Consumers' growing taste for media is the result of three major trends in the media landscape -- three trends that, if done right, are ripe for brand picking and have the ability to help brands better reach and connect with consumers.
As a few brands have recently -- and successfully -- discovered, the days of purchasing or sourcing existing content have long passed. If your content isn't unique to your outlet, consumers have no reason to visit your site or purchase a subscription to your service. Rather, original content is now the name of the game. Brands that develop premium, original content will keep users coming back because they can't access that content anywhere else.
Take, for example, Netflix's Emmy-nominated series "House of Cards." The show has won over millions of subscribers becoming just another reason for people to switch to premium content subscriptions. Why? These viewers wanted to watch the series and couldn't do so anywhere else.
Another great example is HBO, a brand that started off serving only sourced content but now provides a mix of sourced and original content that's exclusively available to its subscribers. Think "Game of Thrones," "Boardwalk Empire," and "Entourage," to name a few.
Brand strategy: Provide content people care about Often, brands will provide press releases, blog posts, and other forms of media content promotions that not many users are actually interested in consuming. But, if a brand can provide content that consumers actually want -- even if it's not directly about the brand -- it has the ability to engage consumers and eventually push brand-relevant content.
Media integration doesn't just mean tying your social/online presence in with TV content. Instead, think of integration in terms of multiple media streams for your brand to allow access to content whenever and wherever the consumer is.
"Glee" is a great example. As a brand, it's able to create original media content for TV, and then syndicate the music created by the show through iTunes. This provides not only an additional revenue stream, but it also helps increase engagement among consumers when content is unavailable offline. Consumers are now enjoying the brand on-demand and à la carte -- exactly what a brand needs to offer to survive in today's media landscape.
Brand Strategy: Provide content that is consumable across all forms of media With the many different outlets including television, online publications, mobile, and more, there shouldn't be a platform your brand doesn't at least attempt to engage. HBO again does a good job of this, providing not only on-demand television but also interviews and webisodes through outlets like HBO GO, which is available online and through connected devices like Apple TV.
One of the biggest things to remember about mobile content and brand engagement is that the reason mobile does -- and will continue to -- succeed is that it provides anytime, anywhere convenience. Still, there are many attempts at mobile branding and media that simply do not work.
To succeed, a mobile offering should serve at least one of three main purposes. First, it could serve as a necessity, such as banking apps that allow for easy money management. Second, mobile can provide convenience, such as management systems that keep track of your schedule. Finally, the mobile offering can entertain, as is the case with apps like Angry Birds. Many applications and mobile content offerings fail because they don't meet at least one of these benchmarks. Brand strategy: Provide on-the-go, useful contentBy focusing on creating media that customers are interested in consuming and then making that content available in a package that crosses platforms to meet consumers' on-the-go demands, brands can successfully engage a loyal customer base.
Today's media audience is capable of anytime, anywhere consumption and, in turn, requires premium, on-demand content. New brand strategies that adapt to these trends will have the power to both capture consumers' attention and even get consumers hooked on brand-made content.
With that kind of opportunity, it looks like the media landscape isn't so bleak after all.
Alex Friedman is president of Ruckus.
On Twitter Follow Friedman at @alexruckusny. Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
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