Channel Brand Messages Effectively
The Benefits of an Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy
It’s said that on Halloween the “veil” between the physical and spirit worlds thins significantly enough to allow those on the other side to channel messages directly to us.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, it’s also a fitting backdrop to discuss the benefits of an integrated marketing communications strategy – one that leverages various channels to reach intended audiences.
Let’s first define an integrated marketing communications strategy. (Hint: It's not that spooky).
Very simply, it is the process of identifying your audience and the key themes you’d like them to associate with your business.
These themes are then cascaded across various channels such as your website, social media, multimedia (videos, podcasts, webinars), speaking engagements, thought leadership articles, traditional media, and one-to-one interactions – to name a few.
These efforts are designed with two main goals in mind:
1) Communicate clear, concise, compelling, and consistent brand messages; and 2) Promote those messages wherever your audience tunes in.
Why is this important?
In relationship-based businesses such as professional services, trust must be established and maintained with clients. One way to build this trust is through providing a consistent experience from the very first interaction with your brand through to service delivery.
With an integrated communications strategy, your messages provide a glimpse into the client experience.
How can you develop an integrated marketing communications strategy to support brand building and business development?
We often begin by asking clients, “What do you want to be known for?” This typically yields a handful of topics that are not only timely and important to the audience, but those that also intersect with the brand narrative and revenue generation goals.
As part of this exercise, also consider:
What problem(s) are you helping to solve?
How is your approach different?
What is the benefit of engaging you vs. a competitor?
Does your story resonate with the audience’s perspective?
Then, craft messages based upon the identified themes for each specific channel. For example, a thought leadership article is a deeper dive into a given topic that then provides an additional opportunity to promote your expertise on social media, in conversations with clients, through direct marketing and on your website. Posts developed for LinkedIn will vary slightly from those written for Twitter. A podcast will present your thinking in a more conversational way. And so on.
As you begin to develop content and promote it, you’ll also be able to measure which themes resonate most with your audience. This, of course, allows you to decide to create more or less similar content.
While the prospect of creating an integrated marketing communications strategy may seem scary, remember, all it takes is one “great idea” to get started.