INTEGRATION: INTEGRAL TO CAMPAIGN SUCCESS

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When it comes to platforms of communication, you don’t need me to tell you that we’re well and truly immersed in a multimedia world – with no way back. As consumers, day in, day out, we’re subject to media in all its forms. So, as marketers, our efforts must transcend the linear system of churning out campaigns – no matter how good – to one trusty channel.

The most effective campaigns are, without a doubt, those that incorporate as many channels as possible from a selection of print, online, broadcast, social media and events. A careful combination of owned, earned and paid content is a judicious approach to take. It’s all very well having brilliant individual, discrete ideas but, unless they form part of a more comprehensive initiative, they’re unlikely to have the desired and deserved impact.

It all comes down to effective frequency; we’re told, for example, that it takes seven times of being exposed to an advert before it inspires action. It’s therefore crucial to deliver a fully integrated campaign, translating your message into as many channels as possible, so you target your audience from all angles.

The ideal campaign follows a consumer through their day: they see a post on Twitter when they check their phone in the morning, read it in the Metro on their way into work, hear a presenter chatting about it on Radio 1 in the office, and so on – all driven by a high-quality, carefully timed PR strategy. As this web of exposure builds up, the initiative becomes more than its component parts, and it’s this campaign gestalt that really drives brand recognition.

A sterling example of this is John Lewis’ Christmas advert. Each year, Brits wait excitedly for the initial broadcast of the advert, which has many people reaching for the tissues. This year was no different, with the retail giant premiering its ‘On the Moon’ ad – a touching, two-minute tribute to Christmas compassion – during Channel 4’s Gogglebox. The subsequent broadcasts on TV are not the campaign in its entirety, though – in fact, I haven’t actually seen it played on TV since its launch.

What has really driven the campaign is the conversation it’s provoked. In the first hour after launch, there were 22,500 tweets and retweets, as people shared the film (it’s currently pushing 14 million views on YouTube). Prior to this, the PR campaign had kicked off on social media as people speculated about the advert’s accompanying soundtrack, using #OnTheMoon, and the campaign continues to be rolled out. John Lewis’ construction of a giant moon in its flagship London store for children to play in taps into the realm of experiential marketing. Meanwhile, Alan Carr – in a glorious piece of vicarious promotion – even broadcast a spoof version of the ad to over a million viewers of his primetime Chatty Man show on Channel 4.

All of this results in the campaign becoming part of popular culture and adding to the zeitgeist – much more than just an advert.

Of course, not all campaigns are going to have the alleged £7 million budget of John Lewis, but it’s a model that can be replicated on any scale. It also serves as a reminder that, no matter how much money you have to throw at something, delivering a high-quality, meticulously planned and stringently timed integrated marketing campaign should be central. That, combined with utilising a clever mix of relevant outputs – as per our award-winning #LiveTransplant campaign for the Farjo Hair Institute – is the most effective way to target your audience and, ultimately, boost your brand.