What is a brand?
Most people think that “brand” and “logo” are synonymous. They’re partially right. Your logo is part of your brand, but your brand isn’t just your logo; it’s more. Your brand is a combination of all the elements that people come into contact with, known as “touch points” that differentiates your business, your products and your services from the competition. These touch points range from the name of your company to the designs of your marketing collateral, as well as any contact with the people in your organization … even the look and design of your office space speaks to your brand.
What is marketing integration?
Let’s say that your customers get a taste of your brand on your website, your social media profiles, and the email blasts you send them. What your brand represents needs to remain consistent across all channels, but how you convey your brand will change. Successful integration requires more than a cut and paste approach of using the same images and slogans across all these media. A post on Facebook engages your customers differently than a direct mail piece. To leverage the strength of these different marketing mediums, your strategies and messages will likely change.
Marketing integration can become even more complicated for businesses who hire multiple marketing partners for their brand management. For example, if you run a healthcare company and you’re in the process of revamping your marketing campaigns to support some recent changes within your organization. You hire one company to update your website. You hire a second company to perform an SEO analysis of your online content. You hire a third firm to update your offline content, like your magazine ads and tradeshow materials. And you delegate the managing of your social media profiles to someone on your staff. Suddenly you have too many cooks in the kitchen, each making their own favorite dish.
How do you get all these elements to complement each other? Whether you manage marketing in-house or outsource it to one or multiple marketing companies, to be successful, you need the following four ingredients:
Most companies use one or two of these vital ingredients. Failing to add any one of these will change the flavor of your brand. Everything you do to attract, engage, convert, and retain your customers must be integrated for your business to maximize the ROI from your marketing efforts and achieve the best competitive advantage.
Dina Wasmer is President of Incite Creative, a marketing and graphic design firm that provides brand-building services and strategies for small-to-middle-market businesses and non-profit organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region. Additionally, Dina is an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore teaching typography and graphic design principles. For more information, log onto www.incitecreativeinc.com or contact email@example.com