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Integration: The not so new black


Let's be honest, 'integration' is currently one of the most overused terms in the industry. And it's not new. Media has always been consumed across many platforms. The idea of cross-platform brand building has long been the nirvana for clients and agencies alike. But what does integration really mean and what is new about the integration challenge?

Media consumption and screen time is exploding. Australians now consume 52 hours of media a week. Everywhere you look, there are more TV shows, news providers, aggregators, user-generated videos and interactive games. Three out of every five online Australians are partaking in what is called "media multi-tasking", such as watching TV and using the internet at the same time. As audience attention spans become progressively more fragmented, a marketer's ability to make a lasting impression on a customer is more thoroughly tested than ever before.

As our audience becomes increasingly populated by a digital-native generation, the already high expectations for media and advertising providers will only continue to grow. When you combine this with the tendency for people to talk about, and not with brands, we find that advertisers need to more skillfully leverage compelling content across multiple platforms, allowing their audience to do the storytelling for them.

Integration across multiple screens

So what is the definition of truly integrated marketing? As the audience interacts with the story across multiple screens, a consistent and connected brand experience becomes mandatory. The content must provide consistent interactions for consumers, wherever they are, in a way that is valuable and integrates into, rather than disrupts, their lives. With each connection we make, we seek to drive interaction, consumption and enjoyment of a brand and its content. And so, it becomes essential for marketers to recognise the role played by each of the key content delivery methods.

Recent Microsoft research into multi-screen consumers found this convergence of screens has not led to a direct cannibalisation, as no two devices fully meet the same set of needs or provide identical benefits. Screens work together to complement each other and create a more robust experience. Microsoft found consumers perceive different screens in different ways:
  • PC — an engaging way to get things done: The computer is the device with the most utility. It is used for productivity, information, entertainment, socialising and making purchases. Marketers should consider that multi-screen consumers want to be engaged while they interact with their PC.
  • Smartphone — personalised style, smart and sophisticated: Users rely on the phone to stay in touch, not only through talk and text, but also to communicate via other digital means. 50% of Australian smartphone owners have used social networking sites via their phone and 70% have sent or received email. The phones keep up with consumer needs and they expect marketing content via the smartphone to evolve just as fast.
  • Gaming console — the fun way to connect: The games console is evolving. Entertainment is still at its core, with functionality extending to watching movies, TV and social networking. In Australia, Xbox Live subscriptions grew 48 percent year on year, and the number of hours spent totaling 200 million hours in 2010. Kinect for Xbox 360, launched in November 2010, has been officially named by Guinness World Records as the fastest-selling consumer electronics device. An average of 133,333 units of the console were sold per day for a total of 8 million units in its first 60 days between November 4, 2010, and January 3, 2011. I think some marketers still think of gaming as a medium just for teenage boys. This is becoming a mass medium where consumers feel truly connected to other users and content, offering a channel with uniquely high levels of interaction.
  • TV — lean-back entertainment: Multi-screen consumers consider the TV to be the least "engaging" of media devices and are increasingly seeking control of this environment. However, TV continues to deliver content that engages Australians, with 99 percent watching TV programs and 40 percent of weekly media time spent with the medium. It also remains Australians preferred medium for entertainment and news. Across all screens, multi-screen consumers report advertising that is both targeted and relevant improves their media experience.

Both globally and locally, it has been proven that, when done properly, more screens are better than one. The two best case studies I've seen that show this with integrity are:

  • IAB's Colgate WISP study, which resulted in brand awareness increase by 19.4% for TV only, rising to 27.6% when considered across TV and online.
  • Microsoft's Avatar campaign tested three screens: PC, mobile and game console. Of consumers who saw only one screen, 15%went to the movie. Of consumers who viewed all three screens, 44% hit the box office — resulting in three times more seats filled.

Is integration simple? Well it should be!

Great Insights lead to Great Ideas, which lead to Great Executions. This is the mantra of the most successful marketing campaigns and is the key to keeping integration simple. Brand and marketing strategies can vary significantly across platforms, but keeping objectives aligned and executing them well is the key to success.

The Powered team at Nine Entertainment Co. was set up with this aim in mind. It's a uniform, integrated, energetic cooperative that truly understands all screen platforms and develops the best creative environment in the business.

As media owners, we are uniquely able to collect insights about our audiences' attitudes and behaviours while consuming these mediums. We can spot trends and profess insights. Layer this with the knowledge that a client or agency has around their product and the creative process and fresh thinking emerges. Powered then goes on to ensure there is a strong connection between insight, idea and execution across all platforms.

The launch of the new Kia Sportage SUV is an example of this integration. The objective was to drive awareness of the launch amongst a core demographic of men aged from 25 to 44. The insight: a man’s need for his own domain – the Man Cave. The creative: To create the ultimate new Man Cave. Powered created an online competition, supported by sponsorship of Top Gear. The campaign further leveraged the Man Cave concept by execution in Top Gear magazine. The campaign was a hit, with more than 12,500 men entering the competition. The campaign was so successful it has been nominated for Best Insight at the Global Festival of Media 2011 in Montreux, Switzerland.

User comments
Excellent analysis. This will prove true.

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