Blog 12: Organizational Communication and IMC

As you read chapter 19, did you consider organizations you currently belong to? Think of an organization you currently belong to now. How do you know it is, in fact, an organization and not just a group of people? What agricultural groups can you identify that do not meet the definition of an organization. What makes them groups of people instead of organizations?

Chapter 23 explored integrated marketing communications (IMC), which is a concept/theory that can be applied to multiple organizational communication practices. It is a model that a myriad of  organizations consider as they audit or reorganize their communication efforts. Think back to one of the organizations you identified. Is IMC a good model of communication for this organization to follow in its relationships with its various stakeholders? What benefits are there for the organization to utilize IMC? Are there any possibilities for disadvantages from using IMC?  

 

18 thoughts on “Blog 12: Organizational Communication and IMC

  1. While reading chapter 19, I had a tough time coming up with an organization I was a part of. I support a lot of agriculture organizations, but I am not directly involved with any at this time. One organization I have helped out with a lot in the past, and I hope to be a part of in the future, is 4-H. Although I was never a 4-H member myself, I interned for them as an undergrad, and after receiving my masters, I hope to return to the organization. According to our text book, “an organization entails a group of people who have committed themselves to working toward accomplishing a collective number of goals or missions.” The book also goes on to mention the importance of structure in an organization as well. 4-H is just that, an organization working towards enhancing youths lives through building their leadership, responsibility, and life skills, through experiential programs.

    Trying to come up with groups in agriculture that did not meet the definition of an organization was harder than I had imagined. The purpose of most groups is to pair with like-minded individuals and come together for the greater good of the group, whatever that may be. One thing that sets organizations apart from groups, in my mind, is the aspect of structure and leadership. Although some groups lack the structural integrity and reputations that organizations encompass, groups are still vital contributors to spreading awareness for agriculture. Some agricultural groups that come to mind, are groups I follow on Facebook like “woman in agriculture” and “agriculture proud.” These groups both support aspects of the agriculture industry but are less structured than agricultural organizations.

    Although 4-H is a non-profit organization, I think they could benefit substantially from implementing the IMC model of communication. While reading chapter 23, I got the impression that the IMC model was very productive in “for profit” companies. However, the book brings up very good points that would be very beneficial to an organization like 4-H. The first advantage the book brings up, is that the IMC model increases communication effectiveness and increases reach of organization messages. This is extremely important to 4-H, as they grow as an organization and begin to incorporate individuals from all backgrounds, not just agriculture. Secondly, the book brings up the point that through the use of IMC, non-advertising strategies get individuals attention, reduce costs of advertising, and can help to drive “word of mouth.” This is very beneficial to 4-H, as they are a government funded organization and money can be tight. Thirdly, the book mentions that IMC incorporates a consistent look and feel that increases brand awareness. The increase in brand awareness can benefit the 4-H organization as they continue to grow and reach individuals that may not know what the goal of 4-H is. Having a universal branding will unify the organization and build trust among new members. One potential disadvantage to using IMC is the view that IMC is more profit oriented, as opposed to a relational paradigm, this might result in problems for the organization.

    1. Kelsey,

      Great post I really enjoyed learning from you! I have many of the same thoughts as you especially regarding 4-H and government funded organizations. An organization must encompass all the correct aspects in order to become successful. Creating successful agriculture organizations is even more difficult because those that have the ability to teach the true values of agriculture are most likely unable because they work within the industry each day. At times we get very fortunate and knowledgeable individuals in a community come together and provide agricultural knowledge for youth which comes in the form of leading 4-H groups, helping with the local FFA chapter etc. As you stated also I definitely agree that the brand representing an organization is huge. The brand is certainly a marketing tool that plays a huge role in being able to recognize an organization. Good luck in the remainder of the course!

