Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), according to Wiki, “is the application of consistent brand messaging across both traditional and non-traditional marketing channels and using different promotional methods to reinforce each other.” IMC is what confirms the same idea is being distributed through television, outdoor, radio, email, social media and any other mediums being used by a brand. If all these channels are not in sync, it could result in the consumer receiving contradicting and confusing messages.
In this post, I will examine the social channels of three popular brands and evaluate their IMC. I chose three brands from several different “best of social media” lists on adweek.com in 2014.
Chanel is the pinnacle of high fashion. Known for the little black dress and the perfume, Chanel No. 5, designer Coco Chanel catered to women’s fashion and her styles screamed all that was elegant. Today, Chanel is a billion dollar brand headquartered in Paris. One of their mottos, seen on several of their sites, quoted by founder, Gabriella Chanel, is “Chanel is above all a style. Fashion passes, style remains.”
Chanel has pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube and its clear they use an IMC approach. Their website has buttons to all five of their social media outlets. While Chanel uses each channel differently, they remain consistent in their general messaging. You can see the brand imagery across each of the pages in profile and cover photos meaning as soon as you open the page, you know it is Chanel’s.
As expected, their Instagram page, looks quite different than their other social media profiles but is probably their primary page. Chanel’s cover photo is an updating collage that flips through several of their recently posted images. Instagram is very popular with the fashion industry. In this article from Postano.com it was said that “Instagram has become the modern day Polaroid” in fashion and it is being used by booking agents, bloggers, designers, artists and more to post photos from fashion shows, sneak peeks of new lines, shoes, accessories and more.
I’m not convinced that Chanel is posting often enough on their social media channels. There are gaps as long as ten days to two weeks between posts on several channels. These gaps could cause people to follow other fashion designers or unfollow entirely. And while they use lots of hashtags on Instagram, they seem to be lacking or very light on Twitter. They don’t drive users to their other social media pages and only link back to their website from Facebook and Twitter.
Overall, I think there is room for improvement in Chanel’s social media realm. I like that they are using their channels to promote new lines, like Bleu de Chanel, and posting videos from recent shows, but I don’t see the personal side of Chanel anywhere.
Starbucks is the largest coffee company in the world, and is based in Seattle, Washington. The things they are doing on social media are unrivaled and any company could learn a lot by studying their playbook. Starbucks is on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
Of course, Starbucks is running an integrated marketing communications plan and their content is up-to-date. You can sign up on their social pages to receive email updates. However, they only list some of their social pages on their website and not all. I can’t figure out why they wouldn’t have all of them showing! It doesn’t make any sense. Moving on.
Their consistency is one of the things they do best. You can see in the images below that their brand is carried through all of their sites and often the same recognizable images. I am writing this post in Trinidad and have not yet seen a Starbucks. Looking at these pages is like looking at pictures of home and I cannot wait to get back and order my favorite Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte.
Another area that Starbucks is very commanding in is the use of hashtags and creating real time events. They do an amazing job of being social off of their social pages. Two that I noticed recently are #starbucksdate and #meetmeatstarbucks.
Meet Me at Starbucks is a theme used to “inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time,” as written on Starbuck’s Instagram page. The link takes you to their YouTube page which hosts several beautiful videos showing how Starbucks is a part of bringing people together.
Starbucks then partnered up with Match.com. With many singles adding coffee and conversation as an interest to their personal profiles on Match, online daters can now use a #meetmeatstarbucks feature to set up their first dates.
#Starbucksdate was promoted around Valentine’s Day in conjunction with Match.com asking “who are you going to Starbucks with?” On February 13 people around the world were invited to be a part of the World’s Largest Starbucks Date.
Nike is at the top of athletic apparel. They have several divisions, all so big they need their own marketing strategies. For these reasons, we will focus on Nike Women. Nike Women is present on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and even Spotify.
Nike definitely uses and IMC approach, sending a consistent message of strength and beauty across their many channels. They post on all the channels every couple of days and link to their website where you can make a purchase. The symbolic Nike swoosh is noticeable on all channels and it is clear which brand is being promoted.
I really enjoy following Nike Women because they are not just about shoes and apparel. They absolutely do advertise their newest product lines, but they are also focused on providing motivation to women to get healthy and exercise. They have links to exercise videos, inspirational quotes and photos and now ever playlists to accompany your workout. Check out their Pinterest boards for complete look.
Nike Women does an excellent job of driving users to other social channels. This allows the consumer to get a full 360 degree view of what Nike Women is about. Nike Women links Twitter followers to Spotify to download playlists. They link Facebook friends to their website to buy their latest running shoes. And they link Pinterest pinners to workout videos by athletes on YouTube. Incredible example of integrating a marketing strategy!
And while Nike Women is definitely using hashtags, they seem to be a little scarce. I have seen #nikeplus, #ootd #flyknit and #justdoit. But not many more. This would be a great area for Nike Women to get creative and have some fun. Yet overall, they are doing a fantastic job sending a solid message across their many social media channels.
Brava to all three of these brands and their social media endeavors.