What is IMC?
Integrated marketing communications (IMC) can be understood as a marketing strategy employed by organizations for branding and coordinating their communication efforts of conveying product information to the target audience (Iacobucci 2014). Coming up with a credible integrated marketing communications strategy is integral to any business in order to successfully gain proximity to its targeted consumers (Shimp & Andrews 2012).
A multi-step process to reach consumers…
IMC is not a one-step process. It requires planning, formulation of a fool-proof strategy and utilization of different media in order to successfully reach a consumer (Iacobucci 2014).
The ‘Integrating’ element in IMC…
IMC strategy developed by an organization is not limited to a single media platform; rather it involves several forms of media likeTV/ radio advertisements,social media propaganda, public relations and e-mail marketing to name a few (Iacobucci 2014).
Several organizations spend millions of dollars on developing IMC strategies every year in order to lure customers towards their brand (Shimp & Andrews 2012). One noteworthy organization that has successfully paved its way in the consumers’ hearts year after year is Coca Cola with its new ad campaigns that are always stronger than before.
The success story of Coca Cola continues in 2016… ‘Taste the feeling campaign’…
In January, 2016, Coca Cola came back with a new ‘one brand’ global IMC campaign, ‘Taste the feeling’ that brings together all the brands of Coca Cola i.e. Coca-Cola, Diet Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life under one roof (The Coca-Cola Company, 2016). Replacing the ‘Open happiness’ campaign, Coca Cola has employed ‘emotional product communication’ by using creative storytelling and regular people endorsements in everyday moments to connect with the target audience across the globe.
The campaign has been brought to life across the globe through a comprehensive IMC campaign comprising TV advertisements, video demonstrations, cinema buy, social media and public relations (Iacobucci 2014) among others in order to convey Coca Cola’s perceived benefits as a beverage. Focusing on the Australian market, the ‘Taste the feeling’ campaign reached consumers through a range of platforms…
The IMC element mix in ‘Taste the Feeling Campaign’…
In Australia, ‘Taste the feeling’ campaign reached the masses through the following mix of IMC tools (Campaign Brief Australia, 2016):
Media is a broad term for a range of platforms employed to send and receive a variety of IMC messages (Duncan & Thomas 2005). Media is an extremely integral IMC tool employed by Coca Cola to create global brand awareness and strengthen their brand value.
In ‘Taste the feeling’ campaign, Coca cola used TV, cinema and Out-of-home advertising to convey the brand message (Campaign Brief Australia, 2016).
‘Taste the feeling’ campaign was showcased through 10 TV advertisements across metropolitan, regional and subscription channels as well as video demonstrations through an extremely relateable global anthem, ‘Brotherly love’ and ‘Breakup’ advertised on TV (The Coca-Cola Company, 2016). At the close of each commercial, the famous red Coca-Cola disc unites the entire family of Coca cola trademark products.
Source: Coca-cola, 2016
‘Taste the feeling’ campaign showed its presence in cinema wherein the campaign aligned itself with the title of the movie screened.
The presence of the campaign was strongly noticed in ‘Out-of-Home’ advertisements (Roux & Waldt 2016) in the form of large blow-outs in metropolitan areas across the country, presence on retail furniture as well as retail proximity media (Campaign Brief Australia, 2016).
Source: Coca-Cola, 2016
Social media plays an increasingly important role in marketing as individuals enjoy interacting with people from different socio-cultural backgrounds along with providing rich sensory experiences of different products and services (Erdoğmuş & Cicek, 2012). ‘Taste the feeling campaign’ has widely employed social media by providing interactive and entertaining campaign-specific websites, amplification through music streaming providers like YouTube and working with Avicii featuring the Australian singer, Conrad Sewell in the anthem to rightfully engage the Australian audience (Campaign Brief Australia, 2016).