      Ashlyn Richardson

    2. Hi Kelsey,

      I really enjoyed reading your post this week! I could relate to your experience with 4-H. Not only did I work for the California State 4-H Office, I also continue to volunteer with the organization. I would definitely consider 4-H an organization for all of the reasons that you mentioned. All of the staff and volunteers work towards the mission of enhancing the lives of young people. Additionally, there is also structure and hierarchy. In California, the state has some oversight over the county programs, but each county also has its own unique structure.

      You mentioned a few Facebook groups that you are involved with. Again, I can relate. I am part of several agriculture Facebook groups that don’t really have an overall mission or any type of structure. Despite the fact that they aren’t considered organizations, I still feel like they have a wealth of value. As you beautifully stated, they are an opportunity for like-minded people to spread awareness. I am curious; is the “woman in agriculture” group a part of a larger organization or is it its own independent group? I’m curious because there is a local group where I am from that calls itself “Women For Agriculture”. I’m not very familiar with their structure so I can’t say whether or not it is an organization. I was just wondering if these groups were somehow related.

      Even though 4-H is a non-profit, I agree that it could benefit from adopting the IMC model. The world of non-profits is competitive, and just because there aren’t customers in the traditional sense, there are young people and donors which are essentially the organization’s “customers”. In California, a lot of people who are unfamiliar with the organization think that 4-H is all about “cows and plows”. They don’t realize that the organization has STEM programing, leadership programing, and health and nutrition programming. By incorporating the IMC model, the organization could implement more efficient and effective messaging. Additionally, the two-way communication component would help the organization to understand what kinds of programing young people and parents want to see incorporated. By listening to the needs and wants of these stakeholders, the program could increase messaging effectiveness and have greater impact. This would likely result in an increase in membership.

      Best,
      Alyssa S.

    3. Hi, Kelsey!

      I enjoyed reading your thoughts about the advantages of implementing IMC in the 4-H program. I am a 4-H Agent in Kansas, and I can see the need for this type of strategic approach to the organization’s communication. As you mentioned, the 4-H program is continually trying to grow and help make 4-H available to all youth. Something that I have found to be extremely helpful since starting in this role, is the new 4-H branding efforts that our state 4-H office has released. The state office has supplied our local programs with 4-H branded materials, marketing templates and general guidelines that have helped us to create a more consistent message with the 4-H programs across the state. This new “4-H grows here” brand was released over a year ago, and yet some local offices are still utilizing the old branding materials from the “life’s little questions campaign”. It has been a slow process, but I have personally seen the benefits of using this strategic new brand so that families, youth and stakeholders can recognize the 4-H brand as a leading positive youth development organization.
      -Hannah

  2. Class,

    This week’s discussion brought about many important aspects of not only agriculture but marketing tactics as well as vital aspects of creating a successful organization. I was heavily involved in 4-H and FFA as a youth and currently still volunteer my time when possible at the local level assisting the groups and chapters. I’ve had a lot of involvement in a variety of organizations growing up but agriculture seemed to always be what I took the most interest in which led me to pursue my education and now career within the field. However, in my life today one my the organizations that I am most involved in is the American Angus Association. This is most definitely an organization because it has a mission and value system that has been in place for many years. Many of the members are in fact families that have been involved for years and their families continue involvement etc. I do agree that the group of people definitely make the organization what it is. In constant, I was once involved in another cattle related organization that had less value placed on the organization. The people were more for themselves than the organization and simply just wanted to say that they were a member rather than put out any effort. The officer team followed the same suite. The organization is no longer in existence because the needs of the organization weren’t put first. Integrated marketing communications can most definitely be effective in all organizations. Implementing tools of integrated marketing could definitely be successful in the realm of branding. Placing a brand on an organization is extremely effective because it must be one that is recognizable throughout the entire industry. It must be a brand that when noticed is seen as an organization within agriculture promoting the best of the brand to those around it. The brand in the long-term will either be viewed as a positive or negative aspect at first glance. In conclusion, I believe that the people play a huge role in an organization but the organization must have the appropriate values and mission in place to attract the right people who want to see the organization flourish. I look forward to learning from each of you.

