Old School Media Principles ≠ New School Media


Lots of companies like to work with marketing, media and communication principles. It simplifies things and makes it easier for marketers to do their job. But there’s a risk.

The Tale wagging the Dog

The problem with principles is they can become the desired outcome in stead being a means to an end. Whilst actually one should not hesitate to go against them when they’re just not right.

Media vs. Production Principle

A principle quite some companies work with is the media vs. production split (example: 70% of the communication budget should go against media, 30% against production). Its goal is to make sure marketers don’t burn too much budget making pretty content but also think about how to scalify it once they’ve done that. This goal used to be sensible in the old days: when you needed to make sure the production cost of the TV commercial – shot on a beach in the Bahamas – needed to be worth the shoot, i.e. a number of consumers would actually see it.

Ham Sandwich

But how in the ham sandwich (thanks Kimmy!) does that work when you’re talking about influencer marketing for example? Is the influencer who creates content for you part of media or part of production? Production right? What about when he or she has 100.000 followers and 1 mio reach? You can definitely argue the influencer is part of the media. As social, content and influencer marketing is becoming more important the difference between media and production becomes more vague and therefore less useful.

So update your (old) media principles to this day & age and lead by example by challenging them yourself once in a while. Here’s 5 to help you out a bit:

  1. RENAME – Rename Principles into Guidelines, because they should give you guidance, not make you stop thinking.

  2. DE-RIGIDIZE – Make your Guidelines less rigid. Create a broad enough bandwidth your people can operate within. Make sure your people think about the right balance between media and production for each specific piece of communication, fact based and well argumented.

  3. OWNERSHIP – Create true brand owners; ownership is a two way street: it means the owner needs to have real power to do things (including being able to fail), and it means the manager needs to give him/her the space to act independently. It does not relieve the owner from learning from his/her mistakes of course.

  4. CHALLENGER – Create a culture of challenging the principles. It’s key to make sure you don’t create a company of Yes (Wo)men. Make sure people do understand it’s about challenging when it’s functional, not because it’s fun.

  5. INCENTIVIZE – Give your people an incentive when they challenge the principles, especially when there is success as a consequence. Make sure you don’t punish people who challenge the principles. A company or agency needs people who think outside them.

Wil | wilmar@nofilter.live

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