A couple of months ago, the comedian Reginald D Hunter was on the Jonathan Ross show and he talked about something he called a “strong minute”. Although what I’m about to talk about takes that thought and bastardises it horribly, it struck me as real relevant for what we try to do with marketing and advertising. The job we’re attempting for brands, really. Because his explanation of that “strong minute” was simple. I’m paraphrasing, but he talked about it being a minute that is powerful and impactful. That sticks with you and means more. A minute that really counts.

Which got me thinking: we should be trying to achieve “strong brand minutes” with our audiences.

If we stop thinking about broadcast and digital and experiential as separate things and just consider it in terms of ‘brand minutes’ then we can boil down the cross-media debate to one of the time people spend with a brand. And I don’t think it needs to get a lot more complicated than that.

You could try to argue that we need to add some sort of ‘concentration’ factor to it as well. Or maybe we need to weight that minute by ‘impact’. Either way, we’re just trying to measure like with like. You can’t judge a 30 second commercial as being 1/360th as powerful as spending three hours at a sponsored polo match. So you need a measure of what the brand minute is able to achieve. We could probably build that pretty quickly with the help of a measurements/research agency. For the purposes of this, though, I’m less fussed with exactly how you make those minutes comparable.

Because the point of it being a STRONG brand minute rather than just a comparable brand minute is that we fail to understand the opportunity if we try too hard to make that brand minute comparable… The whole point of a strong brand minute, and this is where I deviate less from the original intent outlined by Reginald D Hunter, is that you’re achieving more. This STRONG brand minute needs to make the very most of the time you’ve got with the audience, so it has to demand more creativity, it has to be more relevant, it has to be more insightful.

In short, a STRONG brand minute demands that we’re all working harder. That we make the very most of an opportunity to connect with people. We’ll use those minutes differently depending on the role of the media, the mindset of the person we’re connecting with, the likely need they’ll have, and so on. But we should be judging ourselves on our ability to take a minute and make it count. However many minutes we’ve got.

Then, we need to start, as an industry, looking for the ability to make cross-media comparisons. Not for the purposes of budget division, although that will still play a role, but also so that we start to aggregate our minutes and see how we are connecting with people at a macro level.

Maybe we can even measure all the media in terms of that brand minute?  

More on this to come… it’s a thought I like, but it feels like it’s just a nascent idea right now.