It seems advertisers have intensely mixed feelings about Google, as the brand has topped a best reputation list of media brands- but was also voted the least pleasurable to work with, in the same poll.
This year’s International Media Image Survey (I-MIS) Media Owner Report, part of an annual study into reputations and perceptions of the key players in the international media industry compiled by BSB Media and The Vision Network in conjunction with the International Advertising Association (IAA), reveals that a number of media owners appear to be loved and hated in equal measure by those who work with them.
The survey analysed 50 media and technology brands across three broad groupings based around similar offerings – Cross-Over Media, Networks/Digital Service Providers and Digital Portals/Social Networks.
Google was both the most loved and least liked media brand in the survey, with Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, MSN, Twitter and BBC World News trailing them in the most loved rankings. Feelings about Google, both positive and negative, were strongest amongst advertisers, while it was agencies who had the strongest feelings about Facebook. Some of the smaller brands to perform well here include Odyssey, which has a tiny number of clients compared to the likes of Google, but has clearly satisfied many of those people it has worked with.
Will Nicholson, Founding Director at The Vision Network, comments: “Being a big brand and working with large numbers of clients and agencies seems to generate strong feelings in both directions. Unfortunately for some of these brands, the experience isn’t always a happy one, which probably affects their partners’ willingness to work with them in future. What’s probably true, though, is that the likes of Google and Facebook offer connections with consumers that other media brands aren’t currently able to replicate, so relationships continue, whether agencies and advertisers are 100 per cent happy or not.”
MORE ADVERTISERS GO DIRECT:
I-MIS results also show that 71% of advertisers now report working directly with some of their media partners. This underlines just how important it is for media companies to develop their reputation and build relationships with clients as well as their traditional partners, the media agencies. However, only five media organisations emerged as having done more business with advertisers than with media owners – in particular, Google, the Economist and YouTube. Interestingly, though, when it comes to making deals, 74% of advertisers rank face-to-face meetings of high importance, with email and phone calls trailing at 54 and 53% respectively. Both agencies and media owners alike need to remember that this is a people business, and the personal touch goes a long way.
LACK OF DIFFERENTIATION AMONGST NETWORKS/DIGITAL SERVICE PROVIDERS:
The saying goes ‘The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about’. This was the case for a number of media owners, primarily Networks/Digital service providers, who garnered no votes either way amongst those who selected the companies they most and least enjoyed working with: Viacom International Media Network, Fortune, Rovio, Tremor, Unanimis/Orange and Yume. Angus Grieve, Executive Director – IAA UK Chapter, comments, “I-MIS provides the international media industry with insight into how well the players are doing, and what they can do to improve. The sheer number of media brands included in the survey shows just how much the industry is expanding, but this can lead to confusion, especially among advertisers, who often aren’t entirely clear about what some of the digital companies actually do – are they media companies in their own right, or service providers that link clients and media. As more advertisers now work directly with media owners, those who fail to build better brand awareness and differentiation will potentially be missing out.”
So, what do agencies and advertisers look for in the media owners they choose to work with?
HOW PARTNERS ASSESS MEDIA OWNERS:
Innovation, Creativity and the ability to prove Return on Investment are the most sought after attributes – and these are the attributes where media owners have the best opportunities for differentiation. However, the media owners are expected to be good at everything, from professionalism of service to strong consumer insights and multiple-platform solutions.
REPUTATIONS – HOW DO MEDIA OWNERS STACK UP?:
Overall, the Cross-Over media brands that have built their reputation in print or television tend to be perceived as more professional and transparent than some of the newer, digital companies. Yet, on the subject of creativity and availability of new products and platforms, it’s the Digital Services companies, Social Networks and Portals that tend to perform most strongly.
On the question of Professionalism in the sales team and having good customer service, BBC World News was given the thumbs up by 49% of people surveyed. Google came in just behind on 48% and stood out among the digital providers as the only one able to rank higher than 35% on this attribute. Among the cross-over media brands, though, the Financial Times and the Economist (both 41 per cent), CNN International (38 per cent) and the Wall Street Journal (37 per cent) all surpassed that mark.
Asked which media had the best reputation for creativity and flexibility, respondents ranked Google, YouTube and Spotify top, followed by LinkedIn and then CNN International. The bigger media and technology brands tend to have a better reputation in the broader community, but those with a smaller client base often generate highly positive responses among the clients and agencies they’ve worked with.
The second annual International Media Image Survey was conducted by InSites Consulting in May and June 2014 on behalf of BSB Media and the Vision Network in conjunction with the International Advertising Association, Warc, M&M Global, AudienceScience and Loudmouth PR. In total, there were 795 responders, with 486 working in agencies, 189 for a media/tech company, 82 were advertisers and 38 were consultants, academics or otherwise associated with the media industry. See Editors Notes below for full list of the 50 media owners studied in the report.