Integration is a key component within marketing‐ and corporate communication. Benefits include synergetic representations, increased credibility and transparency. However, integration may be problematic. With the purpose of re‐conceptualizing integration, this paper aims to discuss how organizational self‐understanding and self‐presentation are challenged by consumer resistance as integrative communication practices prevent organizations from fully engaging in meaningful stakeholder dialogue.
Framed by a cross‐disciplinary review of integration as a concept, Arla Foods' “ONE” is analyzed by way of a qualitative content analysis as an exemplary case of integrated communication. Subsequently, the case is approached from a critical consumer perspective, drawing on empirical studies of consumer responses to and conversations with Arla Foods.
An alternative approach to integration is presented replacing the notion of “one voice, one sound, one story” with an emersion of the organization into consumer narratives and market cultures. Integration is re‐conceptualized as moving from an intra‐organizational perspective towards a co‐creative perspective.
There is a need for further re‐conceptualization of integrated communication in order to develop a theoretical framework and definition that articulates a co‐creative view on integration.
Re‐articulating integration based on co‐creation carries different potential consequences for communication management, e.g. listening to consumer voices, self‐reflection and co‐development.
The original contribution lies in re‐conceptualizing integration as moving from an intra‐organizational perspective towards a co‐creative perspective with both practical and research implications.
Susanne Johansen, T. and Esmann Andersen, S. (2012), "Co‐creating ONE: rethinking integration within communication", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 272-288. https://doi.org/10.1108/13563281211253520Download as .RIS
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