Integrated marketing communications – or IMC as we like to call it – is nothing new. In fact, the concept itself has been around since the 80’s, where marketers and communications professionals realised the need to split their promotional efforts across a number of channels to amplify their message.
Over the years, that need has intensified. Thanks to the Internet and evolving technologies, there are now hundreds more marketing channels than ever before, with new platforms created every day that brands can leverage to help get their message across.
But with more channels comes more of a need for brands to make sure that the messages they’re distributing are consistent and cohesive, otherwise they run the risk of confusing their customers and creating a sense of distrust.
What exactly is IMC?
We touched on it earlier, but IMC is an approach where brand messages are promoted through a number of strategies and activities, all of which work in harmony.
To build an IMC strategy, professionals use a variety of tools – such as social media, advertising, public relations, direct mail, events and more – to maximise the reach and consistency of their message. These tools are a lot like a bouquet of flowers; when put together, they are better than their individual parts.
For instance, at Lighthouse our campaigns for our clients often use multiple media sources like print, broadcast and digital to promote a set of pre-defined key messages. While we may utilise each of these sources in a slightly different way, they all still direct the audience back to the same key messages.
Benefits of an IMC strategy
Having an IMC strategy ensures that a brand’s message is clear and consistent. At a time when consumers are bombarded with news and advertisements at every turn, IMC ensures that your brand in particular relays one clear message to the consumer so that there is no confusion around who you are and what you have to offer.
That one clear message is then spread across multiple channels, raising awareness of your brand and putting it at the front of mind for your consumers so they are consistently reminded of you. Through this message consistency, your brand will appear more reliable and you’ll gain the trust of your consumers so that when the time comes for them to purchase your product or service, they’ll think of you first as opposed to your competitors.
Finally, the multi-pronged approach to IMC gives you the ability to reach more people at a lower cost. By creating assets – such as images and content – that can be used across multiple channels, you’ll save a tremendous amount of money on production fees, reduce workloads and decrease subsequent stress.