Published in Ad Age September 10, 2014
When I started in the business, media was the least glamorous part of the ad industry. We were the numbers guys. Our offices were crammed behind the accounting department. We were the equivalent of the bespectacled, suited PriceWaterhouseCoopers representatives — the butt of gags at the annual Oscar awards ceremony.
Then something happened.
Media became hip.
Media turned digital.
Media got social.
Media not only is now cool, it’s become relevant.
In the U.K., there has been a marked decrease in traditional academic disciplines such as sciences taught at British universities, while courses in media studies have increased threefold in recent years.
It’s not only students that want in on media. Marketers increasingly want to engage more in media. Tech entrepreneurs are excited about media. Account planners want to join media agencies. Creatives want to join media agencies!
Even Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer and Jeff Bezos transformed their respective companies into media entities.
From celebrities to CEOs to now everyone with a smartphone, we have all become media publishers –posting a comment, a blog, a pic or just throwing a bucket of ice on your head and recording it for Facebook. The shift to a ubiquitous media culture has been one of the defining consumer evolutions of the past decade. So what does this mean for all of us working in marketing communications?
MEDIA IS AT THE INTERSECTION OF ENTERTAINMENT, POP CULTURE AND MARKETING
We can learn from the entertainment industry on how to leverage media and events, whether it’s Ariana Grande performing the opening act at the MTV VMAs to coincide with her album release that next day, or Michael Jordan sitting in Roger Federer’s box at last week’s US Open match, which provided an opportune moment to promote his new Nike sneaker with Air Jordan technology.
THE MORE ORGANIC THE BETTER.
Brands have always looked to insert themselves into media events — the more organic and integrated across channels the better. I liked what L’Oréal Paris did around the Emmys, particularly how they integrated in social media and mobile. Their Make-Up Genius app — a “magic mirror” on your smart phone or tablet — lets users experiment with different lip colors, eye shadows, blushes, etc., to help recreate the look of leading women characters of Emmy-nominated shows, such as Joan Harris in “Mad Men.” Their use of Vloggers to provide tutorials for recreating red-carpet looks on their own Beauty Channel on YouTube added more depth to the traditional media programs.
EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE A MEDIA MAVEN
No matter your core marketing discipline — account management, creative, brand consultant, account planning, PR, digital, analytics, social — you need to be a media maven. At the very least, you need to be as familiar with technology and media as your consumer. Don’t be a media snob. Keep up with the shows people are watching. Set aside time to read as much as you can online. Do you use Wanelo, Oovo or Giphy? Your fourteen-year-old daughter or nephew is. Understanding what and how people are consuming media is now part of everyone’s job requirement.
COMMUNICATIONS PLANNING IS ABOUT INTEGRATING ALL THE PIECES
As marketing services increasingly specialize and splinter, it is becoming harder to see the bigger picture. Integrated communications has become even more an imperative to a brands success. Communications planning is an important facilitator of that integration.