Thursday, May 13

Integrating Communication: No More Lines


Whether it's the Preakness with its "Get Your Preak On" advertising miss or it's the TomTom GPS ad that shares a voiceover session with Darth Vader, the lines between advertising and public relations are often blurred. As advertising campaigns sometimes become the topic of social media and social media feeds media, the best and the worst campaigns elicit public responses best left to public relations professionals.

Of course, today's communication streams don't have to be linear. The source of the original communication or reaction to an event can be initiated in any medium. Take the recent success of Liquid Mountaineering. How do you classify it?

Is it entertainment, with the participants merely sharing their new sport? Is it social media, given its home base blog and attention the it received? Is it public relations, given its exposure as a real new sport by WUSA in Washington, D.C. coverage? Is it advertising, with creative and professional long-format production quality?


As it turns out, it is an advertisement for Hi-Tec Sports that relies on social media as the medium. It has since earned as much media attention as it has its own Internet fan base, making the need for public relations as important as the original production.

The Future Of Communication Isn't Integrated. Integrated Communication Is Now.

Sure, there have been some complaints from agencies, marketing specialists, social media pros, and public relations professionals that prospective clients are confused. It's no longer uncommon for pitch lists to include some representative companies from each discipline. But while most of them look at each other's skills as competitive, the truth is that they are complementary.

Integrated communication isn't so much a point of view anymore. It's critical to successful communication. As for the future, the only firms that will survive are those that embrace it or learn to partner with companies that can round out areas where they are considerably deficient. As for the rest, saying you can do it all if you can't only lasts so long before the in-house marketing teams are brought up to speed.

The takeaway here is simple enough. A high percentage of successful and naturally occurring viral campaigns over the last year have employed integrated communication. A high percentage of failures have relied on communication well within the lines of a single discipline. Color outside the lines.

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