Guest blogger Taylor Trahan is originally from Sulphur, Louisiana and while Baton Rouge proved to be the perfect college town – she was insistent on moving back home after graduation. In August of 2015, she graduated from the Manship School of Mass Communication with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a concentration in public relations. Prior to graduation, Taylor accepted a job as Marketing and Communications Coordinator for United Way of Southwest Louisiana located in Lake Charles – about 10 minutes from her hometown. While her job requires the wearing of several hats, her favorite days include traditional public relations writing and creation of various marketing and communications pieces. In between wedding planning and working, she enjoys hanging out with her rescue pup. Feel free to reach out to Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or @trahan_taylor on Twitter.
If you’re anything like me, you probably still call your mom to consult on most of your decisions. To put this into perspective, I’ve been on my own for almost 4 years now. I have my own “big kid” job, pay my own bills and I’m engaged to be married. It doesn’t matter – if I don’t know what to do, I’m calling my momma. The reason is simple and it can be applied to the concept of integrated communications. My momma’s voice is constant, reliable, understanding, wise and patient. I go to her for everything because I know that, no matter what, I can expect the same level of sound advice each and every time.
So, how exactly does this little story fit in to a successful integrated communications strategy? Let’s check it out.
1. Be consistent
As frustrating as it may be at times, my momma is predictable when it comes to her advice. It’s not always what I want to hear but it is always her message loud and clear. Branding, messaging and imaging of any form (digital, print, spoken etc.) should be consistent. Are you a fun loving, humorous brand? Are you a serious brand? Find your tone and stick to it. Of course, there’s always a time to deviate from your tone (no one is taking you seriously on April 1st) but for the most part, keep it consistent.
2. Be persistent
Raise your hand if you can hear your mother’s voice in the back of your mind while doing a certain thing. Okay, now everyone put your hands down because we probably all have one up in the air. You know exactly what I mean, the thing she tried to drill into your head for years and now you finally get it. Be that for your consumers. Think of what you want to be for a consumer and create persistent messaging that makes them think of you instantly. This is how you’ll create your “regulars.” A strong message that creates a sense of loyalty will keep them coming back.
3. Be innovative
My momma can throw anything into a stock pot and produce a meal in a hot minute. As a nurse, the hours weren’t always 9-5 and sometimes we got a little creative for dinner. Don’t be afraid to get creative every now and then, too. Raise your hand if you’re confused because I just told you to be persistent – hang in there with me for an example. We all LOVE social media calendars, right? We have a beautifully thought out plan of our messaging across multiple platforms. Except when something happens that calls for an immediate reaction of some sort. I’m here to tell you, those things will never happen between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. Cue your social media calendar being obsolete at this point. Crisis excluded, get creative with your messaging. Draw on relevant events, pull in some user generated content and even get “pun”ny if it feels appropriate (a personal favorite).
No brand is the same and the challenge will be different for each of you. Some of you will go into positions with companies/organizations that have solid messaging and branding in place already. Some of you will be tasked with figuring out what that messaging strategy will be. Regardless of which of those positions your in, a style guide and/or a messaging guide will be your BFF. Learn it, live it and keep multiple copies of it. As someone who is just starting out in her position I can tell you that I refer to mine almost daily in some capacity. I am slowly starting to learn what it means to integrate messaging into every single aspect of our communications strategy. I hope the tips and tricks I’ve learned from my experiences will help you in your PR journey. As you go about turning your brand into “momma,” keep the following quote in mind…
“Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.” Entrepreneur.com