The Age of the Integrated Brand Experience

June 28, I gave a presentation to the National AAMCO Dealers Association – we talked about integrating the brand experience. We discussed integrating and synthesizing all available channels and mediums to maximize a brand’s reach, penetration and level of engagement with the consumer.

The fact that social media is important to almost any communications strategy is a given. We now know that in many markets, people spend more time online today than time spent watching television. But to unlock the brand-building value in social media, marketers need to better understand how social media complements other, more “traditional,” media.

To accomplish social media integration, marketers must focus on three essential elements:
1. Creating better synergy among media silos and producing campaigns and budgets that include social and mobile tactics
2. Better understanding the effect of social, TV and mobile on customer decision-making
3. Knowing how to get the consumer more involved in their brands so the influence consumers have on others can play a stronger role in the “path to purchase”

Too often, marketers fall into the trap of believing that “integration” simply means combining online and offline campaigns. But this does not take into account the fact that, in today’s marketing world, consumers no longer simply take in information about brands, products and services – they also create information and content through social media. Every consumer is their own “media conglomerate” and a driving force powering what, when and where brand interaction occurs.

As consumers engage multiple media channels, they often step in and out of the traditional purchasing decision process and bring others along with them through social media discussions that are typically non-linear and driven by emotion.

At Qorvis, we believe that by better understanding and leveraging the consumer’s natural habits for interacting with both traditional and social media, we can create and operate campaigns that lead to deeper engagement and trust – thereby strengthening and accelerating the purchasing process.

Tap into the power of “social influencers.” Approximately 10 percent of your total audience has the ability to quickly and effortlessly amplify your brand message across their large social networks. These “social influencers” are people who have very high levels of media consumption, a natural inclination to research products online and a habit of sharing their research and opinions with their large social circles. “Social influencers” are often asked for their opinions by friends before purchasing decisions are made.

Create better synergy among offline and online media. Every media channel has its core strengths and weaknesses. The secret to a successful campaign is having the expertise to combine them in a way that most effectively targets the points of influence. For advertising, it means building brand platforms that convince consumers of their needs, wants and desires. It also means going beyond the typical offline experience by creating additional content for advertising, such as behind the scenes footage, timelines, and cultural associations that drive dialogue and provide a wider path to brand discovery. For interactive, it means organizing campaigns for 24/7 connectivity and giving consumers more and better “search-and-find” opportunities.

Craft social environments that transform organic community conversations into product or brand information portals. Once inside the portal, consumers can gain access to more information and participate in a brand experience that underscores the brand benefits, provides more personalized information and lets them make a purchase.

By converting influence into action, marketers can improve the consumer experience by providing more and better content that enables socially influential consumers to share positive experiences and create calls to action. That, in turn, will build brand loyalty and expand markets.