Friday, June 08, 2007

on integration

When marketing folk use the word 'integration' they refer to integrating different communication channels. 'Integration', they imagine, will mean a greater, more consistent connection with consumers; a "360" campaign, as it is (painfully) labelled. From the agency's perspective integration also means a potentially bigger budget and more control over the big idea. It still amazes me that things were ever not considered holistically, but I'll overlook that to make another point.

Defining a "360" campaign by channel inclusion is about as useful as defining our relationships by the modes of communication we use.

If I tell you that Lucy and I speak on the phone, on IM and by text what does this say about my relationship with her? Not much. If I say we joke a lot together, we speak about serious family matters but avoid talk of politics it paints a much better picture.

Channels are a convenient but misleading barometer of brands’ connection with potential customers. What really matters is how much of the emotional spectrum they occupy (in relation to the service they offer).

I propose a new model for a '360' approach where a single idea is expressed (in whatever channels are appropriate), along this emotional spectrum. I.e. Varying levels of 'meaning', so the brand/product's role in people's lives is a crucial consideration too. Sorry, but a cereal bar is not as meaningful to people as their car. Something else brand managers forget.

Do me a favour, read this aloud and text a portion of it to a friend. I want to be the first person to create a 360 blog.

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