How to work the five types of media to your advantage

Posted on Posted in Beloved Brands Explained

Back in the 1990s, we would have thought the 5 types of media would have been TV, newspaper, magazine, out of home and radio. Life was simpler back then. But since 2000, media has exploded and shifted dramatically. Now Brand Leaders are confused as to what to do and how to leverage media to drive their brands. 


A new way to think about the 5 types of media: paid, earned, search, social and home media.

PAID media is the Traditional (TV, Print, OOH, Radio) and the new Digital options. While paid might look like an equal opportunity to the equal spender, its not always the case. The more Beloved brands win in this space because they get asked first, they get better slots, lower rates, and more integrations.

With EARNED media, you need to create and manage the news cycle with mainstream news, expert reviews, and blogs.  Beloved Brands are newsworthy and new Products are a story. My own belief is that every brand should have a PR plan. News is such a ubiquitous part of our current lives–you need to be part of that news cycle.

SEARCH Engine Optimization balances earned keywords and paid search. Being a famous Beloved Brand helps to bypass paid SEO. So if you are fighting against the power of those beloved brands, you need to leverage search as a way to breakthrough.  On more complicated purchases (cars, electronics, travel) search is an essential tool for the consumer to gain more information before they get comfortable with the purchase options.

For SOCIAL media, we need to first stop thinking that it’s free. It’s not. It’s resource-intensive to do it right. And the more Beloved Brands have advocates that follow, put their views forward and share news on the brand that creates positive interactions that help to influence others. While you can build up your social, you might need to first build your brand so that the effort you do via social media pays off. Nothing worse than an embarrassing social following. I drove past a gravel pit last year that said: “Like us on Facebook.” What a waste of effort to get 19 people–mostly employees and friends. How about “Rocks $9 a pound” would have been a better option.

HOME media is your landing page. It’s a destination for some brands or could be a complete waste of time for others. It depends on the type of brand you have. Your website where you can use as a source of information, influence or even closing the sale. If e-commerce makes sense for your business. 


Where is your brand on the brand love curve?

Before deciding what type of media you want, you need to first understand where your brand is. I’m a big believer in the brand love curve where brands go from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and all the way to Beloved. If you start to look at how media might match up to that love curve and frame through a consumer buying system, we can see that when your brand is INDIFFERENT, your main focus should be using awareness and consideration to drive trial for your brand. That would mean announcement style media (mass, targeted digital, event) as well as starting to play in the search area so you can help facilitate consumers looking for more information.


consumer strategy


As you move to the LIKE IT stage, you want to begin separating yourself at the store level. Yes, you still need the awareness, but you want to make sure that you drive at the crowded retail level to separate yourself from your competitors. This could mean point of sale signage or even the influence of experts at the store level. If consumers are satisfied, you should be pushing them to share that positive experience with others. Here’s where social media plays a large role, whether it’s traditional social media (Facebook or Twitter) or the more influential social media such as YELP or IMDB. As you move along the curve to LOVED and BELOVED brands as well as matching to the buying system, you’ll start to see the growing importance of event marketing to core users or social media as a badge of honor to share with others.

The problem I have with many media options, is people at the INDIFFERENT stage think they need a Facebook page. Well, once all your relatives like that page, you might have 46 followers, which might expose how little people care about you. On the flip side, I still am seeing LOVED brands pounding out 30 second TV ads that tell the consumers what they already know, all but forgetting the other media options available to them.

What type of brand are you?

When it comes to brands, you should understand where your brand sits on the degree of involvement vs importance.

For instance, if your brand sits in the low involvement, low importance quadrant, it would be a COMMODITY brand. This is where many of the CPG brands fit, always trying extra hard to take a marginal point of difference and making it a huge deal.  With commodity brands, the tendency is to put the effort into messaging more than creative/media. However, if you think about it, maybe it should be the opposite. Yes, messaging is always safer, but if you need to counter the lack of involvement by making it a higher involvement brand. Dove has done an amazing job of taking a basic soap and making it stand for the modern woman. It’s still likely a mass play, but you can begin using social and earned media here to break through the clutter.  The best marketers reside in these areas because the work they do is essential to driving increased involvement and increased importance in a category that doesn’t naturally warrant either.

ESSENTIALS are of high importance but still lower on the involvement side. With my experience in healthcare and banking, we’ve looked at ways to drive up the involvement through Search, Earned and Social Media that’s targeted to influencers as well as those who might motivate others. Many of these brands need a routine to help substitute for the falling involvement.  For instance, the biggest issue with getting people to take life-saving heart medication is getting them to take it as prescribed.  The more work the marketer can do against routine here, the better.

INDULGENCE brands have high involvement but really little importance. This is where beer, chocolate, and bubble gum reside. The problem with this category is you’ve got rather large budgets driving against some of the most loved brands in the world. (Coke, Bud, Mars). You need concentrated and heavy mass media to break through the clutter. In the new world, earned and social can be ways to break through, high on creativity to keep consumers engaged.

HIGH PROFILE brands are those that are high on importance and involvement. These brands are your favorite part of your everyday life. Your iPhone, your latte from Starbucks, the restaurant you want to go or the latest movie coming this weekend.  With these brands, you should be perfecting all five of the media: paid, earned, search, social and home.

Where is your consumer?

I know I know. Everyone is so excited about the new media options, we tend to forget about the consumer. But call me old-school, but I still like to start with the consumer. The fundamentals of marketing always start with where the consumer is before you look at where the media is. You can see how the buying system above might match up to where the consumer is on that Love Curve. But even more so, you should always be mapping out a day in the life of your consumer. Get in their shoes and say “what does my consumers day look like and how will my message fit or interrupt their life?”

In the spirit of “Be where they are”, you need to think about a Total Branding experience to the “Many Me’s of Me”. While we are the same person, we do have various moods throughout the day, and your brand needs to fit my mood. For instance, that rock quarry example of “Like Us on Facebook”, I was out for a nice drive in the country with my wife, in a mood to relax with no pen and no paper. I might not be back to my computer for six more hours. How would I remember to like a rock quarry on Facebook? Not a chance. This is a great tool for putting you into the shoes of your consumer and maybe seeing how your brand’s messaging might fit into their busy lives. I see ads and signs all day long that really showcase how little Brand Leaders are thinking about how the consumer lives their busy lives.   

As a brand leader, are you using the five types of media to your full advantage? Use the tools above to begin mapping out your choices, based on where your brand sits, what type of brand you have and how your consumer’s life might influence your choices. To read more on media planning, click on this link:  How to Build Your Media Plans

Are you using the five types of media your brand’s full advantage?

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