This report will analyze the role of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) in the brand-building process. It will closely examine, Nokia, as a company that has successfully built and maintained a positive brand image by applying the IMC tools. It will start by defining IMC and its importance, illustrate the role of the marketing strategy in Nokia, and show how Nokia has used the IMC tools such as advertising, sales promotion, internet websites, event sponsorship, direct marketing, personal selling, public relation and publicity in running its business. Pictorials, tabulations, and statistics will be used to show the performance of Nokia concerning its competitors. A conclusion will finally be drawn showing the summary of the report and recommendation.
By definition, Integrated Marketing Communication is a type of management concept adopted to make all marketing communication aspects like sales promotion, advertising, direct marketing, public relations work as a unit rather than in isolation. The main aim of IMC is to ensure that there is consistency in the dissemination of messages and complimentary utilization of the media, to cover maximum contact points such as word-of-mouth marketing, internet, new media, and after-sales service. The concept of this style of marketing involves the use of offline and online marketing channels. Online channels include e-marketing programs and campaigns, from pay-per-click, email, affiliates to the latest web channels for blog, podcast, or internet television (Belch, 2003). On the other hand, offline channels are magazines, newspapers, billboards, televisions, radios, and public relations.
The importance of IMC to companies is that they can be assured of greater contact points with their customers (Renzie, 2008). What this means is that apart from accessing the brand through traditional means such as newspapers, there will be many other options for accessing it such as the internet and after-sales service. IMC also intends to specialize its mode of advertising to reach a whole range of people such as kids,
entrepreneurs, sports fans, pet owners, and many more. In addition to that, this form of advertising will ensure advertisers that customers will see the advertisement and also remember what it was addressing. This is evident since companies such as Nokia Australia have been willing to invest more in advertising since they are assured of positive responses from consumers. Moreover, by posting an advert on the internet, business owners can be assured of a continuous existence even beyond business hours.
The history of IMC has come a long way despite the challenges of implementing it in organizations when it was still a new concept in the market. Integrated Marketing Communications was developed in the 1990s as a mission to establish consistency throughout marketing communications sectors and media (Spotts et al, 1998). By the year 2000, it was realized that there was a need to create a stage for IMC awareness so that it may be integrated into various organizations (Renzie, 2008).
Integrated Marketing Communication and Brand Building Process
All companies that require future success and growth will need to build a strong brand that will withstand the fluctuations of the market. For a company to build a strong brand, it needs to understand how it will offer, create and convey the message about the brand to its customers who have high expectations. To disseminate the value of the brand to the customers, the company will have to develop a strategic approach in handling marketing communications, and control of resources and costs that will be incurred in the brand-building process.
Integrated Marketing Communications has been an efficient marketing tool in marketing and building strong brands (Reid, 2002). The three most important IMC practices include cross-functional planning, data-driven targeting, and strategically consistent communication (Brad, 2005) and should be used in the brand building process. This marketing approach relates brand performance with integration level and for managers dealing with global brands, such as Nokia, IMC seems to be an efficient concept for application in building of its brands. There are several implications that come with this concept but they can be handled with a careful approach.
Promotion, being among the P’s in the marketing mix, has a mix of tools required for communication. All these tools will work efficiently if they are linked together than in isolation. This will be enhanced when integration takes place vertically, horizontally, externally, and internally together with data integration. Horizontal integration is carried out across functions of business and marketing mix
(Bisel & Keyton, 2008). On the other hand, internal integration is all about internal marketing while external integration utilizes external partners like public relations agencies to deliver a similar, cohesive, integrated message. A good example of this is revealed in the study of Australian markets (Apaydin, 2008).
The following diagram represents the tools involved in IMC.
IMC of Nokia
Nokia Corporation is a multinational company based in Finland. It was founded in 1865 by Fredrick Idestman ( Kumar et al, 2009). The company started as a cable, pulp, and paper manufacturer. Nokia has its companies located in India, Korea, Germany, Hungary, Finland, and Japan with its industries including footwear, electricity generation, paper products, and many others. Statistics show that Nokia is the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer since 1998 with a market share of 32% in 2009, and a sales volume of 210 million units in the year 2008 (Kurmar et al, 2009). In Australia, the production of mobile phones was expected to increase from 51 million units up to 110 million units in 2011 (Kurmar et al, 2009).
