Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is an approach to marketing communications that seeks to engage with the customers from every front using different tools and strategies that convey a single and clear message with greater impact to the consumers. According to Ang (2014), IMC refers to the communications strategy adopted by a firm to ensure that all brand contacts and interactions with the customer for the organization, the employees, products and services are relevant, appropriate and consistent over time.
The image above provides an example of a comprehensive integrated marketing communications that makes use of all channels to drive the company brand. A company adopting the integrated marketing communications strategy seeks to promote its brand through paid and free advertising, mobile phone, video clips, the internet, namely websites and blog sites, interactive games, word of mouth and social media networking, all which create and foster viral marketing and carry the brand (Ang, 2014).
Coca-Cola has done an exceptional job in the development and implementation of an IMC plan. Coca-Cola uses a combination of themes and concepts all designed to drive sales for its products. Through a combination of advertising in electronic media and out of home campaigns, Coca-cola is able to reach a wider target audience, create awareness, build brand image and drive sales.
Coca Cola’s ‘share a coke’ campaign remains one of the most genius and successful attempt towards implementing an integrated marketing communications strategy (McQuilken, 2014). In designing the campaign, Coca Cola betted on the idea that people could not resist branded and personalized products. The ‘share a coke’ slogan was so powerful in the sense that it triggered the interest and desire of the consumers, by appealing on their emotions and psychological desires to share (Joseph, 2011). This was a clever move as it appealed and persuaded people to share the coke with their loved ones.
Nevertheless, the idea of including the names of the consumers on the bottles was also intriguing. Consumers simply bought the Coca Cola brand because they saw their names on the bottles and felt connected with it. According to YouTube published by Rahoo22 (2012), Coca-cola was able to attain a tremendous success in the campaign by relying on social media, outdoor marketing and retail spaces, and more importantly relying on its personalized appeal. Esterl (2014) observes that the only way that the campaign was able to attain success was by putting the names of the customers on the Coca Cola bottles and cans.
The idea was very simple, yet smart. People care about their friends and families. Get the names of the people, their friends and families on the bottles and cans, then make noise about it in the media, both broadcast, print, outdoor, internet and social media. The campaign featured over 250 popular teen and millennial names branded on the Coca-Cola cans and bottles. Social media was critical to the success of the ‘share a coke’ campaign. After finding the cans and bottles with their names, Coca-Cola encouraged the consumers to share the coke with their friends, take photos and videos and upload it on social media using the trending hash tag #ShareaCoke to spread their happiness. Coca Cola’s approach was creative and innovative in the sense that it established brand perception, encouraged people to generate content offline and share the same online through effective integration of advertising and social media to influence consumer experience (Grimes, 2013).
Through encouraging sharing both offline and on social media, Coca Cola achieved a unified way of promoting brand awareness, brand enjoyment and interaction. Going beyond the customized bottles, Coca-Cola developed interactive websites and billboards to support the campaign. Coca Cola also designed travelling kiosks with the goal of bringing the brand closer to the people, and encouraged them to get a unique and personalized name on the coke products (Joseph, 2011). It was evident that Coca-Cola was exploiting every possible communication channel to create and deliver a coherent, clear, consistent, cohesive and competitive message about itself and brand identity cutting across all surfaces, making it a successful approach to integrated marketing communications.
Ang, L., 2014. Integrated Marketing Communications: A focus on new technologies and advanced theories. London: Cambridge University Press
Esterl, M., 2014. ‘Share a Coke’ credited with a pop in sales. Wall Street Journal, [Online] Available at: http://www.wsj.com/articles/share-a-coke-credited-with-a-pop-in-sales-1411661519#:aLM90NsEGXwOIA
Grimes, T., 2013. What the Share a Coke campaign can teach other brands, The Guardian, [Online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2013/jul/24/share-coke-teach-brands
Joseph, K.O., 2011. Integrated marketing communication: A catalyst for the growth of e-business management. The Social Sciences, 6(2), pp.64-73.
McQuilken, T., 2014. ‘Share a Coke’ Campaign Grows Sales For First Time in 10 Years. AdWeek, [Online] Available at: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/coca-colas-share-coke-campaign-grows-sales-first-time-10-years-160433
Rahoo22, 2012. ‘Share A Coke’ campaign …Coca Cola, a marketing genius!!! [You Tube] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X8Bd3-G6IU
Name : Darshan Thota Venkatachalapathi
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