Practical Tips for Implementing Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)
In our emails and case study this month, we’ve been talking about Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) – what it is, why it’s important and how Signs By Tomorrow has been able to assist some of our signage and graphics customers with their IMC strategies.
But if you don’t already have an IMC strategy in place, it can be daunting to get started. In this blog we offer some practical tips to set you on your way to a successful IMC plan!
1. Develop a strong brand identity. Any successful marketing initiative starts with a strong brand. If you can’t clearly articulate your brand’s unique position in the marketplace (and “high quality” or “personal attention” doesn’t cut it, everyone says that!), how are prospects or customers going to know what you stand for? Consider your brand’s “personality” (i.e. Apple is fun/irreverent while Microsoft is more conservative/professional) and points of differentiation from your competitors.
2. Develop clear brand standards. Even if you don’t need a full-blown style guide, every business can benefit from some clearly outlined guidelines that will ensure consistency across your marketing and branding. You can decide which elements are important to address, but common ones include colors (be specific – don’t just say “blue” as there are about a jillion shades of blue!), typefaces (think how they will look on both your physical signs and digitally), other graphic design elements such as logo size and position, and even writing style, such as whether to write “website” or “web site.”
3. Designate a “Brand Champion.” Every organization should have one person who has primary responsibility for protecting your brand. If that person sees it being misrepresented, he or she should bring it to the attention of someone with the authority to make a change and ensure it is on the same page with the rest of your integrated marketing communications.
4. Identify operational touch points. Stop for a moment and walk through your business process from the point of your customers. What is the very first point of contact they have with your brand? It could be a website, the person (or machine) on the other end of the phone, the custom signage they see outside your store or office or even an in-person visit. Do all of these represent your brand the way they should? From this initial interaction through the final interaction (could be payment, return or support), identify every opportunity to reinforce your brand essence to build customer loyalty and repeat business.
While following these steps does require a significant investment of time initially, once these IMC processes are in place you will find you can be more efficient while boosting ROI with better results.
Good luck and remember your local Signs By Tomorrow signage and graphics center is here to help with all your Integrated Marketing Communication needs!