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Video games and their highly engaged consumers are showing the greatest potential in maximizing returns on earned media investments. That's what Ayzenberg Group is discovering after running integrated programs for some of the biggest game brands. It's led the agency to develop an entirely new approach to partnering with companies on these types of campaigns, where potential impressions are forecasted and the results guaranteed. Ayzenberg calls it the "Earned Media Performance Guarantee." At its core, the program addresses what the agency bills as "the vagueness of virality."
Ayzenberg's Chris Younger, Principal, VP of Strategy, Keith Pape, VP Social, Mobile & Emerging Media, and Simon Ward, Director of Strategic Development, discuss the genesis of the program and how it works.
[a]list: Describe what you mean by "Earned Media Guarantee."
Simon Ward: To be specific, we are predicting and then guaranteeing an 'earned media multiplier' - that is the additional performance from earned media generated by our approach and actions across all activities in an integrated 360 campaign. We've seen that our most successful campaigns have been the most integrated, combining paid, owned and earned media. This highlights a very important trend towards the power of converged media to get better results. But successfully bringing them together is a highly challenging and complex task. It demands skill in each technique, as well as an additional skill in how they all interrelate. This is over and above our core craft of generating relevant and compelling creative strategy and execution across these different media.
When you get it right, you achieve a very powerful multiplier on your investment. So we've decided to take our in-house expertise and methodology on how to deliver this and work closely with our clients to predict what a multiple should be. And then we put our money where our mouth is to share risk and reward on the outcome of that multiplier. It underlines our fundamental belief in the effectiveness of our approach. This is based on a foundation of expertise and experience, and really in our view pushing the boundaries of how agencies can work with their clients, and of what agencies can and should be able to deliver going forward.
[a]list: What are you measuring, and what are the exact values that you're putting the guarantee on?
Keith Pape: This is about impressions and reach. It's the most common metric still used by both parties -agency and brand marketer. What we want to do is resonate the effect of social media and this earned media guarantee by something that they're used to working with as a baseline for everything they do. Like all campaigns, there are many KPIs [key performance indexes] and ROIs for success, but this guarantee is really based on reaching the audience and the CPM they're used to dealing with.
[a]list: How did Ayzenberg develop this approach?
Chris Younger: I can tell you that our clients over the years have really driven their relationship based on accountability. Those campaigns, those measurements are benchmarked against sales. It's hard to be in the business today and not be accountable to working all the way through the sales funnel. One of the most powerful vehicles that has come into play is the relationship with the consumer in context to earned media. That is the earned media that comes with the owned and paid investments you're making. As an agency, we need to be structured in a way that delivers against what we're seeing as an evolution by our clients. That's not only understanding the social relationship, it's understanding the content, the brand, the positioning, and tying that together where we're able in very unique situations to provide a guarantee against our work that goes beyond just the one-to-one dollar relationship you have with paid media. Each client is certainly unique on this, and it's a challenge that I don't find many agencies raising their hand to take on. It's one that we spent many years working on here and feel quite confident in our abilities to do it for those people who are willing to partner with us.
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