By Cary Hatch, CEO, MDB Communications

At the Capitol Communicator’s Convergence in Communications Conference, I was delighted to spend a “fast forty” [minutes] moderating the complex topic of integrated communications services with subject matter experts Leah Nurik, CEO of Gabriel Marketing Group (GMG), an integrated marketing communications firm, and Rebecca Davis, head of Social@Ogilvy (shown in photo (l to r): Hatch, Nurik and Davis).

These seasoned pros shared inspiring experiences with candor on this ever-evolving topic.

Rebecca Davis deftly shared her perspective as the leader of the digital team at Ogilvy Washington, where she helps manage teams that serve Hennessy, Five Guys, DuPont, USAID, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Merck, among others.  Formerly with Discovery Communications, Rebecca noted that her background on brand building, media planning & digital for Discovery’s TLC, Planet Green and Discovery Education informed her work today. Familiarity and fluency in disciplines is key to finding pointed solutions and with greater efficiency.

Leah Nurik discussed a host of issues around integration; silos and “Turf Warfare” and multi-disciplinary teaming. Her considerable experience as a contributor for eWeek and early career experience at CBS News in NYC provided a solid foundation for her multi-disciplinary approach – and also guides her strategies today for a roster of B2B technology clients.

Both panelists saw the “arms race” for talent as a necessary step to finding talent that is as comfortable with real-time social media war rooms as with more traditional broadcast media channels. The scramble to cover off all aspects of communications – and demonstrating results to CMOs was considered a driving force when recruiting for the best teams.

During the session we took note of the stark reality of – “who’s at the table” and “who’s not”. With a few sighs and moans from the audience, it was widely conceded that the ongoing evolution [or revolution] of the communications industry and the “seats at the table” have truly changed; likely forever.

In a recent article by Tim Williams (legendary counselor to the industry) he addressed the topic this way… Integration is a way of working…Not a service offering.

He went on to state: “If every agency on the planet is a ‘full-service, integrated marketing communications firm’ (like they say they are), why do clients chronically complain about the lack of integration from their agencies? Unfortunately, just because agencies have a long list of disciplines doesn’t mean they have the discipline to make them all work together.”

“It’s more likely they have sewn together a Frankenstein that is less, not more, than the sum of its parts.

Remember that true integration includes one other important team member: the client.”

In his closing words, he reminds us that “integration is something you do, not something you sell.

In the end, integration is more about how you work than anything else.”  Well said, indeed.

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