Why integrated communications planning makes your digital output work harder.

Digital communications is where it’s at. It’s sexy and, as they say, sex sells. But if used in isolation your project outcome will rarely be as penetrative as it would have been had you considered the wider engagement opportunities from the start.

Digital will work best and hardest when it’s part of an integrated communications plan. It may well prove to be your plan’s decisive driver of engagement and response, but if the only answer in your locker at the outset is ‘digital’ how will you know how much better it might have been?

As the name suggests, integrated communications covers all bases, but let’s clarify a few things first.

  1. For some, the presentation of an ‘integrated’ approach means the planners, designers and copy writers are all neatly positioned in one team. It’s neat, but this way, delivery can be unavoidably driven by the creative and for us, that’s putting the cart before the horse.
  2. At Lyndcroft, ‘integrated’ means that right from the beginning, the project is considered on a multi-channel basis. We take the combined in-house expertise of our marketers and PR practitioners to jointly evaluate the platform options. This then determines the creative required for successful activation as a ‘phase two’ not as a ‘phase one’.

Traditionally, the marketing and PR considerations would come from different internal departments or different external providers who are specialists in each field. But if the marketing, PR and creative elements are consolidated into one focused, results-driven team, the propensity for the project to be more impactful, more successful and, if commercially focused,  more profitable, is increased.

The potential that digital undoubtedly offers means it’s easy for internal campaign or project creators to focus on an e-programme and leave thoughts about the rest for later. Or not at all in some cases. In many cases, they’re too busy thinking about the ‘day job’ to be sidetracked by a level of detail that can ultimately be the difference between success and mediocrity.

So consider this:

With integrated communications, digital is not the driver of an opportunity; it’s one of the consequences of a comprehensive, converged plan of options. It is undoubtedly integral, but the sexy stuff is only possible when the boring stuff is dealt with.

Sexy stuff is expensive. Done properly, it’s impactful, instant and commercially effective but it’s not the only show in town. If the expense for good digital creative is to be justified, the leg work must always come first.

Primary evaluation, storyboarding, project objectives, multi-channel opportunities and target audiences are all important considerations in the planning phase but it’s far too easy for internal ‘owners’ to get consumed by the pull of a wholly digital solution.

Placing your project management in the hands of an integrated communications partner means campaigns and announcements can be maximised because the whole spectrum of output is considered in parallel.

Brand is protected by a consistency of message that’s managed from one source. If it’s an announcement or product launch on owned media, or a message via bought or earned external media space, the reliability of tone created by one-source management gives the whole exercise the credibility your campaign deserves. When the thinking is simplified and the solution is under one roof, credibility and effectiveness is enhanced.

Digital engagement is a messaging solution that is demonstrably successful, but when it’s part of a fully integrated communications plan governed by one managing source, it will always work much harder and more effectively.