Design/methodology/approach - A mix of secondary and primary search is used: analysis of academic literature, market research data and organizational data, as well as interviews conducted with members of the Renault Marketing Team. Findings - The planning and implementation of Integrated marketing communications Is complex and involves a wide range of different management tasks.
These Include: situation analysis and Identification of marketing communications opportunities; choosing the right marketing communications agency; campaign development and implementation, including the selection of the marketing communications mix, creative execution and media planning; campaign valuation; planning of follow-up campaigns; and managerial coordination between all tasks and parties involved to ensure integration of marketing communications initiatives throughout the campaign.
Originality/value - Applies marketing communications theories to a real-life example and illustrates comprehensively the management tasks involved in the planning and implementation of integrated marketing communications campaigns. Provides hyperlinks and references to organizations and bodies relevant to the marketing communications industry as well as academic literature. Keywords Marketing communications, Marketing planning Paper type Case study Marketing Intelligence & Planning up. 524-538 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0263-4503 DOI 10. 108/02634500910964083 Introduction The country-of-origin (COO), conveyed through marketing communications messages, can act as an important informational cue in consumers' buying decision-making process when evaluating products and brands (Verge et al. , 2005). Research suggests that the image consumers have of the country the product or brand originates from influences their purchase intentions (Yeast et al. , 2007). In particular, here is evidence that familiarity with and attitude towards the country impacts on how consumers evaluate products and brands from that particular country (Kina, 2006).
Therefore, this phenomenon - termed the coo-effect - is a crucial factor organizations need to consider when planning marketing activities (AY-Assault and Baker, 1998; Easiness and Harding, 2008), such as integrated marketing communications campaigns. Depending on the image consumers have of the COO in the target market, stressing the COO in marketing communications messages can either enhance or deteriorate attitudes towards the marketed product or brand Monsoon, 1993). It is, therefore, important for marketers to first understand how the COO is perceived in the target market.
There are many examples of organizations and entire industries that have used consumers' favorable associations with the COO and a specific product or service category in order to create effective marketing communications campaigns: Emirates Airlines is positioned as providing excellent in-flight service quality, in line with the luxury hospitality image of the Emirates; campaigns for French fragrances, such as Channel and Dior, often feature images of Paris to reinforce the association between he products' COO and romance and beauty; KEA have used Swede's reputation for being a social, family oriented nation to position their business across continents; Japanese electronics producers, such as Sony and Panasonic, take advantage of their country's reputation for being leading in high-tech consumer gadgets; and marketing communications campaigns for German cars, like Volkswagen and Audio, often include German features (Pursuing durra Technician) to exploit consumers' association of high quality, reliable manufacturing with Germany.
Related to the coo-effect is the phenomenon of consumer ethnocentrism, which is he overall tendency to evaluate domestic products as better than imported ones (Baker and Machine, 1995; Cleveland et al. , 2009). A large body of research supports the notion that this tendency has a strong impact on consumers' choice of products (Shims and Sahara, 1987; Padlock's and Hyssop, 1990; Evangelistic et al. , 2008). For example, research suggests that the COO is a strong factor impacting on consumers' decision making when buying a car (Aimed and toast's, 1996) - particularly in the five European key markets of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the I-J (Netting, 2006).
Industry data show that most of the top ten best-selling cars in Demolisher's, while the French and Italians prefer cars that originate in their home markets (Loafer, 2002). This ethnocentric loyalty is the result of clever marketing communications campaigns which have created country-specific, favorable brand images that appeal to the manufacturers' target groups in the domestic markets. In light of the above, the Director of Marketing Communications at Renault Germany faced a particular challenge when the French headquarters decided that Renault had to expand its share in the German market. In order to reach this objective, he had to carefully plan and implement a new integrated marketing communications strategy (Mohammad et al. , 2005).
To do so, he followed a pre-defined set of actions (Figure 1). Situation analysis and identification of opportunities First of all, he and his team engaged in a phase of thorough research in order to analyses the market situation and identify potential opportunities for his brand. The market research consisted of a collection and analysis of secondary and primary data. Secondary data is information that already exists and that has been collected or another purpose. In many cases, market research is started by collecting such secondary data in order to establish a first understanding of the situation and to define problems and objectives for following primary research (Kettle et al. , 1999; Wilson, 2006).
The advantages of secondary research are that it is normally faster, cheaper and easier to conduct than primary research. Secondary datasets also often contain data an individual organization cannot collect on its own, because the information is not directly available or too expensive to collect. In this case, at Renault he Director of Marketing Communications and his team made use of data from tracking surveys carried out by large market research institutes, such as the Shillelagh's four Countersigning (SGF, www. SGF. Com, accessed 3 March 2009), and readership surveys conducted by leading car magazines, such as auto, motor undo sport (www. Auto-motor-undo-sport. De, accessed 3 March 2009).
