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How Marketing Communication Strategy Sustain The Brand Image Of H&M?


Task: Students will provide an individual report which covers both theoretical understanding of marketing communications supported by practical application of the theories including the development of an audit and recommendations. You are expected to demonstrate the use of marketing communications models and to support claims with academic references.

During seminars, learning activities will be provided for students to demonstrate their learning to date, these will include identifying and evaluating the key elements of the marketing communications audit, there will also be opportunities for one to one discussions regarding assessment progress.

Students will provide an individual report which covers both theoretical understanding of marketing communications supported by practical application of the theories including the development of an audit and recommendations. The coursework is based around a marketing communications audit and recommendations on improving the marketing communications effectiveness to leverage brand image of an organisation through the creation of a marketing communications strategy and plan.

For the assignment students should select ONE of the organisations below:

  • Pepsi
  • Aldi
  • H&M

Students are required to research their chosen case study, investigate, analyse, demonstrate and apply key concepts. Furthermore, the student’s recommendations should constructively align and respond to changes identified in the macro-environment.

The assessment is in one part, all coursework, as described here.

You are required to produce a professional 3,500 word report which comprises a marketing communications audit, a marketing communications strategy and a marketing communications plan.

This task is worth (100%) of the total marks. This is a single professional report and there are three parts to this assessment, all must be completed and in this order:

1. Marketing Communications Audit (30% weighting)
The marketing communications audit is a picture of where the organisation is now (what do we know). It is research work to inform future decisions and should be supported by academic underpinning.

  • SWOT on the organisation’s current use of marketing communications, and changes in the macro-environment.
  • Evaluation (advantages and disadvantages) of at least one main competitor’s use of marketing communications.
  • Identification of two key customer groups and development of personas.

The marketing communications audit is likely to include a range of marketing communications tools, frameworks and models.

2. Marketing Communications Strategy (30% weighting)
The marketing communications strategy is the next stage in the plan (where do we want to be). It is based on the marketing communications audit.

This will include:

  • TOWS matrix and commentary on the analysis.
  • Recommended marketing communications strategy based on the audit and TOWS.
  • Your SMART objectives.

The marketing communications strategy is likely to include a marketing communications model (e.g. RACE, Forrester's 5Is, Lauterborn’s 4Cs, the Ten C’s of marketing or the 6Cs of customer motivation or acquire, convert, retain) and should be supported by academic underpinning.

3. Marketing Communications Plan (30% weighting)
The plan shows how the strategy will be achieved and is based on the strategy and objectives (how are we going to get there?)

This will include:

  • Insights into the central proposition (communication message/brand narrative)
  • An outline tactical plan, outlining the full integrated communications plan.
  • Key insights into the value proposition should be explicitly discussed (creative process, appeals and execution, tone of voice and clear statement into the strategic benefits and attributes)
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed marketing communications plan in relation to the global contexts in which the chosen brand operates should be given

4. Print Advert: to be included into the appendices (10% weighting)
All students should submit one print advert within their appendices. The central creative platform should be explicitly stated. This should be fully annotated clearly detailing the central proposition for the advert (what they want the audience to believe) the range of advertising appeals (rational /emotional) and executions (style of advertising) that are to be used. Taking into account the three previous sections.


The study focuses in explaining significant impact of integrating marketing communication strategy in order to sustain brand image along with rendering competitive edge. Hence, to explain the respective topic in a vivid manner support from one of the renewed retail company H&M has been considered.

Effective integration of marketing communication strategy is very necessary for all the industries, especially in the retail industry. Marketing communication tool enables the organization to connect with its different stakeholders, generating profit and sales for the success of business in the market. The present study of marketing communication strategy focuses on exploring how multinational retail business can improve their operational process with effective integration of marketing communication and sustain competitive edge, creating strong brand recognition along with developing strategies for acquiring organizational vision forH&M and ZARA.

Company background
The H&M is a multinational Swedish clothing retail organisation which is recognised for it fast fashion range of clothing for women, men and children. The company was founded oin the year 1947 with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. The company earns total revenue $25.191 billion with the net income of $2.106 billion. The company comprises of strength of nearly 148,000 of staff with 4958 total number of stores in all around the world. The company is serving for more than 72 year in the clothing industry of Sweden as well as the world.

