Everybody has their own favourite brands. That is just a fact. Take the recent Brexit vote for example: some journalists reported about the favourite brands of the Remain versus Leave voters, as a certain category of people is drawn to some particular brands rather than others.
The sense of brand image exists.
Brand perception is developed through various sources of information and influencers. Marketers have grown to gain a strong echo within the discipline as they have mastered the art of communicating a particular message to a targeted audience, or a market segment which they believe has a particular interest in the brand or the organisation they speak in favour of.
The importance of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)
An effective campaign is the result of planned, integrated and coordinated efforts tailored to a particular audience revolving around key messages portraying a brand’s mission and vision.
Integrated Marketing Communication helps to achieve this goal. IMC means that the purpose of the campaign is not to use as many mediums as possible. Instead, marketers aim at using the right (best!) communication channels that are used by a particular segment. Obviously, the advantages are significant: higher effectiveness, lower costs, increased credibility etc. Ultimately, a targeted approach results in a stronger impact and a more consistent perception.
Marketers have been using a wide range of tools to channel their message: media advertising, place advertising, direct response (messages aimed at known consumers), face-to-face interaction (in a shop, in an agency for example), sponsorship and events, promotions, online and digital content and of course, PR and journalism (Keller et al. 2008). Harmony between all the different consumers’ contact points is the golden rule.
A great example of successful IMC is Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign. It is one of my favourite communication works of all time as it has been one of the most successful campaigns ever implemented, having a powerful echo from 2003 until today.
The clever idea behind the ‘Real Beauty’ campaign was to redefine female beauty according to ‘documented evidence’ as opposed to ‘advertising evidence’.
Dove’s initiative started off with outdoor billboards, transport advertising spreading to television and print content. The beauty brand’s innovation laid in their ambassadors: six non-professional women models advocating natural beauty and protesting against photo retouching. A website further attracted consumers for more information to participate in the campaign, supported by tremendous PR efforts in the media.
The efforts paid off with prestigious awards (IPA Effectiveness, EFFIE and Cannes Awards) and the representation of female beauty in the media sparked crucial debates.
“We need one big idea that can be used in a multidimensional way”
Like Light (2004) stated a few years ago: “The days of mass advertising are over. Any single ad […] is not a summary of our strategy. It’s not representative of the brand message. We don’t need one big execution of a big idea. We need one big idea that can be used in a multidimensional, multilayered and multifaceted way.”
Importantly, it should be advocated that PR practitioners not only understand, reach and interact with their audiences but also ensure the consistency of their message across an organisation’s wider scale of communication. In doing so, a particular message will have a stronger resonance within its audience.
Everybody has a favourite brand. Communication practitioners just need to ask themselves: who am I talking to?
LIGHT, L., (2004). ‘AdWatch: Outlook 2004’ conference. New York, NY.
KELLER, K.L., APERA, T. and GEORGSON, M., (2008). Strategic Brand Management: A European perspective. Harlow: Pearson Education.
TENCH, R. and YEOMANS, L. (2014). Exploring Public Relation. Third Edition. Harlow: Pearson Education.