Today, integrated communication is more essential than ever. The scope of communication has expanded to encompass more and more communication functions.
Whatever mediums a business uses to market its goods or services, it’s critical to provide the impression of a comprehensive image. For this reason, a glimpse into the idea of integrated communications might matter for your business.
Let’s take a closer look at what integrated communication is and how it differs from its related strategy, strategic communication.
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What is Integrated Communication?
Integrated communication simply means that the company’s message about its mission is consistent across all mediums. Although the precise strategies and manners of delivery may vary, the message will always be the same.
After all, a large gap between a company’s vision and its actual image can be detrimental to its success. The cohesiveness of integrated communications supports a positive cross-channel experience that impacts customer loyalty, brand reputation and credibility.
An important part of integrated communications is integrated marketing, which can be feasible through various campaigns, trying to achieve impact and cohesion. Before delving into integrated marketing, let’s take a closer look at those elements of integrated communication that can make an impact.
Elements of Integrated Communication
Integrated communication is the effort to coordinate and synchronise all communications so that the company speaks consistently across various audiences and media. In today’s oversaturated communications environment, consistency of meaning is crucial to have an impact.
As an entrepreneur, you can’t guarantee the trust of your customers if the company sends disjointed or conflicting messages on its platforms. Inconsistent statements will often lead to irritating and confusing teams and later on audiences or clients.
Companies now have multiple executives working in marketing, communications, social media, advertising, etc. Working independently has been the go-to attitude for most executives, but imagine those teams working collaboratively and following the same goal to achieve their vision. Integrated communication ensures this collaboration, so for example that the campaign of the digital advertising team aligns with the content produced by the social media team and so on.
In other words, a brand’s vision and mission must be in balance within the cross-channels and teams. A consistent message across digital and traditional platforms, but also within the teams, is the cornerstone of a pleasant brand experience and reputation.
Deeper connections with customers and audiences can also be achieved through integrated communication. Engaging your audience through the proper channels and incorporating content that promotes your brand’s story and values can help you align your vision. We all like a little story. This is the type of integration between the company and the audience.
It is important to consider that there is a diverse range of audiences with different expectations and needs. Being present in a wide range of channels can be very beneficial in order to not leave anyone behind, but also promote an honest interaction between the company and its customers. This helps the company achieve a higher score of credibility since the company’s image is being carefully constructed from its own sources and teams.
These elements might sound familiar to those who work in strategic communication, but what’s the difference?
Differences Between Strategic and Integrated Communications
While strategic communications are ideal for portraying the company as a single, cohesive entity, integrated communications may be regarded as the means to achieve that goal.
Strategic communication focuses on how an organisation communicates with purpose to achieve an organisational mission or objective. The emphasis is on the strategic application of communication and how an organisation functions to advance its mission.
It is about how an organisation positions itself. Whereas integrated communications focus on communicating a unified message across different channels. Consistent messages for stakeholders are also central to the strategic success of an organisation.
Integrated communications strive for the desired identity and not just the functions of a company. It also ensures that the communication budgets are spent more efficiently through more precise campaigns.
It is no surprise that entrepreneurs, more so than ever, try to include integrated marketing in their businesses to increase their brand awareness.
A good way to understand integrated communications is, thus, to look at integrated marketing.
Importance of Integrated Marketing
Integrated marketing provides a holistic brand narrative across all platforms where the brand chooses to advertise.
The PESO Model, developed by Gini Dietrich, is an effective example of integrated marketing.
Paid, earned, shared, and owned media is known as PESO.
Although the strategies in each section vary, they are all related. Integrated communications thrive in that perfect middle ground where paid, earned, shared, and owned operate harmoniously together.
Usually, integrated marketing involves one or a combination of the following:
- Paid media. It involves direct marketing, physical advertising, internet advertising, and scheduled broadcast advertising.
- Owned media. As such could be customer service, social media, and direct messaging through mobile and email.
- Earned media. Traffic is derived from content marketing, influencer outreach, and PR.
The brand can achieve a higher reach by ensuring different promotional methods through integration. If you struggle to grasp the importance of integrated marketing, consider your favourite campaign. How they conceptualized a message, how it effectively related to the brand’s goals, and the different communication channels they used.
Consistency in the brand’s vision and mission is key to your success. Through continuous efforts to integrate symbols, messages and behaviours, an organization can hope to be perceived as a unified corporate entity. We all like to feel like we are working towards a common goal.
As an entrepreneur, integrated communication can spark even more of the creativity and innovation that you need to have in your business. Brainstorm about the different ways that you can integrate your brand to achieve a positive brand experience. In a growing digital content ecosystem, there are plenty of ways to find your niche on how you want to connect with your customers in depth.