Communication is one of the key elements that should be kept in mind when starting a company that relies on the direct relationship between the consumer and the product being produced. (Shocker, Rajendra and Ruekert 1994). The essay that follows intends to discuss the role played by integrated marketing communications in the brand building process. Many companies have put Integrated marketing communications have put it into use in order to make the consumers familiar with their products and to create a good relationship between the consumer and the product. The essay will discuss the role of integrated marketing communications (IMC) on brand building, it will then go ahead to give a detailed account of a company that has used IMC tools and as a result it has been able to make and in effect maintain a positive figure from the use of IMC (Duncan and Thomas, 2002).
Role played by IMC
In order to understand the role played by IMC in the brand building process, we need to fist understand what IMC is and the branding process. Integrated marketing process can be defined as “a management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation” (Lake, 2009). This has made it easier for a consumer to relate to all the items that are used in business communication as advertisements rather than the way they used to be looked at before. This makes it easier for a consumer to relate to the information being brought across by the “advertisements” that are related to a particular commodity thus making it easier for the consumer to familiarize with the commodity. As a result this creates goodwill and recognition and in the long run it results to higher sales volume and higher profits for the company which is the initial desired effect (Kitchen, Joanne , Tao and Graham2004).
Brand positioning: This is the brand identity that the customers will be able to identify with in familiarizing with the commodity.
Communication of brand message: This involves the perception of the brand when the customers see the product that is the message the brand portrays.
Delivery of the brand performance: This involves tracking down the performance the brand has against that of the competitors brands, it entails that the brand be tracked down to see how it behaves among the competitors.
Influence of the brand equity: This involves the linkage of the brand to another unit so that it can have a broader influence from the association it creates with the other entity.
IMC as a communication tool
IIMC has close association to the branding process and in effect, brand equity is achieved through the IMC tools (Simon, and Sullivan 1993). It is important to note that brand awareness is effectively achieved in the presence of effective communication tools that are conveniently presented by IMC and as a result, brand equity is achieved. Once brand equity is achieved, the consumers have formed a good relationship with the brand commodities and the company can thereafter enjoy a series of large volume sales that will result to higher profits. (Joachimsthaler and Aaker 1997).
In changing its role, IMC has proven to be an important aspect for firms as it has helped to develop brand equity through synergy Eagle, Lynne and Kitchen (2000, p.669). Media and the other related channels which is decoding has changed although it is still put to use a point of direction from which the communication process stems from (Upshaw, 1995). Through IMC it can clearly be established that brand equity is a dependent factor which entirely relies on effective communication that is attributed to the use of IMC. Due to the fact that brand equity is an important aspect in the profit generation chances of a company, many companies look for a way through which they can achieve brand equity to the optimum level. Therefore, it is not surprising that many companies have taken to the use of marketing communications that are best achieved through IMC to enable them to create a firm connection between the commodities they produce and the consumers. As a result of this, brand equity could not have been achieved through the use of individual types of communication such as advertising and personal selling (Reid, 2003). This therefore resulted to the necessity of the integration of these forms of communication so that effective communication between the firm and the consumers could be achieved. This resulted to the formation of the IMC that so far has proved to be a beneficial tool in achieving this objective. It is therefore important to note that the strategy for a firm’s brand and that of the IMC form a vital part in sustaining useful brand identity and equity contacts, which have the overall impact of contributing positively to brand equity (de Chernatony, 1999).
Research conducted shows that only about 17% of the operating companies have a clue of who their loyal and most preferred customers. Estimated results show that new customers in a certain company have the tendency of costing at least more than 5% as compared to already existing customers Naik, Prasad and Kalyan, 2003).
In simpler terms, this means that when a company sells its commodities to already established customers, there is a likelyhood that the company will generate a profit of 5% as compared to selling products to new customers (Schultz, 1998)
IMC and McDonald’s strategy
McDonald’s is a good example of a company that has utilized the IMC strategy. Due to the fact that branding is an important aspect in the making of a company, McDonald has been able to achieve a brand image across the world by using their standard Golden Arches (Gronroos,1982).
