This week’s assignment for MMC5006, Introduction to Multimedia Communications, is to evaluate three brands for their efficiency in their IMC and social media approaches. Let’s take a look at IKEA, Old Navy, and Fisher Price to see how they fare.
The IKEA brand clearly has a strong Integrated Marketing Communications strategy. The company implements traditional marketing measures such as print ads, radio and television commercials, and signage. It hosts its own online content community, Share Space, on which members upload and share their own decorating ideas using IKEA within their homes and/or offices. This same site also houses the official IKEA blog, Design by IKEA. This is an excellent idea to foster engagement, community, and social sharing to promote IKEA’s products and encourage brand sentiment.
IKEA also maintains a strong geographically targeted social media presence (segmented by country). For the purpose of this article, I have taken into account Ikea’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest profiles.
IKEA does an excellent job of maintaining consistency in brand image across these platforms. Since their industry is a very visual one, using the same style in photography and presentation in traditional and social media advertising is important for brand recognition, and IKEA understands this. The brand also maintains uniformity across the social platforms with its logo usage, but also with the same images whenever possible. For example, the Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus pages use the same photograph at the top.
Not only does IKEA maintain its image uniformity, but does the same with its brand’s voice and style. Across platforms, company copywriters sound like the same individual. The personable yet professional sincere tone gets the messages across quickly and effectively, and it all sounds like IKEA.
It is also important to note that IKEA’s marketing team seems to clearly understand the social setting and culture of each of the individual channels and tailors their content and posting habits appropriately. For example, a Tweet’s lifespan is only a few minutes, and so IKEA updates most frequently on Twitter. It knows that Facebook posts last a little longer, and that plenty of moms are spending their social networking hours there. So the platform exhibits daily (or twice-daily) posts focused around family and home life. Google +, the least active of the networks, gets an update every couple of days. The stream does not seem to have a particular target audience in mind, and so perhaps IKEA has joined other companies in using this particular platform primarily for its SEO benefits. Lastly, the more visual channels (Pinterest and Instagram) are focused on the aesthetics with regular updates, and hashtags are sprinkled appropriately across all venues.
Overall, IKEA exhibits a healthy usage of social media marketing techniques and understanding. The company ties it all together by driving their audience across platforms as well as to their website and sharing content community. Facebook posts lead to YouTube, (which is also aesthetically uniformed). Tweets jump to the company blog and website, and of course the website and blog are optimized with social sharing and support capabilities.
Here’s a company known for its savvy traditional marketing strategies, but Old Navy’s IMC plan doesn’t stop there. It also includes social media engagement on numerous platforms, email marketing efforts, and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. What Old Navy does not offer, which it could to better its integrated marketing communications efforts, are actual newsletters and a company blog.
Concerning social media endeavors, Old Navydoes a pretty good job with brand consistency. All reviewed channels have the Old Navy logo, although only three are exactly the same in design (Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest), one is a slight variation (Twitter), and the Google Plus account is quite different. It is also interesting that the blues in the social media Old Navy logos are not the same navy blue featured in the design pallet of the Old Navy website. The header images on Facebook and Twitter are seasonally appropriate (summer themed), but neither match the Google Plus account nor the website. Adjusting these small details could help the brand’s level of consistency with their image and brand recognition across the net.
Old Navy does have a handle on their brand’s voice and style consistency. Their Facebook profile with over 8 million likes is adorned almost daily with bright, eye-catching images showcasing fun summer styles. The company also drives traffic back and forth between platforms by sharing links to their other channels within post copy. For example, a Facebook comment recently linked to the Old Navy YouTube channel and a June 25th Tweet celebrated Old Navy’s first Vine video, and their Twitter account has featured several Vines since. So it appears that Old Navy intends to grow a presence on that channel as well.
Across most platforms Old Navy tries to update daily, except for Google Plus, which earns posts two or three times a month. (Hey, Old Navy, update your Google Plus Profile Information. It’s great for SEO!) The company may not update all of its about tabs on profiles, but it does make good use of hashtags and social sharing encouragement wherever applicable to garner more attention. On its website it also asks audience members to stay connected with social media profile links and gives options to Pin and Like individual items to inspire customer advocacy for the Old Navy products and brand.
Fisher-Price is a big brand that has traditionally done conventional media marketing quite well, but is their IMC approach well-rounded? It appears to be reasonably so. Aside from print, television, and radio ads, the company makes itself present on many social media platforms. It offers a newsletter and tips for parents and grandparents as well as online games, apps, videos, and printable media for the little ones all on the company website. Social media buttons are also integrated appropriately. As far as I can tell, though, Fisher-Price lacks a blog. If this is indeed the case, then the company is missing out on a real opportunity to create relationships with their parents on a platform where content creation should be very easy, abundant, relevant, and organic due to the nature of Fisher-Price’s products and target audience.
As noted before, Fisher-Price does have a social media presence across the platforms mentioned earlier in this post, but the company certainly has areas needing improvement. Regarding brand image, all but one platform uses a Fisher-Price logo, they are not all the same logos. Facebook and Twitter are the same as what is on the main website, although with a tad bit of color difference. Pinterest and Google Plus logos contain variation in design elements. (Perhaps this is an old logo versus a newer one?) The instagram profile has no image at all. The channels that support header images are not uniformed either, although they at least stick to the same child playtime theme and implement the company’s primary color pallet.
Although Fisher-Price stumbles a bit with the continuity of its brand’s appearance, it does well on most platforms with voice and style, (when it posts, that is). Although its style is fun and playful, as a toy company should be, Fisher-Price is not sharing enough of that style with its fans and followers. Facebook and Twitter are regularly updated and hashtagged at least every couple of days, and have the largest audiences, though still relatively small in comparison. (Ikea has over 3 million Facebook likes and 268 thousand Twitter followers. Fisher-Price has just over 2 million likes and only 13.3 thousand on Twitter.) However, the following and engagement on other platforms plunges to practically-non-existent levels.
A big problem for this company may be inactive social media profiles. Pinterest has 16 boards with 352 pins, but only 1 Like! Google Plus has no public posts. (Whether or not there are private shares with the 200 followers, I can’t say.) Fisher Price’s Google account is used primarily to share YouTube videos, which is only done occasionally. One video did grab my attention, though. It features the winner and finalists of Fisher Price’s “Get Your Giggle On” contest. This led to the discovery that not only does the company run contests to engage with fans, but it also maintains a relatively active YouTube channel with nearly 400 videos and more than 20 thousand subscribers.
The Fisher Price Instagram profile is the saddest of all. It has 87 followers and pictures posted about the company, (probably #fisher-price), but the brand isn’t even there- no logo, no posts, and no information. The Instagram profile is a good reminder to all brands that just because the company is not present on the platform, its customers are! Even more, they are trying to connect (ahem, #Fisher-Price)!