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Integrate PR with other tools

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.

Integrated toolbox

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.

Brand-centric™ messages

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.

About the author

Michael Gullan is the Managing Director and co-founder of Gullan&Gullan Advertising (Pty) Ltd. Gullan&Gullan's propriety brand-centric™ methodology forms the basis of every communication service ensuring that brand equity is enhanced through congruent, consistent expression at every touch point from the board of directors, to staff, to customers and in the media.; ; +27 11 887 6591

G&G Digital's press office

G&G Digital We're a brand communications agency with digital in our DNA. We develop digital strategies and design digital products for some of the world's best companies. We also build beautiful user-centred websites, run social media, create digital campaigns, produce loads of great content and make lots of useful and fun games, apps and more. Our team of specialist digital natives make use of the latest and best traditional and web PR, social media and digital tactics to ensure your brand dominates the offline, online and social space.