Thursday, November 6, 2008

IMC: It makes me Glad!

If I see an ad, podcast, or social network group online, more than likely I will see the same image or a similar ad on tv, in a newspaper, or on a billboard. That is the goal of integrated marketing communications: consistency of brand. In the information age, pr professionals must strive to maintain a "single voice" image; thus, they must work hand in hand with marketing, and advertising. A holistic approach to both online and offline media gives a company the benefits of reiteration. This constant image shapes the users perception and brand image that can allow the company to stand out above the crowd.

The focused image creates a distinct awareness of the company and should also lead the user to some type of action. For example, I commonly associate Glad bags (trash bags) as the ones that make me happy. Why? They don't break when they are loaded down with trash. Glad has effectively put this image in my mind; thus, as I peruse the trash bag aisle and see Glad bags I feel positive they are quality, strong trash bags. Which brings me to my point: Glad has created a "single voice" through various pr and marketing strategies such as their website, online ads, tv ads, magazine ads, and more. Will this consistent image lead me to buy their product? Personally, it depends on my mood, the day, and my bank account. Regardless, Glad has worked to sell their product through an IMC approach in which all efforts are focused on consistency in image.

So where does this put public relations and marketing specialists? Well, it forces them to work together. An "old rule" was that these two departments and Advertising were entirely separate entities; however, this is no longer the case. All specialized areas must come together to create a positive, cohesive image for the company.

Three primary benefits of utilizing an IMC approach are increased brand loyalty, profit, and customer relationship retention. First, using an approach that integrates all departments and all mediums allows customers to have a tangible sense of what the company is all about. This very real perception increases the chances of their loyalty. Next, a complete and consistent message can help customers make a decision about what they buy. If they can identify with your company, then they are more likely to buy your product; thus, increasing your profit. Lastly, brand loyalty and purchasing of products can create business to customer relationships that provide a customer base as well as free buzz marketing. This relationship can be consistently reinforced through the IMC approach.

IMC takes a lot of effort, proper management, and much thought; however, all signs say you'll be Glad you did. :)

For a video tutorial on what IMC is click:

1 comment:

Ericka Gonzalez said...

This was an excellent post Natalie! I love your Glad illustration, it really drives the point home. All of your points about how important IMC is for customer relations and brand loyalty are really good. If I were a company and read that, I would say, let's make sure we're doing what Natalie is saying and work hard to have effective an IMC strategy to make sure we are consistent in our message... then we'll be glad we did ! haha.

Your confident, professional and authoritative tone in your writing is great!