These surveys are carried out at Integrated marketing 525 526 1. Situational analysis Internal: Organization; product External: Competitor; consumer; market communications opportunity Marketing communications objectives USPS (Unique selling point) Key target audiences 3. Agency selection Creative brief Invitation for pitch Selection of most suitable agency (Expertise and creativity) 4. Campaign development and implementation Choice of marketing Communications mix Creative execution Media Selection 5. Campaign evaluation Before, during and after campaign Tracking studies Evaluate effectiveness and efficiency of campaign Figure 1.
Stages in the planning and implementation of integrated marketing 6. Future planning Remain in consumers' mindset Reminders Follow-up campaigns several points in time to track, for example, consumers' changing attitudes towards car brands and tend to consist of large, representative samples. For example, the auto, motor undo sport readership survey included more than a 100,000 participants over a one-year period. After a detailed analysis of all the secondary data available, the Director concluded that for German consumers safety was one of the most important criteria when choosing a new car - and that they perceived the brands the market leaders in this attribute.
Renault lagged way behind in terms of safety receptions of the most popular German as well as some imported car brands. In order to understand in more depth, why consumers were perceiving Renault cars as not being particularly safe and whether this was in fact one of the main reasons for not buying the brand, the Director of Marketing Communications and his team conducted further primary research. Primary research is usually carried out for a specific purpose at hand. In order to derive meaningful decisions from a study, the data collected must be relevant, accurate, current and unbiased. Primary research can be broadly divided into qualitative and quantitative research.
Both of those ethos can provide data on markets, their structure, key competitors, trends and consumer behavior and attitudes (Proctor, 2000). However, both approaches differ, since qualitative research can explore more in depth consumers' impressions and motivations, whereas quantitative data provides a structured overview of opinions of a large group of consumers (Wilson, 2006). To complement the secondary data available, the primary research took mainly place in the form of focus groups, guided discussions with a small group of potential Renault customers in order to explore their motivations for driving cars from the competition and under what resistances they would switch to Renault.
The results confirmed the two main finding from the secondary data analysis: (1) The safety attribute was one of the decisive factors for Germans when buying a car. (2) Renault cars were not perceived by German consumers as being as safe as German cars and even some other imported car brands. 527 Therefore, the Director of Marketing Communications decided that the only way forward was to directly attack the main German competitors as well as other major car import brands on the attribute of safety. He believed that a creative, well integrated marketing communications campaign could reposition the brand to one of the safest and most reliable ones in the German market (refer to Figure 2 for the positioning map).
The opportunity he spotted was that Renault had factual evidence for this positioning strategy: eight of the organization's car models won the European New Car Assessment Programmer Mercedes Renault Audio BMW Volvo Move Propose Saab Desirable Figure 2. Positioning map 528 (Euro NCAA, www. Renounce. Com, accessed 20 November 2008) Crassest competition with five stars. This result made Renault officially the manufacturer of the safest cars n Europe - an excellent unique selling proposition (USPS; Frazer, 1983), given the market situation. Therefore, the overarching strategic marketing communications objective for the campaign was set to enhance the desire for the brand amongst German consumers through an increase in awareness of Renaults unique safety features.
As market research showed that the most profitable target audience for the campaign were potential new car buyers, male, 30-49 years old, with an income of over e, all marketing communications initiatives were planned and developed with a focus on this particular market segment. Choosing the marketing communications agency Although a marketing communications opportunity and target group were identified, various questions remained for the Director of Marketing Communications: . What elements of the marketing communications mix should be used? . What should the creative execution look like? How should the campaign be evaluated? In order to find the best answers to these important questions, he prepared a creative brief - mainly outlining key existing market data and campaign objectives - and invited various marketing communications agencies to present their ideas and pitch for the account.
After this process, he and his team decided to work with Publics (www. Publics. Com, accessed 20 November 2008) and Normal Hamburg (www. Normal. Com accessed 20 November 2008) on the project. While Publics is a large and well-established international advertising agency network, Normal Hamburg is a relatively new agency with only 25 employees. The latter has been attracting great industry attention over the last ten years thanks to their extraordinary creative approaches to campaign planning and design (Rattan, complement each other well, due to their levels of expertise in different parts of the arresting communications mix, as well as their creative approach (Agley, 1986).
