I have been thinking a lot about James Warren’s essay on inline PR for PR Week’s digital essay’s supplement, which in its breaking down of silo-ed online and offline campaigns mirrors my own thoughts on marketing and the development of the ‘web-of-no-web’. I won’t repeat James’ essay you can go over to his blog and read it there, but instead I wanted to amplify a couple of salient points around it.
Working with our colleagues at Universal McCann we create what we call an Inline Profile for each campaign, an integrated influence model that reflects the audience we are trying to reach and the nature of the communications objective. The Inline Profile enables us to identify which combinations of channels (and therefore tactical execution) will be most effective in driving advocacy.
This profile also needs to really understand the client’s brand, for example, what would that brand be like as a person? And have the insight to really understand the root reasons why the consumer/customer should engage with that brand (Max Factor cosmetics make you feel confident apparently, Surf washing powder makes you a better Mum, Cadbury Dairy Milk makes you smile and Apple products make you hip, cool, creative and more productive).
Secondly there is a big need for ‘Inline’ thinking not only from the consumer side but from the technology side as well, what I call in homage to Bruce Lee the ‘web-of-no-web’. At the moment offline adverts now feature a QRCode, URI or a search box with suggested search terms in it (very popular in Japan). However we are also seeing the linkages coming the opposite way, when you think about technologies such as the Nintendo Wii, Twitter, Flickr, location-based services like Goodrec or Google Maps on the smart-phone of your choice; the boundaries between the web and the real world have been broken down. This is already resulting in changing behaviours: from my own personal experience, I no longer pack an A-Z as I go around London and my social plans have become even more fluid in nature.
Consequently silo-ed (and hence disjointed) online and offline programmes would produce a jarring confusing brand experience for the consumer where messages will get lost or negative consumer sentiment blossom between the ‘cracks’ in the marketing communications.