Marketing integration is more important than ever, merging the physical and digital worlds to create a consistent, memorable brand image. Here’s how to do it right!
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) has changed from being a customer-facing process to a customer-centric system and is the past, present and future of marketing.
Why is an integrated marketing strategy so important?
A consistent message is key to building trust with your consumers, and it yields fantastic results at the end of the day with happy customers. Consistent messaging needs to filter through all of your marketing efforts, and to each and every point of customer contact in your business. As this LinkedIn article points out, “Your target audience will often be exposed to your brand on different channels and consistency across all these channels keeps your message clear and memorable. More importantly, it keeps your target audience from being confused and quickly uninterested in what you have to offer.” This applies not only to your marketing communication, but to each and every department in your organisation - from sales, to billing, customer service and more.
Fun fact: Gustav Fetchner, a German philosopher, studied this phenomenon during the 1800’s, and discovered what is now known as the mere-exposure effect. The mere-exposure effect suggests that people grow increasingly fond (and trusting) of something, the longer they’re exposed to it.
The reason why many businesses fail to achieve the growth that they desire, is that they lack consistency in their brand’s messaging.
This consistency is achieved using IMC.
IMC creates a consistent, seamless experience for customers, by aligning a brand’s communication across all channels - from advertising, to direct marketing, sales promotion, public relations and online.
Implementing a successful integrated marketing campaign
Although today’s marketing landscape calls for the consistent flow of a variety of campaigns, it’s always important to have a solid strategy in place which supports both your business goals and objectives, set well in advance. An integrated marketing strategy is critical to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience in the right place.
Take a look at these three examples of successful IMC campaigns.
1. FNB’s un-Steve yourself campaign
FNB’s “Un-Steve Yourself” campaign in 2014 is an example a successful IMC campaign. The campaign urged South Africans to “Un-Steve” themselves, and re-evaluate their choice of bank and the value it offers to them.
In 2011, FNB introduced consumers to ‘Steve’, an endearing and well meaning, but sometimes naive, call center agent working for ‘Beep Bank’, who unsuccessfully attempted to convince FNB customers to switch banks.The campaign encouraged FNB customers to make sure they are getting the best value from their bank, and of what FNB has to offer their customers.
Not only were billboards used to convert customers, but the same message was communicated on the radio, in print, on television as well as on news websites, like News24. Although it turned into a controversial campaign which sparked debate across South Africa, Steve is still a well-known character amongst FNB bankers today, and is still used in promotional material in “Meet Steve’s Replacements” on their website.
Bernice Samuels, FNB’s Chief Marketing Officer, writes, “We have always been aware of the value that the Steve character, alongside 'Beep Bank', as distinctive assets in our advertising arsenal, with high familiarity, recognition and recall associated with the brand. Steve became known as something of an anti-hero and, whether people loved to love him or loved to hate him, consumers all over South Africa definitely got to know and remember him."
2. City of Johannesburg’s You Make Joburg Great campaign
Marketing a city can be a tough job - especially when you’re a city most well-known for its negative features.
The goal of the You Make Joburg Great campaign was to positively change the perceptions of the city. During the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the City of Johannesburg (COJ), in collaboration with Penquin, launched a feel-good IMC campaign which told Johannesburg residents that it’s the people that make it a world-class African city.
The campaign used the Johannesburg residents as the catalyst to promote COJ’s message, using social media, street activations, radio advertisements and word of mouth. The You Make Joburg Great branding was placed all over the city in the form of signs, bumper stickers and t-shirts. Feedback and stories from the campaign were featured on the You Make Joburg Great blog, where COJ received fantastic responses to the activations.
3. PEP’s rebranding campaign
In what Fin24 described as “a groundbreaking example of product placement”, PEP launched its rebranding campaign on the popular South African soapie, Generations in 2007. The main goals of the campaign were to improve PEP’s reputation (placing them as a popular brand rather than just a discount store), and increase overall brand awareness.
The PEP campaign was cleverly woven into the Generations storyline. Queen Moroka (played by Sophie Ndaba), the receptionist for New Horizons (a fictitious agency featured in the show) pitches for the PEP account behind the back of her seniors, and wins. Over the following months, Queen was dressed in PEP clothing, worked on the PEP account and even had a love affair with a PEP executive. During the show, New Horizons presented PEP’s new tagline (Best prices and more), and viewers witnessed the same campaign filter through into real life in PEP stores.
The campaign was so successful, that it managed to raise the recall of the brand’s tagline from 26% (Lowest prices for everyone) to 42% (Best prices and more).
If you’d like to learn more about how to strategise and implement your own winning IMC campaign, you can download the Integrated Marketing eBook. The eBook will walk you through the planning, implementation and measurement of integrated marketing, and includes helpful tips and case studies.