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Tips for a successful, integrated campaign strategyDate Posted: 6 November, 2018
You know what they say; things are always better when they’re integrated. Okay, maybe they don’t, but when you’re looking for the best ROI from your communications campaigns, there’s no doubt that integrating your offerings is the best way to secure the strongest results.
Whether it’s Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” or Compare the Market’s “Compare the Meerkat” campaign, successfully using a series of platforms in tandem, from PR to social media and content marketing, helps get your message further with greater impact. Recent research by Whitney Murray highlights how communications professionals are seeing the most value when different services are combined.
PRCA’s Digital PR and Communications Report meanwhile reflects the growing popularity of streamlining services, particularly social. 57% of respondents said the majority of their digital and social media content is produced by the PR and communications department as opposed to a separate social media team, up 12% year-on-year.
So we know that integrated campaigns are the way to go. Great. Getting everything to align and fit into one integrated campaign strategy is another matter however.
To help you avoid some of the pitfalls that can crop up with integrated campaigns, we’ve flagged three areas to bear in mind to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Get your timings sorted early on
When you’ve got a number of channels all aiming for the same goal, having everything go live at the right time is crucial to making a big splash. Getting it all lined up takes some real planning and should be a consideration right from the off.
One thing to consider is that each of your channels will have different lead times. If you’re working with press, then the turnaround, particularly for print, can be at least a few months down the line. Even influencers can sometimes require more time than you’d plan for, as they need to find space between other campaigns to brainstorm the content, organise shoots and put it all together.
Giving yourself plenty of time is the best way to negate most of these and create as much noise as possible. If you do find yourself up against it, then try and cater for the different timings as far as you can and plan for exposure spread more thinly over a longer period of time.
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Consistency is king
It doesn’t matter if you’re working across two channels or eight; you’re never going to get your key message across if your communications aren’t aligned. Including more channels however does make managing the whole process more complex, and requires additional planning to keep everything on track and consistent.
It’s important to remember that for maximum effect, every feature of your campaign needs to be consistent. Imagery, colour scheme, tone of voice, everything. Before you start any activity, make sure you have your key messages in place, and draw on those throughout.
One of the best integrated campaigns is Compare the Market and its meerkat creation. Whether it’s the TV ads, the toy, or the podcast, the messaging is the same; the company makes car insurance simple.
This core thread was something that resonated with consumers, and with an increase in market share by 76%, it clearly pays to spend some time checking that every part of your integrated campaign lines up.
Check out the video below to see how, even years down the line, the brand’s content is still totally consistent with its initial concept.
Treat each channel separately
The main reason for integrating your services is that, if done well, it can result in a more impactful and cost-effective campaign. Central to that however is the fact that every channel offers something different. Treating each channel separately, though always involved as part of the overall strategy, is key to making it a success.
Sorting out your timings, as mentioned above, requires you to approach your channels on a case by case basis. Another important consideration however is what type of content works. For example, if you’ve got some video content you want to use to promote an upcoming event, YouTube is great to host an in-depth overview.
Instagram and Twitter, however, don’t allow users to upload videos over a minute for the former or 2 minutes 20 seconds for the latter. You’ll have to edit your video into shorter, more bitesize snippets to effectively use the content on these channels.
Just because your campaign has kicked off, it doesn’t mean that your plan for each channel should be static. The beauty of using digital channels in particular is that you can amend as you go along, and you should be monitoring and updating as the campaign grows. If a certain type of content isn’t working on LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to change it. You’ll suffer more if you stick to your guns and refuse to adapt.
In short, manage each service on its own terms, and you’ll start to see the real benefits of running a successful integrated campaign.
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Next up, check out: The importance of earned media and quality storytelling in 21st century comms