PROJECT TOPIC- IMPACT OF INTERGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION(INC)
This study was informed by the necessity of research in the impact of integrated marketing communication on brand building. A study of the transition of Zain to Airtel. The theory that was used during this research is the learning theory which postulates that exposure of certain models or message to a particular audience which was applied to this study. It was also observed that the audiences of Airtel were able to imitate or act in accordance to the message in which they are exposed to Airtel. Survey method was used in this study. Three hundred and ninety nine questionnaires were also administered to respondents during this research. The data collected were analyzed using the chi-square analysis. Research hypotheses findings reveal that integrated marketing communication is an effective tool for brand building even during brand transition. The respondents from the sample population size were randomly selected audience in which it has created a platform for recommendations to be made. Based on the findings in this research, the researcher recommends that IMC messages should be carefully put together, in terms of central theme, media planning and usage. Also, recommended that an integrated marketing communications should be applied in brand building, a combination of Advertising, Public relation, direct marketing, event sponsorship, sales promotion and personal selling is required in brand building.
1.1. Background of the Study
A critical part of brand building is communication and the most effective and productive way of managing this effort is through a concept called Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC).
Due to societal changes over the past fifty years, today’s organizations are being forced to adjust their brand/marketing strategies. Not surprisingly, many have turned to integrated marketing communications (IMC). Why? Old assumptions about the role of advertising promotion and media have fallen by the way side because change remains the only constant thing in the world. Thoughts about how branding and promotion should be organized have been upside-down.
And organizations, marketing executives and the media are scrambling to accommodate their new roles, ever since, integrated marketing communication (IMC) has been part of business. Clow & Baack (2004) define IMC as “the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues and sources within a company into a seamless programme that maximizes the impact on consumers and other end users at a minimal cost”.
In addition, Arens (2004) defines integrated marketing communications (IMC) as:
The process of building and reinforcing mutually profitable relationship with employees, customers, other stakeholders, and the general public by developing and coordinating a strategic communications programme that enables them to make constructive contact with the company/brand through a variety of media or other contacts…
From the above definitions, it can be deduced that IMC unifies all communication effort from an organization to produce an identifiable source (brand) in the minds of its audience while some observers think that so long as a company is involved in a variety of promotional activities (e.g., advertising sponsorships, public relations etc), it is practicing IMC. But this is not the case using IMC means looking at the whole where there were once only parts.
If calls for re-aligning communications and seeing constant flow of information from a single and identifiable source. An effective IMC process comprises the following steps:
Identify the target audiences: This requires a well throughout market segmentation and targeting process which may includes secondary and/or primary market research.
Determine the communication objectives: This can range from generating brand awareness to countering the competition.
Design the message content: This is an absolutely critical component. Effective messages can make or break a promotional effort.
Select the means for communications, whether advertising, public relations, direct marketing sponsorship etc.
Define the mix of media, budget and priorities
Measure the effectiveness of the efforts.
PROJECT TOPIC- IMPACT OF INTERGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION(INC)
IMC and Brand Building
Based on the foregoing, the brand building aspects are the focus of this study. As consumers are bombarded with a variety of products to meet the same need, branding provides a way for consumers to reduce their decision making to consider only those products that they feel are relevant to them or that have met their needs acceptably in the past.
There is no question that a strong brand is an important corporate asset. Spaeth (1993) asserts that “Brand equity cannot be measured in Naira and kobo but rather, it is a direct result of how consumers value a brand based on their experiences and perceptions”. It is these experiences and perceptions that permit the brand to earn greater volume or margins than it could without the brand name.
The most basic function of integrated marketing communication (IMC) is to identify brands, their sources and products, and differentiates them from others. For example, Airtel and Glo may offer the same function as a GSM service provider with similar services to a consumer. Integrated marketing communication (IMC), through sales promotion, appeal and logo (branding) differentiates one product from the other.
Therefore, it can be argued that IMC helps create brand awareness and brand loyalty.
Integrated marketing communication encourages brand loyalty and helps nurture good customer/stakeholder relationship with brands Airtel formally Zain was not the first GSM operator in Nigeria. Through integrated marketing communication, it encouraged and created awareness to its customers about its transition from Zain international to Airtel. This enabled it to retain and add considerably to its market share in the telecommunication industry in Nigeria.
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) builds brand value, preference and loyalty. Airtel, through its exciting advertisements, intuitive sales promotion and public relations have created strong brand awareness in affirming its transition from Zain to Airtel. When people think of GSM in Nigeria today, Airtel will likely come to mind. It has top-of-mind awareness. It is noted worthy that other factor may have contributed to this brands acceptance despite its recent transition. For instance, the fact that it’s one of the fastest growing networks in Africa (especially in Nigeria), and its unalloyed customer relationship and compensation through various promotions and event sponsorship.
A brand is a distinguishing name or symbol designed or identify a product’s origin differentiate from others or competitors and protest its customers against imitation. Speath (1993) went on to define branding as “a process of creating an association between symbol, object emotion, perception and a product/company with the goal of deriving loyalty and creating differentiation”.
Branding builds emotional responses thus, when a brand is thought of, it evokes certain emotions. For example, in the auto-mobile, industry, it can be argued that Ferrari, Mercedes, Benz and Lexus brand evokes prestige in the minds of the users and on the lookers.
Consumers are bombarded with variety of products and brands meeting the same need or functions. Branding provides a way for consumers to reduce their decisions to products or services they is relevant or have met their need before.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
With increased competition and saturation in the market, coupled with the growth of other promotional channels such as event sponsorship and advertising, the budget share of other relevant tools of integrated marketing communication (IMC) has continued to dwindle.
In a recession, some tools of integrated marketing communication (IMC) are the first to feel the burn. Most financial managers believe that integrated marketing communication (IMC) activities cannot be measured in profits; therefore, it is a waste.
Also, some critics believe that integrated marketing communication is not effective in brand building. Ries and Ries (2002) asserts that “advertising (which is one of the tools of IMC) may not be effective in brand building they posit that it lacks credibility to build brands”.
This study therefore, intends to evaluate the impact of integrated marketing communication in the branding of Airtel and to measure the effectiveness of that campaign.
13. Objectives of the Study
The objective of this is to assess how integrated marketing communication has been effective in branding and transition of Zain to Airtel. The specific objectives are:
1. To explore how much awareness Airte, has been able to create due to integrated marketing communication (IMC).
2. To examine the public’s perception of the Airtel brand.
3. To explain in what ways, has integrated marketing communication (IMC) been able to impact on people’s attitude towards Airtel.
1.4. Significance of the Study
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is one of the areas in mass-communication in Nigeria. The findings from this study can provide an example of t