Selection of the marketing communications mix and creative execution As it was the direct objective of the campaign to increase these consumers' awareness of the safety of Renault cars, it was decided to use the following message content for the communications campaign: "Die christen Autos common ass Franchise" ("The safest cars come from France"). The task of the agencies was to identify how this message could be conveyed to the target audience in the most effective and efficient manner (Scowls and Kicker, 1998). In general, there are various marketing communications mix elements available to marketers, such as advertising, public relations, personnel selling and sales promotion (Pickett and Frederick, 2005). Advertising delivers communication via a recognizable advertisement in a medium.
The delivery of the unmodified message is guaranteed for an agreed rate. As such, advertising allows to effectively target the specified audience through the use of appropriate channels, as marketers have full control over who is targeted when and how. Since this is important for a repositioning campaign to be successful, Normal Hamburg recommended that the key marketing communications mix element used in this campaign should be advertising, consisting of cinema commercials. Supported by viral marketing initiatives and TV screenings, a new company web site that would link into the theme of the campaign, as well as a print advertising campaign (Kindergartens Heartburning (AWG), 2007).
In order to stress the superlative that the safest cars come from France, the Director of Marketing Communications at Renault decided together with Normal p Hamburg and Renault that the cinema and TV commercial, which was also disseminated wrought the viral campaign on the internet, had to demonstrate that Renault cars were safer in comparison to those of other car manufacturers from competing countries-of-origin, mainly Germany, Japan and Sweden. To reinforce the factual basis for this claim, the agency decided to recreate in detail the Euro NCAA Crassest scenario for the commercial "Crassest". However, instead of showing how cars with Crassest-dummies slam into the barriers, the agency decided to film the collision of stereo-typical national food items with the walls (Figure 3): for a start, a giant German usage is driven into the barrier bursting into thousands of pieces. The same happens to a Japanese Sushi roll and a Swedish crossbreed: both pretty much disintegrate on impact.
The last contestant is a soft French baguette which is thrust into the barrier, and surprise: it survives the test with hardly any damage as it can fully absorb the shock (through crumpling and uncoupling its front The scenes are shown in slow-motion and the forceful images stand in stark contrast to the accompanying music, the passionate song Scatterbrain (I will wait) by singer Rain Getty, which was recorded in 1939. Media planning Besides, the creative execution of the commercial, Normal Hamburg and the Director of Marketing Communications at Renault also had to decide which media channels to choose to reach the intended marketing communications objective. They identified cinemas, the internet, TV and print as appropriate channels and a good media mix - with each channel complementing the other.
Figure 4 gives an overview of the time periods in which the different media were used. Cinemas were seen as the most important media class, as it is possible to produce cinema commercials with extended length, higher artistic 2005 2005 2006 IQ Cinema Internet (viral) (website) Print Figure 3. Timeline of media used Figure 4. Scenes from the commercial "Crassest" value and in general higher quality than TV commercials. The Director of Marketing Communications felt that these attributes were particularly important to impress the audience and underline the creative focus of the campaign. In the third quarter of 2005 "Crassest" was shown in multiplex cinemas across 141 German cities.
In support of the cinema launch, a viral campaign was started that initiated the diffusion of the commercial on the internet - by viewers sending the link on to each other by email. Viral campaigns have become a major trend in marketing communications (New Media Age Online, Bibb) as industry data suggest that they are effective in spreading messages amongst consumers whilst being cost efficient (New Media Age Online, AAA; since organizations do not have to pay for consumers exchanging emails with each other in social networks or posting commercials on shared blobs). Within a few weeks thousands of viewers had seen "Crassest" on Youth (www. Youth. Com). From December 2005 to April 2006 the campaign was extended through the broadcasting of the commercial in two-week periods on TV.
In support of the TV campaign, the commercial was screened again in cinemas in April and May 2006. Finally, from autumn 2006 onwards "Crassest" could be seen continuously on TV in commercial breaks during selected programmers. TV was chosen as a complementary media-class to cinema, as a wider target audience could be reached which helped to generate higher levels of awareness. Moreover, synergies with and sponsorships of particular programmers were possible. Direct response was also generated by appealing to consumers to visit the newly created Renault web site. In parallel, to the TV campaign, a web site was developed that was directly linked to the campaign message: www. Sicker. De (Sicker h safe; Figure 5).
The planned use of the internet as a media-class was seen as complementary to the use of cinema and TV, as it is recognized as a flexible and relatively cheap way of reaching a wide target audience. It can also appeal to multiple senses as sound and visual features can be embedded in web sites. Moreover, due to their interactive properties, web sites can contain a lot of information which individual customers can choose from. On the new Renault web tit, users could identify how safe their car was according to the latest Euro NCAA Crassest results. In addition, the interactive web site contained a wide range of additional information on car and road safety. Finally, in parallel to the TV campaign and the launch of the web site also a print campaign was started.