Building Traction! Focus on Brands and Celebrities

By: Steve Masur

We are working every day on deals between digital media companies and the biggest brands, celebrities, and distribution channels.   I want to talk about where I think the big opportunities are now that things are finally “converging.”

Raising money is one thing, but creating a successful company in a new business is the greater achievement.  We have finally reached “convergence,” in which true alternative distribution channels for media have emerged and are developing, and the world’s biggest brands are seeking exposure on these new media.  There is a lot to build out, and a lot of money to be made, so there is a lot of opportunity.  But there is also a lot of risk.  The days of selling VCs on an idea are over.  Now you need “traction,” and we are focused 100% on this.

We’ve done a lot of great work in this area this year.  Immediate examples include supermodel Angela Lindvall and home improvement guru Bob Vila.  Angela Lindvall’s deal is for a new line called ANGELA BY JOHN HARDY, which she is promoting on QVC.  Angela’s deal is interesting because her brand as well as the John Hardy brand are edgy, hip and high end, and you can see that QVC is trying to leverage her (as well as Heidi Klum and Isaac Mizrahi) to execute a brand revival the way that Target did.  QVC is killing it, so this is brilliant, and perfectly timed for them.  Also, they have money.  So once you understand what they are trying to do, your entrepreneur’s mind can turn to how your product can help them do it.  And there you have your pitch.

Bob Vila’s project is truly brilliant long range market thinking.  He is steadily building broadcast TV, cable TV, internet, and mobile initiatives and endorsement deals, which play off of each other to increase brand awareness and revenue, for both Bob Vila as a brand, as well as for the brands he is endorsing.  Every time you see Bob Vila on cable, broadcast or On Demand TV, traffic on BobVila.com will spike, as will sales of the items Bob endorses on the site (and actually sells through the stores on BobVila.com) and in the retail stores.

Even so, this work has given us just the smallest glimpse of a whole new universe of transactional business, the size of which is limited only by the creativity of the business people involved.  In digital media, we have been talking for many years about the possibilities.  Now the big brands and celebrities are taking up this conversation for the first time, and just now starting to make some bets and take some risks.  So there will be very interesting times ahead.

The celebrities and brands willing to take risks and do something different and more, like our clients Bob Vila and Angela Lindvall, are the ones who will win now.

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