Integration: The Secret Ingredient to Your Secret Sauce

By Sunjay Armstead |
March 19, 2020
A Barista Smiles Proudly Stood In Her Cafe Photo

If you have ever had a spicy dish, there was probably a moment when you wondered, “Wow, what was that?!” Great brands are like that. They have a secret sauce that is often not replicable. But there is one ingredient that many leading brands mix in that helps them win. It’s called integration. Let’s take a look.

Integration and your communications

Big brands are sticklers for unified and integrated communications. Sure, some marketing departments get a bad rap for being uptight even about internal marketing collateral. But all communication matters in your organization, because every communicative event delivers some form of value.

Marketing and value-offerings

Your organization has something—a product or service—that it perceives to be valuable. And you got into business because you felt that your “something” was so valuable that it had to be shared. So you did this thing called marketing and told your closest friends about your “something.” Marketing is about communicating your value-offering.

Marketing is not just advertising. Marketing happens in many places and among various groups of people. You are marketing when you create a product price based on consumer trends in the market. You are also marketing when you rave about your company to your social networks. You see? Every communication matters, and the strongest brands unify their communications to present a consistent message across media. So, how can you mix in the secret ingredient of integration into your brand’s special sauce?

It’s called being “on-brand”

Being on-brand is one tangible way of unifying your organization’s communications strategy. When you are on-brand, your secret sauce is recognizable and desired. Let’s look at a few ways you can do this:

Internal communications

Corporate memos can be a necessary evil, but they don’t have to be. Design your internal communications to speak the same language as your message to your customers. That looks like integrating your brand colors, typefaces, and tone of voice into your internal communications. Show your team what it looks like to communicate your brand well.

External communications

There are several pieces to the external communications puzzle. Below are some notable areas.

Style guide

This one seems most obvious. Design a style guide and have each department stick to it. The nice thing is that you don’t have to copy your competitor’s guide. Your style guide is a window into what makes your company unique. So flaunt your uniqueness and own your DNA!

Unified communications are most sustainable when leaders model the way. A style guide is a great place to start.

Marketing collateral

Marketing collateral are printed or digital pieces that position your brand in some way. Make sure everything you put out in the world is dripping wet with your DNA. This helps with brand recognition and building a loyal fanbase.  

Customer experiences

Communication researcher Loyd S. Pettegrew once explained me that all employees with even a second of customer interaction per year need customer service training. So from the CEO to your maintenance staff, everyone needs to be trained on what on-brand interactions look like.

Putting it together

The special sauce analogy breaks down at this point. As you can see, integration is not simply an ingredient you can mix in at will. Organizational unity is that invisible thread that keeps your brand alive. It starts and will only continue with leaders modeling the way in every communicative event. Yet it also requires a team that is willing to work together to speak a consistent message at all times.

Integrated organizations are leaders in the marketplace. Their brands are recognizable and they take every communication seriously. That certainly includes your latest PR nightmares caused by COVID-19. Remember, every communication matters. Every landing page, flyer, and email is communicating a value-offering. Make sure your communications are on-brand.

I’m here to help

If you need help with designing on-brand marketing collateral for COVID-19, look no further. I’ve created special packages for custom flyers and landing pages to help you. Your organization’s legacy is worth the investment. Order your package today.