The odd one out – Why a lack of marketing integration will mess with your brand coherence.
If brand consistency could be described as the matching luggage of marketing; sameness, unchanged branding and messages, and therefore boring to some… Then brand coherence could be described as the delivery of familiarity and intuition within a brand environment despite the fact that the brand shows itself in slightly different formats.
By nailing your marketing integration, you will deliver a coherent brand experience that feels familiar in each interaction and which gives your customers clarity. It is more than a visual expression or a set of words; it is about delivering again and again against the brand promise you have made to them. To build this familiarity, but also lightness, adaptability, innovation etc. a brand’s actions and communications need to be closely followed, protected, nurtured, grown, and even “policed”.
Visual coherence, message coherence, tone of voice coherence, experience and service coherence, product, coherence, quality coherence… these should be conscious decisions informed by a well understood customer journey. No matter where your customers enter their journey through your brand, make sure you have thought it through; what you want them to see (or to feel?), where you want them to go next, what you want them to remember, what you want them to think of you as a company – as a brand? And most importantly; what do you want them to do next?
“The odd one out” is about finding the broken links in your brand ecosystem so you can fix them. Do your internal departments and external agencies have broken communications channels, no strategic alignment, no thorough research or insight, inefficient processes, and no effective or thorough briefing? Would you let your brand coherence be down to personal interpretations of a loose brief? Where is your odd one out hiding?
Striving for marketing integration in a world where the increasing number of channels means that the journey and interactions need to make sense for the customer more than ever before. Marketing campaigns where internal departments and external agencies are not aligned around a core campaign idea, a central plan and brand coherence are guaranteed to leave the consumer confused, or even indifferent.
Imagine a choir – each singer knows how to sing, what lyrics to sing, what notes to hit, etc. For a choir to deliver the best performances, every singer needs to know where they fit in with the rest of the choir, and each singer has a well-defined role. A choirmaster, which Mark De-Lisser proved at our last Flock Forum, is the glue that makes everyone know exactly when to sing, what, and how. Despite the individual choir members being fantastic singers, the choir would not deliver enjoyable experiences for the audience without someone whose only job it is to make them come together, set the pace, tone, and make sure they sing in time, at the same volume etc. It is not about the individual singers… it is about what the audience will hear as a whole.
We believe brand coherence and marketing integration can only happen if you cover four key things…
- You define your target audience, you have one single view of the customer, you understand the entire customer journey and have a clear channel plan. Do you have one single view of your customer?
- You use marketing integration principles, such as effective briefing sessions where all internal and external teams get together to understand and co-create the brief. Allowing teams to take ownership of every part of the campaign, rather than just their own silo… Are you creating “odd one out” marketing campaigns by allowing your silos to remain unchallenged?
- You use integrated processes, including things like content calendars and a common campaign plan that all parties have access to, allowing for effective and coherent campaigns to be built and delivered. Do you have one shared content calendar and campaign plan?
- Nominate, or appoint an Integrated Campaign Planner (ICP) whose sole role is to integrate and deliver brand coherence. Dare we ask?
As you can imagine, marketing integration and brand coherence cannot be achieved with a magic wand… It takes dedication, collaboration and the collective will to get there. If you need a “choirmaster” to help you deliver brand coherence and marketing integration across your campaigns or even across your entire marketing ecosystem, give us a call, we know the tune.
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