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This study was informed by the necessity of research in the impact of integrated marketing
communication on brand building. A study of the transition of Zain to Airtel. The theory
that was used during this research is the learning theory which postulates that exposure of
certain models or message to a particular audience which was applied to this study. It was
also observed that the audiences of Airtel were able to imitate or act in accordance to the
message in which they are exposed to Airtel. Survey method was used in this study. Three
hundred and ninety nine questionnaires were also administered to respondents during this
research. The data collected were analyzed using the chi-square analysis. Research
hypotheses findings reveal that integrated marketing communication is an effective tool for
brand building even during brand transition. The respondents from the sample population
size were randomly selected audience in which it has created a platform for
recommendations to be made. Based on the findings in this research, the researcher
recommends that IMC messages should be carefully put together, in terms of central
theme, media planning and usage. Also, recommended that an integrated marketing
communications should be applied in brand building, a combination of Advertising, Public
relation, direct marketing, event sponsorship, sales promotion and personal selling is
required in brand building.
1.1. Background of the Study
A critical part of brand building is communication and the most effective and
productive way of managing this effort is through a concept called Integrated Marketing
Communication (IMC).
Due to societal changes over the past fifty years, today’s organizations are being
forced to adjust their brand/marketing strategies. Not surprisingly, many have turned to
integrated marketing communications (IMC). Why? Old assumptions about the role of
advertising promotion and media have fallen by the way side because change remains the
only constant thing in the world. Thoughts about how branding and promotion should be
organized have been upside-down. And organizations, marketing executives and the media
are scrambling to accommodate their new roles, ever since, integrated marketing
communication (IMC) has been part of business. Clow & Baack (2004) define IMC as “the
coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues and sources
within a company into a seamless programme that maximizes the impact on consumers and
other end users at a minimal cost”.
In addition, Arens (2004) defines integrated marketing communications (IMC) as:
The process of building and reinforcing mutually profitable relationship with employees,
customers, other stakeholders, and the general public by developing and coordinating a
strategic communications programme that enables them to make constructive contact with
the company/brand through a variety of media or other contacts…
From the above definitions, it can be deduced that IMC unifies all communication
effort from an organization to produce an identifiable source (brand) in the minds of its
audience while some observers think that so long as a company is involved in a variety of
promotional activities (e.g., advertising sponsorships, public relations etc), it is practicing
IMC. But this is not the case using IMC means looking at the whole where there were once
only parts. If calls for re-aligning communications and seeing constant flow of information
from a single and identifiable source. An effective IMC process comprises the following
 Identify the target audiences: This requires a well throughout market
segmentation and targeting process which may includes secondary and/or primary
market research.
 Determine the communication objectives: This can range from generating brand
awareness to countering the competition.
 Design the message content: This is an absolutely critical component. Effective
messages can make or break a promotional effort.
 Select the means for communications, whether advertising, public relations, direct
marketing sponsorship etc.
 Define the mix of media, budget and priorities
 Measure the effectiveness of the efforts.
IMC and Brand Building
Based on the foregoing, the brand building aspects are the focus of this study. As
consumers are bombarded with a variety of products to meet the same need, branding
provides a way for consumers to reduce their decision making to consider only those
products that they feel are relevant to them or that have met their needs acceptably in the
There is no question that a strong brand is an important corporate asset. Spaeth
(1993) asserts that “Brand equity cannot be measured in Naira and kobo but rather, it is a
direct result of how consumers value a brand based on their experiences and perceptions”.
It is these experiences and perceptions that permit the brand to earn greater volume or
margins than it could without the brand name. The most basic function of integrated
marketing communication (IMC) is to identify brands, their sources and products, and
differentiates them from others. For example, Airtel and Glo may offer the same function
as a GSM service provider with similar services to a consumer. Integrated marketing
communication (IMC), through sales promotion, appeal and logo (branding) differentiates
one product from the other. Therefore, it can be argued that IMC helps create brand
awareness and brand loyalty.
Integrated marketing communication encourages brand loyalty and helps nurture
good customer/stakeholder relationship with brands Airtel formally Zain was not the first
GSM operator in Nigeria. Through integrated marketing communication, it encouraged
and created awareness to its customers about its transition from Zain international to
Airtel. This enabled it to retain and add considerably to its market share in the
telecommunication industry in Nigeria.
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) builds brand value, preference and
loyalty. Airtel, through its exciting advertisements, intuitive sales promotion and public
relations have created strong brand awareness in affirming its transition from Zain to
Airtel. When people think of GSM in Nigeria today, Airtel will likely come to mind. It has
top-of-mind awareness. It is noted worthy that other factor may have contributed to this
brands acceptance despite its recent transition. For instance, the fact that it’s one of the
fastest growing networks in Africa (especially in Nigeria), and its unalloyed customer
relationship and compensation through various promotions and event sponsorship.
