PHOENIX, AZ: GE, the industrial conglomerate, is drawing on guidance from an in-house "media manifesto" as it strives to keep pace with the rapidly-changing marketing ecosystem.
Linda Boff, GE's executive director/global brand marketing, discussed this topic while speaking at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) 2015 Annual Leadership Meeting.
Every year, Boff – who first joined GE in 2003 and assumed her current role in 2011 – closes out the calendar by pulling together a "media manifesto". (For more, including details on six core principles for the firm, read Warc's exclusive report: GE probes six "media manifestos".)
Its aim is to "help GE guide our way toward [the place] where media are headed, what's our place in it, how do we want to behave, what should we look like, and what are some of the [issues] we should keep in mind."
And Boff outlined several of the principles from her "manifesto" for 2014/15 that are helping a 134-year-old company fuse content and context to reach audiences in compelling and unexpected ways.
They included the possibility of using a diverse slate of assets – from retail to connected products – as media, matching content and channels in a more disciplined way, and the importance of not being a "copycat".
Drilling down into one of these subjects, Boff argued that brands are becoming "networks" – a shift driven in large part by the fact they effectively "own" an increasing range of media channels.
"We often talk about a brand as a publisher, a content producer and a programmer," Boff said. "But I think the idea of the brand as a network is taking hold for us."
Such a notion does not mean moving away from successful relationships with media owners, but understanding how they might be supplemented by more direct communications with customers.
"This is in no way to disintermediate the wonderful media companies who we love working with," Boff asserted.
"As a brand today, however, GE reaches four million people and [that number is] growing. We are a social/earned/owned ecosystem.
"Think Facebook. Think Snapchat. Think YouTube. At any given moment, we can talk to four million people."
Data sourced from Warc