I’m enjoying Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson. It’s a remarkable portrait of an unusual individual. Steve’s ability to ensure the future by inventing it is a business philosophy many try but few succeed in.
It’s made me think about what’s next for media. I like iMaverick, founder and editor Branko Brkic’s unique daily iPad newspaper. I fear, however, that it’s a difficult business model to make profitable, simply because news is everywhere today. In iMaverick’s case they produce excellent content, but even for a product as good as theirs, it’s an uphill battle for income from consumers and advertisers.
It’s not going to get any easier. The truth is brands are ever less reliant on external media to reach consumers through advertising. Brand media are on the rise because, I believe, all brands are content brands. (Just ask Red Bull.)
A quiet revolution is taking place in brand content. Marketers, brand owners and companies are realising the power of continuously generating quality, credible and reliable content via their own media channels, created as expertly as traditional media.
Of course they’re not in the media business itself. Or are they? Increasingly, brilliant content companies such as Burberry are in fact redefining themselves as product-and-media organisations, as capable of producing wonderful style content as what Vogue is.
Traditional media companies are certainly resisting this major structural shift as, correctly, their businesses continue to suffer in a digital world where everyone has access to the same media creation tools they alone controlled in the past.
Brand media is growing up. This means brand owners have realised a “sell, sell, sell” approach doesn’t work in media, but that exciting, new, interesting unique, credible and professionally created information and entertainment does. They know consumers associate content with brands by themselves and this means you do not have to constantly badger them with “brand, brand, brand”. They get it.
For brilliant use of brand media try Red Bull’s new full-length snowboarding movie The Art of Flight.
Louis Eksteen is the MD of Twisted Toast.
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