While the essence of your brand must remain the same, today’s media choices force marketers to loosen the rules.
One of the reasons paid advertising is still so seductive for marketers, is that it’s the only brand space that is completely, utterly controllable. Every detail of a paid ad or video can be lovingly crafted and meticulously examined. You own the message, the timing and the target.
After that, marketers face a spectrum of options that erode your control, even while they multiply your audience.
Once you agree to editorial placement in a high-end shelter magazine, you give up the first degree of control. Realistically, if you know the editorial source, you can trust the overall content to be reasonably on message. But still, the details are now in someone else’s hands.
Once you agree to pay for product placement on TV or in a movie, you lose even more control. Perhaps there was a concept pitched and a script offered, but who knows what you’re really buying into until it’s on film? It could be a hit, a flop, likeable or shudder inducing. Either way, there’s your product for all to see.
Once you engage in social media dialogues, all bets are off. Now it’s a dialogue with the general public and you have almost no control. Smart brands understand that social conversations require fast responses, a sensitive voice and as much corporate transparency as possible. Still, at best, social media is an unpredictable forum that requires sharing your brand message with thousands of other voices.
For most brands, a mix of media is crucial. Paid media still matters to make the brand story clear and compelling. Editorial placement and endorsements give you third-party credibility. Product placements offer surprise and a certain cool factor. Finally, social media gives you a chance to make friends with your customers and admirers for life.
So, what’s the right media mix? Sorry, there’s not a magic formula. It depends on budget, brand awareness, the size of your target and how passionate your products make them feel. But generally, the more you can surround your consumer with synergistic brand messages in every media, the more your brand will matter.