The agency's new report highlights structural change in business economics and shows how consumer demand for free online services has an impact beyond the digital market.
It examines the expectation that online services will be free and analyses its impact on advertising opportunities.
Entitled Welcome to the Free World, it explains how consumers have become accustomed to getting information and services for nothing online and how this model could spread to other sectors of the economy such as travel, entertainment and fashion.
The report examines the business models of the new Free World to consumer businesses such as Skype, Facebook, Habbo and YouTube and shows where they get their revenue as well as highlighting the additional opportunities for brands to participate in the Free World.
The report highlights five key actions for brands that want to take advantage:
- Get involved: talk to innovative media owners and discover what they have to offer. Engage with online sites seeking more revenue.
- Spread your message far and wide: as consumers increasingly focus their web experience around platforms such as video sharing sites and personal homepages, brands need to move away from banners and corporate websites.
- Invest more in online: as more free services develop online consumers will spend more time there, cash should be shifted from TV and radio.
- Focus on ideas: with an infinite amount of content now available, only strong creative ideas backed by multimedia executions that allow consumers to take part will stand a chance.
- Do - don’t just show: branded content, services and events will be ever more important as being free is all that matters but the experience must be useful, entertaining and genuinely beneficial to stand out.
Welcome to the Free World also cites three examples of brands that have successfully taken advantage of the new environment, including an Intel programme on MySpace in Europe, an Xbox 360 deal with MSN Live Messenger in France and Microsoft’s placement of instructional videos on VideoJug.
Free will be the dominant metric of the digital world and brands that are willing to be creative are a very strong position to take advantage. If they want to be successful in this environment, however, they will have to offer consumers services and content that provide real benefits, says Tom Smith, Head of Consumer Futures, EMEA at Universal McCann.
To download a copy of the report please visit www.universalmccann.com - the report can be found on the right hand side of homepage.
This article was first published on brandrepublic.com