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How to flourish in the modern media maze

How to flourish in the modern media maze

By Olivia Johnson, Planning Partner at Hooper Galton

We want multi media campaigns because they’re more effective. But, today’s media budgets don’t seem to stretch as far as we wish they would. We all know why. Media, especially TV, can be expensive.   The people we want to connect with are no longer to be found in one place. In 1997 there were over 100 TV programmes that captured an audience of 15 million plus. By 2005 this had dropped to 4.   The clutter that we compete with gets greater by the day and our ability to get noticed diminishes.

So, what is the best way through this modern dilemma? Think big. Think small.  

1. Think Big.

Strive for a big idea

Not many brands have a big communication idea as their animating spirit. But it makes a real difference when you have one. That’s why we look enviously at brands like Honda, Sony, Lynx and Dove. They capture people’s imaginations and enter popular culture.

This has hard commercial advantages.  

It gets you talked about

A compelling communication idea gives you a greater share of mind than your share of voice.

A big idea becomes social currency. Until recently I worked on Dove. That campaign captured people’s imagination.  They talked about it. Over 1 million women visited campaignforrealbeauty and posted a comment.
 PR is an invaluable asset in this pursuit of talkability. It magnifies and extends the impact of a campaign. It’s hard to become social currency without it. But journalists, like consumers, will only get excited and write about big ideas.

It thrives in a multitude of media channels

A big idea lets you take advantage of the plethora of media channels. That’s because a big idea is bigger than any one media channel. Critically, it lets your brand appear in lots of places whilst remaining coherent.
The ‘Be Portuguese’ campaign for Nando’s Restaurant is a good example. The idea has taken form on TV, radio and mailers, on menus and staff T-shirts and as a web-based competition.  

2. Think small

Once the hard business of creating a big idea is done we face the tough dilemma of deciding which media to use. We find that at this stage we’re best served by thinking small. That’s because in many instances the number of people a brand needs to connect with is surprisingly small.

Your audience may be smaller than you think

The mere mention of ‘a small number of people’ sends a shiver down the spine. But, reality shows that even big brands are bought by relatively small numbers of people. And, within that, much of the volume and value will come from a smaller sub-set.  

These people often have lots of things in common, such as age, income, attitudes and media habits.

Growth lies in attracting more of the same

Attracting new users is often a high priority. Surely, this is the moment when thinking small fails us. We can’t we grow unless we talk to a greater number of people.

In the main, thinking small remains a useful mantra. Why? Because experience tells us those new users will be much like existing users.
 If you want to know where your new customers are going to come from, look at your existing customers and attract more people like them.

Once you’ve identified them, surround them

Although there are lots of media available today, most of us consume a limited amount of it.  Even in our 300+ channel world most people winnow their regular choice to 10-15 of the available channels. It is relatively easy to establish the media habits of a tightly defined audience. This means you follow them around and be as constant a presence as is possible.

Don’t spread yourself too thin

Even with the discipline of thinking small it is easy to get over excited about all the choices available to us. The people we want to talk to will always consume more media than we can afford. We need to limit ourselves. It is better to be a fat presence in a handful of channels than a thin presence in multiple channels.

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