For a long time, I’ve been talking about how every company is a media company. Those four links not enough for you? Just Google my name and media company. There will be a ton of information that comes up on why this is beneficial to you and how it’s inevitable.
I’m pleased to report that Starbucks agrees with me.
Just a couple weeks ago, Starbucks announced that they would be launching a media property, and bringing on a prominent Washington Post journalist to do so. It will focus on “social issues” through TV documentaries and other forms of media. But the goal is clear: to storytell.
Starbucks has been doing a great job with acting like a media company, and they’ve only just been flirting with the idea. However, I have to give them props. They are on first or second base in a world where most people are still in the dugout. Other companies to get on the train include Red Bull and GoPro. At my agency VaynerMedia, I’ve been very proud of the work we have done with RITZ Crackers to launch launch CheeseRank, a site on all things cheese. But beyond that, I rarely see it, and that is a huge loss to many companies.
And I practice what I preach.
This seed, this nugget, started in an early part of my career, when I started feeling the financial effects of launching my YouTube show WineLibraryTV in February of 2006. It was a wine review platform for my online wine retailer. I started understanding the value of being a media company, not just a retailer. It made me realize: the single best opportunity for businesses and individuals is to become a media company. The cost of entry to become one has collapsed so much with the advent of social media, the internet, and all the resources available to us through those things.
This latest news from Starbucks is just further proof that this is the smart decision to make. Starbucks has been one of the most progressive companies of the last three decades. More people are going to pay attention to why they did this. This will become another watershed moment when we look back in ten years. And we will remember it. Why? Because we will all be creating original content. Brands. People. B2B companies. You can hold me to that. This is a foregone conclusion, and it stuns me that people aren’t wrapping their hand around it faster.
And I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, Gary: that’s all great and fine, but Starbucks and Red Bull didn’t become media companies until they were billion dollar companies. How can this work for me?”
Why do you think I’m so obsessed with emerging social networks?
You’re right: you may not have the dollars to pay Ron Howard to create an original eight part miniseries for your brand. But this is why Instagram and Snapchat and all these other platforms are so valuable for you. There is disproportionate virality, and new stars are being built every day. The awareness is huge. I used Twitter and YouTube to establish myself as they were emerging, and I definitely did not have millions of dollars. I just did what I thought would work for Wine Library.
That is every small business’s opportunity. Take advantage of the upside of writing on Medium, or becoming the first influencer on a platform. That upside is the jumpstart that you need when you don’t have dollars.
This article is just one more line in the sand to get my audience, or any who happens to be reading this: get of your ass and get going.