Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)
Recently a character on the popular television show Necessary Roughness reaped the repercussions of assigning his tweets to someone who did not understand his “brand.” The football player was getting “Likes”, but the postings were not acceptable to the NFL team for whom he played. The football star was clueless to what the problem was. “Likes” are good, aren’t they? Not always, according to the NFL team management. The tweets were not consistent with the image the NFL franchise carefully portrayed to its fans and the media.
In a world of thousands of brand messages, it’s important that every brand message is consistent and relevant. And that’s where integrated marketing communication (IMC) becomes important. With IMC, all aspects of marketing communications such as advertising, public relations, direct mail, promotions and social media all work together instead of each working in isolation. IMC starts with a core brand strategy based on goals and objectives and goes beyond communication tools to include the coordination of messaging, channels, creative and technology.
When IMC broke onto the scene in the 1980’s, the mantra was “one voice”. A company relied heavily on advertising to develop its brand because in advertising the company controlled the content. Depending upon its budget, the company supplemented its ad messaging with unified messaging in collateral, promotions and trade shows. Through press releases, case studies, interviews, photography and other elements, the company’s public relations agency provided information to the media for their content. It was a different time.
While today’s IMC continues to be a customer-centric approach, technology has changed the playing field. Regardless of their consumer- or B2B-focus, companies are increasingly developing their own content and using social media, contests, user-generated content, video clips and other Web-based applications to engage customers. While technology advances enable companies to create and communicate their own brand content more quickly and at a reduced financial risk, there is still the matter of orchestrating the various messaging with a tonality to which customers respond. Tweets need to be in line with other social media, collateral, press releases, ads and sales promotions as well as the Website and other digital media. It’s an orchestra of messaging with everyone playing on key and in time.
While technology has made it easier for companies to produce content for its various audiences, the same technology enables a customer’s experience to go viral overnight on blogs, Twitter and YouTube. Today’s companies need to recognize the importance of what is happening at the various customer touch-points and realize their customer service department is now part of the brand media mix.
Just like the NFL football star learned his tweets were part of a bigger brand, so does each element of an integrated marketing communications program make deposits into or withdrawals from the “brand bank”.