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Media Planning 2.0: Whole Lotta Talk, Not a Lotta Action

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Somehow, I’ve become a media skeptic.

For a year or so, folks have been talking about how the industry’s approach to media needs to change. How we need to start considering touch points instead of rating points. How we need to start introducing our media departments to the planners and the creatives in the agency. All of this chit-chat gets me really inspired, but I’m curious is anything really happening? Or is it all just talk?

At this year’s AAAA Planning Conference, Eric Ryan, co-founder of Method Home Products (and past-life Account Planner), spoke to their innovative approach to media. I found it to be a great example of a company that embraces change. The folks at Method appear to be rethinking the entire media assignment. For example, Method leverages the design and packaging of their cute little boxes and bottles as opportunities to tell a story and further engage with the consumer and considers these as a strong part of their media mix.

Method has also stopped chasing the share of voice and has started to pay attention to something far more important, their share of culture. After all, what does share of voice really mean, anyhow? I imagine it as something like the NY Stock Exchange trading floor. Say there are 1,000 guys on the floor screaming, and your company employs 100 of them. So your share of voice would 10 percent.

But in all of this cluttered chaos, is your brand really being heard? Are you really connecting with people? Share of culture is far more powerful. It means that you’re not necessarily trying to be the loudest brand, but the most relevant. One of Method’s major tactics in achieving this goal includes hiring the talent agency CAA to seed them into culture and create energy for their brand.

I’d also like to point out that I’ve never seen a TV spot for Method, yet they’re making it as a player in the household cleaning products category. Maybe it’s their mission of People Against Dirty or their growing force of Method Advocates either way, their approach appears to be working.

So where do we begin to turn talk into action? The idea of connection planning is still somewhat debatable. After all, shouldn’t touch points be the extension of our work as planners, ensuring that our strategies are followed through all the way to the product/consumer interaction point? What if we started inspiring media planners the same way we aim to with creatives, by supplying them with a stimulus that invites them to think beyond what is, and into what could be?