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    Parker Global Scientific

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    What are the benefits of using IMC to build the company's brand? See scenario below for the details...

    Branding Scenario: Parker Global Scientific Inc.

    Parker Global Scientific, Inc., (PGS) is an international Fortune 500 manufacturer and distributor of laboratory equipment and supplies based in Chicago, Illinois. PGS has offices in 35 countries, with the marketing function managed from US headquarters in Chicago and European headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. Non-European international marketing is also managed from St. Louis. The company boasts a broad product offering and has a presence in most scientific research laboratories throughout the world. PGS's customers work in disease research, biotech, and pharmacology, with approximately 65% in academic settings, 35% in industry.

    Both of these market segments have been affected by external events in recent years. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the industrial segment have faced a rash of mergers and acquisitions, coupled with outsourcing efforts and aggressive cost control initiatives, to create a turbulent industry. On the academic side, government funding of scientific research has remained largely flat, as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) budgets have been affected by increased defense spending.

    Founded in 1950, PGS was created by the merger of two complimentary companies, Parker Global Equipment and Taylor Scientific Instrumentation, Inc. Both of these organizations have a rich scientific heritage and have enjoyed significant brand equity and loyalty over the years. Over the past 50-plus years, PGS has acquired over 20 companies and tended to allow their marketing groups to continue to function largely autonomously after the mergers. About 5 years ago, the company began to recognize the challenges of this proliferation of brands and has worked successfully to align all of its products across four flagship brands. This alignment, however, has not been an easy effort and negative sentiment remains today, as many of the managers of the discontinued brands are still part of the marketing organization. It is also important to note that these four brands share products across the company's three business units.

    The four flagship brands sit under the corporate PGS brand umbrella. Brand A has significant equity, but PGS has been working diligently to reposition the brand as more innovative. Brand B also has great brand equity; however, it connects better with the older researchers and not as well with the younger crowd. Brands C and D focus on the same market segment, and while they are reasonably well recognized, both would have to be categorized as niche-oriented. None of these brands are managed in the typical brand management fashion; rather, the product managers manage products from multiple brands within their portfolio of responsibility.

    PGS's strengths lie in operations and logistics, making it a prime example of a company employing a fundamental operational excellence business strategy. Marketing has not historically been viewed as a key contributor to the company's success, but rather a necessary evil. Marketing activities tend to be focused primarily on product management and product stewardship, with little emphasis on true strategic marketing.

    As a result of the historic fragmentation and lack of emphasis on marketing, PGS's brand messages are often diluted, convoluted, or simply ineffective. Product managers execute campaigns at a product-line level while little time and money is invested in telling the corporate story or positioning the flagship brands in the marketplace. The company lacks a true corporate marketing department, as the internal marketing services group has little to no influence on how marketing budgets are spent. This group simply executes the plans of the product management team and is unable to contribute strategically due to fragmentation and internal politics.

    Earlier this year, one of PGS's board members brought a series of print advertisements to the quarterly board meeting. The individual laid the ads out on the table and asked all the board members-including the CEO-if they had any indication that the ads came from the same company. The consensus was nearly unanimous-there was no continuity in the message and it was literally impossible to discern that the ads had come from one company-PGS!

    The CEO responded by charging the global marketing VP with delivering a communications standards guide to ensure marketing materials looked consistent. The CEO and VP worked closely to deliver a document to the organization that clearly spelled out what signage, packaging, advertisements, newsletters, product brochures, etc., were to look like. The style guide was implemented globally, and marketing materials began to take on a much more consistent look and feel.

    Unfortunately, while the project clearly outlined what the front line outputs should look like, it did little to speak to what the brands stood for and how they fit together under the corporate umbrella. Product-marketing projects continued, but now they all looked alike in communicating the same diluted and somewhat confusing brand messages.

    Taylor Parker, director of marketing, has been with PGS for ten years. Working his way up through the marketing organization, he is intimately familiar with the challenges the marketing group faces. Taylor Parker is a veteran marketer, and has implemented many successful programs for PGS. However, he has never been in the right position to attempt to persuade the executive team that PGS should invest in a brand-building initiative across all its business units and geographies.

    "I know what we need. We need a clear brand architecture and the roadmap to support its rollout across our brands, business units and geographies." said Taylor Parker. "But as soon as our executive team hears the word branding, they think waste of money. If I could just put the right group of people together, and explain to them how we can succeed in building a strong brand message by leveraging the strengths of our marketing communications team...we need to clearly layout the process for brand building and define the key role integrated marketing communications can play to build our brands."

    The next day, you open your e-mail to find a message from Taylor Parker. He's invited you to be part of a team to tackle this challenge. He wants your input on preparing a presentation that makes the case for using integrated marketing communications to build PGS's brands. Taylor Parker also needs your help defining the right internal audience for the message, and (gulp) he wants you to be part of the presentation team. He figures at best you'll have 10 minutes to deliver your message-so it had better be clear, and it had better be good.

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    Solution Preview

    What are the benefits of using IMC to build the company's brand?

    Integrated Marketing Communications is the coordination and integrations of all marketing communication tools. The Integrated Marketing Communications is not just limited to messages or advertising but integration of all marketing channels. If Parker Global Scientific, Inc uses Integrated Marketing Communications there will be several benefits that will accrue to its brand. The Parker Global Scientific, Inc brand will be positioned in accordance with the corporate strategy. The brand will have a single, unified perception in the minds of the consumer. The brand will give Parker Global Scientific, Inc competitive advantage; ...

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    This explanation provides you a comprehensive argument relating to Parker Global Scientific