One Message, Many Channels, One Brand
If you’re reading this, chances are you know a thing or two about printed communications. And you’ve probably at least dabbled in adding digital communications, as well.
As in all communications, you know you have to keep your messaging and branding consistent—but how does that change across multiple channels? You wouldn’t say the same exact thing in an email as you would on a post card. So how do you decide what to say in each unique channel without jeopardizing brand consistency?
In-plants are in a tough situation: not only do they have to meet a multitude of competing demands throughout the organization they serve, but they have to do it under tight budgets. Often there is little time to think strategy when asked to support multi-channel communication platforms. Instead they focus on ensuring channels are functioning—no bounced-back emails, no coding issues as copy makes the transition from print-destined documents to those intended for digital distribution, and so on.
It’s high time the in-plant makes time for strategy and determines the best way to leverage the available powerful tools, instead of simply reproducing the same document across multiple media.
As is true of any marketing campaign (or, really, any action), you have to begin by asking what end result you want to achieve. Do you want to drive customers to your website? Encourage them to take part in a poll or survey? Spread awareness of a new offering?
The next step, and the one many may miss, is asking what each communication channel specifically brings to the table, and how best that unique advantage can be leveraged. Do your emails use embedded links to product pages to help start the sales cycle? Do your postcards leverage eye-catching visuals to get readers to hold on to them and QR codes or pURLs to keep the conversation going? Do your digital documents include live links to your website?
The Next Step
When your audience finishes reading, they shouldn’t have to ask, “What next?” The answer should be evident throughout the communication, and the action should be specific to the audience’s channel preference. A postcard featuring an attractive photo of your sleek new offering could include a QR code or pURL to a product page, while an online invoice may include links to a live chat or response email to put the reader in touch with one of your representatives.
Providing customers with multiple avenues to engage with you means, in addition to keeping your message fresh, customers are invited to take multiple approaches to understand what you have to offer, which can result in upselling and cross-selling as customers consider your portfolio in a new light.
If strategy is sacrificed in the name of saving time, then communications, channel selection and brand consistency will be compromised. Messaging isn’t just words; it’s an idea—an outlook. Branding isn’t just logos; it’s an attitude—a tone. As long as you know your campaign’s goals and its voice, that knowledge can be applied across communications, no matter how diverse those communications’ specific tactical goals are. So long as all tactics serve your strategy, you’re on the right track.
An effective, integrated multi-channel campaign utilizes multiple entry points to gain readers’ attention and offers multiple methods for readers to take action, while still serving the single overarching goal of your campaign, as well as operating within the unifying framework of your branding and messaging.
You know what you want to say. You know how you want to say it. Now figure it out strategically, and then go say it. Your customers are listening—even if they are listening in different ways.