Developing of Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy for John Lewis Stores

by Jason Shaw

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Background of John Lewis Departmental Stores
  • The Offline Marketing Strategies
    • Autumn/Winter 2015 Campaign for the Offline marketing Strategy
    • The success of the offline strategy
  • The Online Website Strategy
    • Autumn/Winter 2015 Campaign for the Online Website Strategy
    • The success of the strategy
  • The Social Media Marketing Strategies
    • Autumn/Winter 2015 Campaign for Social Media Marketing
    • The success of the platform
  • The Mobile Marketing Strategy
    • Autumn/Winter 2015 Campaign the Mobile Marketing Strategy
    • The success of the Mobile platform
  • Conclusion and recommendation
  • References


Promotion of a brand depends on how an organisation package and communicate that brand. The strategy of communicating brand involves the promotion of the aesthetic values associated with the brand. Therefore, brand communication involves creating awareness, creating the sensory experience, and reaching out to the consumers (Schultz et al., 2003). One aspect of communicating the brand involves applying an integrated communication strategy. The strategy focuses on items that define the company and using the features to reach out to the target population. Some of the features include the consumer purchasing characteristics, changing trends in the market, value preposition, and ethical consideration (Gould, 2000; Caywood, and Ewing, 2001). John Lewis is a popular departmental store in the United Kingdom that sells a range of products ranging from fashion, electronic and home wares. The departmental store has a wonderful range of products, excellent customer service, and wonderful employees who are referred to as partners. The paper focuses on John Lewis through an integrated marketing communication strategy that cuts across offline, online, social networks, and mobile strategies. The Autumn/Winter 2015 campaign strategy aims to expand consumer base by increasing product awareness, visibility to the consumers, increasing the sales, and expanding the communication channel. Besides, the strategies would help John Lewis expand its growing consumer base.

The integration of advertising strategies makes it easy for the merchants to design a platform that eases the communication of a consistent message to all the customers that the organisation is targeting. Therefore, this paper will use features like consumer behaviour and the dynamic of the market in targeting the consumers. The integrated marketing communication strategy takes into consideration the variation of different consumers to get a platform that reaches out to a majority of the consumers in different platforms by communicating the same message related to the quality of the product and service delivery hence forming a heterogeneous approach with homogenous message (Hutton, 2006; DeLozier, 2006).

Developing of Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy for John Lewis Stores

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The team at John Lewis understand that marketing require appropriate advertising strategies to capture the target market. The segment has been evolving from the conventional strategies to new methods that integrate several ways of reaching the target audiences. These strategies require planning and a thorough marketing research to identify the consumers and their perceived attitude towards a product (Reilly, 2001; Low, 2000). Besides, monitoring of such strategies is an essential phenomenon because it enables the marketers and other strategies to customise the market approach based on the response of the consumers. Understanding the consumer demands and their preferences is the most important factors of consideration when designing appropriate strategy that aims to create awareness and the branding of the product (Smilansky, 2009). One strategy in the current market is to ensure the model have an advantage over the existing competitors. Therefore, the development of an integrated and consistent concept that stands out from the existing concepts of payments that is applicable and acceptable for all the channels would suffice (Barry and Howard, 2000). The payment channels would cut across the social/digital media platforms.

Background of John Lewis Departmental Stores

The John Lewis department store has a rich history. It begun in 1864 and has since grown to a major brand across the United Kingdom. Their main slogan that doubles as a campaign idea, which drive the brand name is “Never Knowingly Undersold.” The departmental store sales sport equipments, toys, clothes, products of beauty, electrical appliances, and home-ware. The store obtained the preferences by being voted as the best retailer store in British during the 2010 and 2011. The store has over 76,000 employees in its 35 stores across Britain and the 272 Witrose supermarkets. The store has a revenue base estimated to be £8 billion. Interestingly, all the employees have a say on how the store should be managed and that is why they are referred to as the partners.

These employees get equal percentage of salary increment that depend on how much the company has made in the previous year. For instance, if the store makes a 12% profit, employees are guarantee of the same percentage increment in their salary. The store gives the employee an opportunity to feel the worthiness of being part of the company. Therefore, the happiness of the employee is a value that the departmental store cherishes the most. The major competitor comes from the Marks and Spencer, which is a high-end departmental store known for fashion and beauty products across the Britain. The main competition comes about because the store targets the main market that John Lewis has at its heart, the middle class. The middle-income consumers form the main source of rivalry because they form the majority of consumer in the market, especially in the United Kingdom.

