The last year was a big one for marketers. As technology continues to drive shifts in consumer behavior and media consumption, brands and advertisers are justifiably excited about the emerging new ‘Golden Age’ of advertising yet anxious about their lightening-fast departure from the tried and true. Brands, media companies, and entertainment providers alike have seen creation and distribution barriers collapse, age-old media models get undermined by cat memes, increased pressure to make a dollar go further and a rightful sense of risk aversion, post-recession.
Whether driven by excitement or anxiety, the new media landscape has led to a frenzied amount of activity. Brands have begun to react in every way imaginable—often simultaneously. Do I buy more TV spots, but with Hulu instead of Fox? Or could I just create my own series and put it on YouTube? What if I make my own music festival? We should still do a Super Bowl ad but make it longer. If this celebrity is my creative director, that will give me cultural and social capital, right? Or what if I drop a man from outer space?
This is an era of experimentation and learning. Experimentation and risk-taking are healthy and necessary for our industry—and can yield great results—but there are far too many instances where we watch brands take risks with only one eye open, wait for the dust to settle, and then tweet for days about “did it work?” But how are we defining success? Do brands have any assurance that the programs they build will lead to positive business impact? There is a clear understanding of a need for change, a demonstrated shift in how things are changing, yet the industry is lagging in the development of a common framework, language, and criteria for how we link a new golden age program with the successful advancement of a business.
To tackle this, OgilvyEntertainment—with the help of broadcasters, producers, brands, and advertisers—developed the Ogilvy Branded Entertainment Assessment Model™ (Ogilvy BEAM™), a strategic framework intended to provide an industry standard for design, implementation, and measurement of branded entertainment programs. “Big ideas are usually simple ideas,” David Ogilvy said. Instead of reacting to newfound industry complexities by adding complexities in program design and measurement, Ogilvy BEAM™ keeps it simple with the following four steps:
- Decide the program objective—broadening reach, increasing preference, or driving action. This primary objective should be underscored by the overall business ambition of the brand.
- Choose a leading platform—event, digital, broadcast, or property. Every program should be activated or extended across multiple platforms, but it is important to clarify which platform will lead the delivery.
- Determine the “branded entertainment mix”—the proportions of entertainment value, brand association, and exposure of the program. This step is dictated by the previous two steps in the process.
- Create a scorecard—what you’ve decided to do, where, and for how much. A scorecard, or program checklist, will help determine the best way to allocate resources while accomplishing objectives.
The framework is followed by a standard index-based scoring method, allowing programs to be compared over time or across mediums.
By applying a methodology such as Ogilvy BEAM™ to branded entertainment programs, not only are we linking the new age of media to the age-old mission of growing a brand’s business, but we are also developing a consistent language, approach, and basis of comparison through which we can improve the effectiveness of our work over time. This helps us move from seeing branded entertainment as an exciting or anxious departure into viewing it as a trusted discipline.
Linking branded entertainment to brand strategy enables us to see the fruits of our labor, quell the anxiety that change fosters, and revel in the excitement that lies ahead.
Eddie Burns is Content Manager for OgilvyEntertainment and co-author of “Making magic, using logic. The Ogilvy Branded Entertainment Assessment Model™”
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