Brand-Publisher Relationship: For or Against?

The Washington Post ran a guest-post article the other day by Jarrod Dicker about the merits of the ‘Brand-Publisher’ Relationship (you can read the article here). Jarrod is Vice President of innovation and commercial strategy. It is no secret that News Publication as an industry has been in dire straights for almost a decade or more now because of the ubiquity of online news aggregation and the non-sustainability of monetizable revenue loss. This particular article was from the WAPO PR Blog and, though we have to take all this into account, I found the article quite interesting indeed.

The basis of the article involved a rather accurate assessment of the sustainability issue, an analysis of Big Data industrial-strength marketing short-comings, and the presentation of a solution under the name of Branding-Publisher Relationship.

I posted a response along the lines of: ‘In our meta-modern context of Intergral Complexity, it makes sense that former stages of socio-cultural influence should become granular and immanent. Marketing has its roots deeply steeped in Western metrical sociology since the 1950’s. Failure to leverage our current context represents a disservice both to the readership and to company sustainability: readership opportunities include better content with custom tailoring and the sustainability issue continues to be an industry concern. 

Beyond this, Big Data and AI are incessant in the creation of consumer dossiers while endlessly cross-referencing and pigeon-holing the citizenry (and selling the result into the market) whether these Machine Learning results adequately characterize individual agency or not.  A useful remedy for this comes in the form of smaller, less monopolistic human-machine collaborations, such as those afforded by brand-publisher relationships that preserve the community norms involved with reasonable, humane insights into their cherished readership.

Some readers have objections (and rightfully so). We humans have been so invasively marketized that any more makes us want to hurl. Within the New Business context where transparency and trust are essential to brand loyalty, it would be crucial for the brand-publisher liaison to heavily reify membership agency by honoring the individual choice to opt-out. I would expect commercial interest to apply diligent coercion in an effort to inhibit or minimize such consumer agency but abdicating this cornerstone of readership trust would be the quick route to poverty. However, I would not be happy to abdicate the opportunities afforded by the choice to opt-in, either. While supporting my fellow citizen’s objection, I’m for it because it returns my personal agency, brings it closer to home and personalizes it with a custom fit.’