Go Back

When you're finished changing, you're finished

Posted by: Ariën Breunis on Thursday, April 10 2014 10:00 AM

Best Dutch Media Brands

Best Dutch Media Brands: Important lessons from the past five years

Interbrand recently launched the fifth edition of Best Dutch Media Brands, which has been spotlighted in Tijdschrift voor Marketing, the leading marketing journal in The Netherlands. The Best Dutch Media Brands report reveals which brands are strongest in the marketplace and offers a fresh perspective on the Dutch media sector. In this blog post, I will share key lessons from the report that will benefit marketers and brand leaders around the globe. But first, let’s get a sense of the bigger picture by comparing this year’s top brands with the top brands of five years ago.

Top Ten—2014 versus 2010

2014

2010

Brands

Category

Brands

Category

1

NOS

Television

SBS 6

Television

2

Discovery Channel

Television

RTL 4

Television

3

Nederland 1

Television

NOS

Television

4

Uitzending Gemist

Internet

Hyves

Internet

5

Facebook

Internet

NU.nl

Internet

6

Donald Duck

Magazine

De Telegraaf

Newspapers

7

NU.nl

Internet

NET 5

Television

8

YouTube

Internet

Veronica

Television

9

LinkedIn

Internet

RTL 7

Television

10

National Geographic

Television

TROS

Television

While you may not be familiar with all the brands on the list, a closer examination of the changes in the rankings in the past five years is like looking at two different eras. As recently as 2010, television, mass communication, and big brands dominated. Just four years later, the internet, personalized content, and tailor-made brands are driving change and grabbing more mindshare in the Dutch media landscape.

What can media brands learn from this shift? Here are three key lessons:

1. Media brands have nothing to lose but their chains
In recent years, traditional boundaries around media categories have blurred, if not evaporated. Television and radio, for instance, no longer exist in a vacuum and out-dated category laws no longer apply. The media world today is a digital and convergent one. It’s adage: B&C instead of B2C. Brand messages, content, and even products are no longer just “delivered” to people, as it was in the old days. Brands are now co-created, with consumer preferences and behaviors now influencing business strategy, brand strategy, and offerings. The people’s chief demand is clear: access anywhere, anyplace, anytime. Only brands that are responsive and adaptive to these trends now appear on top in the 2014 ranking. The NOS brand, for instance, is perceived as a brand that’s accessible via multiple entry points and is, therefore, close to consumers. Given the rising success of such organizations, other brands should take this as their cue to remove the shackles of their (former) category and embrace the possibilities of a digital, convergent world. Brands that still define themselves today strictly as major television or newspaper brands are likely to struggle in the future. They will become prisoners of their own category.

2. Digital enables consumers to shape what a brand stands for today
Another interesting development is the rise of social media brands such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Unlike traditional media brands, these brands don’t provide their own content. Social media brands offer user-generated content. In the digital age, a lack of brand owner created content, however, doesn’t mean a lack of brand influence. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn facilitate consumer connections and conversations, while monitoring what’s going in their social and professional lives. According the Best Dutch Media Brands survey results, consumers indicated that the most important driver for using these brands is to bond with others. The relevance of these brands lies in the fact that they’re tapping into a primary human need. Since social media brands use technology to deliver tailor-made, personalized content, the resulting brand experience flawlessly fits a consumer’s identity. As such, “my Facebook” is distinct from “your Facebook,” a notion that takes personalization—and relevance—to the next level. To thrive in the coming years, nearly all brands—especially media brands, which are communicative by nature—must figure out how to harness the power of digital technology to connect with and better understand consumers.

3. Wanted: brands that believe what I believe
A number of the top ten Best Dutch Media Brands convey or have their roots in a clear purpose, cause, or belief. Discovery Channel, for instance, is dedicated to satisfying curiosity and puts that commitment at the heart of everything they do. It’s literally the brand’s raison d'être. It gives focus and direction to all branded activities and helps to ensure consistency in look, feel, and experience—which extends to the hit series the brand produces such as Deadliest Catch, MythBusters, and Shark Week. The Discovery Channel’s products are tangible proof of what the brand stands for and believes. As a result of its clarity around and commitment to its core value, it attracts consumers who want their curiosity ignited and the thrill of discovery delivered. In Start with Why, Simon Sinek’s book about what it truly takes to lead and inspire, the author couldn’t have said it better when he when he wrote, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” In other words, purpose-driven brands don’t interact with a target group, but with like-minded people. Now that’s a strong basis for a relationship!

As these lessons illustrate, the path forward for media brands is evident: break free from your category, embrace digital, and start with a clear purpose. The key to adaptation—and success—is “change,” as the title of this blog post, borrowed from Benjamin Franklin’s famous words, indicates. What will the media landscape look like in 2015? It will depend on which brands evolve (and how quickly), and which brands fail to keep up with the pace of change.

Ariën Breunis is an Associate Director in Interbrand’s Amsterdam office

You can follow him on Twitter at @BreunisA




Related Posts


Interbrand Releases Best Mexican Brands 2014
Interbrand Launches the 4th Annual Best Global Green Brands
Leadership: Maximizing Opportunities for Canadian Brands