Integrated: The New (-ish) Communication Model

Everyone always asks us, what is integrated communications? What do you mean 834 is an “integrated communication firm”?
Here is the deal. A long time ago, in a universe far, far away…someone decided that communications would be separated out into 4 major disciplines: Design, Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing. Fast forward to 2015 and you now have another discipline…Digital.
Now, stay with us…let’s say you are a small to mid-sized business and you realize that you need to communicate with your clients/customers, partners, investors, community etc. to grow your sales, reputation and talent. How do you decide whom to hire to assist in these efforts? You don’t have an in-house communications person, or you do but they can’t handle the range of work needed…so what do you do? Do you hire a designer to rework your brand, image and collateral? Who will write the messaging and determine usability? Do you hire a public relations firm to promote your growth? Great ideas! But once you get people to your website, which hasn’t been updated in 4 years…how do you keep them there? Why not launch a talent recruitment campaign? A marketing agency would be great for that, but what about the digital aspect? The majority of the world is on social media networks and using tools you have never heard about…will the marketing agency be in the know on all of this?
Do you see the dilemma?
An integrated communications approach takes all disciplines – creative, digital, public relations, advertising, marketing and meshes them all together to deliver your desired results. Everything works together to form a cohesive strategy that outlines goals, measurement and ultimate results for you, the business owner.
We don’t know who had the idea to segment the disciplines but we would like to have a convo with them (in a dark alley without witnesses). The fact is, communication is complex and you have to take all strategies, tools and tactics into consideration before implementing…and you need to get the most bang for your buck. None of this one-off idea bullshit that is so damn popular these days. It’s not good enough to have a good, or even an amazing idea – you need the backing of research for a successful strategy and the benefit of multiple tools in your toolbox to pull off an authentic campaign.
Something else to keep in mind…not all agencies/firms will implement a strategy for you. So after you pay for the strategy, you then have to turn around and pay for the implementation of said strategy or go it on your own with your existing staff. So if you don’t have the staff to implement, then that strat you just paid for is well, useless.
All disciplines support each other. For example, you launch a recruitment campaign:

  1. Design/Creative: Develop collateral for social, website, print and advertising. Coordinate efforts with all disciplines
  2. Advertising: Review audiences, determine media buys – segmented by target audiences.
  3. Marketing: Outline strategy to get the message out, plan special events throughout target area, work with creative and PR to outline messaging.
  4. Public relations: Develop a press release on campaign, recruting events, company growth. Plan out storylines throughout the length of the campaign.
  5. Social: Work with PR to outline messaging for all networks, work with creative to develop images and infographics to be shared.
  6. Digital: Set up online ads, create a landing page specific to recruitment that all advertising and campaign efforts will direct to.
  7. Implement and measure

It is obviously a bit more complicated than the above example, but you get the idea.
What do you think will provide your business with the best return? Is it time to re-evaluate your strategy?

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