The departmental store has the history of quality goods and service delivery in all the communication channels that require interaction between the employee and their customers. The desire to uphold high quality has made it stand out against its competitors and gain favours in the United Kingdom. The customers can trust that the information they get from the employee is the truth, because their traders always know they talking about when engaging customers about the quality of their products. While other competitors have been struggling with prices and other war on the quality, John Lewis has remained at the top and hence profitable despite retaining most of its pricing models at high values. Perhaps, the best reason for these is the trust they have build in their consumers so that quality and service delivery remains the same despite changes in the market segment over time.

The customers have a loyalty to the brand owing to the value and good service delivery, which defines the store as a pacesetter. The departmental store have a sense of providing goods and services with emotional connection to the customers, which requires excellent approach of getting out their services and brands because they understand that success involve quality brand and customer service. The departmental store invests in training its employees to offer excellent customer service, most customers trust that the seller knows their stuff during communication. The store has build loyalty of their products to their customer, however the ever-expanding consumer base require a new dimension of marketing to reach the consumers. Although the store’s advertising slogan “Never Knowingly Undersold,” plays a significant role in communicating their brand, adopting an integrated marketing communication strategy that cuts across social media network, offline media, online media, and mobile strategy can play essential role in the expansion strategy (Hackley and Kitchen, 1998).

The Offline Marketing Strategies

Advertising strategies are evolving from the conventional strategies to new methods that integrate several ways of reaching the target audiences. The integration of advertising strategies makes it easy for the marketers to design a platform that eases the communication of a consistent message to all the customers that the organisation is targeting. The use of offline marketing strategy is a conventional method that aims to tell the brand ideas, invite engagement with the customers, communicate the brand to the target consumers, provide a one way conversation, and provide a sound and sight engagement with the target market. When Integrated marketing communication is considered from different platforms, the message remains the same across the different platforms utilised (Caywood, and Ewing, 2001).

Autumn/Winter 2015 Campaign for the Offline Marketing Strategy

The offline channel of communication use media like television and radio to provide a one-way sight and sound engagement with the consumers. The campaign will begin with the development of contents suitable for the radio and television viewership. Television requires brief messages that can be communicated within the programs going on air. Therefore, tailoring the message that can capture the attention using graphics will ensure appropriate communication strategy and the delivery of the right content to the target consumers. The merchants will make contractual agreement with the television management to air the television content at a particular time. The selected duration during the airing of the message will depend on the target population that can be reached. Therefore, the most appropriate time will be between five in the afternoon and nine in the night. The television advertisement will be scheduled to air twice between eight and nine at night because during these time most of the people are home and have probability of watching television. Therefore, the ideas to be communicated require integration for the consistency. The items to be communicated would include the pricing models across the brands, the promotions duration, and the customer services. This strategy would also show the variety of colours and pictures of the product. These advertisements would be aired two times a week for the first two months and once a week for the third month.

The radio strategy is a one-way conversation that provides the sound communication. The strategy communicates the brand name, products, and the location of the various stores. The method must be aired for a given duration of time to achieve the objective. This method is appropriate for interaction with the marketers (two-way conversation). The radio channel will be scheduled to air during the day and between four and seven in the evening. The schedule would last for the entire duration of the marketing program. The print media like magazines and newspapers would help in building band awareness, inducing the engagement between the advertiser and the customer, reporting the changes in brand perception, and introducing new products to the market (Lee et al., 2010; Yoo et al., 2010). The campaign will involve placing advertisement of the product on the Fridays across all the newspapers, with the major newspaper having additional day on Mondays. The items of focus will include the trends, selling prices, different brands, and shopping experience. Although the strategy has a limitation of narrow scope, it is possible to assess their response by providing a texting option as a way of inquiry.

