Marketing Medicine: Integrated Marketing Communication
MK asks: What is Integrated Marketing Communication and which agencies can rightfully say that they are IMC agencies
Chris replies: A communications agency can claim to be ‘Integrated’ if it has the ability to execute a communications campaign using a range of different disciplines. The effect of the chosen disciplines should enhance the impact and effect of the campaign. So the whole must be greater than the sum of the parts.
Key to this is the agency’s ability to come up with a big idea, which can then be expressed in many channels. And that is where many claimants to the title fall flat on their faces. They come up with puny ideas, which they then dress up by showing how they would work in different channels. Channels where they have some capability.
‘Kuku about chicken’ for Kenchic is a big idea. Big enough to cover several areas of commercial activity:- from breeding chicks, to producing high quality cuts of chicken meat, to serving delicious ‘kuku sama’ in fast food outlets. Simple enough to be expressed memorably at the point of purchase, at events, in stakeholder presentations, in advertising and in PR.
‘Niko na Safaricom’ is an idea that has the merit of being simple and inclusive, and is easy for the Telecoms leader to substantiate and promote all over Kenya. ‘I’m a member’ has been very successful for Equity Bank, not least because it implies a popular movement made up of active participants.
K-Rep Kenya’s ‘Getting closer to you’ on the other hand is a tad undernourished. It’s rather generic, so while I could see roadshows and PR activities that carry the strapline, it’s harder to imagine promotional ideas that would be very convincing. By the way, I prefer to keep my financial relationships at an arms length – something financial marketers choose to ignore.
Which agencies can claim to be integrated? Tricky. It’s not a matter of size. It's a matter of ideation power. A two-man digital shop could come up with a great idea that is capable of being exploited way outside the digital environment. So, as with most aspects of agency delivery, it comes down to how clever are the people you are talking to.
DP asks: What is the difference between a brand manager and a marketing manager?
Chris replies: Well both of these characters work in marketing departments, and the difference between the titles is one of level of responsibility. A brand manager usually looks after one or two brands. A marketing manager is either the sole marketer in the organization, or manages what we call a portfolio of brands. He or she often has brand managers reporting to them.
It’s a little known fact that the primary role of a brand manager is analysis. They should be tasked with the analysis of all available data relative to the success of their brand. Sales figures and trends; competitor activity and spends; trade and consumer research; retail audits. Their mission should be to project the way forward for the brand, and identify threats to be countered and opportunities to be seized. Their skills should include making clear business cases for action, and rational bids for budgets to fuel growth. In addition they need to be able to engage external suppliers with clear briefs for action and clear parameters for performance evaluation.
And of course the best of them are able to do this. But here in Kenya there are rather too many who focus their effort on the wrong end of the process. Execution. Making stuff. Buying media. Commissioning printers. And I can’t for the life of me think why they should, because without the right analysis all this effort is wasteful. I guess it is the difference between people who like to be busy, and people who want to achieve. Between the bland manager and the brand manager. What do you think?
Chris Harrison is a marketing and advertising practitioner of 30 years’ standing. From Nairobi, he leads Y&R’s network in Sub Saharan Africa. He’s ready to prescribe answers to your marketing questions, and you can consult him on www.chrisharrison.biz