Source: Coca-cola, 2016
Sales promotion is provision of a direct incentive over and above what the product offers at normal price in short-term marketing events with the intent of generating an immediate sale by an identified benefactor (Shimp & Andrews 2012). For Coca Cola to be distinguished from its competitors, the ‘Taste the feeling’ campaign employed consumer-oriented sales promotion tactics in the form of home delivered product sampling, street sampling and major outdoor sampling opportunities and trade-oriented tactics in the form of kiosk hot spots all across the country (Campaign Brief Australia, 2016).
Public relations strategies aid the firm and consumer to mutually adapt to each other to gather support as well as cooperation from the consumer (Iacobucci 2014). ‘Taste the feeling’ campaign used public relations in its strategy by keeping global as well as media market launches for the global campaign along with exercising leverage on music assets by partnering with the Swedish artist and producer Avicii (Campaign Brief Australia, 2016).
Source: (Coca-Cola, 2016)
Events & Sponsorship
These are extremely targeted brand-associated activities that are aimed at engaging consumers, prospects and garnering publicity by providing financial support (Duncan 2005). In order to have major events like the UEFA Euro 2016 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games campaigns coherent with the ‘Taste the feeling’ campaign, Coca Cola tapped into Avicii featuring Conrad Sewell to produce remixed versions of the campaigns for the respective events (The Coca-Cola Company, 2016).
Source: (Populäre Lampendesign, 2016)
Coca Cola has built relationships with its buyers and indirect consumers during the ‘Taste the feeling’ campaign through creation of temporary as well as legacy point of sale (POS) areas across cities, malls and markets along with product placement in grocery stores, for immediate consumption and vending machines (Campaign Brief Australia, 2016).
Coca Cola is central to each ad and each story. It is presented in an extremely disciplined manner that not only exemplifies the phenomenon of ‘product plus emotion’ but also succinctly communicates a thorough combination of product usefulness, everyday moments as well as brand value. This facilitates a viewer to personally relate with the campaign and encourages positive consumer behavior. At the end of each ad, all you would feel like doing is diving into a chilled bottle of Coca Cola.
Employing a comprehensive IMC campaign has reinstated Coca Cola’s positioning in the beverage market as the number one brand by successfully conveying perceived benefits along with stabilizing the down slide of the sales figures.
To conclude, I would like to point out…“Understand the customer and the brand to unearth a key insight for the communication/solution”.
Campaign Brief Australia. (2016). Coca-Cola launches new ‘one brand’ global ‘Taste the Feeling’ campaign via Mercado-McCann, Sra. Rushmore, Santo, Ogilvy & Mather New York. [online] Available at: http://www.campaignbrief.com/2016/01/coca-cola-launches-new-one-bra.html [Accessed 11 Sep. 2016].
Coca-cola, (2016). Anthem. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AmKP9VE2Ms [Accessed 10 Sep. 2016].
Coca-cola, (2016). Avicii vs. Conrad Sewell – Taste The Feeling. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F82W3tKtr8c [Accessed 10 Sep. 2016].
Coca-Cola, (2016). Taste the feeling. [image] Available at: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/_taste-the-feeling-out-of-home-ads# [Accessed 11 Sep. 2016].
Duncan, Thomas R. (2005), Principles of Advertising and IMC, New York: McGraw-Hill.
Iacobucci, D 2014, Marketing Management, 4th ed, South-Western, Ch 12.
Populäre Lampendesign, (2016). List Of Coca Cola Uefa Euro 2016 Images. [image] Available at: http://www.sh-dz.net/coca-cola-uefa-euro-2016.html [Accessed 11 Sep. 2016].
Roux, A.T. and Van der Waldt, D.L.R., 2016. Toward a Model to Enhance Synergy of Out-of-Home Advertising Media Integration Strategies. Journal of Promotion Management, pp.386-402.
The Coca-Cola Company. (2016). Coca-Cola Announces New ‘One Brand’ Marketing Strategy and Global Campaign. [online] Available at: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/taste-the-feeling-launch [Accessed 11 Sep. 2016].
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