Brands becoming Publishers

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:

The Past:

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.

Judy Shapiro


4 Responses

  1. Interesting; we’ve disagreed in the past vis-a-vis the emerging model for publishing.

    One fear I have with the model being discussed is the (in my opinion) coming Balkanisation of information, taste, and content. In the past, news and info was more centrally controlled; more homogeneous. Not that this is a good thing, but it did more or less mean we all got similar accounts of what is going on.

    Now, where we are free to tailor the source of information, I fear that there is a very real risk that what “truth” is is going to be ever more at the whim of the bias of the person looking for it. Certain people will go to sources that cater to one viewpoint, others will go to a different. And the result may be people shouting, in ever louder voices, past each other.

  2. I’ve heard people talk about the brands as the new studios too. It would be a mistake for brands to take over the creation of entertainment and news for the reasons David puts forward above. And for others as well. Consumers do not want their worlds to turn into one big brand advertisement.
    On the other hand, I do think they do like the original unwritten deal that existed between brand and consumer in the early days of tv. The brand paid for good quality entertainment and information and the consumer, in return, gave attention to the brand’s message. In recent years, this deal has fallen apart. Consumer have stopped giving their attention and brands have stopped providing quality entertainment and information.
    I think we could get back to that deal though. The brands can’t be the ones to create the entertainment and information programming (or whatever you want to call the content). But they can partner up with artists and journalists who are passionate about what they do and good at it. And if the brands deliver that content to consumers online — with brand messages integrated within the content or even advertised around it — I believe they’ll get consumer attention.
    Many people on the web don’t want to pay for content and they look fondly on brands who provide them with great content.
    But like everything else on the web, it’s important to be real, honest and great.

  3. Ah Jill – but there’s the rub.

    When you advocate that brands; “partner up with artists and journalists who are passionate … And deliver that content to consumers online …with brand messages integrated … ” – that Jill is the new “Brand as Publisher” model. The brand, in effect, is becoming the “producer” for that content and decides who they will “sponsor” a.k.a. partner.

    The result is the same. Brands are controlling what content get produced more directly than ever before. That is the a game changer for companies, talent and the entertainment business as we knew it.


  4. Agree fully social media is the game changer but the ‘brand as publisher model” will take time to evolve. Point about partnership is key. Brands are not prepared for this role today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: