SMWNYC 2011 – Earned, Owned, Paid Media

Description from the Social Media Week New York schedule event listing:

The ecosystem between paid, owned, and earned media is rapidly evolving faster than most marketers can keep up.  75% of Facebook users polled indicated that an ad spurred them to ‘Like’ a brand (DDB Worldwide, 10/10).  What are the implications and where is it all going?  How can publishers, advertisers, and agencies adapt to thrive in this new environment?   Join this session to dig in!

To kick this session off, Microsoft Advertising’s Jenn Creegan will share some intriguing social-oriented ad innovations.  Like an espresso shot, this rapid-fire demo will get our heads buzzing with what’s possible when the industry comes together to create new opportunities.

Next, msnbc.com’s Moritz Loew will lead a caffeinated panel with industry-leading representatives covering agency, social network, publisher and creative community points of view.  They’ll look into the future to answer the question on everyone’s minds: where are we going with paid, owned and earned media in the marketing mix?

Speakers:

  • Moderator: Moritz Loew, Sr. Director, Field Sales, msnbc.com
  • Jenn Creegan, Sr. Director of Brand Advertising, Microsoft Advertising
  • Jon Halvorson, SVP, MediaVest
  • Paul Kenny, VP Marketing, NBC News
  • Tom Beeby, Principal, Executive Creative Director, Beeby Clark + Meyler
  • Sarah Personette, US Head of Agency Relations, Facebook

Event Recap:

Following a lunch break at the Business, Media & Communications content hub, Microsoft hosted an event that explored advertising in the social media environment.  Ben Schiem, Global Director of Social Media Week welcomed the crowd and introduced Jenn Creegan from Microsoft Advertising to provide some examples of Microsoft Advertising’s media.

Creegan views paid media as a usage of creative resources to complement the earned media from the social networks.  One example that she demonstrated was an “interactivce filmstrip” that included five stages of the purchase funnel in a single interactive display ad.  The ad unit can be customized to display by default the funnel panel that is most appropriate to the page content while still allowing the user to explore the full filmstrip.

A second example demonstrated how social interactions can be integrated seamlessly into paid media.  Creegan described the implementation as “enabling a social ecosystem”, adding interactive elements, links to social media landing pages (on Facebook, Twitter, etc) and calls to action to the creative of the paid media.

Following her examples, Creegan introduced Loew to bring up the rest of the panel.  Kenny and Loew explained the importance of starting early and bringing all of your stakeholders into the creative decision-making process for media.  Halvorson believes that the focus must be on creative a user experience.  The decision-makers should come from a range of disciplines and must think agnostically about where the media is to appear.

Beeby sees all media as social; this should influence the design of any paid media piece.  This social viewpoint must also be applied at the campaign level as well.  Display advertisements can leverage earned media content (he gave an example of a real-time dynamic display ad that was driven by social sharing) and support a social campaign.  Personette extended this point, it’s not just media: all marketing is inherently social.  Earned media is essentially a jump ball that all media drivers should help grow.  She referenced the popular questions of “who owns social”, but chose to rephrase it as “who LEADS social”.  How do you transcend and build on the social ecosystem .Creegan’s focus remains on integration of paid and earned media in order to maximize relevance and effectiveness.

Social media in news is a tricky situation, Kenny explained.  The key for content is that the voice is genuine and accurate.  The most important thing in news is to be right, not necessarily to be first.  This extends to how news brands work with advertising.  He mentioned the Today show (specifically the fourth hour) as a challenging environment for integrating social media, because it differs from the traditional journalistic content.

Beeby asked the audience whether they curate their own voice on Facebook or whether they allowed agencies to do it for them.  He feels that agencies can be trusted to curate the brand voice as long as it’s real.  Brands and their partners must embrace any situation in social media, whether it’s positive or negative.  Personette described the issues of team structure: how do you arrange the players to authentically communicate your brand while satisfying the concerns of departments from legal to PR to customer service.  She singled out BBDO’s M&M’s page as an example of a Facebook page that does an excellent job in communicating the brand’s message.

Concerns over consumer data and privacy create a fine line for advertisers to walk.  Creegan believes that authenticity, consistency, and trust (for the brand and for the agencies involved) go a long way to mitigate these concerns.

Halvorson believes that advertising gives a brand a voice, but social media gives it a personality.  Brands often err when they get the voice right, but don’t succeed at personifying the brand.  Even when a brand has a strong personality, the stewards of the brand may not communicate that personality to the consumers.  If a brand is successful showcasing a distinct personality on its television commercial, for example, then it must also speak in this same personality on its Facebook page.

Beeby believes that social media and brand personas give brands an opportunity to surprise and delight consumers.  Personalities can give you additional license and freedom to share new parts of your message.  Halvorson is excited to see the discipline improve and the bar getting set higher and higher in social media on a continuous basis.  There’s been a huge improvement over the last year and even the last six months.  Social media is no longer just another channel; it’s now an always-on phenomenon.  With the increasing understanding and discipline, timelines are growing, and quality is increasing with them.  Beeby still sees a lag, though, between television and social media placement.  Personette attributes a lot of success in social media to consideration of social media early in the planning.  In other words, brands are starting to treat social media as a long-term strategy in the same manner that they treat other media channels.

In maintaining targeting and focus, social media needs to pay attention to horizontal and vertical portfolio management.  A family of brands like P&G, Halvorson notes, has unique brand presences and personas for each of their products.  Personette added that different content and personalities should be provided to different geographic segments, as well as for international and country-specific brand audiences.

Analysis and Commentary:

While this panel shared examples and tactics for integrating paid and earned media, I believe that the greatest value came from the panelist’s discussion on high-level strategy.  One key discussion was Halvorson’s introduction of the idea of creating a fully-developed personality for your brand.  If this interests you, I’d recommend searching for “David Aaker Brand as Person” on your favorite search engine.  I studied his model extensively in business school, and it helps you flesh out a persona even when there isn’t an actual human face behind the brand.  Another key discussion was the one on portfolios in social media.  Once again this ties social media marketing into its offline marketing roots and reinforces the importance of defining segmentation, targeting, and postioning.

As the panelists reinforced several times, all media and all marketing is social.  That means that you can expect to get something out of the programming at Social Media Week regardless of the channel on which you focus your attention (online or off.)

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