The Success of the Offline Strategy

These strategies would also advocate for the promotions like premiums, offering a small gifts, and enticing the customers to influence their purchasing attributes (Ruvo, 2011; Doyle et al., 2006). The incorporation of a texting platform on the offline strategy would provide the customers with options to either connect to a website or continue using the short messaging service. Potential buyers using the SMS may connect to the internet if their phone is web enabled. Amalgamation of these strategies put in place effective strategies for good communication with the customer (Lea-Greenwood, 2013). Not letting the message to chance, many institution that fails to communicate, even if they have excellent products that offer attractive pricing, customers may not develop loyalty to their products owing to poor means of channelling the required information (Lea-Greenwood, 2013). Therefore, to achieve the set objective for this strategy, the methods selected should be in a position to inform the target consumers on the available brands that the organisation is offering, they should also generate awareness of the brand, lay strategies of getting additional customers and building loyalty to the brands

The Online Website Strategy

The marketing strategy would centre on the quality of the product, the pricing models like the promotion and discounts for new buyers and referrals to achieve two functions of revenue generation and expansion of consumer base. These strategies would aim to ensure high traffic to the website and influence the consumer purchasing behaviours (Clow and Baack, 2012). The message would be consistent across the different tools used for communication while targeting the different markets. The consistency is important in building the consumer confidence on the product marketed. However, the perception for all the tools used for the online marketing is to targets the consumer and to portray the organisation as having multiple products for all the generation. The strategy will utilise Search Engine Optimisation, which increase the traffic of the consumers to the website whenever they search for departmental store or some products listed in the store. The website will have user friendly icons that enable customers to acquire any information they need that concern any product, which means they can search using key words. The company will have the advantage of making payment for the advertisement that translated into successful purchase based on the pay per click strategy.

Autumn/Winter 2015 Campaign for the Online Website Strategy

The strategy will begin with the creation of a website that would aim to provide information of the products. The website will have sections that customers can find the information they are searching for, besides, it will also have interactive sections where they can leave their comments. The merchants would need to post photos of the products from time-to-time and update the website contents. The merchants would need to develop SEO. The SEO are technical contents written for online websites mostly by the merchandisers and developers. These contents are copied to the products as well as trending pages. They play a significant role in influencing search rankings. On the other hand, the Meta tagging forms a part of the HTML by using the codes of a particular website. The strategy informs the search engine the owner of the website, the materials available in that site, and the title of the content (Smilansky, 2009). Besides, the use of interactive banners in form of ads will offer the users with additional information and the function of the products. These ads will bring the consumers to the site of the retailers. The strategy selected for online platform have different features that would ensure the marketing strategy attain the goals. A good add should have one or two clicks when directing the users to the website of the advertiser. Examples of these ads will include the flash design, and flash ads. The features displayed by these adds forms the may segment for interaction in enticing the users (Smilansky, 2009).

Online platforms form the main sources of news for emerging topics in fashion (Jackson and Shaw, 2009; Ruvo, 2011). In fact, recent news is easily accessible from the online sources. Therefore, they form the main strategy for reaching all the generation. The target will cut across generations because the products vary and can accommodate baby boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. Segmentation of the marketing strategy is an important consideration for achieving online strategy. For instance, it ensures that the marketer can target the millennial if a majority of them rely heavily on the internet platforms, while targeting the baby boomers would rely heavily on offline platforms. These segmentations ensure that the investment in the marketing approach achieves the objective of reaching a sizeable number of the target market to gain from the investment.

The Success of the Strategy

Consumer purchasing behaviours are influenced by their involvement in the purchasing process (DeLozier, 2006). The online platforms should ensure involvement of the consumers to maximise on improving their attitude towards the products (Smilansky, 2009). Besides, when consumers take part in such processes, it helps in building loyalty to the brand (Lea-Greenwood, 2013). Therefore, the online platform should include the blogs that have enough information in describing the various products. The strategy is to ensure there is an online payment system allowing the consumers to select an option of either doing the transaction online or using their mobile platform (based on a pay bill number). These strategies should drive traffic to the retailers’ website and target 500,000 customers within the four months. The choice to carry out either shopping online or using mobile pay bill platform would provide a simple shopping experience across the web/digital tools that make it possible for the audience and the marketers to interact and share concerns about the product

One challenge of online marketing and purchasing relates to mechanical breakdown and the lack of a user-friendly portal. The website will have an 18-hour monitoring team that works in shifts to ensure customer gets assistance whenever they need one. The optimisation of the website would make it user friendly to the customers so that they can find any information without much hustle. The website will ensure that the updated fashion appears on the site to conform to the current trends. Fashions will be displayed in different colouration to attract the attention of the shoppers. To increase the message, the website would encourage employees to use the store email, which will have URL of the website at the end of the mails. Besides, the website will be updated from time-to-time to ensure that the shoppers get the updates on promotions, latest trends, and emerging fashion. The website will also have a section of news related to fashion and trends across the major channels that reports on fashion. Every customer that visits the website will be requested to leave a comment and evaluate the service based on feedbacks. The maintenance will take place the entire duration of the implementation of the marketing strategy.

The Social Media Marketing Strategies

There are several platforms for social networking like the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The platforms connect friends, followers and their fans. They enable communication and sharing of information through direct messaging (Schoen et al., 2013; Champoux et al, 2012). For instance, the Twitter users would search for what is trending ‘latest fashion in the market’ while the Facebook lovers use the platform for news on culture, celebrities sports, music, beauty, and fashion (Schoen et al., 2013). People are able to post massages alongside pictures, instant chatting to aid direct communication. It offers asynchronous and synchronised forms of communication between the parties. Facebook offers an opportunity to create retail blogs that aims to spreading news about the trends and fashion collection, consumers would be able to visit the sites if the retailers used particular key words that directs the search traffic to their platform (Greenberg et al., 2013; Gensler et al., 2013). The social platforms create awareness that would facilitate purchasing. Although social platforms are based on the number of followers, a paradigm shift for John Lewis is the need to build a social community. The paradigm shift would give the store the advantage to understand the need of the people and to act on their request.

Autumn/Winter 2015 Campaign for Social Media Marketing

The campaign will begin with the creation of a Facebook and Twitter account for the duration of marketing strategy. The merchants would use promotions to promote the pages. Every social account in the Facebook and Twitter can be promoted to increase viewership. During the entire period, the merchants will promote the campaign pages by paying for the service. Besides, the campaign pages will invite users following the John Lewis social pages to like and recommend the page to their friends and family members. The best strategy to capture the attention of the twitter users is to introduce a funny clip on the brand and sponsor the hash tag to make it trend thereby reaching a larger audience. The pages will be updated daily with new information that describes the products and the pricing models as well as the promotional incentives available to the consumers.

These strategies would be crucial to enable the merchants evaluate the performance of the strategy after the duration (Caywood, and Ewing, 2001). It would be important to request the followers to follow the new page and requested to refer and recommend their friends to like the pages to increase the product visibility. The social platforms increase the interaction between the consumers and the company. When consumers tweet their comments using the hash tag, the market managing the tweeter account would need to retweet the tweets from the followers to keep the topic trending and thereby reaching out to a larger audience. The tweeting may involve providing information about the brands, the fashion, the pricing, and the ongoing promotions. Given that tweeter has a limit of 140 word characters, the best strategy is to use pictures that has photos and messages about the brands and other models associated with it to increase the proportion of message delivered.

The Success of the Platform

The platform is important for networking, allows participation of the consumers, allows openness, and conversation that may build brand loyalty and perceived perception (Peters, et al., 2013; Schoen et al., 2013). The retailers can form platforms free and use little money to promote their advertisement. The more money used the more the site gets more viewership (Champoux et al, 2012). The platforms assist in the promotions, branding, building credibility and the reputation of the organisation, for damage control, brand advocacy, customer care, communications, monitoring emerging news, launching promotions and campaigns, establishing relationship with customers (Gensler et al., 2013; Schoen et al., 2013). Through connection with the customers, stakeholders can engage the customers in order to understand their perception of the product, it offers channels that the marketers can use to influence target audience (Schoen et al., 2013). Using blogs like word press to build brands of the selected products for marketing, conveying product information to build consumer knowledge about the products.

The aim is to create a movement in Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. The YouTube would involve posting short videos and video clips that shop graphics of the products with simple communication explaining their quality, pricing and the store locations. Inclusion of celebrities and other testimonials from previous experiences with the John Lewis products will leverage on these strategies. Other items of consideration will include shopping experience from a wide range of communities like children, the adults and the elderly and their perception on the customer service delivery. Facebook provides a platform for engaging consumers in the recent trends and value preposition as well as the pricing models. The consumers would also be engaged to sell the brands by campaigning and sharing the brand message on their walls. Every week, the strategy would reward consumers that succeed in their own social campaign, especially if they get the most likes and comments about their posts on the brand and service delivery.

