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?  


20 thoughts on “Blog 12: Organizational Communication and IMC

  1. Although I am not an active member of the Cass County 4-H program in Indiana, I still volunteer at every event I can when I am home. I know 4-H is an organization and not just a collection of people for many reasons. For starters, it has grown from the 1850s & 60s in the tomato canning clubs and corn clubs that were just groups of rural children meeting for a sense of education and competition. It has grown to international organization that has a mission and a vision. People are hired within this organization pursue the vision and mission because they feel connected to it. This organization allows people to continue to find way to fulfill their passion of helping youth learn about agriculture and leadership as well as educate the public about agriculture and provide necessary resources to farmers that are involved in the organization through their children and volunteerism.

    IMC is a good model of communication for 4-H. The unfortunate part is that 4-H has a ton of variations in how each state and county is operated. Within a county, it makes complete sense to have a IMC system in place. This keeps all parents, participating youth, and the community up to date with the latest information. On a national level, this can be useful too, but the information that goes out to the stakeholders would most likely look different. The stake holders would most likely be concerned about how the national 4-H organization is doing and what programming they are offering at the time instead of individual counties 4-H operations. This is where 4-H would utilize different IMC systems for each county, each state, and for the nationwide organizations. This is the exact system they have now in regard to their social media usage. The issue with this is that not every person who is involved in the organization follows all accounts. This means information can get overlooked or lost.

    1. Victoria, I agree with you about the possible issue of not all stakeholders using social media or following all the 4H accounts. I definitely think that when we are using the ICM model we have to make sure and not get caught up focusing on one area of communication because people use so many ways of communicating and we do not want to leave out a segment of the population because we are not using the form of communication that they use most often.

  2. I am currently an FFA Alumni member and am actively involved in activities with my alma mater. I know that FFA is an organization and not just a group of people for a multitude of reasons. First, FFA has a mission to “make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education” and each person involved in the organization works toward accomplishing this mission statement. Also, there is a structure to FFA. When I was in high school I was an active member and once I graduated I became an alumni member. I also serve as an FFA advisor at the school I work at. Each group has a different role, all of which fit back into that mission statement I mentioned earlier. An agriculture group that I would not consider to be an organization would be the agricultural graduate students at the University of Arkansas, we are a group of people with our degree and university in common, but we are not an organization. As mentioned in the text, a common mission that everyone is involved is working on and structure is what makes a group become an organization.
    One theory that I found could be applied to multiple organizational communication practices is the intrapersonal perception theory. This theory makes a lot of sense in today’s society about misconceptions that people have about certain companies, organizations and ideas. I think that organizations have to use this model to get an idea of how people currently perceive their company and then use the model to find an end goal of how they want people to perceive their company.
    IMC is a good model of communication for the FFA, especially with some of their large company sponsors such as Tractor Supply Company, CHS, Bayer, Zoetis, RFD TV, and John Deere. Each of these companies have contributed over one million dollars to FFA. By using the ICM model, FFA can build their name and reputation to demonstrate how impactful the organization is to students to these stakeholders.

    1. Tabitha,

      I agree that the IMC model also works well for FFA to communicate with their donors. It keeps them in the loop in almost any way they want to receive information. It is very important to keep donors in the know, because you want them to see all of the good that is coming from their generous donations.

    2. Tabitha,

      You make a good point about the importance of investigating how others perceive our companies, organizations or ideas. I think it is easy to get caught up in focusing on the message we want to relay to our audience. However, checking to see how our communications are actually coming across is just as important, if not more important, than the crafting of our messages and the meaning behind what we wanted to say.

  3. An organization that is a huge part of my life is the National FFA Association, not only being an alumni but also as a current agriculture educator. FFA is an organization that is very developed and continuously growing and is not limited to any certain state. FFA is structured into different membership levels which include: active, honorary, collegiate, and alumni. One of the great things about FFA is it isn’t just for a certain age group. The mission of the organization is to “make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.” Businesses can even be a huge part of the FFA organization, it isn’t limited to students and alumni.

    An agriculture group that I would not consider an organization is our South Central District Advisors. We are all advisors in the same district within our state however we are not organized by any leadership. We have many things in common but we each have our own school districts that we report to, we just compete against each other and occasionally complete professional development together. I would say that we don’t have a common mission other than student success that we are continuously working on together in which the text states an organization should have.

    I have to agree with Tabitha’s theory suggestion, the interpersonal perception theory. I think that it is interesting how different people view different organizations. For example, people that aren’t familiar with FFA think that all we learn about is the typical cows, plows, and sows. However, it is so much more than that. To get a better idea of what people are viewing the organization for would be useful to having success and building goals would be simplified.

    IMC is a good model for FFA, 4-H, and other similar organizations. It helps keep business partners informed and continue a high level of communication which is needed to be successful.

    1. Michelle, great point connecting interpersonal perception theory to FFA. I think most agricultural organizations are presented with this barrier and challenge. Could you say the same for the lack of organizational structure in the South Central District Advisors group?

  4. As an undergraduate, I was an active member of the Sigma Alpha professional sorority’s Alpha Chi chapter. I know Sigma Alpha is an organization because members are committed to working toward accomplishing collective goals. The collective goals center around Sigma Alpha’s four pillars: scholarship, leadership, fellowship and service. The organization also has a mission and vision its members carry out.

    In contrast, I would not consider an agricultural group in my community that meets at the local hardware store to talk about crops and livestock an organization. The individuals involved are more of a group of people that gather to socialize. I think this occurs a lot in small, rural communities. The group doesn’t have goals they are working toward or a mission guiding their actions. Instead, they are just a group that gathers.

    Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is a good model of communication for Sigma Alpha to follow in its relationships with various stakeholders. I think the organization would benefit from utilizing IMC because of the well-rounded image it helps to create. When people experience content from Sigma Alpha and they receive messages that hit on promotion, our members and the deliverables of the organization, they can see how well-rounded the organization is without having to seek out multiple communication platforms.

    The only disadvantage is the varied content consuming our chapter’s social media channels. Because stakeholders range from members to parents and from supporters to industry professionals, there are a lot of potential audiences for our media platforms and IMC content. This causes mixed messages to be portrayed on the social channels. I think a solution would be to target a more general audience with our communications efforts to better utilize the full potential of IMC.

  5. When I read chapter 19 I thought about the Pennsylvania Association of Agriculture Educators (PAAE). They are certainly a group of people who have committed themselves to a cause, a great one at that! The group possess formal structure with a executive committee (President, President Elect, Regional Vice Presidents, Treasurer, etc.), standing and special committees and requirements for active membership. We have planned functions where the group meets collectively as a region and bi-annual meetings and annually at our Summer Professional Development Conference. Individuals participate as voting members, committee members and chairs and participants in organizational activities. The structure makes the difference between a group and an organization. Is there evidence of leadership, actively communicating the vision and goals of the organization to the membership body?

    IMC is a good model of communication for PAAE as we look at the importance of telling our story. Our marketing committee and public policy committees would utilize this method the most. This model would allow for communicators to share with legislators, school administrators and program sponsors about what our organization is doing. This allows us to use some persuasive tactics through marketing avenues to build followership. IMC could create a more “corporate” face on the organization over time. On a organization like PAAE or a similar non-profit, this could distract from the overall message of the group.

    1. I agree that using IMC could potentially make some organizations lose their grassroots in the eyes of the public. I think it’s a fine line between being professional and still having that local human element that people enjoy.

    2. I like your point about using IMC as a method of storytelling! That is extremely valuable, especially in the agricultural industry, where personal stories make a big difference in public understanding.

