Importance of brand in the digital media environment

Basic marketing economics teaches us that the best way to make sure not to make any money is to create a product that is identical to every competitors offer, and then market it in abundance. Unfortunately this is also a good description of the digital media/publishing environment.

    Preparing for my talk at the Apple Media Summit I shaved my presentation Future Media down to 30 minutes and restocked some of the individual slides

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    . I also, in collaboration with the team at Apple, renamed it to better communicate the core message.

According to the book Business Model Generation there are three types of business models; innovation, relationships and infrastructure. The fact that media brands are some of the most frequently visited sites online; creating the basis for an exceptionally loyal readership, should position it clearly in the relationship model. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Instead the current online media / publishing business model is an infrastructure model. Where the goal is to traffic as many display ads, at the lowest possible cost, to the highest amount of visitors. Creating a model with a frightening lack of ability to generate income which at the same time is on direct collision course with the publishers most valuable asset; the relationship between the publication and its readers.

The presentation goes on to suggest, based on:

    • Trends in how we adopt technology.
    • Changes in online behavior
    • Changes in companies marketing strategy.
    • The changing nature of content.

That in order to generate future income, media companies need to understand the value of their direct relationship with the reader. And how they, by collaborating with commercial companies, can grow and extend this value and monetize it.

Media is by all marks in the relationship business model – even if it’s a landslide change for some to identify this and start understanding how to generate income from it.

The inescapable conclusion is that there is no golden ticket to save display advertising online, it’s becoming a less and less relevant as a business model (according to Microsoft only 20% of our online activities are traditional activities), and the sooner we can start investing in different mindsets the faster we can become unstuck.

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