Today, the vast majority of large media companies are publicly traded corporations with five constituencies: audiences, advertisers, agencies, distributors and Wall St. analysts. However, their brand messaging and focus is primarily targeted only to Wall St. and their priorities are based almost exclusively on quarterly-revenue related metrics. An example is SNAP.
Moffett Nathanson analyst Michael Nathanson commented in a recent report, "SNAP should never have gone public when they did or how they did." Until its premature public offering Snapchat was flying high on Madison Avenue. But, according to recent MyersBizNet research, ad exec perceptions of Snapchat have eroded even though their fundamental offerings have remained intact.
The digital video community, in general, has been aggressively responding to issues related to brand safety. Based on the new MyersBizNet Media Brand Equity study conducted among 750 advertiser and agency executives, these efforts have had little impact in rebuilding brand trust and value for the industry's leading digital players. Yet their Wall St. valuations have remained strong. Even with the recent negative publicity about Facebook's data issues, uncovered by Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser, the vast majority of Wall St. analysts have retained their "buy" ratings for the company and Facebook continues to capture a lion's share of advertisers' digital media investments. Until brand safety and trust issues meaningfully impact revenues and diminish shareholder value, ad community concerns will continue to take a back seat to short-term revenues.
I challenge you, as you read this, to name more than a handful of media companies that offer and effectively communicate clearly defined brand differentiation and brand relevance with which marketers can identify and positively associate their brands.
As the media ecosystem becomes increasingly complex, those companies that establish clearly defined positive brand equity will ultimately prove to be the winners among audiences, distributors, marketers and media buyers. In that future, instead of Wall St. analysts dictating corporate priorities, positive brand equity will be at the foundation of value. Because that value is difficult to economically quantify to Wall St., only a few media companies are taking meaningful steps today to define, implement and communicate a consistent brand message in the marketing and advertising community.
Media companies that are investing heavily in content, building audience loyalty and expanding distribution options need to become more acutely focused on communicating their overall brand equity, and once established they must aggressively invest in communicating and protecting that brand value. Otherwise, the ecosystem in which they live will continue to evolve into a mish mosh of undifferentiated suppliers of audience impressions, valued exclusively based on their supply of audiences and the data that can be extracted about them.
For details on the new MyersBizNet Media Brand Equity Report, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.