The Mobile Marketing Strategy

The use of technology gave birth to mobile technology, which involve handsets with increased functionalities. Mobiles are preferred to personal computers owing to the convenience it provides. The increasing number of population accessing and using mobile, which stands at 5.6 billion reported by The Radicati Group, Inc. (2014) has made this media a potential target for marketing. The gadgets enabled to access internet are preferred because of the multifunctional use the users can apply by just using the fingers. The changing consumer behaviour, like the adults spending more time using mobile to view contents posted online as opposed to print media (eMarketer, 2014), forms the basis for targeting such consumers in the marketing strategy. Most of the users spend time on certain apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat that allows users to communicate via messages (Deloitte, 2014).

Autumn/Winter 2015 Campaign the Mobile Marketing Strategy

The campaign will begin with the development of platforms that are compatible with all mobiles in the market. A compatible mobile platform will make it easy to use mobile when accessing campaign details on the mobile application. During the campaign period, the merchants would need to approach the mobile service providers to make a contractual agreement on the promotion of their products using SMS. Every SMS send by the people through the service provider will have short and precise information about John Lewis at the end of the message and a URL link to accessing the mobile platform. To increase the accessibility, the merchant would also promote social events hosted by the mobile service providers and use the opportunity to advertise the products during the events.

 Therefore, the strategies would involve devising methods that inform decision-making process, increases the consumer’s consumption value. The mobile texts (SMS) will bear a short advertisement with a link to the website; this would involve devising a strategy with the mobile service providers so that every text messages send on their platforms bears an advertisement and a link. The links would have easy access with mobile, because some sites cannot be accessed with mobiles or having reduced functionalities. While the online platforms can have an automatic chatting platform so that individuals can access information they are looking for, by direct linkages to the required websites, it will also have the link that provide the location to the departmental stores. The SMS strategy would also have a shot code that consumers can subscribe to get alerts on fashion and trends. Besides, the SMS alerts would also update to the consumers on the pricing models based on their inquiries.

The success of the Mobile Platform

Mobile strategy has low rate of attracting the attention of the consumers, therefore, the strategy will be based on promotion and offers to increase customer response and participation in the campaign. However, the most appropriate strategy would involve development of a compatible mobile advertisement strategy that all mobile phones can have access to without much hustle. The compatible platform would be updated from time—to-time to ensure that the new models of mobile have access to the information. The message would be packaged in such a way that it provides relevant yet precise information using limited characters.

The application of mobile marketing strategy would aim to shop, advice on styles, inspire customers, give guidance, build relations, and promote the brand. The potential of personalising the messages to reach the customer by cooperating with the service providers to incorporate a link and a small advert in every text message send by the customer. The personalised message would be based on behavioural beliefs. It has the advantage of contacting the consumers at any time irrespective of their location (Li, 2015). Besides, the strategy helps in the facilitation of a direct dialogue between the organisation and the customer, the organisation have an advantage against the competitors because they can attend to the consumer needs at a personal level (Haghirian, et al., 2005). The method would be evaluated once the period of the advertisement ends to determine its contribution based on access, alerts, and SMS.

Conclusion and Recommendation

The merchants will play a significant role in attaining success for the Autumn/Winter 2015 campaign. Tailoring the message that suits the advertisement strategy should not compromise the consistency of the message across the four platforms. Therefore, development of strategies that connect the customer and the marketer play a pivotal role in ensuring the organisation achieves it mission. Another strategy would involve the development of a sales promotion that customers can redeem in the stores to attract the customers and increase the traffic. These promotions would be advertised using both online and offline strategies to ensure maximum traffic of the target consumers.

The revolution brought by technology has made the marketing strategy a more complex procedure because an all-inclusive method that must target different consumers that access different platforms. Although adopting an integrated approach is expensive because the organisation must invest in more than three approaches to reach a sizeable market, it has a long-term effect in building the brand awareness (Barry and Howard, 2000). The methods for use must have the target audience to ensure the delivered message is consumed appropriately because consumers have different views and perceptions of the product; therefore, a strategy that does not take into consideration these strategies is likely to draw mixed reactions.

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