The level of competition among organizations has become so intense currently. Due to this reason, many organizations have adapted the strategy of developing Integrated Marketing Communication Programs so as to gain competitive advantages against each other in the dynamic business field. Integrated Marketing Communications is known as an approach which is presented with the same style and tone for a brand communications whereby different modes work together in creation of a customer’s seamless experience thus helping in reinforcing the core message of the brand.The major objective of creating an Integrated Marketing Communication Program (IMC) is to ensure that all marketing communications work together as a unified force instead of each one of them working in isolation which in the long run helps maximize costs effectiveness. Some of these marketing communications include advertising, public relations, online communications, sales promotions and social media.
Components of IMC
Foundation: This is based on a very strong understanding of the market and the product itself. In the current marketing world, the major foundation of ensuring a proper Integrated Marketing Communication is clear understanding of the changing technology. Technology has enabled organizations to create a proper brand and product management strategy which gives them a competitive edge against their competitors and also helps improve the company’s sales volume.
Corporate Culture: This is a significant aspect that enables a brand to be recognized as indivisible from the capabilities, vision, culture of the organization and personality. IMC works well when put together with cultural branding theory since it makes the theory stronger towards managing the brand.
Brand Focus: This is the corporate identity, logo, style, tag line and core message of the brand. In order for the message to create an impact towards the audience and mostly the target market it is evident that the message should be very clear and precise. IMC helps communicate effectively to the target market compared to some of the weak brand management theories such as cultural brand theory. Use of logos and others help consumers to easily identify the product and also acts as a reminder. A good example of brands guided by IMC includes Fiat 500 and Audi.
Consumer Experience: Packaging and product design is also a component of IMC which is very important in attracting customers. Design and packaging can also be termed as a strategy of brand management. Integrated Marketing Communications comes in different styles and aspects.
Communication Tools: In order for an organization to ensure proper IMC they should include all means of advertising including direct marketing and online communications which includes also the social media. IMC has enabled companies to adapt a new approach of integration so as to manage the issues which seem more complex during the involvement of brand communication to the consumers and other involved stakeholders. Though it is said to be expensive IMC programs has a lot of advantages towards the brand and is said to be worth the value. Most of the organizations or companies which use this strategy enjoy a high level of success in areas such as advertising, promotions and social media. IMC enables companies to easily create and maintain brand awareness towards its target audience and also enables the companies to attract more customers. It also acts as a reminder of the product or service to the customers since the brand creates a certain perception in the mind of the customer such that when the customers sees the brand he or she is likely to remember the product or service.
Criteria for IMC Programs
Coverage: This is termed as the size or audience proportion reached by each option of marketing communication. In other terms it is a question of what length does each communication target reach the target market?
Cost: Cost in IMC must give the worth in relation to the efficiency and effectiveness of Integrated Marketing Communications. In addition, it should also entail in itself criteria of evaluation in order for its weigh could be checked in good time.
Complementary: Complementary in IMC refers as to what extent the options of marketing are different in connection and linkages transversely multiple communications. Complementaries have high effects on the direct sales of a particular product. Just for the reason that they both work on building the purchaser awareness structure from two different ways work on by making customer’s compensatory and supporting decision perfect for them.
Contribution: In IMC contribution is regarded as the ability of a marketing communication option to create the expected response in the minds of consumers. Contribution is also realized by how it helps the consumers’ minds make their decisions on the purchase process worthy early in the process.
Versatility: This highly refers to the extent or length at which an option of marketing communication can impact different types of customers. The two known types of versatility include consumer and communication. Any IMC program sets the reality that when customers are exposed to a particular communication in marketing; it is obvious that some of the customers will have heard about other brands while others will have not. The ability of the marketing communication to therefore work on both groups is therefore very significant. Unless some consumers have been effected to certain communications, then some marketing communication options will be useless. A marketing communication is termed successful when it achieves the effect desired despite its history on consumer communication.
