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Guest Column: The success mantra for an Integrated Approach: Abhilash Mathew, Kestone

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Guest Column: The success mantra for an Integrated Approach: Abhilash Mathew, Kestone

Campaign planning is one of the most crucial elements of a brand building exercise. Companies today want to invest a lot more money on their brand promotional activities than what they did in the past. The go-to market strategy is slowly but surely moving from ad-hoc and random short-term tactics to continued and sustained targeted campaigns. The new avatar of campaigns today is a well-designed combination of traditional offline, print and new-age digital activities. This approach has led to wider reach of the brands and their proposition. Many marketers have identified this as a long-lasting brand recall with the customers. The online medium is gathering muscle with every passing day and offers a wide world of opportunity for marketers to amplify their message many fold.

Integration - The Success Mantra

Today, customers have the world at their fingertips. As opposed to yesteryears when the buying decision was made at the point of sale, today, 80 per cent of the decision is made even before the customer walks into the store. Thus, it is of paramount importance that the brands reach out to their target audience at every possible touchpoint with messaging that is consistent, to leave a telling impact. The customers have to be reached via media that they choose and at a time when they are open to receiving the communication.

With digital and social media taking the centre stage, it should be kept in mind that there are some campaigns that can benefit many folds if print and offline are also integrated in the promotional strategy. For Example, ‘Snickers: You’re not you when you’re hungry,’ a global campaign, worked on a universal assumption that when you’re hungry, your mood and abilities change. The campaign continues to run across social, television, retail and print. While the execution changed across different media and markets, the central theme and strapline remained the same as it was relevant for markets worldwide.

Another widely successful example of an integrated approach was the launch of the Apple Watch. The channel selection was clever with a scheduled mix of traditional and digital communications that provided a much stronger boost than what standalone tactics might generate. For example, a brand management combined with media relations that included celebrities wearing the watch as a form of “functional fashion” including a series of interviews with Apple execs in popular tech media. As the campaign gained momentum, Apple used its considerable relationships with social media influencers within the target market to spread a common message and build reach further.

The 4 Cs of Integrated Campaigns

While thinking about how to create a successful integrated marketing campaign, one should learn from Pickton and Broderick’s 4 Cs, explained in their book ‘Integrated Marketing Communications.’ They outline the four key concerns that need to be addressed in order to give your campaign a chance of reaching its goals. The 4Cs are:

Coherence – different communications are logically connected?

Consistency – multiple messages support and reinforce, and are not contradictory?

Continuity – communications are connected and consistent through time?

Complementary – synergistic, or the sum of the parts is greater than the whole?

Is Integration meant for a specific industry or audience?

Integrated campaigns are not limited to any particular industry. It is applicable to any person or brand who wants to favourably influence the thought process of a target group. The latest example being the positive messaging campaign around demonetization which has managed to sustain goodwill despite a lot of inconvenience caused. The government has used events, PR and social media to reiterate on the greater good that this change will bring about. Talking of the government, during the pre-election campaign, the country witnessed one of the largest integrated campaigns of all times in “Achhe din aane wale hai.”

Integration is bringing in competition and ideation amidst marketers. Currently, the B2C campaigns that are mostly witnessed during festive season are the only types of integration that we see. As far as B2B businesses are concerned, they are still figuring out the way to integrate digital into their offline events and carry that one message consistently across channels. The need right now is to identify the strengths of integrated marketing and become ready for the future. As most organizations are aligning their marketing plans with the sales objectives, integration will be the only choice for survival in the market.

While integration is key, not many have mastered this art of execution. Like customers, marketers are also spoilt for choice of the various media, platforms or brand promotion available at their disposal. The challenge is to identify and choose the right mix for every campaign and create customized messaging for each media, keeping the core promise consistent.
The target audience needs to be defined accurately considering sub-cultural and global realities. Considering messages delivered through different platforms have the power to influence an individual more effectively and engage with niche audience, the messages should match with specific benefits for the target group.

The emotional quotient of the brand story being crucial, marketers will have to be increasingly data-driven.

In an increasingly socially networked market, content marketing is crucial to deliver the brand story in a targeted and engaging manner.

Finally, integration involves monitoring multiple agencies or members of a team working on disparate mandate as part of the campaign. To cope with this, various firms are providing an integrated approach, making it convenient for marketing heads to monitor and ensure consistent messaging across the desired platforms.

(The author is Vice President, Kestone IMS Pvt. Ltd )

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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