I wrote a while ago about the use of that ugly word integration within the marcomms community, for too long we have bandied this word around to basically plaster the same key visual across a multitude of different media channels. With the massive growth of the web, digital and social we are still experiencing the ‘we must be everywhere’ phenomenon but brands are starting to understand that different media and different forums serve different purposes.
This is where the concept of synchronisation is starting to take hold as brands determine how they can synchronise different engagement and messaging techniques on varying channels to deliver an overall brand experience, answering questions like what role does mobile and location based services play in my campaign, or are my consumers really interested in playing a branded game that feels like angry birds?
Alongside synchronisation we also have convergence – I remember when this was a dream about 10 years ago when I joined the industry and finally we are starting to actual see things happening. With Google TV and Apple TV, and various other media centre experiences the joining up of the web and the TV set are finally becoming a reality – consumers can watch VOD from their cable operator or Netflix streaming via the web, pull up a YouTube video on their living room TV or even have a wireless keyboard on the sofa to reply to emails.
But this isn’t the only convergence we are seeing – 2011 is looking to be the year of the tablet. The iPad has been swiftly followed by a number of other contenders not limited to the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Blackberry Playbook and most recently the HP TouchPad. These devices are giving us everything we love from laptops (and the dying netbooks too) along with the benefits of the mobile phone and mobile broadband – small enough to drop into our pockets and powerful enough to make a video call and run some spreadsheets at the same time.
If technology is finally converging and communications has figured out how to synchronize messages to best effect then the integration that we need today is at the intersection of synchronisation and convergence – where we find the sweet spot of creating brand experiences that consumers want to be a part of. The nirvana of the cloud is giving us the tools to achieve this and we need to understand how we can deliver on these experiences.