    Thanks,

    Ashlyn Richardson

    1. Ashlyn,

      Right off the bat you mentioned two huge organizations involved in agriculture, 4-H and FFA. It’s awesome that you were able to partake in these organization and continue to recognize the importance they play for the agriculture industry. Although I was never involved as a child, I see the importance they offer for the youth in all aspects of life, not just agriculture. I think it is awesome that you still dedicate your time and volunteer for these organizations. I completely agree that the American Angus Association is an organization because of its mission and the structured leadership it encompasses. I am sorry to hear about your experience with failed cattle organization. This is a great example of the difference between a group and an organization. A group is more for fun and not necessarily as structured or deeply rooted as an organization tends to be. As I read through the chapter I found myself wondering if groups were the begging stages of organizations? Had this group have been more structured and unified could it have been a successful organization one day?

      I agree that integrated marketing can be beneficial to some degree, for almost any organization. The importance of branding is huge for organizations. Branding an organization leads to awareness and trust for any organization. It becomes a symbol of what people stand for and brings excitement and devotion for continued efforts to better the organization.

      I enjoyed reading your insights on this week’s chapters!
      Thanks,
      Kelsey Tully

    2. Ashlyn,
      Growing up I was also very heavily involved in 4-H and FFA, my mom was a High School Ag teacher in a small town in Oklahoma so my life has been centered on that organization. Since I have been out of High School for several years now and am no longer actively involved within the FFA organization I have noticed that there is currently a lack of knowledge about it within my community, when I brought this topic up in class I was surprised to see just how many students had no idea what it (FFA) even was. While this organization does have a very notable brand I think more needs to be done to increase messaging effectiveness of this organization within my community so that more people are aware of its existence. One way that this could be accomplished is by integrating some of the principles of IMC model such as the “two way communication component” and implement more efficient and effective messaging. These are a few of my thoughts, thanks for sharing!
      -Leah

  3. Class,

    Currently, I wouldn’t consider myself part of an organization. But, before I moved to Tennessee, I was employed by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and worked in the Pesticide and Fertilizer Program. Though the individuals I worked with in the program were part of the organization through work, we all held the same goal – to protect the public and environment. We may have held differing ideas about certain issues, but all had the same mindset about where the program should be headed and what needed to be accomplish with the help of a leader, the Program Director. On the contrary, the business I work with now (Stine Seed Company) may consider themselves an organization. But in the position I hold with my counterparts, our structure is a bit different. We all have individual goals, but a same general goal – to sell seed. The sales representatives wouldn’t be part of an organization, but instead a group of people.

    Before I left my position with the Pesticide and Fertilizer Program, all of KDA was working to “go online” for their registrations and licenses, including Pesticide and Fertilizer. We were working to be more efficient with license processing, but also understood that some businesses and individuals would prefer to continue paper registrations and renewals. It was slowly being incorporated for the online to be more favorable, but paper should still be available. As the program continues to incorporate more technology and online use, the goal is to become more efficient and work towards being paperless. So with the evaluation of where the Pesticide and Fertilizer Program is at, I believe that IMC is a good model to utilize.

    1. Jessica,

      I definitely agree with your examples of an organization and group. I often think of a group of people within an organization much like your sales representatives at the seed company. I still think that your sales representatives are part of the organization because the organization is the big picture, but the group is rather a smaller frame of the big picture.

      Could you see any problem with IMC and the Pesticide and Fertilizer Program at KDA? Most agricultural programs will find the money and extra time needed to put IMC in place to be a huge hurdle. Are there any programs at KDA that already implement IMC that they could see the prolonged benefits to help gain their buy in?

      I appreciate your great insight,

      Christina Peterson

    2. Jessica,

      Thanks for sharing your insight this week.

