First we had marketing departments. Life was simple then.
We had adverts to worry about, some PR and maybe some promotional material. Then we were told we must have a website. Then we were told about email marketing, then SEO, then social media came along…you see where we’re going.
We now live in a digital world where we consume digital content seamlessly across multiple channels. In many ways, we’ve gone back to where we began - the lines between ‘digital’ and ‘traditional’ marketing have become so blurred that, in effect, they don’t exist anymore.
Having brand consistency across multiple channels is imperative. Having brand consistency between your online activity and your offline experience is even more so. Your customers can now encounter you in any number of places: in their News Feed, through Instagram, on Google, coming direct to your website.
The experience they get when they consume your product, whether that’s a stereo system or a luxury retreat, should be matched by the experience they get when they first find you no matter where that happens to be.The end result of brand consistency across multiple channels is a much greater impact on the customer, greater trust and a stronger ROI.
Crossing the divide
The single most important tool for crossing the divide between online and offline has been social media. Social media allows brands to react instantaneously and reach an audience they know is engaged. It allows the offline experience to be shown online and, when used well, integrated campaigns generate even greater engagement and, more importantly, lead to an increase in sales.
Budweiser launched their 'Rise as One' campaign for the 2014 World Cup. Their messaging was consistent across all their online channels but also matched their offline activity - from billboards to their product packaging. The result lead to an increase in sales and huge exposure on the international stage.
Consuming media, communications and marketing has now become an immersive experience. Think of your favourite TV show… it’s now de rigueur for all the top shows to include a hashtag in the opening credits. Interactivity and engagement remain the buzz words. Look at the World Cup Final - selfies from the players and pop stars become the most talked about element of the tournament.
The key to all of this is to put your brand, your core values and your campaign first. How you run that campaign comes second but it should aspire to be an immersive experience. And it's an experience that should be consistent across all your channels.