We’re All Part Of The Great Business Reinvention As Media Producers
We all media producers. It isn’t a new concept the only difference is that technology now allows small businesses to have complete control.
The big differential between marketing today and what our predecessors have paved for us is how technology has shifted how we all behave. You only have to read Joe Pulizzi’s ‘Epic Content Marketing’ and his reference to agricultural machinery company, John Deere, owning The Furrow magazine. This publication has been helping to solve problems for farmers since 1895. Proof that the movement that is called ‘content marketing’ has been with us for many years.
Brands who take the role as a media producer has been with us for decades. The main difference today means it is now more accessible and easier to control than it has ever been.
The Advent Of Radio
During the 1920s mass communication was enabled via the radio and to increase profits, businesses were asked to sponsor radio shows.
Proctor & Gamble’s Oxydol soap powder became the Red Bull of its generation by sponsoring and being a core part of the daytime radio serial drama ‘Ma Perkins’ from 1933 to 1956. The series focused on Ma’s interactions with her community and her relationships with her three children. The definition of ‘soap opera’ was born and became a means to sell a product. Proctor & Gamble were recognised as a media producer over 80 years ago.
Watch this 1938 film that explains the Oxydol brand and if you watch from 17 minutes the Ma Perkins story is introduced. This demonstrates an example from before the Second World War when content and story was used to build goodwill towards a product.
The similarity between marketing a product from the 1930s to today is that businesses can build strong brand assets. Meaning you can create informational content that engages others so they pay attention to what you have to say. This is in a completely different direction from a one-dimensional stream of product promotion messages that neither inspires, challenges or entertains.
Reinventing Our Businesses
One of the biggest opportunities for businesses is that a content driven approach is not something that has left the building so a company cannot embrace, it can be adopted and nurtured. Small businesses can now reinvent themselves and present their core strengths and beliefs to an audience, by specialising in one thing.
A mistake my business made was that four years ago we were basically everything to everybody. I can even remember a client looking to recruit members of staff from Lincolnshire and my business effectively became an advertising recruitment agency. Higher performing companies know how they add value by specialising in one thing, rather than being great in many areas. The thing that sets you apart is the content that you create.
If the content you create demonstrates authority, then you ultimately position yourself as a trusted resource. Take for instance, television presenter and property specialist Kevin McCloud. Since 1999, he has presented Channel 4’s Grand Designs with a focus on challenging, environmentally sensitive and unusual home building projects. Kevin McCloud is also Chairman of HAB (Happiness Architecture Beauty) a housing development company focusing on sustainable development. The media brand that he has built makes HAB a more trusted choice based on the media assets that have been create.
The Great British Bake-Off has been a topic that has reared its head on another article. Click here to why you don’t need to be a baker to bake. Judge Paul Hollywood had to liquidate the speciality bread businesses that he owned, but Paul Hollywood Ltd 2013 figures shown assets of £900,000. His theatre tour this November (yes….a theatre tour with baking on stage), book deals and all round persona has positioned him as the UKs authority for baking. Paul Hollywood has created his own media brand to build reputation and association within his industry.
Whilst I am saying that very few people will ever get the opportunity to present TV shows focused on their profession, the alternatives now present more opportunity than ever. The content we create whether in a written format, video or audio provides platforms that we can become recognised and demonstrate expertise.
Proof Of A Change In Consumption Of Media
Accenture’s 2013 ‘video-over-internet consumption survey’ highlighted that watching TV isn’t what it used to be. The average viewer across the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil and the United States still watches TV, but they are accessing content throughout a range of other devices and interact with others during viewing. 72% watched video via a laptop and 63% have consumed video via mobile device or internet-connected TV during 2013.
Proof here that consumption of media is changing. What it presents to businesses is a clear opportunity. Whether this is to stand for something via a blog, create regular video content or becoming consistent at podcasting, the barriers to entry are virtually zero. The greatest investment that we need is our time, appreciation of the media that we are using and becoming committed with a media platform to deliver consistent value.
Seth Godin in his regular blogs (from Saturday 27th September) commented, “our job is to figure out what’s next and to bring the ideas and resources to the table to make it happen.” Everything that we create has to have a meaning, otherwise the areas that we are looking to build influence (our websites, our blogs, our videos, our audio) can become “a worthless distraction.”
The Opportunity We Have
Businesses can now use media as an opportunity to build authority and influence. Those who succeed will use media as a platform to build trust and association, not as a method to sell and interrupt. We can use media as a tool to build credibility and validity to who we are and the businesses we represent. This becomes a far better proposition than directing an audience to an ‘about us’ page and a flat ‘news’ section of a website demonstrating an afternoon of raising money for a charity.
Companies can now make themselves valuable in their own right by caring and persisting in the business of connecting. The role as a media producer is becoming one of the biggest assets to possess and for others to make an association over the competition.
Finding spaces that can influence others is one of the biggest opportunities to differentiate and grow. The brands that succeed will be those where delivery builds association and message creates confidence in the eyes of the audience.
Image at the top of the article from Roger Reuver