Problem background
As opposed by Pereira et al., (2014), the marketing communication strategy integrated by H&M is not accurate due to which company sometimes fails to collaborate with the necessary demands of the product in the market. This may lead the company to face huge competitive threat in the market as it has been evidenced that the competition of retail industry has dynamically increased

1. Marketing communication audit
As per the view of Thompson, (2013), marketing communication audit is determined as a process that enables managers of the company to identify necessary changes required to be integrated in relation to communication tools so that company can reach its stakeholders in meaningful ways.

SWOT Analysis

marketing communication strategy

• Using of varied strategies within the marketing communication

• Efficiently promoting the products to the customers with clear description

• Using of low cost advertising with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

• Failing to reach the international customer due to language barrier.

• Competitor like ZARA uses efficient methods of advertising to avoid the language barriers.

• Inadequate planning within the marketing communication

• Increasing of popularity through online shopping

• To remove the language barriers with animated advertisement instead of conventional one.

• Frequent changes of global dynamic market

• The customers are not getting attracted due to the use of conventional advertisement.

Table 1: SWOT analysis of H&M
(Source: Developed by the Learner)

As depicted by Spots et al., (2015), H&M has successfully rendered strong financial position in the market with huge customer base. It has been evidenced that potential customers of H&M are highly satisfied with their collection along with their distributional channel and marketing communication strategy. It has been observed by Patti et al., (2017), it can be evaluated that macro factors like social and technological are identified to majorly influence the marketing communication strategy integrated by the company to improve its brand image and customers base in the market. It has been evidence that majority of the millennial are engaged with the usage of social media and hence, to promote products in relation to fashion, social media is determined as the best source. The legal factors, regarding the kind of information that needs to be revealed in the advertisements and the content that should be shared, along with the depictions and tone of the advertisement needs to be considered while developing marketing communications strategy.

Evaluation of the usage of marketing communication by H&M and ZARA
According to Nowak and Phelps, (1994), H&M spend more in promoting and improving its marketing communication with its potential customers as compared to ZARA. As opposed by Mangold and Faulds, (2009), both the retail company, ZARA and H&M has established a strong position in the market. Thus, it has been evidenced that the strategies integrated by both the companies varies in relation to business and market communication.

As opined by Mamic and Almaraz, (2014), in association to marketing communication, H&M integrates more with video advertisements, e-marketing concept along with print advertisements to gain brand recognition and internal base customers. This marketing communication strategy enables the company to meet the needs of its customers from different locations. According to Kliatchko, (2008), H&M continually engages with its customers with the help of social media that include YouTube, Twitter, Facebook along with Instagram, and hence considered as essential channel for communication for the company. All the respective sources enable the company to drive traffic to the online stores of H&M along with the physical stores. In addition, H&M hires famous fashion bloggers to blog on the H&M products with strong contents to its websites along with promoting fashion news. It has been evidenced that this marketing communication strategy has enabled the company to sustain huge subscribers. Thus, this enables H&M to drive huge traffic in the company's websites along with real feedback of the customers.

In contrast, ZARA integrates with promotional activities that are less expensive as compared to H&M. Low cost advertising through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter account are done in which they post pictures of this merchandise, activities and events. In addition, in both the cases, the company has launched their mobile application as an effective channel of marketing promotion. In addition, H&M integrates with mobile marketing campaign as this marketing communication strategy, in which their potential customers receive SMS on the discounts and offers along with coupons codes. The main objective of integrating such MCS is to promote their latest seasonal collection by driving memberships. It has been evaluated that H&M is required to focus more in collaborating with social media channels like the ways ZARA did and renders huge traffic in their account.

marketing communication strategy

Figure : Comparison of Two retail marketing pattern
(Source: Killian and McManus, 2015)

As per the views of Killian and McManus, (2015), H&M has increased the gap of posting its new arrivals online as compared to ZARA, due to which the potential customers of H&M are not updated.

Two key customer groups along with development of persona
According to Jahdi and Acik Dilli, (2009), psychographic along with demographic market segmentation strategy are integrated by H&M to reach its potential customers and sustain competitive edge in the international market. In respect to the demographic market, the targeted customer group is from 18-45 years, whereas in the matter of psychographic, customers groups who are influenced by fashion, as promoted by fashion influencers over the social and other digital media predominantly, are considered. Thus, it can be determined that the company targets diverse lifestyle, cultures and religion to promote its product. With demographic market segmentation strategy, H&M has successfully build long-term customer relationships while optimizing marketing communication strategy to communicate with potential customers and build brand recognition. With the help of psychographic segmentation company can identify changing expectations of the customers in relation to values, taste and habits. However, based on the two group strategy, H&M integrates with necessary marketing communication strategy like digital media along with mobile campaigns to renders strong brand recognition and competitive edge in the international market of retail industry.

