My first glimpse into the communications industry was as a student studying at the University of Kentucky. While there, I worked hard to earn a degree in integrated strategic communications, a degree I was fascinated by, but that my peers, who were not familiar with communications, had trouble understanding. After spending time in the program, I learned how to explain my degree and the benefits of integrated marketing communications, or IMC, to my peers, and now I have the privilege of sharing that knowledge with my clients.
Defining Integrated Marketing Communications
When explaining IMC to others, I often skip the history lesson, but for the purposes of this blog, I believe the roots of the concept are necessary to understand the deeper meaning. Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” I’m fairly certain Aristotle was not talking about the communications industry when he said this, but the meaning of what he said helps explain the concept of IMC.
The true champion of IMC was Keith Reinhard, former chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. He coined the concept at the end of the 1980s when he came to the conclusion that by integrating different components of communication such as advertising and public relations, communication efforts are stronger.
If we take a look at the official American Association of Advertising Agencies definition of IMC, the concept “… recognizes the value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines—advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion—and combines them to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communication impact.” It makes sense to practice communications this way, especially with the many channels we use to reach consumers, but today there are still companies and even agencies that approach communications by focus area and not as a collective tool.
I, however, consider myself lucky; as I transitioned into my career, my work has always focused on integrating all communications efforts.
How Brighton Agency Approaches Integrated Marketing Communications
At Brighton Agency, we work to understand our clients’ business goals to achieve an integrated plan that helps clients think differently about their brands and their customers. Our process offers business solutions to bring brands and their audiences together. We do not work in silos here because, as Aristotle implied when he said those powerful words, we are stronger when we work as a team.
We believe the siloed approach to communications does more harm to a brand than good, so instead, we work together to form holistic plans to help our clients reach and convert their desired audiences. Sure, we have folks who are skilled in segments of communication such as PR, advertising or videography, but we bring those people together to help determine how to solve our clients’ business problems.
The Ultimate Value of Integrated Marketing Communications
If your company’s communications teams are not communicating and working toward the same goal, there’s opportunity for mistakes and mixed messages. When you integrate communications efforts, you save money and time and reach your audience in stronger, more meaningful ways.
Source: Public Relations: A Managerial Perspective, by Danny Moss, Barbara DeSanto