      I like your example of being a part of Stine Seed as a sales representative, but I feel it is still somewhat of an organization because of the consistent messaging and main goal. Although there is not formal communication, I still see a hierarchy relationship between the reps and other internal stakeholders. Additionally, is there an annual sales conference or gathering that could most sales reps attend? I would consider this a method of communication, time to refocus on goals/missions/values, and a meeting among stakeholders.

      When I read about the introduction of IMC to the Pesticide and Fertilizer Program, besides thinking about begrudging external constituents, all I could think about was the manpower it would take to make that change as an organization. As communication professionals, I feel we are always being tested to stay relevant with the technological times and take on more job duties. I could see this unintentionally being a struggle for the program.

      Thanks for sharing you examples!

      Anissa

  4. Ashlyn,

    I think it is awesome how involved you are with different organizations! I want to become more involved in local 4-H, I just haven’t taken the steps to since I have relocated to Tennessee.

    You pointed out the effectiveness of branding in an organization. What kind of branding does the American Angus Association utilize that makes the organization successful? And in contrary, the other association you mention – did they have ineffective branding? Or were they struggling due to the lack of a common goal?

    Jessica Woofter

  5. Class,

    This semester, I am in another class that is requiring me to complete a cultural analysis of an organization. This past week, I interviewed a few key leaders in the organization which brought the concern of if the organization I choose was more of a program than an organization. This week’s readings helped me understand a more theoretical background behind the classification of an organization. Since I have been analyzing an organization that I am interning for, Project YES!, it was at the forefront of my mind during the reading.

    Our text defines organization as a group of people who are working collectively toward a number of goals, have a structure, and each have an individual role. Project YES! has a set structure/hierarchy similar to that of the audience that we serve, the military. YES! also has roles for each individual intern and a ladder that they can have upward progression. YES! has a main goal of providing quality youth development programs to help youth gain resiliency, leadership, and coping skills that will benefit them and their families as a loved one prepares, returns, or leaves for deployment. While this is a main goal, subsequent goals are also at play within various groups of people preparing for events and working with their individual mentors.

    In contrast, one agricultural opportunity that I would classify as a group and not an organization is a Facebook group called Ag Education Discussion Lab. Even though this group has over 7,000 members, there is not structure or individual roles for the members. There is a purpose of helping fellow agricultural teachers gain new information and troubleshoot any issues that an agricultural teacher will encounter. This purpose does not translate into a mission statement though. An overall effective group at maintaining its purpose, it is not quite an organization.

    Often I think of a group as a subset from an organization. Many organizations will have groups already at play in their organization. For instance, during my 4-H years, we had a group of senior members who were a part of a special committee that helped with larger events and served on the junior fairboard. We called this committee our 4-H ambassadors. The ambassadors had a purpose but no leadership structure. This is what I often think happens in agriculture that an organization will have many groups already in place that grew from the large organizations already in existence. Much like another classmate mentioned the opposite could happen too that a group could turn into an organization.

    The integrated marketing communication model would be a good model for Project YES! to use with its various stakeholders as an organization. Project YES! mainly works with military organizations where brand awareness is crucial to gain more events. In the military, it is preferred to have one overarching contract company with one main point of contact than 100 different companies for the same job across the nation. If YES! were to successfully implement an IMC model, they could increase brand awareness that would also benefit the other side of the organization, the interns. Brand awareness would improve the recognition of this world class internship to prospective students.

    One disadvantage to utilizing IMC would be that this organization is dual hatted with two different pieces. One piece deals with the customers, the military, and the other deals with the employees and their personal growth, the interns. IMC would greatly benefit the customers, as it is customer focused, but I am concerned that it would be flat in terms of helping the employees. As it requires more resources to manage the multiple marketing channels, I am concerned adopting this approach would add more to the interns’ plates, which are already toppling over from being a full time student and participating in this internship and whatever other activities the interns find themselves involved in notwithstanding. IMC is also more expensive than traditional marketing campaigns, which is problematic for YES! as it is entirely grant based and is conservative where money is spent.