2. What is the role of marketing communication strategy•
As opined by Groeger and Buttle, (2014), to collaborate with effective marketing communication strategy it is essential for the company to identify target audience, build strong reputation of the brand's image in the market along with select marketing channel.

TOWS Matrix

marketing communication strategy


Strength (S)

Weakness (W)

Opportunity (O)

S-O Strategy
• Using of animated advertisement within the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram along with other social media platform.

W-O Strategy
• Utilising the series of animated endorsement and advertisement within the social media platforms to reach out the global audience with taking care of their demands.

Threat (T)

S-T Strategy
• Using of social media platforms with modern method of advertising that not only provides the products description but also the other initiative taken by the company to reach out to the millennial.

W-T Strategy
• Apart from the use of social media platform, the company should also use digital media junctions to avoid the language barriers and adopt the changes within the global dynamic market.

Table 2: TOWS Matrix of H&M
(Source: Developed by the Learner)

After analysing the strength, weakness, threats and opportunities in case of H&M, it has been evaluated that the company renders strong brand value in the international market along with a high rate of customer satisfaction. Hence, this would help the company to overcome its weakness in relation to intensive promotion along with high competition in the retail market. While focusing in marketing communication, company can attract its potential customers to both its online and physical stores. As opined by Gefen et al., (2003), effective marketing communication enables the company to adapt dynamic changes in the retail market, flexibility. It has been evaluated that if H&M effectively collaborates with its strategy with marketing communication strategy it can successfully overcome all its threat and weakness that are identified and sustain brand recognition along with competitive edge in the market. The marketing communication strategy for H&M would be to portray their sustainable practices and their consciousness regarding the environment to their prospective customers, through the use of social media, by implementing relevant animations within their advertisements

Recommendation for the improvement, on the basis of TOWS matrix
After analysing the organizational structure in relation to operations and communication, it can be evaluated that the company can take assistance from the 10C’s model of marketing as this model majorly focuses on building strong mechanism, while developing robust marketing plans, ensuring effective flow of communication between the company and its customers. As depicted by Balmer and Greyser, (2006), with the integration of 10C’s marketing model, companies can pay more attention on improving economic efficiency through internet. It has been evaluated that to promote any product in the current market conditions, digital media has been trended and implemented by the companies more, as this enables to render direct connection with customers while receiving genuine feedback.

As opined by Yeshin, (2006), in order to improve the marketing communication strategy, companies like H&M can also take assistance from RACE framework as this model is found to be effective in boosting digital marketing of the company. As per the views of Pickton and Broderick, (2005), this strategic planning process enables the company to structure the marketing communication strategy, according to purchasing modes of the users. The functioning of the model is similar to its acronyms Reach, Act, Convert and Engage (Jobber, 2010). The main marketing communication strategy outlined in this context is to promote the brand while rendering quality interaction with the targeted audience. Thus, with the assistance of the respective model, H&M can promote its brand even at the declining stage while concluding the rate of sales. In addition, H&M can, along with gaining the competitive edge, can build customer loyalty, while building long-term relationships with its customers.

To integrate the effective marketing communication strategy regarding the sustenance in the competitive edge

SMART objective

marketing communication strategy






Yes, the objective determined in case of H&M is specific as all the strategic planning focuses on specific matter like how the company can sustain competitive edge in the retail market.

Yes, the objective is measurable, as when the company would be able to successfully improve its personal connection with its potential customers while increasing sales in both physical and online stores. With the changes in the sales and profit scales the success of the objective would be indicated.

Yes, the objective to be focused is attainable. With an effective planning in integrating marketing communication strategy, the company can improve its connection with its potential customers while sustaining loyalty.

Yes, the objective is realistic as the goal can be effectively achieved with accurate integration of marketing communication strategy along with the available resources within time duration.

The time required to sustain success after integrating marketing communication strategy is approx six months.

