Sunday, November 16, 2008

IMC: Consistency

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is the concept for a company or organization to send a consistent message to the masses. Sounds simple. I mean, you just make sure all your ads match your product and website, right? Well, kinda… but technically, that’s not even the half of it…

In order to truly utilize the concept of IMC – an organization must pay attention to the messages sent by ALL divisions of the company (even those which may not be specifically geared at sending messages - I’m looking at you transportation and logistics). You see, it works like this: let’s say you’re working with a food company that claims to have ‘the most authentic southwestern flavor’ of something – be it chips, dips, drinks – doesn’t matter – but let’s also assume that the company is based out of Toronto, Ontario. Okay, totally inconsistent, right? So, this company claims to have ‘the most authentic southwestern flavor’ of food – and maybe it even tastes good – but the fact is that it’s not even based in the American Southwest. Nothing against Canada (I love you) but the location of the company inherently becomes a message which remains inconsistent with the rest (assuming the ads, promos, website, and PR messages all work in juncture) of the organization.

Too theoretical? Okay, let’s take a look at – a website which offers environmentally friendly products ranging from clothes to office supplies (including an awesome staple-less stapler – go figure). Anyway, the website offers a full range of eco-friendly products and they take this message across the board. Not only do they sell eco-friendly - they do business eco-friendly. What do I mean by that? For starters, the company doesn’t ship to anywhere except the continental 48. Why? Because shipping anywhere else (Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Canary Islands, etc…) would create too large of an impact on the environment due to the energy to transport goods. So, even if receives an order from Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic – it’s a no go. And not that doesn’t appreciate the efforts to go green… it’s just contradictory to ship eco-friendly product when it’s eco-harmful to do so.

In fact, looking around the website – it’s obvious that does a great job at sending a consistent message. For example, check out their press release page for information about the company and suggestions on green shopping lists (See 2005’s 'Top 12 List of Greenest Holiday Gifts') or their support for the ‘Biodegradable Bay Campaign’ which urges the restaurants of San Francisco metro to ditch all Styrofoam products. Not that had to do that, but rather, it just seemed to fit. May I say, that from one bloggers’ point of view, I’m totally on the same page with you.


Claire Pia said...

There's a great review of several sources for eco-friendly office supplies done by FLYP media. Check it out:

Jameser said...

That's why you are my partner in class. Nice post! I like how you applied IMC to an actual organization. I am stuck on this term, but I agree that a company should expand beyond IMC into the realm of "synergy". That is, I believe that an organization should practice the concepts of IMC at all levels of the organization - not just those that deal with marketing, pr, advertising, etc.

P.S. Canada is America's tophat.

AmandaK said...

That greenhome site is a great example of IMC, great find!