Integrated Brands: A showcase of strategic communications

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Where to find inspiring marketing?

Two decades ago if you needed inspiration you could leaf through any number of huge books that showed winners of the CLIOs, Golden Pencils, ADDYs, LIAAs and the Cannes International Advertising Festival. There you would see page after page of amazing ideas. What you discovered mattered because those were the days when advertising was at centre stage of marketing.  

Needless to say things have changed. Nowadays advertising is rarely the leading mode of communication – brands are being built in more varied and creative ways. Marketing campaigns give “wows” differently – and often in ways that are not recognized by the judges at awards shows.

At Beakbane, as an integrated branding agency, we aim to help our clients build their brands through the innovative use of technology. When going through the process we look around the world to find brands facing similar challenges and benchmark against them. We look for marketing "wows" that we can emulate.

Often the biggest “wows” are in how a brand defines itself at its core. This might be expressed in its work environment or in a passion for product design. Dyson for instance is a company driven by design innovation.

Sometimes what is most impressive, and hard to emulate, is how different aspects of the marketing communications work together, providing a satisfying and seamless experience for the customer.

Take inbound marketing for instance. Campaigns are effective because they build relationships with prospects steadily, one step at a time and marketing initiatives integrate with sales and customer service. No single element is impressive enough to win an award but the totality of the online experience, the newsletters, the landing pages, the social media tie-ins and product demonstrations are what makes it work.

We wanted to create an online resource where aspects like these can be showcased. We have developed a site called Integrated brands: A Showcase of Strategic Communications and at the moment is in soft-launch mode. It is a graphical site, likePinterest, and it is a wiki, so anyone can create a profile and upload and edit content.

Google is shown on the site and is an example of this new reality.  They are a successful company by every measure and their marketing is unquestionably effective. While they won a Digital Grand Prix at Cannes for Project Re:Brief, their reimagining of Coke’s 40 year old classic TV ad “I’d like to teach the world to sing”, their marketing by traditional creative yardsticks is not particularly noteworthy. However every part is clever on a number of levels and, when viewed in its totality, is mind-blowingly impressive.

The nature of effective marketing has changed. Now the magic is not in the creativity of any one campaign, but in how all the different parts tie together and make up the whole. Aspects that previously were overshadowed by advertising, such as the online experience, can be seen to be pivotal.

Companies with small marketing budgets have to be particularly attentive to how their brand is defined and the necessity of having all aspects of their communications work together. These days clever can outrun big.

Integrated brands is a site where companies and their agencies can showcase clever marketing and where subtle and holistic approaches can be highlighted. It is a place to inspire and be inspired. Please contribute.

Technical notes: the site is programmed using a content management system popular in Europe called Plone, which is written in Python. The site runs on an NGINX server.

Tom Beakbane is president of Beakbane: Brand Strategies and Communications

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