But this is nothing new. TV spots have always served that purpose – but that was easy. As a brand, you had the deck stacked in your favor. A captive audience engaged in their favorite show with no possibility to DVR past the spot; nothing to distract them from watching the ad in real-time (sans a mute button); and most likely, the target consumer plus family & friends huddled around one screen talking about the spot, reacting to it and even discussing taking action.

As an advertiser, a network and brand – what could be better!

Well…a lot, actually.

As a brand, this might be the most exciting time to create ways to connect with your customers, and potential customers, in a whole new way. Sure, in the past there was less effort required to get the consumer’s attention…now you have to work for it a little. So what?

What a great opportunity to create something that people voluntarily and proactively engage with. Using insights from your social communities and reaching out to your consumers for their perspective (and even involvement) can provide inspiration for the most compelling and relevant content for your intended audience.

Why settle on a spot with a high-paid celebrity that might be somewhat entertaining when you can create a participation platform that makes your consumer the hero? Why create something that remains the same through every interaction with the customer when you can create an experience that changes based on the participant’s behavior and engagement (and notice I wrote “participant” and not “viewer”).

You are a now. Embrace it. Listen. Learn. Adapt. Ask customers and fans for input. Adapt again. It’s a fun time to be a publisher…I mean brand.

In my next post, I will outline some recommendations for how brands should approach content creation and distribution.