Table 3: SMART Objective of H&M
(Source: Developed by the Learner)

Second Objective
To enhance the brand recognition of H&M within the market, through enhanced marketing communication

SMART Objective

marketing communication strategy





Time bound

Yes, the objective that has been determined for H&M is specific as all the strategic planning is invariably focusing upon the brand recognition of the company within the retail clothing market.

Yes, the objective is measurable as it would helps in successfully creating a connection with it customer and makes the company to be recognised in some of the high fashion brands.

Yes, the objective is achievable. With integrating the strategies within the marketing communication the H&M can improve it customer service that may increase the customer loyalty.

Yes, the objective is realistic as it increases the customer’s behaviours for repeat purchasing of the products and service of H&M.

The company can achieve this objective within 6 months with implementing the effective planning within its marketing communication strategy.

Table 4: SMART objective
Source: (Developed by the learner)

3. Marketing communication plan
Insight into central plan
The value proposition of H&M for its customers can be boiled down for certain aspects such as trends for clothing within the affordable prices (Sloberg and Nilsson, 2019). Brand narrative on the other hand is known to be the central building block for a meaningful marketing communication strategy for this particular brand (Camilleri, 2018). This is generally built for the insights as well as information that are gleaned during the respective process of kickoff along with the specific focus upon the shifts that are related to the particular brand of H&M. Owing to global services offered by the company, it often becomes necessary for the organization to design advertisements differently for different regions, focusing on the cultural values of the customers located therein and dubbing the message aimed to be transmitted to the global audience. However, sometimes, the message, after translation, loses its charm and efficacy in connecting with the mindset of the consumers and attracting them. The celebrity endorsements done might also not be known to all the potential audience and thus, H&M requires framing new advertisements, with known celebrity faces, for target audience in different parts of the globe. Using animations for the propagation of the same message comes as a simple solution to the complexity of framing new advertisements and designing new contents to suit the needs of all the cultures. Animations, without speech, are known to targt the creatuivity of the audience and reduce chances of misinterpretation of the message since the animations exhibit simple and clear messages, understandable by audience of different cultures and speaking different languages. Thus, inclusion of animations would serve as an effective meause for reaching out to global customers efficiently.

Understanding about the needs of the customers
Before the creation of a brand narrative, the needs and requirements of the customers should be analysed (Gausebeck et al., 2018). For instance, for the present company, it is known to formulate an animation that can contribute for its marketing communication and also the use of green practices as well. This helped the organisation in creating an emotional connection with its prospective customers and also to connect with the targeted audience as well.

Decision of plot
For the present study, the particular organisation has decided to communicate with its targeted audience through the animations. This helps the customers for avoiding the barrier of language within the global context as well.

This helped the organisation to make its narrative unique within the market as compared with the other competitor organisations and for execution of this brand narrative, a tactical outline needs to be created which has also been portrayed as well (Pavenkov and Rubtcova, 2019).

Outline of tactical plan
Tactical planning template


Action steps

Resources needed

Usage of facts and Usage of social media platforms

Mission and vision of the organisations along with preparing long and short-term strategies

Researching within the platforms of social media along with analysing performance

Annual reports and Social media advertisements

Implementation of relevant animations

Using particular techniques such as stop motion; animatronics; motion capture and rot scoping and similar other tools for preparing animations.

Animators, creative teams

Implementation of sustainable practices

Reduction of carbon footprints whiles the manufacturing process.


Integrated plan of communication
The respective organisation of H&M has been known to come up with a marketing communication strategy, which has also represented the use of certain tactics to retain the customers along with attracting the prospective and potential customers as well. This has made the organisation to portray for implementing the practices for maintenance of a sustainable environment within the organisation along with contributing for CSR that is corporate social responsibility activities as well (Pearson and Perera, 2018). The organisation has also been known to be conscious for the environment as well regarding the perspective of the customers with the usage of social media platform along with the implementation of relevant animations under their advertisements as well. This has helped the company in making such animations for the advertisements of its brand that has been unique as compared with its other competitors in the market along with the international market as well. For instance, it has made such an animation which has removed the linguistic barrier within the global context as the picture of its animation for each and every advertisement is known to reflect in such a way that helps the customers of every language in understanding the motive and the objectives of the organisation. However, the problem of the company with its brand advertisements in the international market has also been mitigated using online media and the team of online media is also known to be much more effective in the modern days (Mkhize and Ellis, 2019). The planning of representing the advertisements of the company into the online media seems to be successful as indicated by the internal data. Nevertheless, through localising the plan of the organisation, it can expand its online footprint without any kind of trouble.

