Integrated Brand Communications

For most businesses, our brand is one of our most valuable assets – for some it may be our only important asset. As such, these assets deserve to be nurtured and jealously guarded, because they encapsulate the relationship between our organisation and its customers.

Back in 1989, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) first defined integrated marketing communication as “an approach to achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign through a well-coordinated use of different promotional methods that are intended to reinforce
each other”.

Today, there are more channels to market than ever before. Social media has exploded; organisations are self-publishing; video is more accessible than ever; mobile technology is beginning to mature. Against this frenetic backdrop, it is even more important to ensure that our brand and marketing communications are effectively integrated. This makes sense both from an effectiveness and an efficiency perspective – if we do it right we can keep the marketing director and the finance director happy!

To be really effective, we need to develop marketing strategies and creative campaigns that weave together multiple marketing disciplines (advertising, PR, promotion, owned assets and social media) that are totally aligned to the specific goals of our brands.

This requires deep understanding of each medium’s intrinsic strengths. It’s not just a way of blending activity across all media to help tell a brand story. It requires us to create significantly greater impact through best use of each medium and also to generate synergy between them so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

As marketers, we need to understand each medium’s limitations, and especially the audience’s willingness to absorb messaging via that medium. We can then integrate the messaging as part of a strategic plan.

Consistency is no longer enough in branding; our aim is to reap the benefits of synchronised brand voice and experience, as well as cost efficiencies generated through creativity and efficient production.

Branding today is all about integration, coherence and synergy… and standing out from the crowd.

Next month we’ll talk about the nature of the brand itself.