  6. I volunteer for my county 4-H club and I would say it is an organization. There is a set mission statement and everyone involved in 4-H is working towards the same goal. There are different sub-sets within 4-H, but everyone works to achieve the same overall goal of providing positive youth development and give youth the opportunity to succeed. It is an international program and while there are differences between clubs and the details of 4-H vary from place to place, the overall goal is always the same.
    ICM would be useful on a local level for my 4-H in my opinion. I know our local club relies heavily on social media and electronic communication, but it would be nice if all the pages shared the same information. It seems like there are times when some information in shared via Facebook while the other half is sent out via email. It would be useful if all of these platforms shared the same message to cut down on confusion. Like some others in the class have mentioned, I’m not sure ICM would be effective on a larger scale with the 4-H organization because there are so many differences.
    My county has a Cattlemens Association, but I would consider them to be more of a group. Their purpose in our county is more social than anything else. Even though they belong to a national organization, they aren’t very active. It’s more a group of people meeting up to socialize and rope. I think this can be said for a lot of national organizations, some chapters perform more like an organization should while other’s are more of a group that shares the same title.

  7. I am currently a graduate advisor for our University’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, also known as ACT. By definition we are an organization based on our collective goals to network agricultural communicators and collectively spread the message of agriculture. There are membership dues, opportunities to network and attend professional developments, and meetings, there are also officers and advisors, as well as collective perspectives on current issues in both agriculture and communication. IMC would be a great form of communication to integrate into ACT. As the National ACT works towards continuing and further developing their PDC (professional development conference) in congruence with the NAFB (National Association of Farm Broadcasters) annual conference, IMC would potentially aid in gaining sponsors, networking tours, and guest speakers, while creating a primary reference for information and content regarding the organization. Where IMC would have shortcomings would be the fact that each university chapter operates in various ways throughout the year.

    A group that I would not consider to be an organization would be the Facebook group, “Women In Ag.” While it is a popular group for Facebook users to join, and they do have certain criteria/rules, they don’t have an internal structure, formal membership, or any common goals. The page is primarily a sounding board for women with common interests.

    1. Shaylee,

      I like your comment about the organization that is more a group and would like to piggy back off of that. It seems as though there are so many more “organizations” as a result of social media. Whether these are via social media or small groups through our hometowns, there are a lot more groups out there. I would say that these common interests are a disguise for people simply wanting to get together and socialize with people that are like themselves. I think that many of them use the word “organization” to describe their groups because they don’t want to admit the fact that, in some cases, their meetings are no more than a rare occurrence of productivity and a much larger portion of beauty shop gossip.

  8. I am currently a member of Sigma Alpha Professional Sorority for Women in Agriculture. Sigma Alpha is an organization and not just a group of people because have a distinct structure and hierarchy of officers and committees. Through the officer positions and membership, our organization has both formal and informal relationships, through which we work to accomplish common goals, such as promoting women in agriculture and the agricultural industry. We have weekly business meetings were work is divided and goals are discussed. All of these characteristics define Sigma Alpha as an organization.
    I think that looser groups of agriculturalists, for example, all the subscribers to Farm Journal magazine, are not organizations. While they all are united by a common factor, they do not have a set structure or work toward common goals. Groups of customers for certain seed dealers are also not an organization, even though they are united by a common factor and might have bargaining power as a group.
    IMC is a good model of communication when Sigma Alpha communicates with other students in the college of agriculture about events, with alumni about chapter activities, and with its members about future plans. Although Sigma Alpha is not a business, we often do fundraisers or other promotional events as a chapter. Promoting these events through IMC can improve the attendance and participation in the event, which benefits the chapter and the stakeholders overall. However, there are some disadvantages to using IMC in Sigma Alpha. IMC would be less effective when communicating confidential information among members or alumni. Because Sigma Alpha is a selective group, IMC cannot be used for all our communications.

    1. Elizabeth,

      I would not have thought to include a readership as a part of a group of people. You are right, however. They do have a common tie to one another (probably more than one, if we’re being honest) and therefore could be considered part of a “group.” Good point.

      -Rachel Waggie

  9. An organization that I was involved with through my undergrad at FHSU was Delta Tau Alpha, an ag honor society. I knew that they were an organization because each Delta Tau Alpha chapter shared the same mission and goals regardless of the location. In addition, each chapter had officers and a specific hierarchy which led the organization. Here is their mission. “The Honor Society of Delta Tau Alpha (DTA) promotes and recognizes scholarship and leadership accomplishments of agricultural students while emphasizing character development, enhancing undergraduate preparation for professional positions, and joining with other agricultural student’s organizations in the promotion of agriculture.”

