Integration: Irrelevant?

Agencies strive to use rich online media to close the circle on their marketing initiatives. At times, their efforts are unique and successful; at other times, they’re forced and irrelevant.

There’s a strong feeling in our marketing nature to make all aspects of advertising look, feel, taste, and sound the same. Many campaigns, agencies, and clients alike are striving for the ultimate unification, a vision that’s a complete expression of their efforts.

The Mini campaign is a great example of how to keep everything on message, on tone, and fully contiguous for the person experiencing it. Design and copy are the heart and soul of that campaign. There has been little alteration or choices in how all marketing forms for the car are portrayed.

Conversely, many campaigns rely on a solid, consistent brand mark to pull all aspects together. Though there are a hundred thousand examples of this, there are other underlying factors in why it’s acceptable.

Think in terms of global brands, like beer companies. When beer companies market globally, the only thing that’s consistent is usually the brand mark and the tagline.

After you start looking at in-store, events, localization, ethnocentric, direct, and all the other ways to pull in consumers, you start getting a lot of diversity. Sometimes that’s OK. Really.

Just because you can integrate, should you? Does rich online advertising that’s so flexible and malleable satiate the inner aesthetic perfectionist in us all?

Most of the time, online forces a transmutation of the original offline idea. This has created many a headache and long night for the people who valiantly strive for unification. Some have succeed, others failed.

Another factor is technology is a great help, but it’s commonly fabricated to fulfill a specific need. That need is commoditized by the technology vendor, so now everyone is using the same technique.

It’s the technology version of the online tail wagging the marketing dog.

And there’s nothing wrong with that — provided you don’t have people demanding innovation from you. In six months’ time, these new innovations become commonplace. At the first whiff of customer irritation, they die a fast death.

This form of interactive cognitive dissonance is becoming an eternal challenge.

Yet marketers still strive for integration. Despite the fact we live in a world of specialists, our better instincts are overcome by the potential of an absolute vision. If you ask me, it starts sounding a little like a religion.

Rich advertising has altered the way marketers have grown, learned, and changed their outlook on their audience. Online’s dynamism is at the heart of that. When we break the proverbial butterfly upon the wheel of the common, rigid rules of a total visual aesthetic, online becomes shacked by its limitations.

Yet because of online’s dynamism, this isn’t always true. When something’s always changing, it takes people with a sense of opportunity to grasp for something new and different.

Then integration can be redefined by the user’s perception of an integrated idea, not on its visual consistency. If the TV ad made me laugh, the online ad can make me laugh, too. But the methods needn’t be the same.

Online brings new opportunities. As a new breed of marketers, we need to keep one eye on consistency and another on the horizon.

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