Skip to main content

The Pursuit of Integration

Every brand wants to provide a seamless experience. They want to stay true to their values across all touch points because they know that today's customers are skeptical and distrustful of what they say. They also know that one bad experience can ruin a relationship.
The solution? Integration: Delivering a consistent experience across all channels.
However, integration is becoming harder in today's connected age. New digital platforms appear every day, which makes it hard to have a consistent experience across all channels. New platforms require brands to bring a new set of players (agencies and/or employees) with a different skillset. New players need to be on board, trained and synchronized with the broader team, which make it even harder to deliver a unified experience.
We tend to view integration from a communication perspective, but it is more about people and culture in the organization. To build an integrated brand, you need an integrated team. This means having a consistent set of players, with clear roles and responsibilities, defined rules of engagement, long-term commitment and the discipline to stick to a consistent message for an extended period to build a successful brand.
1. Have a consistent set of players: Less is more. Try only to work with a handful of partners. The more partners you have to deal with, the harder it gets. Having an agency for every channel (brand, advertising, digital, data, mobile, social media, content, events, multi-cultural, media, PR, search, and innovation) is not only hard to manage, but it will slow you down and more challenging to maintain a consistent tone and brand message.
2. Establish clear roles and responsibilities for each of the partners. Avoid, at all costs, making partners compete against one another new projects. Once you open that gate, you are killing any incentive to collaborate with partners because everyone is going to try to protect their piece of their pie. Instead, you should create a trusted environment.
3. Define the rules of engagement: Establish a clear communication planning process for the year and within that plan, designate the role that each agency will play. And please make sure that you give enough time for integration. If you try to squeeze the year's planning process into a few weeks, you're setting everyone up for failure.
4. Go for a long-term partnership, not a one night stand. A relationship with a partner is like marriage. You are investing time, resources and money into building a strong family. The higher the divorce rate, the higher the failure rate; you're also sending a signal to potential agency partners about your real intentions.
5. Have the discipline to stick to a consistent message for an extended period to build brand equity. Frequently changing messages not only create confusion in the market, but it also makes it harder to integrate. This is a challenging thing to achieve, however, since the average tenure of a marketing director is 18 months. And the first things they want to do is create a new brand platform.
In summary, brand integration is about people, not just communication. Only an integrated team can deliver an integrated brand, which is critical to thrive in today's connected age.


Popular posts from this blog

How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Aim for Love, Not Likes

Love is an unconditional emotion while like is a more watered-down version of love. Loving someone means that he or she means everything to you while liking someone implies that you are only happy being with that person. Love involves deeper, stronger emotions, while like is more of a tender feeling towards that special someone. In a world of infinite choices, love is everything. Like is a nice to have.  Today, we live in a world of abundance, where people intent to create content surpass their time to consume it. Video content is much easier and cheaper to produce than at any other time in history. YouTube sees 400 hours of video uploaded every minute. Facebook has more than 250,000 status updates in the same span. We could never read and see everything online.  With unlimited possibilities and limited time, we pay sustainable attention to what we love and divided attention to what we like. We spend hours watching Homeland and give our divided attention to our news feed on Facebook. …

Persuasive Simplicity, Persuasive Commerce

In a complex world, simplicity wins. In a human world, purpose sets us apart. In a complex and human world, we need persuasive simplicity to survive. Persuasive simplicity is putting simplicity in the path of motivation. It is simplicity with purpose. The Perfect Machine Today we are entrenched in a performance-marketing race. We want to make commerce as efficient as possible. We want to build the perfect commerce machine—one that knows what we like, hate, love, and need. A precise machine that doesn't spoil us with too many choices.  A nimble machine that delivers goods in hours, not days or weeks. A frictionless machine where we can order in one click, one button, one voice order, anytime, anywhere. A cost-effective machine that guarantees the best price. This machine sounds a lot like,,, and The Human World

Winter and Summer in Adland

It is winter in Adland.  We have moved from a world of scarcity to a world of abundance and algorithms.  We have lost the power of influence. Trust has been severely damaged.  Consumer attention is the new bottleneck. We no longer decide who sees us. Instead, we get picked.  30 second is not enough anymore. We need to take consumers through a scenic journey to create a long lasting relationship.  Everyone is a publisher. It is easier than ever to create, but harder than ever to make a hit.  The impulse to make has far outrun the desire to consume.  New forces have emerged in the form of sophisticated algorithms.  A new model has surfaced called "pay per play,” which scored everything we do on relevance to feeding the machine. It decides what gets picked, when, and where, based on extreme relevancy.  Mass media has vanished. Precision and personalization have emerged.  It is winter in Adland. The good days are all long gone.  It is Summer in Adland We now have the power to make bra…