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Integration – Just Another Buzzword?

Integration appears to be the latest PR buzzword, with articles like this highlighting the enthusiasm our industry appears to have for the topic.

Fair enough. Integration just makes sense, doesn’t it?

Well does it? What do we actually mean when we say integration? Frankly I’ve become slightly exasperated with some of the explanations I’ve heard (mainly from agencies, to be fair) which equate to something like: “We’ll do some digital. So we’re nice and integrated. Honest”.

Hmmm… That really doesn’t cut it for me. Or my clients.

In my view,being integrated is less about the methods of engagement and more about the way you identify and engage with the full spectrum of interested stakeholders around the issue or campaign you’re working on.

At Lansons, we’ve spent the last two years working with the Co-op Bank on the variety of issues they have faced. From a massive capital hole and record losses, to a notorious former chairman and lurid tabloid headlines, it’s fair to say our client has faced some major issues. Our role has been to help them identify the most important people to engage with on those issues, whether that’s investors, regulators, members, customers, shareholders, suppliers, or employees.

That’s what being integrated means. You start with the issue, you consider who needs to be engaged and you then decide on the most effective method of engaging them. Whether you decide to do that via digital or other methods is surely a tactical decision. Isn’t it?

You might ask “so what?” As someone who has worked in the PR industry for a decade but doesn’t consider themselves to be real PR person, I have to say it really does matter. It goes to the very credibility of our profession. We need to be careful that we are not just peddling some BS, and that instead the advice we are giving is considered, based on expert insight (and high quality ideas), and is likely to deliver results.

That’s what we think integrated means at Lansons. Oh and yes we do digital too.

Scott McKenzie is a Partner and Director at Lansons. If you would like to discuss this blog post with him, you can reach him on scottm@lansons.com or on +44 (0) 207 294 3611