Integrated Marketing Communication Takes to the Airways

British Airways that is.

Marketing Week just published an article on British Airways (BA) launching “a consumer-facing brand campaign for later this year and has previously said that this will be accompanied by an internal communications programme designed to get staff support.”

In an earlier post on this site, Deploying IMC Troops and Internal Marketing Armies, I emphasized how internal staff remain one of the most powerful marketing resources available to an organization.  Too often organizations become so focused on their external audiences that they lose opportunities to leverage valuable internal audiences for integrated marketing communication (IMC) efforts. 

There were two points of particular interest to me when I read this article.  First, BA is undertaking this initiative without a current head of global marketing.  In my twenty years of marketing experience, I have found far too often that organizations proceed with critical corporate strategies without critical human resources to support them.  If BA is serious about strengthening its brand presence, it should start with investing in the human resources to guide these efforts.  A global IMC campaign is not something that should be simply outsourced to an agency.  There needs to be integrated commitment to marketing communication at both the internal and external levels.

The second point of interest to me was the impassioned comments posted in response to this brief article. Kevin Thomson, former chairman of MCA, emphasized, “Brand engagement is about the future of the people, the product, and the personalities that create the brand. It’s an integrated marketing, communication and HR strategy in an on-going trilogy. This is not about the misleading concept of ‘employer branding’ it’s about branding full stop.”  Thomson further notes, “Failed internal communication and engagement is why BA have yet another campaign on the books, despite the numerous channels and message making attempts.”

I recall in graduate school that we often referenced BA in strategic management case studies as an example of a successful turnaround organization. How nice it would be if I could eventually reference BA as a best practice example in my marketing communication classes as well.


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