    – Christina Peterson

  6. Hi all,

    While reading this week’s chapters, I really tried to synthesize the information and relate the text back to my past experiences, whether that be through an example given in class or an organization I was a part of. An organization I currently belong to is the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education as a graduate student. Creative example, I know. Although it is not the most unique example, I think it highly exemplifies many of the characteristics common to an organization, such as a group of people working toward a common goal/mission; there is structure and hierarchy; formal and informal relationships among members; individuals have specific roles and responsibilities; and channels of communication.

    An agricultural group that I would say does not meet the text’s definition of an organization would be farmers. Because there are many different definitions of a farmer, it can be difficult to identify who fits into the group and who does not, a key indicator that it is not an organization. Additionally, another important indicator is that there is no formal, consistent messaging being communicated among all farmers. As well as the previous indicators, there is also no hierarchy of authority among the farmers.

    As a previous undergraduate student who found both the marketing, communications, and public relations side of organizations and companies intriguing, I would say yes, integrated marketing communications (IMC) is a good thing. Not only does it give professionals multiple career paths to explore and increase overlap among labor divisions, it is also highly beneficial to the entities that practice IMC. With IMC, entities are integrating a similar brand throughout all mediums of communication, which leads to higher brand recognition and brand recall. By utilizing IMC, rather than traditional marketing, products and services are better aligned with the needs and expectations of customers, leading to a lifetime customer. In addition, these are vital relationships that need to be built as consumers become increasingly skeptical and critical of traditional marketing methods, such as advertising. Personally, I don’t many negative aspects to practicing IMC. However, from reading the text, I could see there being scrutiny from divisions if integration occurs in their organization. For example, if an internal stakeholder preferred their position to remain solely in an advertising position, there potentially could be issues in the system. It is important to have all stakeholders, like employees, on the same page when it comes to missions, goals, and values. Your organization is only as strong as your weakest link.

    I enjoyed this week’s readings, and I look forward to learning from all of you.

    Thanks,

    Anissa

    1. Hi Anissa,

      I like your creative example of an organization! When I began reading, I was skeptical; however, I think that we graduate students could be called an organization. I hadn’t thought of us as one, but we do possess the qualities of an organization and we are more organized than a group. Thanks for making me think!

      I also think that farmers are a good example of a group in agriculture. I had great difficulty coming up with an example but I think I might have been looking for a specific example. Farmers are all working toward similar goals, but there is no hierarchy or mandatory rules to follow to be a part of that group.

      I enjoyed reading your post and the way you summarized and explained the information from the book. You mentioned a few things that I did not think about at first, and everything makes more sense now. Thanks!

  7. The organization that I work for is the Rangeland Trust. This is a non-profit with its own unique culture. Our organization is made up of staff, board members, and volunteers that work together to accomplish the mission of the organization. The ultimate goal of this organization is to help as many ranching families as we can by helping them conserve their working ranches in perpetuity. Since we are working together to accomplish a shared goal, we are an organization. Another aspect that makes the Rangeland Trust an organization is the presence of structure and hierarchy. For example, the staff and volunteers report to the board, and the board follows a set of bylaws to maintain structure. Each staff member has different responsibilities and the board members are also members of different committees within the organization. Each committee has different goals and objectives, but the committees all work towards our shared mission. For instance, the development and outreach committee works to raise funds for the organization, while the conservation committee works on the transaction side to place conservation easements on ranches. Both committees are striving to achieve their own goals while working towards the overall goal- to help as many ranching families as possible.

    One agricultural group that I belong to is a group called “Colusa County Young Farmers and Ranchers”. This is basically a group of like-minded individuals that meet on a sporadic basis. The idea behind the group is to facilitate discussion around farming/ranching challenges and help each other grow professionally. While the sporadic events are a great time to chat and network, this group would not be considered an organization because the individuals within this group are not working towards a shared goal or mission. This group also lacks structure. For instance, we don’t have a president or a chairman.

