I quite often come across business owners who think their brand must be on every social media platform available to have an impact on their target customers or industry. The truth is that if brands don’t know who their target audience is, it doesn't matter what they post on social media, their messages won’t serve them well and might end up damaging their brand’s identity instead of building it. This said, there’s nothing wrong with aiming to appeal to a vast audience across a multitude of social media platforms, as long as there is an integrated marketing communication strategy in place.

Image via TeroVesalainen under CCO 1.0

WHAT IS IMC & HOW CAN YOUR BRAND BENEFIT FROM IT?
For effective communication and to build brand loyalty with customers, brands have to consider and implement a well formulated integrated marketing communication (IMC) strategy. They will have to determine how the various platforms will impact the brand’s equity & perception. And lastly, how the business aims to address their customer’s needs through these various platforms or channels? Maintaining a consistent voice across all channels is key in a successful IMC strategy.

Being all things to everybody is quite a tricky business, but being one thing to different people is different, especially if there is a solid plan in place. A brand that has dominated the social sphere and understands the importance of integrated marketing has to be Adidas. It is no wonder that Adidas has the most-shared logo of any brand on social media, according to a ranking by researcher Brandwatch that placed the sportswear brand ahead of Nike, Puma and Under Armour. The Adidas logo appears in 6.5 million images shared on Twitter and Instagram each month.

How is it that Adidas is the most-shared logo on social media and what do they do differently than their competition? Adidas sells excellent, world renowned sportswear to men and woman and endorse huge sporting stars and celebrities across the globe. They also   happen to share good relevant content, based around their brand and industry. Due to their vast product offering Adidas has created social profiles for each of its segments (Adidas -Original, -Football, -NYC, -ZA,  -GolfSA, -Woman).  Some of Adidas social networks include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube and how they share posts between these networks is how they’ve managed to dominate social presence for sports apparel.

On each of these social networks, Adidas have setup up a main “home” account. The purpose of this account is merely to promote their other brand accounts through sharing posts and retweets. The retweets and post shared are mainly videos and images and in the end this account brings the entire Adidas brand together.

Adidas integrate their content from one brand channel into the other, this allows them to share and reference videos from their Youtube channel with their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels and vice versa. Content from any of these channels can be shared or referenced in other channels.

Another great way integrated marketing is working for the Adidas brand is how they  engage on the pages of the sportsmen and -women they work with, their clubs / national teams and associations by liking them on Facebook or following them on Twitter/ Instagram. If Adidas was a sponsor at an event, they would like the event’s page as well.

What this allows for the Adidas brand is that they have created opportunity to further extend their reach beyond the followers on their own pages. If they released a new product their associated pages could share the content on their accounts.

Apart from their social media platforms, Adidas is leveraging every digital marketing tool available to maintain its lead in the online space. Their email campaigns are structured around each individual’s interest – this means that if you are an original fanatic, the content shared with you over email will mostly contain information relevant to your needs. If you are a track runner with interest in sports and casual apparel your email newsletter will be structured accordingly. This method is applied to the Adidas online platform as well, i.e. websites that cater to customer’s specific needs.

After reading this I hope you have a better understanding of what integrated marketing communication can do for a brand, specifically your own brand. If this was helpful here are some of the key take outs you can apply to your brand’s social profiles.

  • Develop a clear and thorough understanding of who your target audience is.
  • Build a comprehensive communications strategy for each platform your audience is on.
  • Integrate these channels with one another and post real and relevant content.
  • Relevant content is king – using visuals amplifies it!

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