I am told that I need to ‘integrate’ all of my marketing, what does this mean and if it is so important how should I do it?
Ask Silver Bullet: April 2015
Whilst organisations and companies have been “integrating” their marketing communications for hundreds of years, the use of the phrase “integrated marketing” is a fairly modern term. By integrating your marketing you are essentially utilising an integrated marketing communications strategy.
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) by its definition is the application of a consistent, co-ordinated brand message across all your marketing channels. The key word in the definition is consistent and it is that consistency of message that is the key to not only IMC success but in most cases, marketing success.
We have spoken about brands in our #AskSB articles in the past and it is important to remember that a brand is more than a simple logo. Your brand is the thing that differentiates you from your competitors and other organisations in your industry, your vision, your values and your culture. If your brand is then the key thing that says everything about your organisation and differentiates you from your competitors, you want to make this clear in your communications.
This is the point where we marketeers endeavour to confuse and create mystery, but in fact marketing is a very simple art. You have your message, either your brand or a campaign message. You know your target audience and whom you want to speak to. You now just have to decide how you are going to speak to this audience, and this is the stage where integrated marketing communications is increasingly important.
In all communications with your target audience you want them to recognise, understand and shape their attitudes toward your brand/product etc. If that branding is inconsistent and giving mixed messages they may never recognise or understand the brand, this will dissuade the consumer. Your marketing may have lost you a potential customer.
If you communicate a consistent message throughout all your channels then you have the best possible opportunity that the target consumer will see, recognise, understand your brand and its values, reflect those values in positive attitudes and ultimately engage with and act upon that message. Thus, you have a new customer.
With the increased amount of marketing channels available to us these days, keeping your brand consistent is becoming increasingly difficult. This is especially the case with the rise to prevalence of social media. The traditional social media audience is a younger audience of the millennial generation and it would be easy to stray from your own brand message to engage specifically with this audience, diluting your brand. Take care in ensuring your message is consistent
Organisations these days also boast a wide spectrum of sub-brands. It is difficult to maintain that consistent message when you have diverse sub-brands and this again can dilute or distort your message. We have seen the value of a co-ordinated marketing recently in the supermarket war with the rise to prevalence of Aldi and Lidl. Consistent, co-ordinated brands that hold true to their values. Whereas Tesco have diluted their brand with the creation of many sub brands, ‘extra’, ‘metro’ etc.
The most recent rebranding to demonstrate integration is the launch of the Coca-Cola “One Brand”. With the increasing portfolio of products, Coca-Cola has undertaken one of the largest re-branding projects in recent years aligning all products with the singular Coca-Cola imagery, branding and values.
So how do you ensure your brand is consistent and you have brand cohesion across your channels? Well it isn’t simple, but you need a strategy. All marketing and branding campaigns should be considered and introduced into a strategic plan, giving a focus. By regular referral to this plan you will ensure the consistency of your brand is maintained.
Here at Silver Bullet we are very much advocates of an integrated consistent marketing campaign. As a full service-marketing agency we feel that the integrated approach is in most cases the only approach. We work with our clients to develop planned strategies that will ensure that all marketing activity remains consistent to the brand message, greatly increasing the potential of marketing success.
If you are having trouble with your marketing message or you don’t feel your strategy supports an integrated campaign or have another marketing question we can help with, talk to us. Email your questions anonymously to us today firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet us (not so anonymously) @SilverBulletPR and use the hash tag #AskSB