Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era available in Hardcover
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About the Author
Antony Young is CEO of Mindshare North America and has developed media strategies in Europe, Asia Pacific and North America for influential global brands, such as Sony, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Procter & Gamble and Toyota. He is the co-author of Profitable Marketing Communications and writes regularly on media for Advertising Age. In 2003, UK Mediaweek rated Young one of the top 25 most influential people in the media industry.
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Brand Media Strategy
Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era
By Antony Young
Palgrave MacmillanCopyright © 2010 Antony Young
All rights reserved.
GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK
HOW THEY'RE CHANGING THE GAME
Google and Facebook and a host of other digital media have disrupted the marketing communications profession. The two companies, each in its own unique way, have changed the game. While it is tempting to dismiss popular online fads, the impact of Google and Facebook goes way beyond their respective numbers of visitors or valuations. They have reshaped mass communications globally and opened up opportunities for marketers to execute more accountable, influential and multidimensional campaigns.
Branding has been the foundation of the advertising industry for a century. Broadcast and print advertising's forte was in growing brand awareness and building a brand. In some respects, digital media has set higher standards, in effect repositioning the industry's perspective of established media, because digital media enables consumer response measurement. Tracking and optimization tools for online media provide granular and near real-time response to creative material, which allows not just a higher degree of accountability but more sophistication in influencing buyer behavior.
Digital media also provides a level of interactivity that by its very nature enables a more personalized experience. Users are able to get information how and when they want it. The internet has become the information medium of choice and a significant factor in influencing purchase decisions. For marketers, digital media provides insight into how to reach customers and convert interest into intent to purchase.
The peer-to-peer connectivity of social media needs to become central to every marketer's thinking. Will we soon take product recommendations from our ten closest friends on Facebook or from a blog found on Google? Marketers are preparing for these possibilities. According to comScore/Kelsey Group research, nearly one in four internet users looked at online reviews before selecting a restaurant or hotel or legal, travel, medical, automotive or home services. Another survey reveals that, among teens, 39 percent of word of mouth about a brand happens online via text, email, instant messaging, chats and blogs.
Knowing the digital media space is vital to getting the most out of advertising. Let's take a brief look at the two companies.
GOOGLE: THE MAGIC, THE LOGIC
For decades, advertising has been about creativity, art and emotional connections. And then about a decade ago, Google shook things up, bringing with it an advertising era based on math, reason and logic. Google offered to solve the age-old conundrums of marketers: waste and accountability. What marketer wouldn't want solutions to both?
Google helped advertisers by delivering the ability to directly target consumers at the moment they're looking for a product or service. Google serves up an ad on its search site and elsewhere at the precise point in time that people are researching a potential purchase or, even better, ready to buy online. Quite simply, Google's AdWords program has revolutionized the way companies big and small advertise.
One has only to look at Google's financials to see the extent of its success. According to one estimate, AdWords accounts for 95 percent of Google's profit. Full-year profit at Google was $6.5 billion in 2009, while revenue was $23.65 billion. By comparison, Time Warner's entire Time Inc. division, which publishes titles as large as People and InStyle, reported profits of $246 million in 2009.
Google's ability to serve as a conduit for sellers looking for customers has created billions of dollars in profitability, and few think Google's potential is anywhere near fulfilled, such is its lock on our collective consciousness. "Google and its competitors have created the first application to leverage the database of intentions in a commercial manner: paid search," writes John Battelle in The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture. Battelle came up with the phrase "the database of intentions" to convey the power Google holds in knowing what we're all searching for, whether it's boots, books, doctors or divorces. Google's advantage comes in matching advertisers to all those searches for information. What ads web users see depends on a variety of factors, but the most important one is the ads' relevance to the initial search phrase. "It is a very efficient marketing program," says former Gateway online strategist Antonella Pisani. "You are capturing people while they are interested."
For an example of AdWords' effectiveness, take Paul Bond Boots, an Arizona-based family-owned business that sells cowboy boots. When asked, "How good of a program is Google AdWords for small business?" one of the company executives said, "In my opinion it would be indispensable at a time like this." In 2009, the company's ad showed up on the right in the sponsored links section when "cowboy boots" was typed in the search box. But Google AdWords isn't a media sales tool for just the Paul Bonds of this world. Fortune 100 companies such as CitiGroup, IBM and even Google competitor Microsoft rely on Google's utility and targetability for their commercial success. It's hard to imagine Amazon as the company it is today without Google AdWords.
