Integrated Communications and ‘Integral’ Approaches

The holistic perspective of the alternative spirituality movement leads the individual to the search for an integrated life grounded in his or her true “essence.” Essence, derived from divine source, is sometimes called Chaos in Greco-Roman mythologies, or Nuit in Egyptian ones. To fully embrace one’s divine essence, the integration of the component parts of one’s life into a seamless whole is a considered desirable.

The influential modern philosopher, Ken Wilber, has done much to further the “Integral” approach which takes a wholistic, four-quadrant approach to reconciliation of disparate and sometimes conflicting knowledge systems. Though Wilber’s work isn’t discussed here, spiritual public relations and marketing may be seen as a means by which integration of the individual’s thoughts, feelings, work, beliefs, and values becomes possible. Spiritual approaches to marketing and PR can therefore change the entrepreneur’s life for the better.

The view of Marketing Public Relations as a means of change agency is somewhat new, possibly coming into its own only within the last decade. Within corporate public relations in the 1990’s, the word “integrated” began to be applied to communications created as a result of a comprehensive plan or strategy. The goal was consistency across roles within the corporate communications structure as economically driven downsizing created a climate where fewer professionals assumed multiple roles. A synonym for “integrated” in the media world is “convergent.”

“Business must deliver the right message in the right medium to elicit the right result,” said Michael Lissauer of Business Wire, in a frequently quoted passage about the importance of message consistency. The judgment inherent in the use of the word “right” bothers me a bit, for the spiritual perspective focuses on decision, action, and response to a given problem, making room for mistakes as avenues to learning and signals for adjustments. From this perspective, even the “wrong” decision can yield “right” results.

As a communications strategist, I consider this quotation from the fresh perspective of the spiritual entrepreneur accessing integrated MPR strategies. Admittedly, this perspective, my emerging perspective, contrasts strongly with the corporate viewpoint. Spiritual entrepreneurs on the whole are committed to delivery of authentic, coherent messages sharing their heart-felt desire to be of service. Creating a better world for the future, many of us share some characteristics with those who focus on social policy issues, frequently seeing our calling as a way we can contribute to the evolution of society. Spiritual entrepreneurs articulate a core vision and message across platforms, not departments, to elicit an engaged response from their community, create relationships with their ideal clients, and help more people. In contrast to social policy makers, however, the spiritual entrepreneur’s message is sourced from the individual’s divine connection to essence. All messages must be “authentic.” If the message is inauthentic, or it does not communicate its ability to benefit the lives of others, the entrepreneur will be unable to receive the result desired – an integrated life in which one does not have to choose between money and a divine calling. It’s a harsh reality of modern life many people with a spiritual ethos find painful.

While discord may accompany integrated message efforts at the corporate level, at the individual or entrepreneurial level at which I primarily work these days, the harmonious synthesis of messaging creates the desired reality. This effect has been studied in speech communications disciplines as consummatory rhetoric, or speech that manifests a vision into the real. The result tends to attract those of like mind, and makes it possible to receive energetic support in the form of money for one’s personal gifts.

Truly, there’s beauty in divine flow made manifest.

There is beauty before  us, there is beauty behind us, there is beauty all around us. I walk in beauty.

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