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ZenithOptimedia is championing a new strategic approach to communications planning that requires a rethink of the way clients prioritise and allocate resources across paid, owned and earned media.

The new model, dubbed ‘Owned First’, is being rolled out across the entire ZO global network, and Auckland-based NZ group business manager Alex Lawson says it is now being implemented across the agency’s wider client base.

Here’s the detail, in ZenithOptimedia’s own words:

With the rapid growth of digital and social media, marketers are now being released from the constraints of leading communication with paid media. In this new, faster and more flexible era of marketing, the limitations of the 30-second TV spot are being replaced by the limitless possibilities of digital and online consumer engagement.

In order to maximise the opportunities in this new era, ZenithOptimedia is advising clients to adopt a new approach to communications planning, which we are calling ‘Owned First’. Placing owned media at the forefront of a communications strategy, means that the experience a brand delivers through its owned channels and assets – e.g. online video, photography, music, written content – becomes its primary route to marketing success.

In contrast to the traditional ‘paid first’ model, Owned First brand building places the user experience at the heart of the communications story. This is being made possible as digital entertainment and digital brand experiences become increasingly indistinguishable.

Through its global consumer analysis tool Touchpoints, ZenithOptimedia has proven that having an Owned First approach, which uses paid media to drive people to a brand’s owned assets and platforms, produces higher levels of consumer engagement than traditional paid-media-centric approaches.

As part of the launch of the new approach, ZenithOptimedia, has produced a guide for marketers on how to adopt an Owned First approach: Owned First: Challenging the Conventions of Paid, Owned and Earned Media. ZenithOptimedia has also set up a website to champion the Owned First approach: www.ownedfirst.com. Over the coming months, the platform will be used to showcase Owned First thinking and work.

Sean Healy, Global Communications Planning Director, ZenithOptimedia, who is leading the network’s Owned First approach, said: “ZenithOptimedia is taking a stand against the limited approach to communications that starts with paid media rather than a brand’s richer and more powerful ‘owned’ content and platforms. In today’s digital world, people value real experiences and demand engaging entertainment. Owned First enables brands to deliver this effectively.”

Alex Lawson, Group Business Director at ZenithOptimedia Auckland, adds “this is an approach that we’re really excited to implement across our wider client base here in NZ. We’ve been working with some of our local clients to implement this type of approach for the last year, so it’s great to know that this will now be rolling out across our network clients and that we have an additional suite of tools to help local clients make these changes to their marketing strategy.”

General Manager Sophia Quilian is also pleased to have this level of support from the network “being part of a global network the size and resource of ZenithOptimedia enables us to retain a boutique feel and level of service to our clients whilst being able to bring them world class size, support and tools suite that you’d expect from an agency many times our physical size. It’s a real advantage in this market.”

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