The change that Google has wrought on advertising cannot be overstated. It forced a paradigm shift for advertisers, moving their decision making away from targeting demographics and mass audiences to connecting with individuals in a much more relevant way. As a result marketers have seen wastage significantly reduced. Since AdWords' cost is based on an auction model connected to the price and effectiveness of the advertising, the onus is on the advertiser to develop more effective copy. Google's brilliance is that advertisers can see whether a coupon or a free recipe is more effective. And even better, advertisers can adjust their plan almost instantaneously without significant additional costs, in contrast to making ad changes in traditional media, which is slow and expensive.
Advertisers can't buy their way to the top—the ads have to be relevant to the people typing the search term, and Google ranks the site they are directed to by its quality. And that is a critical point for a marketing strategy—how well do you know customers and how well are you targeting them with the message they want to hear. How much marketers pay for their ads to be clicked on is decided by factors that Google—not the advertiser—controls. Yet Google has democratized advertising, making it accessible to small advertisers and taking away the clout and scale enjoyed by bigger fish.
Ken Auletta in his book Googled: The End of the World as We Know It observed that Google believes it is helping to shape a new and better media world by making the buying of advertising more accountable and transparent. In Google's view, the company serves consumers by offering advertising as information. And by offering a bidding system based on rewarding the more responsive ads it is helping to improve advertising performance.
Google's largest impact on the media business as a whole has been to force it to compare its conventional metrics with sophisticated internet data. In an attempt to stem the flow of dollars to more accountable media, television networks agreed to move from program ratings—the currency of the industry since television ad buying began—to commercial break ratings, which made it possible to estimate how many people were viewing a particular commercial. Newspaper executives only provide circulation figures; whereas online advertisers know exactly who's reading what story when readers connect digitally.
What's more, consumers' appetite for online searches appears to be growing. Worldwide, those aged fifteen or older conducted 131 billion searches in 2009—a 46 percent jump on the previous year's number, according to comScore. Google's share of that figure in the United States alone was 65.6 percent.
Google has highlighted the undeniable fact that the established advertising business was built around a soft measurement—say, ratings or readers or impressions. The increased transparency of online advertising's direct impact on sales and leads is pushing other media to do better. Our clients will no longer accept "estimated measures" of success when digital media provides them with hard data that can be tied directly to results.
Interestingly, the search giant isn't known for doing its own brand advertising very often, but it does reach out to the ad community through the odd print ad. One such ad, figure 1.1 (see page 12), explains in very simple terms four ways the company can help marketers. In many ways that copy reflects this new era of advertising accountability that Google champions.
Google isn't resting on its search laurels. Google entered the ad network business with AdSense in 2005. AdSense offers advertisers the opportunity to serve relevant display ads—text, image or video—based on content and user and behavioral data. Their bet on mobile devices is manifested in the Android operating system and an array of mobile applications. Speaking at Atmosphere, Google's conference for chief information officers, Google's chief executive officer Eric Schmidt signaled the company's focus on that platform when he said, "Mobile will ultimately be the way you provision most of your services. The way I like to put it is the answer should always be mobile first. You should always put your best team and your best app on your mobile app." During the week of the 2010 television upfronts, Google launched Google TV, which attempts to make live television and the Internet into a seamless experience for viewers. The most interesting feature of Google TV is that, by essentially treating websites as television channels, viewers will have access to a virtually unlimited number of content choices on a single display, their television set.
FACEBOOK'S INFLUENCE OF HALF A BILLION FRIENDS
The number of social media sites is exploding, and usage is up in almost every dimension—as good a reason as any for marketers to take note. And here's the clincher: Facebook is now the biggest website in the world.
Launched by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 from his Harvard University dorm, Facebook began life as a site to help fellow students share videos and messages rather than emailing them or uploading them to clunky sites. Facebook's simple interface, rather like Google's simple home page, is one reason its popularity has leapfrogged other sites such as MySpace. In 2010 Facebook had over 500 million users. The website claims that the average user has 130 friends.
Perhaps the most stunning statistic is time spent on Facebook. Web users are spending much more time connecting with their groups. According to Nielsen figures for December 2009—a much-watched period since people spend more time in December connecting with friends and family and doing online shopping than any other month—time spent on social networking sites rose 86 percent compared with the previous year. On December 25 Facebook overtook Google as the top site in terms of traffic for the first time. According to Facebook, half of their active users log in to the site every day.
While Facebook's advertising revenue has been limited thus far, its impact on the marketing business has been huge. Suddenly the power of word of mouth, networks and small groups can become magnified globally, as we saw with candidate Obama's message of hope and his call to action.
When a new disaster strikes in the world, social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are increasingly the places that people turn to first, to find out what happened from friends or witnesses reporting before the news media. The New York-based Haitian Times wrote in January 19, 2010, that "the use of social networks as a major way of communications is a first for Haitians, who have traditionally relied on radio and word of mouth as the best source of information."
