The art of marrying offline and online

Over the last decade, marketing has evolved at an exponential rate. Some experts even go as far as saying that digital marketing has overthrown traditional marketing whereas others feel it is just the flavour of the season.

Over the last decade, marketing has evolved at an exponential rate. Some experts even go as far as saying that digital marketing has overthrown traditional marketing whereas others feel it is just the flavour of the season. Well the truth is, the two coexist harmoniously and work together to expand your brand like never before.

In order to stand apart from the crowd and be remembered, brands will need a combination of multiple marketing strategies and tactics to maximise the potential of their advertising and marketing initiatives.

Although businesses have begun to understand the importance of utilising both online and offline marketing strategies, only a few of them have integrated the two to reap the maximum benefits.

Typically, brands have viewed online and offline marketing as two different machines which require two different tactics. Are they different? Yes, they are. But the last thing you want to do as a marketer is to create confusion about your brand, a high probable outcome if you have two different marketing departments working independently of one another.

Nowadays, it is not uncommon for a potential customer to see an ad on a billboard, and then casually check Twitter and see a social media ad for the same brand. What if those two ads are using different tones, voices and strategies? Gives you one more reason to integrate online and offline marketing campaigns, doesn’t it?
Both the digital and traditional mediums should be utilised to carry out the same campaign. For instance, print ads should have the same voice and design that an online ad would have. Print ads should also encourage the customer to go online. Create a useful and unique hashtag for your campaign and use the hashtag across all your marketing efforts. This is a great way to get your customers involved while also reaching a larger audience.

Brands should always keep in mind these 4Cs:

n Coherence — different communications are logically connected
n Consistency — multiple messages support and reinforce, and are not contradictory
n Continuity — communications are connected and consistent through time
n Complementary — synergistic, or the sum of the parts is greater than the whole

The best example of an integrated online and offline marketing communication is The Coca-Cola Foundation. There are thousands of brands under the Coca-Cola umbrella, so many in fact that most people have Coke products at home and don’t even realise it. What people do recognise thanks to this company’s unwavering integrated marketing efforts, is the classic Coke brand.

Coca-Cola has global brand recognition of 94%. The red background with white lettering is so familiar, that it is said to be the third most commonly recognised word in the world today.

What can brands take away from this? That both online and offline marketing efforts should be seamlessly linked to one another for a successful campaign that will drive business without confusing the customer. Experts believe that in order to drive the message home, increase brand recall and amplify awareness in today’s world, it has become necessary to tap each and every medium that your target audience is consuming on a day-to-day basis.

It is of utmost important to be present across multiple touchpoints.

A brand that managed to strike this balance is MTS with its #MTSInternetBaby campaign. The brand used multiple online and offline strategies to drive the message across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, print, outdoor etc.

With social media, brands have the opportunity to interact with their followers and potential customers. As many of these interactions require immediate, real-time responses, it would be wise to create a style guide for your campaign — one that you can refer to when interacting with online users.

A brand’s style guide can include key phrases, tone, voice, specific word usage and images that are approved for the campaign. Social media often requires real-time responses and having a style guide in place will help your digital marketing team maintain the consistency you established before the campaign took effect. Integrating offline and online marketing activities is not just about strengthening brand presence; it is also about leveraging the existing brand capital and assets to make a memorable impact.

The author Priyanka Shroff is COO, Digital Republik, India

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