These 4p’s represent products, purchasing, people and finally place. The McDonald’s have also put health into consideration and they have taken the responsibility of remodeling their restaurants. This has been made possible with the responses that the McDonald has received using IMC and the customers were able to make their pleas known so that McDonald’s can offer better services to the customers. The current menu also consists of fruits, the salads together with yoghurts and wraps (Hines, 1999). McDonald’s is also putting in consideration the cultural and ethical considerations of different communities based on the location of the restaurant like in Australia where they have incorporated cereals in their menu and nonfat milk. (McArthur, David and Griffin, 1997)
Branding and packaging
This is an advertisement done by McDonalds. The advertisements brought about lucrative results in Melbourne being among the highest recorded regions where sales rose overly in the franchises by 4.4%.
McDonalds targets at an early age of 4 years. Consumers were against this as obesity cases in Melbourne Australia are on the rise. Consumers want a healthier menu to be included in the McDonalds menu.
Sales promotion done by McDonalds increased their sales by the sum totals of 3.9% throughout the franchises while the best results were recorded from those in Melbourne Australia.
Publicity and public relations
These public demonstrations of the McDonald contribute to the enhancement of McDonald customers in Melbourne and led to an increase in the number of consumers by 3.3% by overall numbers of consumers in the franchises.
This dress code used in Melbourne for personal selling really raised the numbers of consumers who consumed the McDonalds foodstuffs:
McDonald’s have used this logos for blogs in internet marketing in Melbourne and the blog readers for this have increased sales in Melbourne by 2%.
Through IMC, consumers can be able to voice their views on how they desire the products to be presented since IMC has made companies sensitive to the needs of the consumers. In return, both parties benefit because consumers receive the best quality commodities while the companies receive high profits from the high sales volume.
Duncan, R., 2002. IMC: Using Advertising and Promotion to Build Brands, Boston: McGraw-Hill.
De Chernatony, Leslie,1999. “Brand Management Through Narrowing the Gap Between Brand Identity and Brand Reputation,” Journal of Marketing Management. Web.
Eagle, C., and Kitchen, J., 2000. “IMC, Brand Communications, and Corporate Cultures: Client/Advertising Agency Co-ordination and Cohesion,” European Journal of Marketing, 34 (5/6), 667–686
Gronroos, C., 1982. Strategic Management and Marketing in the Service Sector, Helsingfors: Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration.
Hines, R.,1999. “Ins and Outs of Integrated Marketing,” Triangle Business Journal, 15 (10), 25.
Joachimsthaler, E., and Aaker, D.,1997. “Building Brands Without Mass Media,” Harvard Business Review, 75, 39–50
Kitchen, J., Joanne Brignell, Tao Li, and Graham Jones.,2004. “The Emergence of IMC: A Theoretical Perspective,” Journal of Advertising Research, 44, 19–30.
Kapferer, Jean-Noël,1997. Strategic Brand Management: Creating and Sustaining Brand Equity Long Term, London: Kogan Page.
McArthur, N., and Griffin, T., 1997. “A Marketing Management View of Integrated Marketing Communications,” Journal of Advertising Research, 37.
Naik, A., and Kalyan R., 2003.“Understanding the Impact of Synergy in Multimedia Communications,” Journal of Marketing Research, 40 (November), 375–388.
Reid, M.,2003. “IMC–Performance Relationship: Further Insight and Evidence from the Australian Marketplace,” International Journal of Advertising, 22 (2), 227–248.
Schultz, D., 1998. “Branding: The Basis for Marketing Integration,” Marketing News, 32 (24), 8
Shocker, D., Rajendra K., and Robert W., 1994. “Challenges and Opportunities Facing Brand Management: An Introduction to the Special Issue,” Journal of Marketing
Simon, C., and Sullivan, M.,1993. “The Measurement and Determinants of Brand Equity: A Financial Approach,” Marketing Science, 12 (Winter), 28–52. Research, 31.
Upshaw, L., 1995. Building Brand Identity: A Strategy for Success in a Hostile Marketplace, New York: John Wiley.