Jonathan Durden
Jonathan Durden 17 December 2018

How the media world needs to think wider for a more focused solution

With influencer marketing increasingly seen as commercially flawed, brands will seek to reach audiences via their 'tribes'. Think Adidas or Nike. By supporting the tribe's interests, brands will be able to prove themselves as forces of good. But how can opportunities of this sort be evaluated? In this piece, Jonathan Durden argues that data can influence and define clear objectives to improve how brands communicate with audiences.

Think wider for a more focussed solution

Rights holder sponsorship opportunities have traditionally been firmly rooted in the domain of specialist sponsorship agencies. They represent the full breadth of sectors, from sports to music and beyond. But, in my experience, the mainstream media companies have not generally included this sort of communication route, as part of a coordinated integrated solution, for their various client's brand briefs.

This discipline has allegedly been shrouded by private black books of who you know, restricted by the lack of a common transparent trading platform, and further clouded by some very random personal preferences drawn from the empowered decision makers.

And that's a shame, because there is a case for this valuable communications method becoming ever more relevant, and a prominent weapon in today's fragmented media world.

Old habits die hard

The practice of attaching a brand to an influencer with a significant Twitter following, which can sometimes be a highly effective strategy, is increasingly being viewed as a flawed and cynical commercially driven exercise by the smarter audience base amongst us.

With this in mind, I predict that increasingly brands will more often move into local spaces and seek to make a real difference to real people via their tribes, within their communities and by supporting their personal all-consuming passions. Through one's actions, and not empty words or lazy generalised charitable donations, brands will be tested as to their true intentions for good.

For example, startup companies such as Ralloo, who connect corporates with such local projects, are now thriving in that emerging fertile space. Like the cuddly meerkat dolls which have acted as daily awareness prompts in the home for Compare the Market but making a far more practical and meaningful difference.

Sponsorship spans global associations with the likes of Formula One, down to the micro tribes such as the likes Tranmere FC, or local issues within the community. A means to reach out and meet their various target markets half way, through their taking the trouble to solve or support for a much-needed problem.

Does it work?

The point is how to evaluate such opportunities from an informed data perspective, and be inspired to think wider, give more clearly defined objectives and give an inclusive attitude to all of the available options. Less silos, and more joined up thinking. Embracing the horror of the devil being in the detail.

Emerging platforms such as Connexi fit in perfectly for this new approach – offering a platform that provide more clarity, in historically quite a murky and confusing world.

The rise in advertiser funded programming, and tailored content in general, is a less direct means of communication as a direct result of media fragmentation. A reduction in those once called " water cooler moments," through the rise of infinite choice, on demand, and multiple platforms, has made the rare mass event opportunities relatively scarce.

Therefore, a more engaged committed association through those passions which willingly demand ones daily/hourly attention, or provide a welcome mental escape, will undoubtedly grow this multibillion sector even further.

The likes of advertising agencies, multinational talent networks and sponsorship companies are already viewing these new initiatives as useful tools, and accelerators to the market which they ably serve, and not as threatening competition.

It's a volume model, and so far the early signs are very positive.

If media companies are to regain their trusted status as impartial experts, it would be wise to embrace all of the possibilities and routes within a single strategic vision.

There is life beyond silos.

It’s time to expand their remit in order to counterbalance a potentially eroding role in the marketing hierarchy.

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