Integrated marketing communication
The Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) approach is becoming so popular among marketers. But why is the IMC so welcomed by most marketers? There are many reasons. The most fundamental reason is that marketers are recognizing the value of strategically integrating the various communication functions rather than having them operate autonomously. By coordinating their marketing communication efforts, companies can avoid duplication, take advantage of synergy among various communication tools, and develop more efficient and effective marketing communication programs. The movement toward IMC is also being driven by changes in ways companies market ...view middle of the document...
Major changes are occurring among consumers, particularly with respect to media use and buying and shopping patterns. The continued fragmentation of media markets , and rapid growth of interactive media and online services are also creating new methods to reach consumers. While IMC will continue to have its critics and may undergo some changes, it is very unlikely that we will see a return to the traditional system where advertising in mass media dominates and advertising and other forms of promotion function autonomously.
Strategically oriented integrated brand communications can help businesses move forward in the highly competitive world of the 21st century" (2004, p. 28, italics added). For Schultz (1998), brands are central to thisIMC. Keller (1993) points out that customer-based brand equity emanates from the consumer's familiarity and strong,favorable associations with the brand. For Keller, "marketing communications represent the voice of a brand and the means by which companies can establish a dialogue with consumers concerning their product offerings" (2001, p. 823). That is, marketing communication may provide the means for developing strong, customer-based brand equity (Keller 2003). Furthermore, marketing communications help the firm in eliciting favorable responses from customers (Duncan and Moriarty 1998). Although a number of factors influence customer-based brand equity, including product, price, and distribution, in this paper, we focus on the influence ofIMC on brand equity.
Observed thatIMC has evolved from being a mere "inside-out" device that brings promotional tools together to being a strategic process associated with brand management. Further, Naik and Raman note thatIMC emphasizes "the benefits of harnessing synergy across multiple media to build brand equity of products and services" (2003, p. 375). In this paper, however, by taking the works of several researchers (e.g., Duncan and Moriarty 1998; Jap 1999; Reid 2003), we conceptualize interactivity, strategic consistency, and complementarity as synergy constructs. Therefore, noting the intricate relationship betweenIMC and brand management, this paper aims to exploreIMC as an integral part of a firm's overall brand equity strategy.
In the past decade,IMC as a research area has generated a lot of debate, led to intellectual discourse, and overall, has contributed to the evolution ofIMC as a strategic tool that can help firms to be more effective in realizing their brand communication goals. Given (1) the explosive growth of new electronic media (Bezjian-Avery, Calder, and Iacobucci 1998), (2) the numerous and diverse means of communication and communication options (Keller 2001), (3) the speed, span, and reach of electronic communication, which is driving firms to adopt a global perspective (Kitchen and Schultz 2003), and (4) the rapidly changing advertising environment (Gould 2004),IMC theory and practice has grown and evolved....