IMC - A strategic weapon of marketing
At the end of 2014, CREATIO was trusted by Sao Viet Company in supporting its dual mission of brand building and sales increasing of iiPlus, a health supplement product that enhances eye health. Because of its weak brand visibility and lack of public awareness on health supplement products in Vietnam at that time, CREATIO proposed using IMC, which is a strategic weapon of many brands - either big or small - around the world.
The term ‘Integrated Marketing Communications’ was coined in the late 1980s. Establishing the foundation of this concept, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) defined IMC as a marketing communications concept emphasizing the values and advantages of an amalgamation across marketing communications tools, such as, advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, and public relations, to create clarity, consistency, and maximum communication impact (1991).
Unexpected challenge & CREATIO - a one-stop shop
Understanding exactly what our client asked for and needed, CREATIO made every task force, relevant tool and technical expertise available for a six-month seamless communications plan in the most efficient way as possible. However, it could not happen as planned due to an unexpected legal problem: promotions and advertisements of health supplement products require a license.
Although this legal assignment was not part of our job description, instead of temporarily terminating the contract, we decided to carry on without letting our client alone, dealing with the problem. CREATIO then closely accompanied Sao Viet in the process of applying for a license, including creating an account, preparing all necessary documents and submitting the files to the relevant authority. Despite the fact that this procedure lasted for almost two thirds of the entire duration of our planned campaign, thanks to relentless efforts from both sides during the first 4 months, we eventually managed to receive the advertising license for the eye care capsules iiPlus. This is the reason why we are always proud to be ‘a fixer’, fixing unexpected problems with prompt solutions.
The perseverance of CREATIO
As soon as the license came into effect, CREATIO quickly made the most use of the remaining time (2 months) to implement the initially planned IMC strategy in the most efficient way. Having the required skills, we were up to the task with all necessary changes and adjustments to the original plan, coming up with these following activities:
1. Content management of the Facebook page
2. Banner ads
3. PR (editorial)
4. Video production
5. Google ads
During the implementation, due to some changes requested by the client, there were flexibilities and adjustments in the overall activities and outcomes. In an effort to carry out and optimise efficiency of the campaign, fanpage of iiPlus, named ‘Insights About the Eyes’, was regularly taken care of, including posting, responding to comments and inboxes as well as ensuring the quality. This led to high quality content with interesting and valuable posts that attracted Facebook users’ clicks to the image/link for more information.
Another key activity was PR editorial coverage. All PR articles were sophisticatedly written with a strong focus on insightful content on eye health, making readers willing to read more rather than forcing them to see the ads. The content of each written piece was crafted to fit each newspaper and each column where it was located. Moreover, the effects of this activity were also optimised thanks to banner ads, increasing the clickthrough rate (CTR) towards online articles. Many years of experience in PR & media relations management allowed CREATIO to select the best positions and sizes of the banner ads as well as the most effective visuals that could easily attract internet users’ attraction.
Apart from aforementioned activities, Google Ads and video production were effective to some extent. After nearly two months running the search engine optimisation (SEO) services for iiPlus, despite not being supported by other means of communications due to the sudden termination, this activity reached a satisfactory level. Specifically, the CTR doubled compared to the average success rate of an SEO campaign measured by Google’s offices in Vietnam. Besides, CREATIO completed the production of an explainer video of the product iiPlus. With around 3 minutes long and various illustrative graphics of scientific explanations, the video managed to highlight the preeminent functions and unique natural ingredients of the eye care capsules iiPlus.
The lesson learnt
Through this project, we would like to emphasise CREATIO’s agility and flexibility when we had to take over an unexpected responsibility and accommodate all changes requested by the client. From the client’s adjustments in our Facebook and Google ads plan, we better acknowledged the importance of educating our clients on the positive impacts of strategically combining diverse means of ads and communications on sales promotion and brand visibility.
In addition, partners who are not communications experts should understand that advertising and communications are not the panacea that can magically make any product ‘sold like hot cakes’. This is the reason why the Father of Advertising, David Ogilvy, once said, “The best way to increase the sale of a product is to improve the product.” In the case of iiPlus, CREATIO has learnt a lesson the hard way: “Always stick to the channel management plan and customers’ touchpoints of the brand, which is vital to an IMC strategy in particular. Instead of being merely an advertiser or communications practitioner, the consultancy should also be the critical partner that could help its clients navigate its marketing plan and even directly participate in the business development plan alongside the clients.”