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Building a Connected Brand - iCrossing

Building a Connected Brand - iCrossing

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Published by iCrossing
Or, in other words: How Brands Become Publishers in a Real-Time Marketing World. Brands, media, and audiences used to have distinct roles in the marketing relationship. Today those roles overlap, creating new opportunities and expectations. Brands are realizing that audiences are demanding more of them than simply shouting about their products and services — they are now expected to share back. As these forces blur together, the roles and expectations for brands, media and audiences will continue to change.
Or, in other words: How Brands Become Publishers in a Real-Time Marketing World. Brands, media, and audiences used to have distinct roles in the marketing relationship. Today those roles overlap, creating new opportunities and expectations. Brands are realizing that audiences are demanding more of them than simply shouting about their products and services — they are now expected to share back. As these forces blur together, the roles and expectations for brands, media and audiences will continue to change.

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Published by: iCrossing on Apr 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/29/2012

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1FEBRUARY 2011
 
icrossing+HEarst
building aconnEctEd brand
How brands bEcomE publisHErsin a rEal-timE markEting world
by Adam Lavelle - Chie Strategy Ofcer, iCrossingwith Brian Haven, Alisa Leonard and Rob Garner
RELEASE 1.0
 
© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
2
NOWBEFORE
BRANDBRANDAUDIENCE AUDIENCEMEDIAMEDIA
iCROSSING: Building a Connected Brand
Brands, media and audiences used to have distinct roles in themarketing relationship. Today those roles overlap, creating newopportunities and expectations.
People are now their own publishers
of opinions, experiences and preferences.They share those sentiments with each other in social spaces. By working together,audiences have commandeered many of the functions of marketers, driving product
awareness and inuencing purchase decisions. They are telling both brands and each other just what they think – and they are doing it publicly, for others to nd and see.
Media properties are also learning to evolve
as technology continues togive rise to the voice of the customer. Magazine articles and news stories no longer end
when the writer or journalist nishes the piece. Media companies are now playing host toserious conversations, with readers functioning as active contributors to the story. Mediainnovators are learning to harness that user-generated content, responding to it, building on
it, and using it to inform further editorial direction. They are listening to their audiences, andactively engaging with them. They are evolving into real-time curators of unique audiences,
each with their own robust communities.The traditional messaging model still plays a vital role for marketers. Placing brand advertisingwith media content consumed by audiences is an effective method to reach customers.But alone, the tactic is insufcient. Traditionally, media (and media companies) served asthe meeting place for brands and audiences. But, media companies are no longer the soleconnective tissue for brands to communicate with their customers. Today, all three are equalparticipants in an ecosystem where each party is both a content creator and distributor. Thisfundamental shift, while disruptive to the status quo, creates both opportunities and liabilities
marketers cannot ignore.
Figure 1:
Brand, media, audience – BeFore & now
The Big Shift:
Brands Must Evolve Into Media Machines.
1
 
3FEBRUARY 2011iCROSSING: Building a Connected Brand
Brands are expected to share back.
 As audiences increasingly talk directly
to brands, brands are realizing that audiences are demanding more of them than simplyshouting about their products and services. Audiences want to hear what brands have tosay. Every day, millions of them are actively reaching out to connect with brands throughdigital channels. Nearly 15 million people “like” the Skittles Facebook page —opting in todaily messages from the candy brand. Zappos and Whole Foods each have nearly 2 millionpeople following them on Twitter. Shoppers even pay for the content brands provide:
witness the $.99 that iPhone users pay to download Kraft’s iFood Assistant app.
Content moves through networks at lightning speeds
at a pace marketersstruggle to match. To complicate matters, one form of content can create another form
of content, and another, and another — moving through a constant cycle of replication.Comments, re-mixes, mash-ups, parodies, derivatives — it seemingly never stops. And
as the content replicates, it spreads through networks exposing hundreds or thousands
of unique connections to audiences, creating public, visible histories of interaction.Conquering this rapid cycle, a signicant aspect of the content ecosystem, can provedifcult.
The Takeaways:
 As these three forces
brand, media and audience
blur together, the roles andexpectations of each continue to change. Most importantly, for brands there are two keytakeaways:
1) Brands are becoming their own media platorms
Brand equity is no longer being created by media spend alone. Instead ‘earned’ media(visibility in search and social spaces, word-of-mouth, PR) and ‘owned’ media (abrand’s website, ofcial Facebook and Twitter pages, branded apps, etc.) are becoming
fundamental components of the story.
2) Always-on marketing is the new norm
 Audiences are increasingly expecting constant, consistent engagement from brands.Online stores are never closed, so marketing programs and customer service can’t beeither. When consumers want to know more about a product, need answers to questionsor are ready to take action, the brands are expected to be ready and responsive.Hearst and iCrossing are committed to working with brands that recognize this
fundamental shift in marketing. Central to our approach is a marketing framework we call
connectedness
, an approach that focuses on how marketing gets done in a networked
world. As our clients embrace this approach, brands become a new kind of publisher,
interacting with their audiences wherever they are, whenever they want, armed with unique
content that serves as the relationship-building currency they need. This results in higherdegrees of loyalty and brand preference — not to mention the ability to more preciselyinuence purchase behaviors.

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