Nokia IMC Tools in
Some of the IMC tools for Nokia include advertising, internet websites, event sponsorship, direct marketing, sales promotion, personal selling, Public relations (PR), and publicity.
Nokia has used advertisement as a tool for marketing its products and it has done this aggressively by display stands, billboards, television, dummies, and posters. It also has its Nokia website. The commission is offered to its retailers for every Nokia accessory or phones they buy.
Nokia took a huge step in its marketing strategy by developing a website where it advertises it products and avails the website its phones for easy access. This website gives discounts to customers who purchase products from that location by using discount coupons.
This company is known for its strong Public Relation and for this multinational company to enhance the equity of its brand and maintain its brilliant image, it has continually come up with new events about its product, publicity of its new brands and offers and programmes that center around the company and its accessories.
There are no opportunities for carrying out direct sales in the official website of Nokia. Other direct marketing styles that Nokia does not employ are telemarketing or Direct Mail. However, it does use a direct style of marketing called DEMO (Kumar et al, 2009) whereby the display of its phones and accessories are done to capture the attention of its consumers.
Trade shows, dealer incentives and cooperate advertising are among the promotion tools that Nokia has used to sell its products. In addition to that, Nokia’s promotion mix uses AIDA as letters to stand for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action respectively (Renzie, 2008). It aims to attract the customer’s attention, capture interest by using colorful features, convince customers that it is their desire to possess the product, make the customer take the action to purchase.
Nokia has emerged as one of the popular multinationals in the phone industry due to the many events it has sponsored such as marathons to raise money for the needy, sponsoring of conferences, sponsoring of other sporting events such as athletics and festivals. In the long run, the popularity of the company rises which is equivalent to its sales and profit margin.
Product reviews and company reviews have been utilized by the management of Nokia to publicise its latest products. Nokia made its products to be available to its customers by providing a variety of quality services with its accessories such as imaging, games, business mobility and internet services. Therefore this has been an efficient contributing factor to its publicity and the publicity of its phones and accessories.
Relationship management and the management of accounts are the tools utilized in personal selling of Nokia. Another personal selling strategy involves engaging in oral communication with the potential customer intending to sell the phone or accessory. Nokia has used personal selling as a strategy to develop a good relationship with their customers; since their main focal point is the customer, in order to close a sale. It therefore ensures that it has a strong sales force that can be able to look for new customers and communicate with them in an efficient manner and thus, sell the product.
With the rigorous tools for IMC as used by the company, the multinational has attained a big market share as compared to its competitors, as shown in the table below.
|Company||Handset market share|
Role of IMC in Nokia
Competitors of Nokia such as Orange, Vodafone, Motorola present in the Australian market have their products globally just like Nokia but they have not been able to penetrate the market as Nokia has. Nokia as a multinational has faced challenges in its brands such as counterfeit products. For instance, China posed as a threat when it made duplicates of Nokia brands. These kinds of competitions have made attempts to reduce the market share of Nokia. In essence, the IMC and marketing strategies of Nokia have made it possible for Nokia to be stable in the popularity of its brands. Actually, many consumers trust Nokia brands over Motorola or Orange products due to its durability, affordability and excellent quality. Moreover, the penetration of Nokia to the rural areas in many countries including Australia has ensured that their brands remain popular and more preferred. IMC has also ensured that Nokia remains loyal to their customer which is the reason why customers trust its brands. The following table shows the how Nokia is a fast growing brand and its popularity among other multinationals; some of which use IMC as a marketing strategy.
|Company||Value change 2005 versus ‘06|
Mercedes – Benz
In essence, the IMC strategy is important for a company, like Nokia, that is interested in penetrating the market aggressively by using IMC tools like advertising, internet websites, event sponsorship, direct marketing, sales promotion, personal selling, Public Relation (PR) and publicity. While Nokia has been used as a good example of a company that has successfully penetrated the market due to excellent marketing strategies, it is also important to recommend that it should introduce more publicity in areas that have not had a penetration of its brands. This essay has also demonstrated that for a marketing strategy such as IMC to succeed, the management has to possess good skills in managing the strategy for it to succeed. Nokia has definitely handled this strategy in an efficient way since its performance in the market speaks for itself.
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