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Copyright Stephen van Fleteren/MSF

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Introduction M�decins Sans Fronti�res (from here on referred to as MSF) was founded in 1971 in Paris out the efforts of 12 dedicated French doctors. It is a private international organization which believes that "all people should have the right to medical care and that the needs of these people supersede respect for national borders" (MSF, 2001). MSF offers assistance to population in distress, to victims of natural and man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflict, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, or political associations. Figure 1 represents the stakeholders of MSF. The information we collected concerns the General Public, Employees, Volunteers and Donator groups. Figure 1 General Public The public at large represents the population that is as well aware or unaware of the existence of MSF, and who does not actively participate in any direct activity (e.g donating, volunteering) in connection with MSF. This group represents a great potential for MSF, as the general public are potential donators, volunteers and opinion makers. Direct mail letter The direct mail letter is distributed randomly via the letterbox to the general public in France. The letter is on A4 mat paper. On the upper right hand, the red and black MSF logo is present. The text is written in the sans serif Arial letter type, black, with 1,5 spacing between the line. The layout is pragmatic. The paper is printed on both sides, with the body copy dominating. On each side of the letter there is a black and white picture (roughly 4 x 6cm) medical staff attending to infants. The imitation blue ink is used to underline an important point as well as the signature of the President of MSF. The content of the letter compares the situation of infants in France to that one of the ones in Sudan. MSF is quite elaborate in explaining the situation of the orphanage, the problems they encounter, and what the task and goals of MSF are. ...read more.


A colour picture covers the front paper. The MSF logo is found at the bottom of the page to the right. The title of the brochure is in white and see- through letters, just below the centre the page. In the leaflet, the layout is less structured than the Dutch/English version. At the back of the leaflet, the page is covered with miniature photos of MSF volunteers, with a caption containing the MSF address. The text is divided into columns, some two, others five. The title of paragraphs in bold dark red or grey letters, the letter type is sans serif. Going through the leaflet is a bar of colour, with a big heading, and colour pictures. Looking at the content, again it is quite different than the Dutch/English version. The French version presents information in different styles. First of all they tackle fewer subjects. However the subjects they do write about are more in-depth and integrated into a whole. There are also quotes from employees about their motivation of volunteering. The tone of voice is more appealing than and not as flat as the Dutch/English version. This brochure does not offer a clear overview, and the reader is pushed to scan the pages for the information he is looking for. Donators MSF is eminently dependent on donations, this makes the donator group one of their most important stakeholders. We divided the donators group into four subdivisions, namely: 1. Business donators: one should think about companies and organisations giving large sums each month or year. They can been seen as a sort of sponsor; 2. Donators: individual donators that give monetary donations to MSF. This also includes donations that come from a legation or a so called 'giveaway' from individuals / organisations. This is attractive as it is deductible on their tax free income; 3. Student/Schools: primary schools that hold a MSF project and raise money in this way; Annual year report A company is legally obliged to publish a year report. ...read more.


Furthermore, during our research, we have learnt about their different communication activities. In our opinion, these are quite wide spread, and go from giving brochures and video material to primary schools, to giving presentations to community group. So at this stage, we can conclude that part of their personality is to be open, transparent and proactive. Secondly, after analysing the visuals of the corporate communication activities, as seen above, we look at their communication. Through our research, we found that the communication style differed between France and Holland. Cultural differences were taken into account. In France a more opulent style is used and the texts are more manipulative, whereas in Holland, where the population is more down to earth, the messages are more straightforward. However, they also have common elements. They both stress their experience in the field, they use a personalised approach, and the visuals are dominant. Last of all, we look at symbolism. The most apparent symbol is the MSF logo. This is used consistently in every document, leaflet or brochure and placed at a prevailing spot on the medium. Looking specifically at the Dutch visuals, their choice of colours, format and layout is also extremely consistent. This gives a very professional impression. The French are more playful with their visuals, use more colours, also colour pictures in their materials. However, one can still detect that a certain concept is being followed. We conclude from this that MSF gives great care in presenting itself in a harmonised fashion. This leads us to determining the common starting points (CSPs) of MSF. These derive from the chose communication strategy and are established by all relevant internal parties concerned in the company's communication. CSPs are values which are used as a foundation for any communication initiation and can be seen as an organisation's choice in priority of what messages will be communicated, on a behavioural, communication and symbolic level. In our opinion, these are the common starting points of M�decins sans Frontiers are: * Openness /Honest /Transparent * Ethical * Autonomous * Proactive 2 ...read more.

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