In today’s competitive world, the executives of corporations have been allocating extended budgets to the marketing function in order to differentiate their products, to become a preferred brand, and to win the loyalty of their customers. At this point, it is appropriate to say that a majority of these budgets are allocated for the promotional activities among the marketing mix, therefore for Integrated Marketing activities. Integrated marketing communication (IMC) literature includes several positive opinions due to several benefits, such as the fact that IMC improves integration by creating “common voices” in communication, making the brand-related messages required by marketing communication more consistent, making the corporate image of the company compatible with the brand image, etc. (Kitchen and Schultz, 1999, p. 23). The positive contribution of IMC to “image”, which is one of the basic components of the concept of reputation, will turn the perception of corporate image of the shareholders into corporate reputation in the medium term, with the presupposition that IMC activities are perpetual.
Corporate or brand performance is closely related to how successful the company is in the sector / the brand in the market, and to materialize the phenomenon of success means to assess the strategic gains of the brand. Since corporations are totalities of abstract and concrete values, consequently economic criteria alone are not appropriate to assess this structure. For instance, brand awareness, brand reputation and brand loyalty are important factors recommended to assess brand performance (Chaudhuri and Holbrook, 2001; Reid, 2003; Wong & Merrilees, 2007, Cited: Altunisik, Sututemiz, Calik, 2013, p. 142). In today’s world, corporations with a clear vision, that openly share this within and outside of the corporation, that make sure that the institution acts in compliance with this vision, that are conducting effective Marketing Public Relations activities, and support this with advertising, enjoy an improved reputation. When the life curve of a corporation is considered as a whole, each step taken must be evaluated not only with its own gained results, but also with its effects on reputation. Those who lose their reputation for the sake of short term gains are diminishing their values. Leaders who boost company reputation are those who acknowledge the fact that reputation is the most important asset of a company. Consequently, a permanent reputation requires effective communication with public opinion.
According to several authors who investigated IMC, IMC helps companies attain a powerful financial performance that is the basis of their competitive advantage (Barney, 1991; Chan et al., 2004; Porter, 1980; Coleman, 2011, p. 174). Related to this subject, Lee & Park (2007) states that IMC campaigns establish brand awareness and provide support towards developing a better brand attitude (Coleman, 2011, p. 174). Actually, the most concrete return of the competitive advantage created by IMC applications is its positive contribution to the corporate reputation. The positive reputation created by the company on its shareholders sends messages to the shareholders regarding the qualities of the organization, and establishes positive judgments. A business with a positive reputation in society leads to assumptions that the organizational scale is large, that it is reliable due to the fact that it has been operating in the sector for so long, that it has a good management quality, that it is successful in its main area of activity, which is offering products and services, that it is open and honest with society in its activities. These relevant common opinions outmaneuver competitors, especially in market activities (Aydemir, 2008, p. 37). Corporate reputation is a unique and valuable abstract asset that cannot be imitated or substituted with other assets. A strong corporate reputation is a significant performance indicator and a competitive advantage.
On the other hand, businesses that adapt the concept of integrated marketing communication see it as a primary goal to send common, regular messages on their corporations not only to their current and potential customers, but also to all social shareholders that the corporation has a relationship with (such as employees, their families, retirees, investors, shareholders, suppliers, middlemen, competitors, interest and pressure groups, local communities, state organs, local administrations, politicians, civil society organizations, media, opinion leaders, etc.). Shareholders that evaluate the reputation of companies are the same shareholders that the integrated marketing communication applications are applied to. Therefore, IMC activities embellished with the corporate identity and image that will be established by corporations create a first hand perception of the corporate reputation.
Perhaps the most important feature of an integrated comprehension is to use the nominal marketing communication element that is considered to work best for the particular situation and the need, rather than employing all tools of communication equally. This can be public relations in some situations, and advertising in another situation, and another element in some other situation. While sometimes it may be necessary to cut out some of them. At this point, corporations with the knowledge of choosing the right tool for brand communication, and the competency to materialize works that will create reputation will make a permanent difference in the area of competition. Due to all of these reasons, at ACT Gelişim Danışmanlığı, we discuss in detail the topics of Corporate Reputation and Integrated Marketing Communication in our training and consultancy programs, and form our corporation-specific, authentic service designs. You can contact us to benefit from our Reputation and Marketing Communication Services.