    While Chapter 23 describes corporate companies in their examples of IMC, I think that IMC is just as relevant to non-profits. There are a lot of charities in the world, and people have plenty of choices of where to give. The non-profit sector is competitive, and successful non-profits function like businesses. Circling back to my first example describing the Rangeland Trust, I believe that IMC would be a good model of communication for this organization to follow. Even though the Rangeland Trust doesn’t have customers, we still have easement-holders and donors, which are essentially our “customers”. IMC focuses on the four Cs, which include: consumer wants and needs, consumer cost, convenience, and communication. Each of these Cs are key concerns for my organization. For instance, our easement-holders and donors are the core of the organization, so their wants and needs are important. With our donors specifically, we want to make sure that we are using their money in the best way possible. This takes us to consumer cost; our donors want to know what they are “buying” when they write us a donation check. What kind of value are they helping the organization provide? This is a very important aspect to pay attention to. Additionally, our easement-holders and donors want to experience convenience when they deal with us. There are a lot of land trusts out there, so we don’t want them to find an alternative land trust to work with because they experienced some level of inconvenience when they dealt with us. Finally, two-way communication is important. Feedback from our stakeholders is essential towards understanding the needs of our “customers”, and implementing changes to meet their needs.

    Two big advantages that I believe my organization could benefit from by adopting IMC is the increase in communication effectiveness and the increase in internal coordination. Currently we a have a public relations director and a marketing director. By adopting the IMC model this could help us increase communication effectiveness by helping us create consistent and effective messages that have wider impact. These messages would also help to satisfy our needs of our stakeholders because the model would facilitate two-way communication. Additionally, by having our two directors work together, efficiency would be increased because they wouldn’t be duplicating efforts. This would also create a synergy and work quality would likely be improved.

    One potential negative that I anticipate in adopting this type of model is that by soliciting feedback from our stakeholder, we may see a wide range of “customer” wants and needs. Since we have different types of stakeholders, I would imagine that the wants and needs are different for the various groups. Meeting our stakeholders’ needs could be challenging. Additionally, we may upset one stakeholder group if we are seen as catering to the wants and needs of another stakeholder group.

    -Alyssa S.

  8. In the past, I have been part of several organizations, including the Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers. Farm Bureau is a structured organization that has specific roles for those involved in many different programs. As a member of the Montgomery County chapter of the Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers, I was part of a group that was working together to promote agriculture and connect with the community. My designated role in the group was the treasurer and I worked closely with the president, vice president, and secretary to make sure that we were communicating well amongst ourselves and with members of the community. Because there is structure and hierarchy, Farm Bureau is more than just a group of people. There are rules and responsibilities that members must adhere to and perform.

    Some agricultural groups may seem like organizations, but they are not; however, these are hard to fine. The words “group” and “organization” are used interchangeably in our culture, so it is hard to differentiate between the two. I had a hard time coming up with an example for this because there are so many organizations that call themselves groups. Google doesn’t even separate the two; searching for “agricultural groups” yields results listing organizations with clear structure and hierarchy. One example that I could think of are agricultural social media groups. These groups have a common interest but they are not working together toward a common goal in a structured way. In the same way, groups of producers that meet for Extension programs might also apply to this. They are all meeting for a reason, but they are not an organization.

    The integrated marketing communications (IMC) theory can be applied to Farm Bureau’s organizational operation. Farm Bureau is an organization that tries very hard to make and maintain long-term relationships with its members and communities. Farm Bureau works hard to communicate real facts about agriculture to the public and government officials and strives to create positive relationships with both. The organization’s main goal is communication with stakeholders and the general public, which is a key part of IMC theory. Using IMC allows many different people with different skills to be integral parts of the organization. Integrating many types and fields of communications allows a broader audience to be reached. Though integrating marketing can cost more and require more people or skills, in today’s world, it is more effective for most organizations.

