I came across this white paper from R2I, a technology company serving the marketing industry that discusses how brands are evolving to become publishers.
Insightful and worth a read. Here is an excerpt:
Before the Internet, and even for some years after its rise as a consumer tool, the roles of retail brands and publishers were distinct and complementary. Publishers catered to, and often created, communities of interest, delivering compelling content and facilitating dialogue within the group. Brands, alternately, would seek out these communities and pay publishers to have their community-targeted advertisements delivered within this forum.
And so it remained for generations…
The paradigm shift
Today the capabilities available to each participant in this relationship have changed profoundly. Search technology in particular has changed purchasing behavior significantly. Customers now have the power to gather information and opinions from multiple sources. Communities of interest, instead of being mediated by publishers, are now self-organizing, appearing on social networks, blogs, news sites, and even retail sites. Retail brands, for their part, have clearly come to recognize this shift and have begun in earnest to deliver not just ads, but community-focused content directly into these forums.
In fact, when examining a day in the life of a brand and a publisher – they don’t seem to be that different anymore. For both, their job is to:
o Create communities of interest
o Deliver compelling content
o Facilitate community dialogue
o Monetize through advertising
Read the White Paper here.