The pace of change in the marketing communications industry has accelerated with the advent of the Internet and new media technologies. New technologies create new ways for marketers to reach consumers and are having an impact on the more traditional media, in terms of greater fragmentation of these media (Belch & Belch). For the purpose of this report, the official website of Dove will be critically evaluated. With effective use of the response hierarchy models, an analysis will be conducted on how Dove is exploiting the Web for influencing consumers. The Role of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)
“Marketing communications is a management process through which an organisation engages with its various audiences. Through understanding an audience’s communications environment, organisations seek to develop and present messages for their identified stakeholder groups, before evaluating and acting upon the responses. By conveying messages that are of significant value, audiences are encouraged to offer attitudinal and behavioural responses” (Fill 2005, pp. 7). It was during the 1980s that firms started moving towards IMC, which essentially acknowledges the added value of a comprehensive plan that strategically evaluates the roles of a variety of communications tools and effectively combines these tools to provide maximum impact of communications (Belch & Belch, 2004). Traditionally there are five principal marketing communications tools which include advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, public relation and direct marketing. Purpose of the website
The website of a company can be considered as a promotional event on its own. The web is a place for individuals to communicate with others, organisations and individual alike (Rowley, 2004). The primary purpose behind the Dove website is to act as a rich information source targeted at the consumer; essentially females of all age groups. Such websites are generally referred to as non-transactional brochure websites. The website aims to provide information about the Dove brand, Dove products, Real Beauty philosophy and tools to attract users and enabling them to interact with the company. Although Dove does not sell directly to the consumer, unlike Body Shop, the website is very customer-centric due to the nature of the creative communications strategy – ‘Real Beauty’. Communications Objectives
The communication objectives can vary from creating and increasing brand awareness to changing perceptions about the philosophy of the company that would ultimately affect behaviour. Possible communications objectives may include education and information, branding and image building, affecting attitudes, and loyalty and reminding (Christopher et al, 1995). In the case of Dove, the umbrella communication objective is to provide information to effectively change the target consumer’s knowledge, perceptions and attitudes towards the brand, which would eventually change behaviour. The content of the website is focused on the objective of branding, via brand building activities with the use of the marketing communications tools. The communication objectives also include dissemination of information about new and existing products, and about the Real Beauty campaign and the various activities and promotions that are linked with it, which are strongly aimed on changing mindsets of the target audience. Also included in the objectives is creating relationships (Rowley, 2004) and attaining customer loyalty, through direct interaction with customers and finding ways of making the brand more meaningful to them. Evaluation of the Response Hierarchy Models
Belch & Belch (2004) believe that perhaps the most important aspect of developing successful marketing communications programmes involves a comprehension of the response process the receiver may go through and how the...