The impact of hijacked media

Imagine that someone creates a website or Facebook page that is dedicated to taking down your brand. Imagine that the page has more fans than your corporate page. What’s your plan for handling that?

The Packer’s general manager Ted Thompson has had to contend with the website since releasing Brett Favre (the photo above is the author of the site admitting he was wrong – a rare thing in Hijacked media), Dr. Pepper had to navigate around the Raging Cow boycott (a now defunct line of milk-based beverages created by Dr. Pepper) and the countless brands that are in the unenviable position of having a “boycott” page on Facebook for their brand (seriously, check out this search on Facebook for “Boycott”!) live in this world of Hijacked media every day.

These are but a few examples of what McKinsey calls “Hijacked Media”. Hijacked media have been around for some time, but many brands still don’t have any concrete plans laid out for dealing with hijacked media. More to the point, they have not really considered how they would integrate all of their media (see graphic below) to work on their behalf in times of good, of to come to their defense in times of crisis.


Moreover, McKinsey points to the emergence of Sold media, where a firm takes one if its Owned media properties, usually a thought leadership or community site or a custom publication, and sells space to partners, vendors and even competitors to improve the overall objectivity of the resource. (McKinsey calls out the Johnson & Johnson Baby Center website as an example)

While it’s not prudent (or legal) to replicate the entire article here, I recommend reading McKinsey’s “Beyond paid media: Marketing’s new vocabulary” on their site (free registration required) and formulating your plan for Hijacked and Sold media with the help of a few guidelines below.

  1. You need a strategy that encompasses all of these media types. Some executives have gone so far as to do scenario planning in their overall marketing plans to account for the possibilities of sold media and the potential challenges of
  2. Setup an industry listening discipline in your marketing department. I encourage every single employee responsible for marcomm and messaging to ‘listen’ (Google Alerts is a good start) to what’s going on in the industry. Keywords, competitors, brands, hot topics and trends should all be part of your daily information diet.
  3. Integrate all of these media for ‘tiered media effects’. No, Twitter will not be the next windfall in lead generation, but that’s not to say it’s not part of an overall strategy. If you view your media as working in tiers (twitter helps build your email list which helps drive webinar attendees which drives people to your trade show booth that generates inquiries that turn into leads) then you’re on the path to integrating the 5 media types.
  4. You’re now a publisher, so think, act and plan like a publisher. Good content wins. Period. Marketers, especially B2B marketers, have a new charter – become a publisher. 4.5 of the media types mentioned (paid media can include RSS feeds or advertorials and custom publishing) rely heavily on good content that delivers value to your audience.
  5. Deliver value in your media. Long-time readers know that I love the concept of convergence and this month has been a convergence around the concept of value. Delivering value first (in your marketing, literature, sales presentations and every other touch point) has been the focus of several articles and editorials I’ve read and presentations I’ve seen in the past month. Focus on value!
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