David Kirkpatrick writes that Zuckerberg and others at Facebook "believe [that] more visibility makes us better people. Some claim, for example, that because of Facebook, young people today have a harder time cheating on their boyfriends or girlfriends. They also say that more transparency should make for a more tolerant society in which people eventually accept that everybody sometimes does bad or embarrassing things." This idea has migrated to brands and how people respond positively to the transparency that social media encourages. In a world where consumers are becoming more cynical and dismissive of corporate-controlled brand messaging, Facebook represents the media of the everyday person. Hence marketers and their agencies are trying to tap into the Facebook effect. They're trying to create Facebook brands built out from within the Facebook community and thus personally relevant in this more transparent and authentic world.
Here's a handful of reasons why marketers need to know about Facebook and other social media networks:
They provide a rich data mine of people's current interests, for example, a book or movie. It's a global focus group.
They enable marketers to see what's working and what's not and put more money behind those products and services gaining most positive mentions (see the Coca-Cola brand page on www.facebook.com/cocacola).
Facebook and others might one day replace email as a simple form of messaging.
Social media sites are portable and can be accessed from a smart phone, enabling marketers to connect 24/7 and also serve up messages based on the viewer's location.
"Like" pages allow users to tell their friends of their support for certain brands.
Facebook gives advertisers the ability to target; Facebook users share their geography, birthday, gender, relationship status, age and education level.
The early internet advertising strategy of driving traffic to a corporate site has been superseded by the strategy of brands living on sites that users enjoy spending time on.
The smartest brands are on Facebook and doing their utmost—building brand pages, building traffic for those pages and promoting their products in entertaining ways. "Companies cannot traverse the web quick enough.
They need to create these unpaid armies of customers to do this on their behalf," claims Jeremiah Owyang, a partner with Altimeter Group.
One of the most popular brand sites is Coca-Cola's, built not by the company but by true brand evangelists. The company's 7.6 million fans post their love of the drink alongside photos of their Coke merchandise collections. Similarly, Starbucks has 10.3 million fans sharing their enjoyment of caramel lattes in a sentence or posting videos of their kids enjoying the cafés. The page has an option for suggesting a friend so you can share your love of a product. Best Buy, another company with a huge Facebook presence, has built a page that doesn't promote products; rather, it lets visitors get feedback about products from other Facebook friends and provides the marketer with feedback from customers. The site also has a Shop and Share feature.
As social media continues to evolve, new sites and platforms will arise and be the first to catch the next wave. But Google and Facebook are the first significant players to have broken through and influenced everyone in our business. It won't ever be the same.CHAPTER 2
THE NEW MEDIA PLAYBOOK
A NEW SET OF RULES FOR A NEW MEDIA WORLD
In the old world of top-down, one-way communication, a company told you what it wanted you to hear, and you had the choice to take it or leave it. In the new digital world of transparency and ready access to amazing quantities of detailed information on just about everything, companies will be held much more to account.
—Simon Clift, former global chief marketing officer, Unilever
As a kid growing up, I remember discarding my Larry Bird Converse sneakers for the latest set of Nikes. I really did think they made me jump higher and shoot the basketball better. I would later learn when I entered the ad business that it was all about branding.
Nike is one brand that has wisely used its marketing to remain relevant.
It has transformed its Brand Media Strategy from the golden age of mass advertising to one that takes full advantage of the Google and Facebook era.
Back in the eighties and nineties Nike's ad campaigns were the gold standard of the marketing community. Michael Jordan was the face of the brand for youngsters, whether they lived in an inner city or a leafy suburb.
The sneaker brand aired its first national television spot in 1982. By 1988 Nike launched that unforgettable tagline "Just do it," which became an Advertising Age top-five slogan of the twentieth century. The marketing helped propel the company to a 23 percent share of the athletic shoe market.
Fast-forward twenty years and Nike's strategy looks very different. In 2006 Nike spent just 33 percent of its $678 million US budget in traditional media, a 55 percent drop from the previous ten years. Now, Nike shows many of its ad spots only on the internet. A two-minute, forty-six-second spot starring soccer player Ronaldinho garnered twenty eight million views on YouTube.
Excerpted from Brand Media Strategy by Antony Young. Copyright © 2010 Antony Young. Excerpted by permission of Palgrave Macmillan.
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Table of ContentsBrand Media Strategy Explained The New Rules of Engagement Outcomes, Not Outputs Why Coke and Pepsi Can't Have the Same Media Strategy Why Consumer Funnels are Back in Style Dashboards and Ten Other Ways of Measuring Marketing Effectiveness I Want My Subservient Chicken 1+1=3. Creating Wider Consumer Conversations in Media Bringing Everything under One Roof Execution is the X-Factor Brand Case Studies – Evaluating the Best of the Best Getting it Done - The Right Steps to Succeed