Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum

Article excerpt

Is exposing your brand to untried media channels a risk worth taking?

O2-run mobile network Giffgaff is to use controversial video chat service Chatroulette, hitherto avoided by advertisers due to the risk of brands being hijacked, to target 'free-thinking' consumers.

YES - Mike Welsh, Chief executive, Publicis Dialog

A self-broadcasting site that connects you to another random 'chatter', webcam-to-webcam? Can't say I'm tempted to click, but 1.5m others do, on a daily basis. Starting from a 500-visitor base less than five months ago, Chatroulette has certainly shown impressive growth.

Brands need to be where their audiences are, not waiting for people to seek them out. Although they can no longer control, they can still engage, influence and change the conversation.

If a channel's new but looks interesting, get in quick. Trying something different will get a brand talked about. It requires less bravery than you'd think - don't forget that Facebook and Twitter offered uncharted media territory less than four years ago.

Of course, it's worth quantifying and minimising any risk, and making sure there's a Plan B. Online reaction time should now be thought of in terms of hours, rather than days.

If it doesn't work, move on. There will always be something new to try.

YES - Andy Bird, Co-founder and joint managing director, Brand Learning

Marketers must do all they can to make the most of the fantastic range of emerging new media opportunities. Brands should approach untried channels with an innovative mindset, looking to test and learn in order to build experience and insight.

Avoid innovation for innovation's sake, though. It's important to be clear about the role any new channel will play in your brand's overall communication strategy and what you want to achieve by using it. Set metrics as a reference point for success: without them, you have no indicator of how effective your brand's voyage into the unknown has been.

If there are risks involved, think them through. Don't expose your business by entering territory where things could backfire. Ensure your business can live up to consumers' expectations and be prepared to handle any adverse reactions quickly and openly.

Be prepared for success, too. Consumers can be incredibly responsive to brands that connect with them in brave and relevant ways. No guts, no glory. …

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