Brand development is about more than just a name and a logo; it is about identity, personality, and voice. Being able to make your brand easily identifiable, consistent, and cohesive across platforms all relates back to integrated marketing communications. Understanding what your brand is, who you will communicate it with, when, where, and how, are all important in ensuring brand development. 

Henry Vinson earned his Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University and has used the skills of integrated marketing in every position he has held since. He goes over what integrated marketing communications is and how it contributes to brand development. 

Brand Strategy

Having a brand strategy is all about standing apart from the crowd, ensuring that customers think of your company before another. Henry Vinson explains that you want your brand to emotionally connect with others, encouraging them to recommend you to friends. Having a brand strategy is the action you take to connect your customers with your business through recognition. There are numerous ways to achieve this, but the most important thing to do is ensure you have integrated marketing communications. 

Integrated Marketing

Henry Vinson explains that integrated marketing is the process of aligning all of the various promotional mix elements (direct marketing, digital marketing, sales promotion, advertising, public relations, and personal selling) used to communicate with your target market and customers. The benefit of integrated marketing communications is that it helps your brand create a distinct and recognizable voice across a variety of channels, making sure that the customer experiences the personality of your brand no matter where they see it. Of course, this does not mean being stagnant, as a brand can evolve and change over time, but consistency will aid in developing a sense of trust with your consumer, which will have better results for your company in the long run. 

One of the primary reasons for the increasing significance of integrated marketing communications over the past several years is that it plays a key role in the process of emerging and sustaining brand identity and equity. With all of the brands and products fighting for the eyes and dollars of consumers, familiar brands have a serious competitive advantage in the marketplace. Brands have the power to command a premium price from customers as well as investors. 

Successful Integrated Marketing Communications 

Henry Vinson explains that being successful at integrated marketing communications means align three principles: brand alignment, customer alignment, and budget alignment. When you choose a platform for your brand, ensure that it is aligned with your goals. If you sell luxury watches, you will want to advertise in The Economist, not in the local newspaper. When it comes to reaching your customers, be sure to be where they are. Pick channels where your customers are the most active to ensure success in your marketing strategies. If you sell visual items marketed towards younger audiences, focus on Instagram, not Facebook. You need to pick channels that align with your goals. Lastly, pick a channel that aligns with your budget. Digital platforms are among the cheapest form of marketing and they can be tracked, unlike traditional marketing mediums like billboards, which are expensive but have a much lower conversion. 

Despite the fact that branding needs to be consistent across your marketing campaign, it is crucial to recognize that different platforms are better suited for different types of messaging due to distinct advantages and disadvantages. Henry Vinson explains that given that different channels have their strengths and weaknesses, different types of content will naturally suit different channels. Twitter is great for short, witty messaging, while visual content is best shared on Instagram. If you do not have one single communications strategy to amplify your brand, there is a chance that your message will get lost in the constant stream of content that consumers are subject to. 

Final Thoughts from Henry Vinson 

Great integrated marketing communications are about more than your slogan, brand colors and logo, it is about weaving a consistent story through everything that the brand does, ensuring you have customer-centered marketing. With the rise of the internet, says Henry Vinson, customers have a much greater say in how they consume marketing materials. Marketers now have to incorporate the perspective of the consumer into every piece of promotional content they put out.

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