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How to build an integrated ad campaign
In this multimedia age, marketers must be able to run a campaign across different platforms, all while conveying a consistent and coherent message.

But what elements are key to the success of an integrated campaign?

A strong campaign idea
Any integrated campaign ultimately stands or falls on the strength of the underlying concept behind it. Brands must therefore make sure they are running with a strong campaign idea before moving on from the creative development stage.

According to research by Kantar Millward Brown, 33% of UK consumers believe ads tell better stories today than they did 3 years ago. However, just 27% said multimedia campaigns remind them about the brand. As a result, they need to make sure any concept they come up with is both memorable and distinctive.

Test your idea
The study also points out that while campaign integration cues might be noticed by marketers, they won’t necessarily be spotted by the target audience. Indeed, 89% of marketers believe their campaigns are integrated, but just 52% of consumers feel the same. And as such, the report recommends testing executions early across various media channels before rolling out a campaign on a larger scale.

Don’t focus solely on visual cues
Visual aspects of an integrated campaign, such as colour schemes, logos and typefaces, can be crucial in pulling the whole thing together. But some platforms such as online videos and TV ads will also rely on other stimuli, such as sound. This means it’s essential that aural cues such as music and voiceovers also match up.

Understand what you want to achieve from each channel
Brands have countless options when it comes to creating integrated campaigns, from erecting display banners to investing in a paid search campaign online. It’s therefore essential that they understand what return on investment they can get on each before committing to certain platforms. As Kantar Millward Brown notes in its report, marketers must only invest in channels that have ‘a clear role in reaching the target audience’. With that in mind, they must be careful when customising content for different platforms and ‘only create ads for channels where you can adapt versions that will really work.’

Measure the campaign’s progress
Once the campaign is underway, brands must assess how effective each platform is proving to be. Tracking the performance across different platforms can be crucial in determining whether you are achieving your desired goals and adequate return on investment.

Kantar Millward Brown compares running an integrated campaign with conducting a large orchestra, as marketers must ‘work even harder now to ensure that everything works in harmony’. This means that while the concept should be adapted for different platforms, it mustn’t ‘stray too far from the core idea, as the brand impact and the effectiveness of the media investment will be compromised’.

In fact, the research showed that campaigns with a strong central idea perform 64% better across all brand KPIs, particularly with regards to brand image associations. Another mark of a successful campaign is the average strength of all executions, rather than the best or worst individual efforts. With an integrated campaign, every ad and its placement is crucial to its success, so the overall average performance is what ultimately dictates whether or not it is working.

The study also found that three-quarters of multimedia ad campaigns are integrated well, with all content fitting in well and supporting the wider promotional drive. Done well, this can go a long way towards building a brand and cementing key ideas and concepts in the target audience’s mind.

Sources / Further reading
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