  9. An organization that I currently belong to now and have for the past 15 years is the Northeast Reining Horse Association. There was a time where memberships with this organization were booming, scholarship opportunities were provided, sponsorships were prevalent, and all of the people involved were having a great time coming together. I know that this is an organization and not just a group of people because this organization brings a group of people to focus on a common mission. In fact it is known that the members of this organization are structured and managed “to promote and encourage development, participation and public interest in the sport of reining in the Northeast.”
    An agriculture group that I can identify that does not classify as an organization is the canine club in which I advise. The canine club does not classify as an organization because they do not have a mission set in place and it lacks the “structural integrity” of an actual organization. The canine club is a clear demonstration that it is not an organization as it is simply a group of people who like to meet and socialize about their canine experience without working towards a common goal or even using any sort of structure.
    As I mentioned earlier the membership of the NERHA organization is quickly dwindling to the point that this organization may be quickly eliminated if things are not swiftly changed. I believe that the IMC would be a great tool for the NERHA to utilize mainly because it could improve its outreach within the community by increasing communication effectiveness of this organization. Another thing that I notice lacking within this organization is a consistent look/ brand. Other organization similar to us that are successful do have an established brand which they advertise on clothing, I think it is integral for this organization that we design a universal brand so that we can in turn increase our brand awareness. The end goal is that improvement through brand awareness can help this organization grow its membership and reach more individuals that may have note heard of our organization.
    These are my thoughts!
    -Leah

  10. As an Extension Agent, a large aspect of my job is working with organizations and stakeholders to better meet the needs of our communities. This week’s focus on organizational communication was very interesting to me, as I was able to apply it to the many groups that I work with in Extension. As the book stated, “an organization entails a group of people who have committed themselves to working toward accomplishing a collective number of goals or missions.” There are several organizations that I work with that come to mind and would fit in the definition of an organization, and not just a group of people meeting together. One in particular is our Fair board. A group of community members make up this board of people. They come together as a group to plan and improve their main event, the Harvey County Fair and also work to maintain their facilities. They meet regularly and have officers and committees, which forms a hierarchy within the board.

    A group that I am a part of that may be a better example of a group of people meeting and not a necessarily an organization is our local Drug Free Youth Coalition. This coalition is still in the beginning stages of forming. Our community just received a grant that has enabled us to create this coalition and support our work with some funding. Our first couple of meetings have been informational, a gathering of community stakeholders who are introduced to data about drug and alcohol problems with youth in our communities. We have not yet created a distinct mission or plan for how each member will serve the group. This coalition is an example of a group of people who meet, but have not yet formed an organization.

    As several of my classmates have mentioned, one example of a group that would benefit from Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is 4-H. As a 4-H Agent who was not a 4-H member myself, I saw many mixed messages and brands as I researched the organization within Kansas. Recently Kansas 4-H has adopted a new wordmark, one that has both the 4-H clover and the K-State Research and Extension logo together. The truth was that many people could recognize the 4-H clover, but did not associate it with KSRE, which is how 4-H is operated. With every county in Kansas having a 4-H program that is unique to its local unit, having brand consistency is difficult but arguably even more important for this organization. IMC helps to incorporate a consistent look and feel that increases brand awareness. Through the use of IMC, non-advertising strategies get individuals attention, reduce costs of advertising, and can help drive “word of mouth”. This approach is perfect for a nationwide, non-profit, government organization like 4-H. The book explains that the use of IMC helps to better align products and services with the expectations of customers, leading to a loyal or even lifetime customers. In 4-H terms, lifetime customer= 4-H member turned adult 4-H volunteer, which is how our programs operate. Thus, the 4-H program and K-State Research and Extension could both benefit greatly from utilizing IMC as their business communication.

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