It seems like the more the world becomes digitized, the smaller and more connected it truly is. Earlier in the week, the phrase was Greg Verdino’s “Everybody in the audience has an audience.”
In this post, “Every company is now a media company” comes from Vice co-founder Shane Smith, speaking about how brands like Intel now have to concern themselves with content creation, demographic appeal, and event production.
(By the way, these are skills that most people in radio have been developing for decades.)
This trend where brands now have to concern themselves with creating content – in the form of videos, concerts, and websites – is new to some of the more conservative corporations. That's why consulting firms like Vice are becoming increasingly important to managing brands and appealing to young people.
We talked about this shift in a recent blog about how MTV was searching for their first TJ – or Twitter Jockey – young people with the talent to create, grow, and communicate with online communities. Pictured here is TJ winner Gabi Gregg from Detroit (of course). She doesn’t look a whole lot like Nina Blackwood or Martha Quinn, but she has the skills and talent to create, build, and connect communities. And that's the point.
The New York Times reports that Vice is growing its business by deftly managing youth brands, while helping legacy companies reach young people, beyond the traditional TV spots and print ads.
Part of the strategy is working with companies to create new websites that connect the young audience with (in some cases) heritage brands. In Intel’s case, it’s a joint effort with Vice called thecreatorsproject.com.
The fact that all companies need to start thinking like media companies struck me as ironic when you consider radio companies have been theoretically thinking like this since Day One. Except most are now struggling with the notion of being a true media company in these days where giving up control, displaying transparency, and flipping the funnel by giving the audience a voice are all part of the “new rules.”
In much the same way that many silent movie actors could not make the transition to “talkies,” radio is in a battle with itself. On the one hand, it has many components of the necessary skill set – like production pros, creative types, strong communicators, and clever people who can sell air in 30 and 60-second increments.
Some old-line brands - like Old Spice - have figured it out, creating funny viral commercials that have lives of their own. In the process, Old Spice has become viable for a new generation, despite being a consumer product that your grandpa used.
The game has changed, but it still can be learned, mastered, and won. Many radio brands still have equity, loyalty, and even trust. But the dimensions and scope of the battle have changed, as have the competitors.
If Old Spice can be cool again, so can we.