The PASTA model of marketing communication is utilised in developing an operational pan for the companies like H&M, which wants to implement the efficient strategies within the marketing communication to enhance it reachability to the international customers (Yordanov et al., 2019). Hence, H&M utilises the model of PASTA in order to first identify its problem that is the issues of reaching to the global customer due to the language barriers. However, due to this language barrier is it observed that the international customers are misunderstand or misinterpreting certain views or information presented by the company which caused for the defaming of the brand. Thus, H&M are utilising the marketing communication strategy by using animated series of advertisement for its company and product which may help in avoiding the misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the view presented by the company. Hence, as per the views of Stoychev et al., (2019), the company uses this tactic within the social media. Conventional media as well as the digital media platforms to reach out to the global customers along with concerned about their needs and wants. Therefore, after all the strategies and tactics, the H&M make the action plan of implementing such advertisement for endorsing their product as well as the company to the local and the global customer which will help in increasing its sales and profit along with it brand popularity.

Key insights on the value proposition, clearly discussed
As per the proposed marketing communication strategy introduced by H&M which regarding the environmental sustainability with the perspective of the customers with the use of social media and the relevant animation in the advertisement helps the company to build up a strong value proposition as translated to the customer’s needs (Clow & Baack, 2015). While initiating marketing communication strategy, the brand tends to execute it advertisement by showing the fashion trending clothes and accessories is provides to the customers in the stores, globally, through the use of animation, in order to bridge any gap owing to imminent language barriers.

As evidenced by Belch and Belch (2012), the main target of the brand H&M is to gather the group of the fashionable individual and the trendy customers who looks out for shopping as one of the social activities which provides them the regular pleasure in day to day and hence, the brands produce the relevant animated advertisement. The brand aims to portray the efficiency of the products and ways it is beneficial and comfortable for the customers, on social media platforms, through the use of the animated advertisements (Dahlen et al., 2010). The animations would portray different cultural beliefs through the animated characters, with expressions only

As per the views of Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick (2012), the company's management and the marketing team works upon the positioning of it brands and get set up in the market and in the mind of the customers. The Brand looks after the trustworthy and credible name of the company in the market and within the customer with matching up to their expectation. 

Evaluation on the effectiveness of the proposed marketing communication plan in relation to international context 
The brand H&M uses certain strategies regarding it sustainability within the global market as it defines the clear aims and goals of the company such as it reduces the carbon emission in the environment and motivates it employees to achieve success (FILL, 2009). The brand focuses upon the incremental improvement on the constant basis which moves then forward in the journey of development even assuring the cleanest internal process in the supply chain.

With the increase of strategies in social media platform, the H&M increases its brand awareness as well as humanise it brands throughout the world. The company enhance its brand loyalty with import ovomg the search engines rankings and produces the advertisement which has no languages and it viewed throughout the world. Thus, these helps to increase customer satisfaction with attracting them towards the brand.

The H&M also uses effective communication strategies and enhances it the engagement of the employees for resolving the problems and preventing it. Hence, as per the evidence of DUNCAN (2004), it helps in building of trust as the company even incorporates the provision of clarity in the direction and production of the product and services.

Hence, all of these create the development and success of the company in the global market and the worldwide customers and incurring the huge profit.

To conclude, the present study has dealt with the concept of marketing communications where the organisation of H&M has been found to make a marketing communications strategy that has also resulted in enhancing the business within the global context and also retained the customers along with attracting more and more prospective customers as well. Hence, all these methods for sustainable practices have also resulted in being effective for the organisations within the international context as well. It has been evaluated that to connect with potential customers both in aspects of global and local market, it is essential for all the companies to collaborate with required marketing communication strategy. Effective communication enables good flow of information and understanding between the company and customers in relation to brand and value proposition.

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marketing communication strategy

Figure: Advertisements for marketing communication strategy
Source: (Spotts et al., 2015)

H&M aims to communicate their brand message using animations by initiating an effective marketing communication strategy, in order to break the language barriers and use only a particular advertisement for the promotions, globally. Use of animations ensures that audience of all classes will be able to relate with the message depicted through the animations and understand the message being conveyed. Herein, the animation depicts that people are usually in, daily, regarding the dress that they would wear to work or for daily use and this is where H&M comes into play, offering its wide range of clothes to choose from, to appear different, everyday.


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