Opinion 3 minute read
It’s a concept every agency claims to be working towards, but despite years of hype about ‘integrated offerings’ and 'joined-up working' it seems SEO, digital, marketing and PR are still being treated as stand-alone disciplines – looked after by separate teams and individual budgets.And whilst of course, specialisms will always have their place, in today’s always-on, digital culture, where brands are accessible via multiple channels, maintaining control and monitoring content needs a more team-centred approach.
As 2017 budgets are being allocated isn’t it time we started to put our money where our mouths are and begin taking integration seriously?
As someone who has spent most of my career working in the marketing and digital marketing industries, in the last decade I've seen unprecedented change. The dominance of online and the rise of social media has redefined the way businesses and brands work, advertise and speak to customers and each other.
A staggering 88% of people now say they trust online reviews more than personal recommendations [source: BrightLocal 2014] and 70% admit that seeing four negative articles online would stop them buying goods at all [source: Moz, 2015]. Within this landscape, social media presents a great opportunity for dialogue between brand and consumers, but managing these now free-flowing conversations can be tricky.
Fast-moving, accessible and agile, when a damaging tweet can be posted and seen by millions of users across the globe in a second, keeping control of messaging and managing negative content presents real challenges. And this is why an integrated approach is now essential.
In a world where pages of on message printed editorial can be undone by a comment made in an online forum, managing the competing effects of different kinds of marketing, PR, social media, SEO and content is a must. After all, what's the point of spending millions on a brilliant PR campaign if a company's Google page one is littered with negative content?
Many UK and international companies understand this, but may struggle to achieve it. In so many cases despite a desire to create and maintain a robust online reputation, the integrated approach that would make this easier to achieve doesn’t always happen – putting corporate and commercial reputations at risk.
It is important for these companies look at the bigger picture, to take a holistic view – because that is what their consumers will do.
For agencies this means pooling resources and expertise to create great, harder working campaigns and expanding the scope of more traditional PR functions. This can include campaign activity traditionally managed by different groups. Typically this will include bringing together core marketing, digital and PR managers to oversee content and asset creation and review monitoring and responses.
From there it is important to ensure that this vision is made known across the agency. Different parties should all continue to contribute, creating a shared list of live objectives. Bringing disciplines together in this way, to rally behind and deliver one, integrated strategy will not only provide better protection against reputational challenges but will be more cost-effective too.
It's an approach I think we will see more of in 2017, as agencies look to find smarter ways of working – for themselves and those they represent.
Article written by Simon Wadsworth, founder of reputation agency Igniyte