More than $200 billion (that's $200,000,000,000!) was spent in 2002 in the U.S. on marketing communications. With people being bombarded by so much commercial information, how can you expect to get your customers' attention unless you're relentlessly consistent and efficient in the placement of your message?
Whether it's a TV commercial, an in-store promotion, a website or editorial in a newspaper, most often people don't consciously differentiate between the media they absorb. They just consume the messages.
It's repetition that burns a brand's message into the mind of customers. That's why it's called branding.
IMC reflects how the customer sees it – as a flow of information about a company or product from indistinguishable sources. One brand, one voice.
Advertising and publicity. Many consumers, believe it or not, think advertising and publicity are the same thing! Many consumers don't stop to think about whether a company paid a PR specialist to place an article they just read in a magazine. Some people even grant an advertisement the same credibility they give to an editorial written by an independent third party.
All information about a company combines systematically in the mind of a consumer as a “brand.” The way people formulate ideas about brands is a natural process. What happens when messages are integrated? What happens when they're not? Consistency and integration promote clarity. Inconsistency promotes confusion.
Natural systems are the most powerful. An animal's body is a system. A cow is a system. You can't cut a cow in half and expect it to produce milk. So it follows that you can't cut a marketing communications program apart and expect it to perform at its highest level.
Using our work for Tahiti Tourisme to illustrate this point: Our position is that the Tahiti experience is beyond the ordinary. So, by placing editorial that covers experiences that are beyond the ordinary, by placing ads that promise beyond the ordinary experiences, and by fielding promotions that are not ordinary, we consistently repeat our position to build Tahiti's brand appeal as a vacation spot for people seeking new experiences.
To minimize entropy (the disorder of a system) and maximize syntropy (the alignment of energy and form), marketing communications must be integrated into one seamless system.