The holiday season is well and truly upon us, and I appear to have morphed into Will Ferrell’s Buddy in the movie Elf. I’m getting way too excited as I open the doors on the advent calendar – which I pretend is for my kids.
But it’s not just the trappings and trimmings of Christmas that I love. It’s a time of year that truly brings people together – catching up with friends and spending time with family – some of whom I may not have seen for a year.
At the risk of sounding way too cheesy, this got me thinking about how I’m working with many of my clients to bring teams together across marketing, sales, and communications to deliver more integrated programmes than ever before.
There is a growing recognition to ditch the office politics and siloed departments and be more like friends around the Christmas table.
So, what are the internal steps to managing an integrated marketing programme? According to David Pickton and Dr Amanda Broderick, authors of Integrated Marketing Communications, there are four essential Cs that need to be followed in order to craft an integrated campaign. I’ve taken these four Cs and put my own spin on them, based on what I believe makes an integrated campaign a successful programme.
A coherent campaign is one that is simple and does not waste resources or budget on activities and media channels that do not matter. Instead they focus on making clear choices about what needs to happen in order to differentiate a business and its product or service. The same is true of the message. A company cannot be everything to everyone! Instead, they need a single identity that is either based on innovation, price, or service. But not all three. Take an obvious example like Apple – It has a simple product portfolio; the Mac, iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad – all bearing the mark of the company’s ethos of innovation.
When you hear a politician interview, you may well roll your eyes at the repetition of the message. But that repetition is what makes a message stick. Which is why “Brexit means Brexit” or “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” are recurring themes in the editorial agenda here in the UK.
Consistency in communications requires teamwork, focus and discipline because a single idea can still have many layers and many more voices. So, it’s important that, to cut through the clutter, it all sounds unified.
Colleagues are not clairvoyants. So, when running an integrated campaign, it cannot be assumed that everyone knows what each other’s skills and responsibilities are. As much as it is up to the project manager to effectively delegate, so the onus is on the individual to educate colleagues about what they can bring to the table and how they prefer to receive instruction, or if it’s a creative department, the brief.
Providing it is obvious that the team is totally committed to the cause, then mistakes or unmet expectations can be honestly appraised. Having a transparent relationship, especially with your agency, allows the team to collaborate, working through inevitable challenges together. Rather than ever feeling on the defensive when facing the unexpected.
In turn when things are going right, which they will if everyone is pulling in the same direction, complements are that much more sincere.