Friday, October 2, 2009

All Companies Are Now Media Companies

PR firm Edelman Communications recently released a white paper summarizing key insights from a social media summit they hosted in Washington DC a few months ago.

The summit was attended by some impressive players including marketing heads from some of the biggest companies and the Chief Technology Officer for Obama’s presidential campaign. 

One key take-away: the importance of all companies to now see themselves as media companies.

“Companies no longer have to filter their content and messages through the media; they have the means to create and distribute their own content – and potentially to advance their own reputations – through the channels they choose.”

It seems every day we see another noteworthy example of this - most still representing a small part of the company’s total marketing commitment, but still, a clear indication of a new order.

  • Whole Foods has one of the largest followings on Twitter (1.5 million followers) - more than almost every mainstream media brand and personality.
  • The Pringles fan page on Facebook, one of the most popular based on fans (2.8 million) and time spent, has quickly become a multi-media social networking hub featuring photos, videos, comments, games and contests.
  • Johnson and Johnson’s is now the largest parenting site in the world.
  • Hasbro recently purchased a 50% stake in a new children’s cable network being launched by Discovery Communications.
Ironically, most of the summer was spent focusing on the upfronts – an outdated marketplace where billions are spent by leading advertisers to air 30-second commercials in programming produced by others that appears on networks owned by others.

And while many of the brands still see tremendous value in the reach and impact provided by the big media companies, look for them to more aggressively launch their own content and distribution networks, often using the established media outlets as partners in these efforts.