IMC: Put Together

Like any good outfit (as John Witherspoon saying, “Cooo-rdinate” in ‘Boomerang’ leaps in my head) an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Campaign should be a coordinated effort to use the variant business communication tools to further one big message. Regardless of whether or not your brown belt is your favorite, you likely don’t want to wear it with your red shirt and black shoes. That is NOT put together. ┬áThere are some actions you can take to make sure that your IMC campaign is cohesive.

First, you have to establish a big idea. The big idea encapsulates your total message in a few simple words or phrases. You should be able to use this to start your elevator pitch, but it is not necessary to have it in your communications (it is not your slogan). For instance if I run a basketball team on the verge of greatness, my big idea could be “We will work harder than ever to win a championship.” A good logo to back that up might be, “Champions work harder.” The preceding works as a big idea because it is distinctive, relevant, unifying, memorable, and can be easily translated into sales – all of the necessary elements of an effective big idea.

In-game promos could include hard hats with the team logo & slogan with the word, “win” scribed on the back. This supports the big idea with the word win, and the slogan by applying the hard hat prop. The team website could be marked with construction tape, reading “Caution: Construction Area” in the team colors. Instead of having a stats page, it could be changed to a “Performance Evaluations” page. The ideas are nearly endless on the website.

Local television promos could show the guys in overalls carrying pick axes punching time clocks under the basket with the star of the team saying, “it’s time to go to work.” Then, a cut to a montage of the team running drills and dunking could ensue. Or, maybe a bunch of hustle plays with guys hitting the deck and scrapping for the ball might also work as an ending montage.

The sales people that year would sell “office badges” instead of tickets. Corporate ticket packages could be called “offsite meeting tickets.” Finally the pitch for all this might sound something like, “This year the (Basketball Team Here) plans to show you the benefit of hard work, and the product they’ll deliver this season will be our best effort yet. Don’t miss out on a great season that will be the result of aggressive work toward our championship goal. Which ticket package can I get you?”

The direct mail campaign might visually resemble an internal company memo that looks like a prospectus that shows the stock of the company (team) based off of the increased production of effort and the call to action would ask for a “stock purchase” through the advent of buying tickets. The direct email will match this message exactly, for increased cohesiveness.

The social campaign would be a great place to get engagement and connect the team to the fans by asking for submissions of people wearing their team gear at work. Maybe the coolest pic or video gets four free tickets. The blog might work as a daily journal of how much effort and sweat equity goes into training camp. The twitter stream would have to directly engage fans by conversing with them about team updates and the fans’ jobs/careers.

Finally the stadium (or service-scape) could have the road construction barrels in the team colors in the hallways, signs that reads “Team at work,” and the large concessions stand cups could look like coffee mugs.

Now, this team has a cohesive integrated marketing communications campaign that can be applied to any other form of communication they send out also. The difficulty is in matching the big idea to every message and medium. If you do you will have a consistent message that creates a feeling that is unmistakable in its affect regardless of medium, while naturally promoting engagement around that centerpiece – kind of like a cool shirt sets the tone for the rest of the outfit.

Now go be brilliant in the creation of your IMC campaigns!

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About Therran Oliphant

Therran Oliphant is a strong advocate for developing the academic and practical field of Integrated Marketing Communications. Holding an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) from Eastern Michigan University, Therran has been a staunch advocate for developing the theoretical, practical and applicable concepts of the field, especially as it comes to digital advertising and media. His main passion is helping marketers more accurately interface with the technology community and ask the right questions to help them accomplish the objectives their brand customers have set. A career in data and advertising technology has allowed him to have a unique perspective on the science of utilizing the right methodologies to systematically ask the right questions that lead to delivering the outcomes necessary for success.