We have been on a rant about Branded Media here at Urbane for some time. Kirk Cheyfitz Huffington Post article articulates well what advertising will look like going forward. Apartment executives would bode well to start the retooling now. It takes time to build your digital footprint, and yes, Size Always Matters.
There is angst in ad land over the complexity of media. Ad planners wring their hands, bemoaning the proliferation of media channels and the unpredictable ways in which “consumers” (as they refer to people) jump from TV to Facebook to text messages to Google to foursquare to iPods…and so on.
What’s a brand to do?
Out of the chaos in the media world and the complexity of infinite digital channels, a new way of looking at media is emerging that is simple, useful and strategic. The latest buzz in advertising puts all media in just three categories: paid, owned and earned. But advertisers and everyone else struggle to make sense of that. So this is a combination how-to and how-come piece about those three categories of media and how they can vastly improve the way advertisers small and large approach advertising.
For everyone who’s addicted to short, numbered lists, here’s the 3-step answer:
- Paid jumpstarts owned.
- Owned sustains earned.
- Earned drives cost down and effectiveness up.
(Definitions of paid, owned and earned media are lower down in this post. For shorthand purposes, paid is stuff you pay for like Print Ads; owned is stuff you create and own, Like Blog Posts; earned is nice free stuff people say you about on Twitter–and anywhere else.)
There are a plethora of benefits to approaching media this way; the most important are these two:
- No matter what new media channels the geniuses invent tomorrow, this logical set of strategic categories doesn’t change; and
- To repeat, no matter what the short-term goal of any advertising effort (product introductions, trials and test drives, store visits, etc.), the long-term goal is always the same: to drive media spending sharply downward by recruiting fans and advocates who will spread a brand’s messages for free, forever.
The end result of using media this way is the creation of a permanent marketplace advantage for a business:
- Total cost of marketing ultimately goes way down because expensive media buys are less necessary.
- Credibility goes way up because ordinary people are talking up the brand to their friends and online connections, which has far greater impact on purchase behavior than anything a brand could ever do or say on its own.
Any brand that doesn’t put this set of media strategies to work will end up with a higher cost basis and lower credibility than its competitors. Not a good thing.
What you’ve read so far may be all you need to create a new mental framework that goes beyond old thinking about media channels and ad planning.
Next post, some background and a few prescriptive words about a new, more useful approach to advertising and the nature of media in a digital, social era.