides a comprehensive list of industries to choose from. You will be able to follow the industry links to find specific companies in each industry. Here are a few examples of companies that you could compare:
a? Banking: Bank of America & Wells Fargo
a? Health Insurance: Aetna & United Health Care
a? Retail: Wal-Mart & Target
a? Apparel: American Eagle & Abercrombie & Finch
a? Telecom Services: AT&T & Verizon
a? Restaurants: Darden & Brinker

As soon as you have decided which two companies you are going to compare, e-mail the information to your instructor for approval.

Research
To learn about the way the two competitors communicate, carefully analyze their websites, annual reports, press releases, advertising campaigns, and any other material that is relevant. Focus on the messages they convey and the images they use to represent their company. Also, take a look at what others write about them, i.e., look at newspaper or magazine articles about them or in which they have been discussed.

Assignment
Work as a team to write a formal analytical report to compare the communication styles of the two companies assigned to your team.

In the a?Introductiona? section, provide background information about each company. Present a brief overview of the history of each of the companies along with a brief presentation of relevant statistics, such as number of employees, size of market, location of primary markets, and product lines, to give an accurate picture of each company. Also mention at least four major accomplishments of each of the two companies, two before 2006 and two since then.

In the a?Bodya? of your report, compare the communication styles of the two companies in depth. Start by comparing the perceived audiences for each of the companies. Then compare each of the following, focusing on the differences in communication style:
a? Websites a look, feel, images, ease of navigation
a? Annual reports a look, feel, tone
a? Press releases a tone, timeliness
a? Advertisements a look, feel, images
a? Public relations/community citizenship activities

Remember that you are NOT writing a simple informative report; rather, you are writing an analytical report. In your a?Conclusiona? section, draw relevant conclusions about the effectiveness of each companyas communication style. Does one company have a better overall communication style than the other? Or, does each company have its own strengths and weaknesses? For example, one company may have a better website than the other, but its annual report may be lacking. Make sure that you use your research findings to support each conclusion.

Format
The report should have all the formal report sections, including front matter, body, and back matter. Feel free to use headers to break up your text. Your textbook provides an example of a correctly formatted report that you can use as a model.

The report must include at least five correctly formatted visuals, which must include the following:
a? screen shots of representative web pages for each company
a? a table contrasting the two companies
a? a completed Gantt Chart

Sources
You must include at least six different references, at least three of which must be non-corporate sources, and at least two of which must be non-electronic sources. Use the APA format to cite your sources.

Length Guideline
The report should be about 10 pages of text (single spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font); the total length of the report will, of course, be longer once you add figures and references.