Judy Franks, founder of The Marketing Democracy and Northwestern University IMC Program faculty member, has written a very poignant article for min online, “A Media-Saturated World With a Scarcity of True Media Brands” in which she succinctly spells out the key dilemma facing today’s media industry. Her entire article is worth reading, but I’ll summarize her key point here.
Too many publishers define their core value as a combination of distribution and audience. They are stuck in the printing-press-era mindset where publishers are in the business of owning and taxing the road connecting advertiser to audience. If this is how you define your business model, your days are numbered, whether you’re in the magazine, web site or broadcast business.
Today, there is nothing proprietary or particularly compelling in distribution pathways or audiences. The balance of power is shifting completely, and we are rapidly approaching a day where the audience has complete control of the content and the means of distribution.
So what options does this leave for publishers?
The most successful publishers have always known that their most important assets are their brands. Franks cites several well-known examples in her article–HBO, Martha Stewart and Real Simple–all brands who have a very clear identity.
Great brands are like great friends. You spend time with them because you want to–not because they control access to information or audiences. You spend time with them because they’re fun, entertaining or helpful. They make you smarter and more successful. They make you feel better about yourself. You trust them.
Once you have a relationship with a BRAND (not a magazine or web site or TV show), you’ll look for ways to spend time with that brand, regardless of the distribution medium or platform. That’s why great media brands have a great deal of influence.
The fun part now is to find new ways of using that influence to create value. We’d love to know: what’s working for your brand? Bed sheets at Kmart? Business research reports? Custom content campaigns?
And let us know if you want to talk about how we can help you build a great media brand!