Integration is not a new concept. Throughout time, industries with similar formats, products or systems have grown by bringing their offerings together. For example, once-separate grocery stores and pharmacies are now commonly housed together in one supermarket. More recently, Facebook has incorporated Twitter-like status updates into its news feed. The same should apply to PR and other communications channels. However, the opposite is happening. The media landscape is becoming more fragmented while communications agencies are becoming more specialised. The result? A greater rift between disciplines.
Fore-thinking marketers should be going against the grain by working with agencies that can integrate PR, above-, below-the-line, experiential and online and social media channels. A good - and relevant - mix of communications channels is vital to reach and importantly engage with consumers, key influencers and thought leaders who, in turn, are more likely to recommend your brand to their community.
Marketers working with integrated strategies should either work with one agency that can provide all 360º disciplines, or should appoint a coordinator to ensure the following:
_Reassure collaborating agencies that no-one is out to steal jobs from them
_Encourage symbiotic collaboration and trust
_Encourage open communication
_Manage the flow of messages and strategies, and make sure everything is in sync
_Determine the right combination of platforms to achieve objectives
_Be media agnostic
_Keep campaign messages consistent in a brand-centric™ manner while conforming to unique values of each medium.
Marketers who embrace integrated campaigns understand how important it is that the different channels interact. To do this, it's necessary that all participating agencies collaborate. Competitive fear often prevents real collaboration, which is why you may want to consider a 360º agency.
Agencies and their suppliers should talk directly to one another to guarantee seamless campaigns. All aspects of a campaign should follow the same branding guidelines with shared thinking, participation and down-to-earth hard work from all collaborators.
Gullan&Gullan is passionate about integration, because it gets results. So when faced with a new communications challenge, we get all the key disciplines around a table, from advertising, PR, web, media and promotions. Sometimes PR will lead, sometimes web or promotions. What matters is not who takes the lead, but that the various channel experts are working together in a brand-centric™ manner.