    An agricultural group that I have seen that would not meet the definition of an organization would be a Cattlewomen Association that my sister was a part of in Eastern Colorado. The group was not affiliated with an organization and never set any mission or goals which they wanted to achieve by being a part of the group. They were more or less a group of ladies who choose to gather and used the name as an excuse to get together and socialize.

    IMC is a good model of communication for DTA to follow because of the mission of the organization. Although DTA is not selling any products, they are selling an idea, which is agriculture. By using many of these methods and ideas within IMC, it would create a stronger marketing strategy, better advertising efforts, and public relations which will aid in the promotion of agriculture which clearly fits into the mission of the organization. The main challenge with this is the capacity of the DTA organization. Because there are chapters throughout the United States, using the IMC consistently or uniformly would create a challenge. But for the local chapters, the methods would be beneficial.

  10. Currently I am a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), an organization of cattle producers, academics, industry professionals, students, and other interested parties. I know that NCBA is an organization rather than a group of people because we pay annual dues, are separated in a hierarchy, attend or have the opportunity to attend gatherings each year, and work toward a common goal. Agricultural groups that I would consider just a gathering of people rather than an organization would be social media groups. The few that come to mind are the Facebook page “Everything Show Cattle” which is a private, yet very large group of people with interests in showing cattle. There is a core group of participants that engage in most conversations and always have something to contribute. There isn’t much structure to this group other than a handful of administrators that keep the peace between members. On Twitter, I think of what has come to be known as “ag twitter” as an informal group of people rather than an organization. Farmers, ranchers, and other industry members from across the country and even world chat using the Twitter social media platform to share ideas, talk to one another, and conversate about other information related to whatever industry might be popular that day. In this situation, there is no form of administration between participants.

    The integrated marketing communication (IMC) is very applicable to an organization such as NCBA. In such a large organization, it is necessary to have coordination between all marketing and communications strategies in order to streamline dissemination of information and make sure it reaches all of the intended audience. By combining the aspects of public relations, advertising, and marketing into one single message, there is opportunity to use fewer mediums to share your message. This would not only decrease your marketing/advertising/public relations costs, but also lessen the aggravation the consumer or stakeholder may feel when bombarded by constant messages. IMC could be a disadvantage to smaller organizations whose members want a more personal connection with their group.

    -Rachel Waggie

    1. Undoubtedly, your comments about unifying aspects in human relations, propaganda and marketing to increase the impact on consumers, is an essential key to reduce the necessary monetary expenses within organizations.

  11. I do not belong to any organization related to the agricultural industry, but I am a member of several NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organization) where the general mission is the protection and caring related on biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems. In these organizations the members are choose by the directive and together they decide the planification projects in the future. There is constant communication between members and meetings planned during the year. Being an organization, it has much more access to apply to government resources and to be more recognized as a true institution to the community. I think the groups are important and in a certain way that informality, makes them more attractive because there is no legal instrument that holds them together and if a member does not share similar criteria they can be separated without problems. In some groups, without hesitation, it is more difficulty to obtaining funds due to this informality and because they cannot legally respond to any action.

    Integrated Marketing Communication refers to the way in which a company coordinates the multiple communication channels it has in order to send its customers the same message, clear and concrete; which must be consistent with the characteristics of the products offered and the values of the brand, at the same time it must be convincing enough and attractive enough to persuade the market to which the promotional strategy is directed.

    From a radio commercial, to the sponsorship of a charity event, from the words the president says at an event, to the way we get rid of the waste at the end of the production chain, everything is capable of affecting the reputation of the company, brand loyalty of consumers and the value of our brand.

    At the moment there are different trends that have changed the way in which communication takes place between companies and their consumers, it is increasingly common for companies to use strategies or even make use of digital platforms in order to establish a more direct or emotional link with your market, today it is essential to make a thorough analysis to determine the type of media that must be used to reach our audience efficiently and effectively

    Similarly, it is important to mention that increasingly recurrent large corporations demand clear accounts of how, when and where their money is spent and what returns have advertising investments for which agencies nowadays must worry even more about why the results are favorable and quantifiable.

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