It's not only in television where audiences are using new technologies to avoid interruptive ads. Satellite radio. Pop-up blockers. IPods. Bottom line: we're in the era of the empowered audience, and audiences are using their power to consume entertainment-TV, music, web content-while avoiding the interruptive ads that have traditionally supported it. So how can marketers leverage the awesome power of entertainment to connect with consumers? Through brand integration and product placement-embedding their brands into the entertainment itself.
A growing body of research supports what marketers know at a gut level: brand integration works. In the largest study of its kind, "The Performance of Brand Placement on Television," Nielsen found that nearly 60% of viewers felt more positive about brands they recognized in a placement.
With the right infrastructure, marketers can tap into a powerful new integrated ad unit that audiences not only won't skip but will view at a high engagement level. Such a system will also create new incremental revenue for entertainment companies. As an industry, we're getting there. Here are a few suggestions for getting started quickly in brand integration:
Find a scalable solution
The first step to capitalizing on brand integration's power to elevate your brand is finding a system that enables you to scale into this medium. If you represent athletic apparel, the right solution will find you anything from an opportunity to outfit a production, through building a cross-media campaign that features your clothing in every "bike ride" scene.
Find the budget
With brand integration historically an ad hoc tactic and not a standard ad unit, it's hard to know how it figures into the mix. According to NextMedium's research, the typical marketer should dedicate 3.9% of their ad budget to integration. Redeploy some of your spend-your innovation budget, for example-to execute and analyze an integration campaign. Experiment with new technologies available to help you scale. Start now.
Find the content
The most effective integrations are those in which brand and content match-where the brand is relevant to the entertainment, and the entertainment seamlessly communicates the brand's message. So it's important that you work only with those entertainment properties that will communicate your brand's messages to your target consumers.
Remember, a growing body of research shows brand integration has a significant, measurable impact on brands. But simply getting your logo into a TV scene isn't enough. Effective integration requires a scalable solution, a committed budget and the ability to systematically identify the right entertainment matches. The good news for marketers: effective brand integration is now a reality.
Hamet Watt is founder and chairman of NextMedium, Inc., developer of the ad marketplace for product placement and brand integration. For more information, please visit www.nextmedium.com.