marketing communications

Fundamentally, publicity focuses on simply getting attention. Public relations focuses on the company being perceived as a “good guy.” Marketing communications is focused on delivering the company’s branding and product positioning messages. One might take the full picture approach and say that marketing communications is the fusion of all these objectives, but we’ll focus on the narrower definition here.

There are at a minumum two levels of communications which a company must consider. That which creates a corporate brand, and that which creates a product’s market positioning.

Positioning is a more purposeful concept for what we often hear people refer to as “image.” An image is passive. It tends to describe appearance or style of presentation. It offers little informative value to a customer. A position is more active in that it conveys what something does or provides. A banking institution might need to portray an image of stability, but that says nothing about whether the bank caters to community businesses or big industry. These are very different marketplace positions.

Unless it has diverse holdings in multiple industries, most companies will focus on a single corporate branding position. This position is an attribute that must occupy a unique space in the marketplace, and envelope something of importance to customers and consumers about its products and services. Each product too must have a unique positioning identity in its competitive space which represents an attribute of the product which is of foremost importance to the targeted buyer. In a crowded marketplace, the challenge is to develop a unique position not yet occupied, then if possible to raise the importance of that attribute in the consumer’s mind.

When a company has defined its corporate and product positions, the effort of marketing communications is to deliver that message to the effect that the buying public builds an association of that position with the company and/or its product.

There are, of course, a multitude of methods for delivering a company’s positioning messages. Not only through traditional advertising, but also through product literature, documentation, and even product design. Regardless of methods or means, a critical element of marketing communications is consistency. All verbal, written, and display communications should be fashioned to support the key messages the company is using to establish its market positioning. This will provide greater strength in the positioning than mere occasionally advertising could hope to accomplish. This requires that all departments be aware of these positions and messages and reinforce them wherever possible when working with customers, distributors, and even suppliers.