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by Ed Weiss

… Does a painter paint? Talk among yourselves.

Every blog in my Branding series discusses how branding is a process and not a quick fix. My advice to readers is to have a core principle at the heart of their message and the way they conduct their business. OK, so you get it. Now, how do you make it work? Enter, Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), one of the keys for getting your message to your target audience.

Defining IMC:

Part one – You need to have graphic consistency throughout every communication emanating from your organization. This includes your print materials, ads, stationery, business cards, blog site, Twitter or Flickr page, trade show displays, and anything bearing your company name.

Part two – You need to have message consistency throughout every communication emanating from your organization. While I could have combined parts one and two I needed to put emphasis on each part because of their extreme importance to your branding effort. Everything you send has to reinforce your core message. Even when you send an email, your signature block needs to include your brand message (e.g. Where business is taught with humanity in mind).

Part three – Why is the integration portion of communication so important? In my lengthy career as a marketer I focused on making everything I produced for my company fit together. I wanted every message I sent to look as though it came from my company. My goal was based on the classic theorem that repetition was the best way to imprint your name in the minds of people who saw your message. The consistency across all media produced repetition of our message.

Integrated Communications Working:

When I got my first marketing job I saw that my new company had no two printed pieces that bore any resemblance to any of the others. When we sent out our catalogs I wanted them to be recognizable as coming from our company the moment you opened the envelope. The point is that the catalogs needed to be compatible with our print ads, trade show exhibits, sales presentations and even our packaging. It worked. After my first year, sales and brand recognition increased after several years of no growth.

The above example took place when marketing was far less complex. The communication avenues available to us were very limited compared with the sometimes overwhelming media options that face us today.

The bottom line here is that the new world of communication choices makes things even more challenging while at the same time, more exciting.

The ancient days of the consistency theory of marketing communications that occurred in the 1980s and earlier are still valid. Just look at the multiple ways in which you can reach your prospective clients. Think about all the communications tools that are available to you, many at no cost other than the cost of your time. Think also, about the ways you can parlay your tweets, to your Facebook page, to your blogs, and to your website. How amazing is this?

Shouldn’t all of these look and sound like they came from the same person? Shouldn’t each, in some way, reinforce who you are and give readers a reason to follow you and, hopefully, to become your clients. Think about that!