By Scott Tripp
In today’s connected marketing environment, where the conversation never ends and every message needs to be cross-platform, the static marketing model that has guided marketers for nearly 20 years is due for an upgrade.
It is no longer enough to come up with your elevator speech, or craft a positioning statement that doesn’t take into account your brands personality or the core reason for your existence. You can no longer just focus on digital (or postcards, or tradeshows). What is needed is a more holistic brand focus.
So what does that look like and how does that work? We use the term “integrated” quite a bit around our agency. Lately however, I have been thinking about the term, and I feel it only partially describes this all-inclusive approach needed. How can we start marketing in a different fashion when we still use the same terminology from 20 years ago?
What if we start using the term “harmonized”? Harmonization goes way beyond just integrating. Just because we integrate our various platforms, doesn’t mean they are singing the same song. Harmonization is collaborative. It doesn’t start with an ad or a website that gets homogenized and rolled out to be translated to other platforms (many times poorly). It shouldn’t be like three different karaoke singers simultaneously performing three different Neil Diamond songs. Sure, they may have been written by the same guy, but they sure don’t sound great when sung together.
Done right, Harmonized Marketing sings. It has individual notes and each note strengthens and builds on the others — until they come together to create one multifaceted and complex song that communicates the brand as a whole.
If you think of a choir, all of the singers are broken into parts — tenors, baritones sopranos and so on. Each part has their own set of notes and each singer within the parts must contribute their individual talents in order for the entire choir to sound amazing.
One of our clients, a fast-growing mid-sized contractor, was looking to expand by acquiring other complimentary contractors in new markets. Our brand audit found its success was largely due to its high-touch, personal approach with its clients—something the clients felt they couldn’t get from a large contractor.
The challenge was to maintain its high-touch brand as it grew larger — in markets where they did not have recognition. To succeed, it had to align its business strategy with its newly defined brand strategy and synchronize communications to employees along with its other target audiences.
They adopted strategies and tactics that communicated the brand and its core beliefs to all managers so that they would understand the importance of the high-touch nature of the brand. They also implemented an all-encompassing plan to synchronize that brand behavior at every customer touch point, from Business Development to C-Level. By defining what a high touch experience for customers and prospects meant and then personalizing every touch point along the way, they were able to use the brand equity of the legacy company while quickly and harmoniously communicating what it meant to do business with them.
Over the next few columns, I’ll cover many of the platforms to consider when building your own harmonized marketing plan, along with ideas on how to get them to sing together and make beautiful marketing music.
Scott Tripp is the President and Creative Director of Trippco Creative, a marketing and branding firm headquartered in St. Louis, MO. With over 20 AEC clients on our roster, we work to align brand and marketing strategy with business goals—creating stories and experiences to engage, influence, rally, inspire and build communities.