system two

system two
start-up thinking in the enterprise

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Communications Rainbow


What is it?

The Victorians were obsession with classification. Our modern industrial world was built on a simple, pragmatic thought - that to classify, was to understand. Darwin, Edison, Livingstone - all took journeys armed with this simple belief.

The "Communications Rainbow" is homage to that era. A simple, visual, classification of marketing.

What does it do?

The rainbow tries to put tactics (2nd ring in) into perspective - I've often frustrated by the small amount of time, money and effort allocated to digital thinking. To online planning. To making sure, money spent, is spent wisely. By demonstrating the layers of thinking on which the outer, tactical rings should be based, I wanted a tool to illustrate to clients, just how important having a business, marketing and brand strategy was - before they started to think about "marketing" as an ongoing task within an organisation.

In visually describing the huge variety and choice we have when trying to engage users, the rainbow also aims to be a tool to expand client horizons at the tactical stage. Listening and engagement, data web marketing, sCRM, content strategy - these areas of new marketing are all too often still nice to haves - in an always on world - they need to be placed at the heart of a marketing mix. Conversely, the ring of "products" acts as a mind map of the kinds of products and services, marketing agencies might think of offering in the new world.

To my mind, many digital agencies need to move out of their "lick and stick", "design it, built it" mentality - and understand that they need to offer (and clients are crying out for) a more consultancy style approach. One which offers a broader suite of training and consultancy products -as well as the "practical web" stuff.

Away from tactics, I wanted a tool to help place digital marketing in a wider marketing and business context. Marketing is the interface between the business and the user. Done right, it must have the opportunity to inform product design, IT, PR and HR. This can't be just a nice to have - it is essential in a conversational, always on world - where users expect their feedback and interaction to mean something.

Next steps....


The Communication Rainbow is a starter for 10. A personal take on the world, full of my own prejudices and blind spots. I would love others to contribute to it. I hope to have an interactive version of it soon, which will allow other planners, and marketeers, to add to it. There is much that needs to be improved. It nevertheless represents a start, something to which I hope, others will want to contribute.

On that note - I need to thank Joe Crump, at Razorfish, who has kindly allowed me to use a part of his excellent Digital Darwinism slides here in the filters section.

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