A silo structure has been utilized in business settings for decades. In a silo structure, departments and sectors restrict information flow to individuals outside of their silo or department. For instance, a company is divided into individual departments for communications, marketing, engineering and customer service, to name a few. For many companies, each silo stays in its lane, which leads to lackluster internal communication.
Imagine a communications team developing a strategy for a product launch; simultaneously, the marketing team is developing its own strategy for the same product launch. The only way for this to be successful is for everyone to be a mind reader. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been blessed with that superpower yet.
Fortunately, for many companies, the lines are being blurred among organizations’ silos. The communications team is working alongside the engineering team to develop a press release for a new product launch; meanwhile, the marketing team is collaborating with the communications team to create a unified strategy for the product launch.
Rather than utilizing the archaic silo structure, companies are choosing to foster collaboration through integrated communications. Integrated communications is the process of arranging different teams to work in tandem to develop a single, unified strategy for promoting a brand, product or service. It’s easier than you think to create and deliver an aligned brand message across channels and assets.
Southwest Airlines’ “Transfarency” campaign is an excellent example of a successful integrated communications strategy brought to life. Launched in 2015, the campaign featured social media posts that called out other airlines for charging additional fees for baggage, snacks and drinks, and a television ad that debuted during a baseball playoff game for the Texas Rangers, a team that Southwest Airlines sponsors. Then, the television ad was uploaded to YouTube and posted across the airline’s social media channels. Southwest Airlines created a microsite (check out www.transfarency.com), a custom hashtag (#FeesDontFly) and additional creative for the campaign over a 15-week effort. “Transfarency” was a massive success for Southwest Airlines, so much so that Southwest continues to utilize the campaign creative today, five years later.
Emirates and Always are two other companies that have mastered integrated communications, too. As the silos start to come down, we find ourselves in a connected world with many tools — such as Slack, Google Drive and Zoom Video Communications — designed to facilitate collaboration among employees. There’s no better time than now to embrace the future with integrated communications.