Back before audiences had much choice, when changing channel wasn’t such an easy option, brands and media planners could afford to be a little lethargic when it came to the plan for next year. It mostly revolved around doing the same thing that worked last year, which was actually kind of OK, because it would likely work (and anyway, isn’t it time for a cocktail already?). Audience behaviour didn’t change dramatically year on year, so media planning behaviour didn’t either.


That was then. This is now. Audiences are fickle, which means that brands and media planners have to be too.


Brands are sometimes scared about changes in a media plan because, well, if it ain’t broke, they don’t want to fix it. But media planners have to be firm and brands have to be bold – the media landscape is in a period of constant flux and so is the media consumer. The audience won’t stay in one place for long and neither can the brand. Complacency just isn’t an option.


Media planners need to re-evaluate more frequently, conduct more research and not simply rely on last year’s success on the assumption that it will work again. Justification and rationale in the 21st century needs to be a real time operation, as does measuring brand awareness, and audience comprehension/action. Both the creative and the placing of adverts needs to be re-evaluated (although not necessarily refreshed) more often to keep up with the audience.


Measuring brand awareness is critical to all of this. The brand that is most aware of where it sits in the consciousness of the audience is the brand that is best placed to sit or twist at any given moment.


Sea changes in audience behaviour present a problem for complacent brands, who will get left behind, and opportunities for those brands who are willing to trust in innovation and research. Which brand are you going to be?