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BRAND MEDIA STRATEGY

Chapters Five & Six

In chapters five and six of Antony Young’s Brand Media Strategy, Young outlines strategies and techniques that are helpful for reaching consumers in today’s world.

The customer base for a company looking to push their brand can’t be viewed strictly as customers or rather, consumers anymore. Young explains that, “Communication should be about focusing on people rather than consumers… They’re not a number on a spreadsheet” (Young, p. 65). This approach, from consumers to people, has come about because of the shift from mass media to the digital age, where people exercise greater control over their media content selection and access. In an effort to “focus on people rather than consumers,” many companies have begun using Storybook, a facebook app that allows individuals to share their personal experiences with a product or brand directly with the company that made those experiences possible. According to Mashable, companies who use storybook are able to create deeper, more meaningful connections with their consumers while keeping the conversation focused on their brand(s).

When people are able to access content in such a non-linear fashion, marketers and communication strategists must take greater care in understanding who exactly is consuming what content and for what reasons. Companies must gain insight into the behaviors, wants, needs, and impulses of the consumer. Insight must now take precedence over analysis. Instead of trying to target a giant audience for a message, communications strategists must now consider how they can influence the brand perception of small groups of people. One example Young talks about is “microtrends.” Microtrends “can be created by as few as three million people, or about 1 percent of the US population. Even if that group doesn’t grow, it can still have enormous impact on society,” (Young, 72).

In chapter six, Young discusses the power of conversation and its effects on consumer brands. Young notes that word of mouth advocacy for brands and products is the most influential marketing technique today and that there are three aspects to it.

1. Word of mouth instills confidence: “Many recommendations come from people you know, which reduces the emotional risk of following a recommendation,” (Young, p. 88).

2. A personal stake: Nothing creates loyalty like advocacy.

3. Increased perceived value.

Another strength related to word of mouth is that it raises awareness of the brand or product. Young notes how much power word of mouth wields by noting, “a stunning 3.3 billion word-of-mouth brand impressions take place in the United States each day,” (Young, p. 91).

Chapter Seven

Chapter 7 highlights the importance (and difficulty) of integration. Before we begin talking about integration, take a second to check out this video:

Notice how each “instrument” is responsible for a different aspect of the song. If any one element disappeared, the song would be less full, less rich, and less engaging. They are all playing the same song, but they are each responsible for a different sound within that song. This is how integration should work. Just as Stomp is made up of different people playing different patterns on different instruments, so too a successful integrated campaign is utilizing different people communicating different messages on different media. The overarching “song” of an integrated campaign comes from the CCI or the Central Communicating Idea.

The CCI is the general message you are trying to communicate to all your consumers. Each medium may get the message across in a different way, but the message is the same. This is not to say that each element is identical—in other words, taking a successful television campaign and converting it to a radio ad and a print ad. If each Stomp instrument played the exact same rhythm, the cadence would be overwhelmingly loud, but not nearly as complex, interesting, or compelling. Loudness may sound like a good idea to some clients—after all, isn’t the whole point to get people to listen about your product?—but you should try to view your campaign as your consumers will. And people usually don’t like to be yelled at. Instead, use the CCI to act as an anchor or a musical score that integrates the Brand Media Strategy across multiple, harmonizing, media channels.

In years past, most marketing strategists developed the creative idea first and then developed the media plans. Once the client approved it, the agency would develop other executions of the idea. Don Draper would be proud.

Digital was usually added as an afterthought, through another agency and another manager. Surprisingly, this way of doing things was being advocated by scholars as recently as 2006. In their article on Online Marketing Communication (OMC), Jensen & Jepsen (no, not our Jensen, she wouldn’t be so aggravating. Besides, that’s her first name, not her last name. But we digress) argued marketers should continue to treat online communication as a completely separate entity from the more “traditional” media. This argument runs counter to that of Young in Brand Media Strategy. If you’re marketing elements are playing different songs, the results wind up something like this.

In today’s world, it is more effective to discover how we might connect with our target audience and how we might use each individual medium before we decide what our message is going to be. In other words, it makes more sense for media and creative to have a partnering relationship rather than a linear one. This allows the consumer to have the best experience possible, which in turn allows your campaign to be as successful as possible.

GROUNDSWELL

Chapters Five & Six

In Chapters 5 and 6 of Groundswell, Li and Bernoff discuss how your customer base is the driving force behind your brand. The discourse between a company and their customers is essential to effective branding. As the authors say, “Your brand is whatever your customers say it is” (p. 78). The best ways to listen to your customers is through internet searches. Li and Bernoff advise Googling the company name with the words “sucks” or awesome” behind it (p. 80).  This tactic will probably be the most effective due to the various blogs and discussion boards that will appear. Li and Bernoff discuss various ways companies can listen to the groundswell. Some of these ways include: save money for research, manage PR crisis, generate new product and marketing ideas, and find out what your brand really stands for (p. 93).

It is not enough for a company to solely be an effective listener. There must be a two- way communication flow. To talk with the groundswell, Li and Bernoff suggest several things, including: post a viral video, engage in social networks and user-generated content sites, join the blogosphere, and create a community (p.103). According to Li and Bernoff, “communities are cheap to create—you can create one for free at grouply.com, for example—but to create an effective community, you must constantly support and maintain it” (p.123).

Chapter Ten

In Chapter 10, Li and Bernoff discuss the importance of Twitter. It can function as a typical social media site, or it can be a place for customer support. “But when it comes to Twitter, you need to know that once your company starts to connect, people will expect the company to listen and respond, not just broadcast” (p.201). Talking, energizing, and embracing Twitter is essential if it is to be used to its maximum effectiveness. As the authors point out, it is a simple tool, but it can be used in a myriad of fashions.

Martin et al. point out in their article, people experience “greater self-reported emotional arousal for recently formed brand relationships, as well as decreased emotional arousal and increased inclusion of close brands over time.” This stresses the importance of the relationship that your customers have with your brand. Without listening to them, it is impossible to know what they want, and the likelihood of a relationship forming is not high.

Sources:

Don Draper Sales Pitch [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y4b-DEkIps

Every single KK Slider song at once [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdDnQYCI-P4&feature=related

Jensen, M.B. & Jepsen, A.L. (2006). Online marketing communications: Need for a new typology for IMC? Journal of Website Promotion, 2(1), 19-35.

Li, Charlene and Josh Bernoff (2011). Groundswell.

Martin, R., Castano, R, Zaichkowsky, J., & Bechara, A. (2012). How we relate to brands: Psychological and neurophysiological insights into consumer-brand relationships. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(1), 128-142.

Stomp–Stomp Out Loud [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu15Ou-jKM0

Van Paris, K. (2012, June 28). Storybook connects consumers with the brands they love. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/06/28/storybook/

Young, Antony. (2010).Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era.

Blog Leaders: Laura Hatcher, Kristen Higdon, and Michael Wunderlich

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