There’s been a lot of talk about creative integration over the past
few years. However most of the debate has been focused on the ability of
a spec-ific marketing services to integrate themselves. Hence, we’ve
ended up with advertising agencies, sales promotion agencies, direct
marketing agencies or PR agencies - all proclaiming their own integrated
offering at the expense of others. That’s not the kind of integration
I’d like to talk about.
I believe that the real opportunity lies in integrated thinking -
multi-disciplined people working together from the start of a client’s
This can happen on three levels. We’re all familiar with ’message’
integration and, to a certain extent, ’brand’ integration, but I believe
the future lies in ’business’ integration: in helping a client
incorporate creative thinking into all of their dealings.
’Message’ integration has tended to involve taking a good TV idea and
extending it to other areas. But this isn’t enough. We need to encourage
an environment where there is no hierarchy of media and where
advertising, PR and other communication tools are seen as equals. This
approach requires teams of experts who can agree on what effect they
want to create and consider which marketing and media tools they need to
create it. Only then can you have a choice of media that cross-fertilise
and encourage each other.
’Brand’ integration requires us to create distinctive brand experiences,
not just distinctive brand images. This was how Egg (an HHCL client) was
able to tackle the cynicism around financial institutions. But to break
out of ’image’ creation, agencies need to work with people who are able
to produce a powerful brand experience and that means developing the
skills to collaborate with people outside our own disciplines.
However, the most crucial area in which we need to start working with
others is in offering our clients full-scale ’business’ integration.
These days, it’s no longer good enough to have a good product and good
To flourish in today’s world, businesses need creative thinking
throughout their organisation, from business strategy to recruitment
strategy. They also need to integrate this so that it all pulls in the
same direction. The question is, how can agencies help them?
Well, apart from employing people who are interested in shaping
businesses, we need to build a network of alliances with specialist
companies. Agencies themselves must build working relationships with
financial institutions, technology companies and recruitment agencies to
name but a few.
Agencies must start seeing themselves as webs of alliances, working in
different ways with many different people. Our ability to adapt and
learn will become even more crucial but the creative opportunities and
value that we can create could be enormous.
For an industry that’s always whinged about being taken seriously at
board level, there’s a real value in helping to create revolutionary
Advertising agencies have been creating value for clients for a long
We provide the human dimension, the spark of life if you like. Now
businesses are crying out for people to provide that spark throughout
their operations and if we can start, there’s a great future ahead.
Have your say at www.campaignlive.com on channel 4.
This article was first published on Campaign