Integrated Branding

By Steve McKee on May 10, 2012

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, is such a cliché that it has spawned its own cliché: If it ain’t broke, break it. Unfortunately, that’s just what many companies do unwittingly to their branding programs, playing into the hands of public enemy No. 1 in today’s marketing environment: fragmentation.

The good news is that there is a powerful way to overcome fragmentation: integration. But don’t be deceived—it’s more difficult than it appears. Integration is not simply slapping a common tagline onto all your ads, using a single color palette, or force-fitting a message that’s suited for one medium into another. Integration means communicating a consistent identity from message to message, and medium to medium, and (more importantly) delivering consistently on that identity. It requires not only the identification of a powerful, unifying strategy and compelling voice for your brand, but the discipline to roll it into every aspect of your organization—from advertising to sales, customer service to customer relationship management programs (and beyond). It’s not for the faint of heart.

To fight off fragmentation effectively, everything you do to attract, convert, retain, and engage your customers should be integrated. That raises a question: If fragmentation is so damaging, and integration such a powerful counterforce, why don’t companies implement an integration strategy more often? It’s not for lack of understanding, desire, or even intent in the minds of most marketers. It’s for lack of perseverance.

Put simply, integration takes time. It’s not easy to integrate a brand into a wide suite of processes, materials, and messages that have been shepherded by different people, driven by different objectives, and brought to life in different places within the organization. Many companies simply don’t have the patience to see it through.

Beyond that, integrated branding takes time to soak into the marketplace. Consumers just don’t pay attention as much or as quickly as they used to. Find a time to gather together as many different expressions of what your company says and does in one place, then make an honest evaluation. If it doesn’t all connect for you in some meaningful fashion, it won’t for your customers and prospects, either.

If your strategy is weak or off the mark, you may need to hire an integrated marketing agency that can handle the execution.  Someone has to hold it all together. While perfect integration is unachievable, companies that do the best job of harmonizing all their marketing efforts have an advantage.

BeautyMark Marketing offers integrated branding with campaigns that connect full circle in-store {salon} and online.