Commonality: It is clear that despite the commonality regions chosen by the marketers for a brand or product, they ensure coordination of the whole program of communication to create an effective and convenient brand image among the customers whereby brand association share meaning. The cohesiveness and consistency of the brand image is very significant since the image is a determinant of how fast the customers can remember responses an associates and how it can be easy for them to link the additional responses and associates to the brand in memory. In creation of positive brand images, it is known that there are advantages due to use of the option of multiple communication. This is also evident according to the psychology in the encoding variable principle which argues that information presentation in varied contexts leads to encoding of information in different ways.
Using IMC Choice Criteria
Evaluating communication options: The communication response created by the audience after the message has been delivered through the IMC is the best way to measure and judge the options of marketing communications. Different strengths and weaknesses are found in different communications types and they also raise different issues. It is very clear and evident that different types of communications if well designed can play unique and effective role in achieving the objectives of communications intended and this shows therefore that there are no inherent differences among various types of communications. In a similar case, all the marketing communications are rated expensive though they also have differences. Types of communications are said to vary in the depth and breadth of audience coverage and in other areas of versatility and commonality to the number of applied modalities. The more modalities applied by a type of communication the greater its versatility and commonality potential.
Establishing priorities and trade-offs: IMC choice criteria are related and therefore decisions should also be done regarding the tradeoffs. However the priorities depend partly on the marketing communication program objectives such as the long run and short term concerns. There are three factors which are considered with overlaps in coverage in order to identify a number of tradeoffs. These factors include complementality and robustness, complementality and commonality and finally commonality and robustness which are normally known not to share any relation.
Executing final design and Implementation: Determination of each communication option in specific executional detail and the media plan specific parameters should be put into place once the broad strategic guidelines are well put into place. In conditions of the former, communication options ought to be developed as productively as probable to take full advantage of the probability that they will accomplish their expected objectives.
Theories of Brand and product Management
Brand community theory is said to be influenced by certain consumption and subcultures such as unique jargons and rituals, a hierarchical social structure and unique modes of symbolic expressions. Communication investment even in a communication culture is an important business strategy that permits companies to pursue a number of different goals consistently in terms of positioning(of products, business and brand), identity, credibility, good will, network creation, reputation, corporate social responsibility and internal communication.A brand subculture membership whether informal or formal is said to be more demanding than the community brand membership. Brand meaning attached to the current products can be useful to the new products marketing. Grass-Roots Research and Development can be used in the marketing intention of the brand and can be shared in the brand communities. Compared to IMC is an important communication and marketing strategy for a product though for it to work a product or service should be available.
A comparison between the mindshare branding model and the cultural branding model
The purpose of brand communication for example through advertising is to influence the perception of the consumer through rhetoric compared to cultural branding model theory which main consumer value is the myth making communication. In the cultural branding theory which is also a weak theory of brand management, the product is referred as a means of story embracer while the brand is referred to as a storied product. This theory is not among the most efficient in brand or product management thus can lead to poor communication of the product towards the audience. Integrated marketing communication seems a stronger way of creating awareness and thus its many advantages towards the organizations promoting various brands and products. Employer branding is another theory that can be compared with IMC. Employer branding is a very strong aspect of brand management that is generally created to denote the image and reputation of the employer. Employer braining connects the brand with the employer and enables the employer to be associated with it thus enhancing development of a good name.
In conclusion, IMC is a very essential aspect of organizational investment that helps brands to boost the sales of the company and create a competitive edge for the company. Need for innovation has been created due to the increased communication investment globally and this has helped organizations in improving and fulfilling positioning (products and brands), identity, networking and goodwill. IMC is composed of various components including foundation, corporate culture, brand focus, consumer experience and communication. These are components which play a big role in developing Integrated Marketing Communication Programs which are effective.IMC is also considered very important in reducing organizational competition since it gives a company competitive advantage against its competitors.
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