Branding Defined
A brand is a distinguishing name or symbol designed or identify a product’s origin
differentiate from others or competitors and protest its customers against imitation. Speath
(1993) went on to define branding as “a process of creating an association between
symbol, object emotion, perception and a product/company with the goal of deriving
loyalty and creating differentiation”.
Branding builds emotional responses thus, when a brand is thought of, it evokes
certain emotions. For example, in the auto-mobile, industry, it can be argued that Ferrari,
Mercedes, Benz and Lexus brand evokes prestige in the minds of the users and on the
Consumers are bombarded with variety of products and brands meeting the same
need or functions. Branding provides a way for consumers to reduce their decisions to
products or services they is relevant or have met their need before.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
With increased competition and saturation in the market, coupled with the growth
of other promotional channels such as event sponsorship and advertising, the budget share
of other relevant tools of integrated marketing communication (IMC) has continued to
In a recession, some tools of integrated marketing communication (IMC) are the
first to feel the burn. Most financial managers believe that integrated marketing
communication (IMC) activities cannot be measured in profits; therefore, it is a waste.
Also, some critics believe that integrated marketing communication is not effective
in brand building. Ries and Ries (2002) asserts that “advertising (which is one of the tools
of IMC) may not be effective in brand building they posit that it lacks credibility to build
This study therefore, intends to evaluate the impact of integrated marketing
communication in the branding of Airtel and to measure the effectiveness of that
13. Objectives of the Study
The objective of this is to assess how integrated marketing communication has
been effective in branding and transition of Zain to Airtel. The specific objectives are:
1. To explore how much awareness Airte, has been able to create due to integrated
marketing communication (IMC).
2. To examine the public’s perception of the Airtel brand.
3. To explain in what ways, has integrated marketing communication (IMC) been able
to impact on people’s attitude towards Airtel.
1.4. Significance of the Study
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is one of the areas in masscommunication in Nigeria. The findings from this study can provide an example of the role
played by integrated marketing communication (IMC) in creating brand awareness and
identify. It can also add to the literature in the area of integrated marketing communication
(IMC) effectiveness in building brands.
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is a major activity in an economic
system. This research provides a feedback through which integrated marketing
communication (IMC) organization and clients can assess IMC effectiveness.
1.5. Research Questions
In conducting this research, the following research questions will enable us provide
meaningful answers to the impact of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) on brand
1. Is integrated marketing communication (IMC) effective in creating brand
awareness of Airtel?
2. Can a consumer’s exposure to integrated marketing communication (IMC) bring
about brand preference?
3. Can integrated marketing communication (IMC) help retain brand loyalty despite
brand transition?
1.6. Research Hypotheses
H1: Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is effective in creating brand
awareness of Airtel?
H0: Integrated marketing communication (IMC) cannot be effective in creating brand
awareness of Airtel?
H2: A consumer’s exposure to integrated marketing communication (IMC) can bring
about brand preference
H0: A consumer’s exposure to integrated marketing communication IIMC) cannot bring
about brand preference?
H3: Integrated marketing communication (IMC) can help brand loyalty despite brand
H0: Integrated marketing communication (IMC) cannot help retain brand loyalty
despite brand transition?
1.7. Scope of the Study
This research will be restricted to Onitsha, Nnewi and Ihiala in Anambra State,
Nigeria. Emphasis is on testing consumer brand awareness and perception as a result of
exposure to integrated marketing communication from Airtel formally Zain especially
during its brand transition.
1.8. Limitation of the Study
As the researcher carries out this study as a research there are some vital things
which may tend to limit the researcher on the study some of which are:
Time: Time is a factor which limits an individual to do what you want. The researcher has
a lot to carry on with little time.
Finance: During the course of this study, the researcher tends to spend money more than
he bargained for at the end of the day.
Information: At times, the information being disclosed to the researcher is little or not
sufficient-enough and the researcher is to strive and source for information from all
1.9. Definition of Terms (Operational)
Impact: The impact of this study refers to any of the consequence of integrated marketing
communication IMC on brand building whether intended or not and its effectiveness in
terms of its capacity to achieve given objectives, weather this can be attracting larger
audience or influencing opinion and behavior
IMC: in this study, integrated marketing communication IMC was taken to mean a
management concept that is designed or fashioned to make all aspect of marketing
communication such as advertising, sale promotion, public relations, and direct marketing
work together as a unified force, rather than allowing each to work on its own.
Brand building: in this study brand building was taken to mean a process of convincing
your prospective customers to see you as the only provider of solution to their problem
through a consistent and effective communication effort.
Transition: here transition means the period within which Zain changed to Airtel


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