Imagine what might be possible if we collectively commit to reimaging advertising. Much more than the rewrapping of advertising dollars, the media industry is ripe for change and we're inviting you as a brand industry leader to be on the leading edge of it.
According to Marketing Week, global advertising will surpass $1 trillion this year. Social media will soak up a fifth of this total ad spend. “Audiences are receiving an increasing volume of ads, so finding new ways to drive ad effectiveness has never been more important,” says Will Swayne, global practice president – media at Dentsu. “We are seeing an increased focus on planning and buying for attention, over pure reach, as more brands seek to maximize their return on investment and capitalize on the attention economy tools available to them.”
Dr. John Izzo notes that research shows people believe advertising “only slightly more than advice from a stranger.” What people do believe, he says, “are employees who tell your story of good.”
2024 presents a much-needed opportunity to reinvigorate your teams while simultaneously engaging clients, customers and key stakeholders with palpable experiences that embody your values. This ultimately demonstrates your commitment to societal care and showcases what you’re doing about it.
So how can communicators accomplish this goal? Enter regenerative media.
What Is Regenerative Media and How Does It Work?
Scientific studies have shown us that the movies we watch affect our hobbies, career choices, emotions, sense of identity, relationships, mental health and even our marital status. Broken down to its simplest form, this is storytelling. Stories are the shared mechanism through which we process the experience of being alive. They are how we decide not just what and who is important, but what is happening in the first place.
At this moment in time, when the average adult consumes eight hours of media per day, what we’re seeing most frequently are stories streamed through our computers, laptops, televisions and phones.
Regenerative media is the kind of soulful, expansive, challenging and transformative storytelling that deeply nourishes us and can truly lift, shape and heal individuals and cultures. It ignites the power of our imagination and encourages audiences to explore the expansive edges of what is possible.
But this work can't be done alone. Regenerative media offers timely opportunities for brands to participate in well-curated progressive partnerships. The intent of striking these proactive relationships and curated investment opportunities is to propel lasting success for all involved. Transformative stories by historically underrecognized storytellers become the carrier of your commitment to play an active role in a societal solution.
Brand allyship is our play for expansive impact — an indigenous teaching. For community with community grounds is the brand allyship approach. Rather than “What are you doing for me?” it becomes “What might be possible when we combine our greatest gifts, talents, strengths, resources and networks for a collective contribution toward the future we want?”
What Do I Need To Know About Regenerative Media and Why?
Brand allyship starts with a clear commitment of what a brand stands for and then expands to allyship opportunities and meaningful partnerships that provide a runway to work together to bring that commitment to life. It’s a vehicle to demonstrate and communicate the brand with a compelling story and ways to experience it.
One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) is Partnerships for the Goals: “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.” It recognizes that our most effective way forward for a better world is together.
Brand allyship provides a framework to integrate your commitment to this SDG into your marketing and communication practices, including policies, planning, procurement and best practices. Some key aspects of the brand allyship framework that may broaden your understanding include:
- From transactional to relational. Well-being of people and communities are the central focus in brand allyship.
- Based on aligned values. Partnerships are based on the desire for the same future. Understand that working together demonstrates what’s possible as our values are acted upon.
- Leaning in with a long-term view. Modeling consistent support, not just during relevant events, photo opportunities or crises.
- Driving a collective process with tangible actions. Where the process is just as important as the outcome; the learning and unlearning goes beyond symbolic gestures or statements.
- Prioritizing transparency around impact and outcomes. Metrics and milestones are sought in partnership, becoming an integrated and inevitable part of the process.
- Embodying a unified desire to move beyond what’s been done in the past to reimagine what’s possible in the future.
“I believe the companies that are committed to real change will combine forces and resources to better measure their return on impact, invest in organizations that are serving as boots on the ground, and be accountable to their employees, customers and the planet.” — Stephanie Belsky, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Love of Good
One More Time for Those in the Back: Brand Allyship in Action
Let’s walk through a hypothetical example of a brand allyship opportunity in four simple steps:
- Commit to care. What are you ready to commit that demonstrates your values in real-time? For example, let’s say your brand is a global leader in construction tools. One of your organization’s values is belonging and you wish to be seen as an inclusive employer. You’re committed to taking action and supporting a solution to affordable housing for all.
- Show you care. How are you going to take action on this commitment and what partnership(s) do you need to build expansive impact around those actions? You may partner with an innovative developer who is creating affordable housing solutions in sustainable care. With the support of an impact producer, you listen to understand how you can best support this partnership.
- Tell your compelling story of care with the assistance of a regenerative media expert and develop an impact narrative for this partnership. The partnership could align with a regenerative media project such as a short film or digital series, focusing on themes like belonging. Alternatively, your brand could collaborate with a regenerative media team to create an impactful media campaign that highlights the project and raises awareness about your priorities and the solutions your partnership actively implements.
- Receive care from those you are building relationships with. Finally, this reciprocal approach calls in the impact metrics and milestones that have been agreed to. Relationships grow, reputations are strengthened and embodied brand values are evident to your team. Key stakeholders, industry colleagues and the broader community will be attracted to doing more business with you because of who you are and how you show up in the world.
“We are living in a time of transformational innovation, and it's time advertising catches up. We believe that impact media will follow in the footsteps of impact investing in this decade, including new careers and jobs in this area.” — Charlene SanJenko, Impact Producer and Media Visionary
Charlene SanJenko is an impact producer, indigenous storyteller and media visionary. She is the founder of reGEN Impact Media Inc. and the PowHERhouse impact network.
If you’d like to learn more about regenerative media, visit our regenimpactmedia.com to receive our complimentary guide, “Impact Excellence in Partnership”. And if you’d like to hear more about both regenerative media and brand allyship, listen to PodCatalyst episode: Charlene SanJenko on Brands that Shift to Lift.