How can brand-owned media be managed?

Exploring the new interrelation between brands and media

There are signs that the boundaries between brand and media management are disintegrating. Brands are being equipped with a media function, which means that they are taking over typical media activities and services such as entertainment, information or social networking. The result is a new phase of brand communication, often referred to as ‘owned media‘.

The most prominent example is Red Bull. With Red Bull Media House, Red Bull operates its own TV stations and TV windows, online forums, cellular mobile offerings and magazines (“The Red Bulletin”, “Servus“) and has developed a cross-linked product offering of events, films, documentations, serial soaps, games and music, all apparently constituting a new business segment for the brand that is actively brought to market (www.redbullmediahouse.com, www.redbullcontentpool.com).

Against this background, we introduce the working hypothesis that with owned media, brands disconnect very clearly from the classic central functions of communication instruments such as image building, selling services and products or establishing a dialogue with stakeholders. Instead, their communication functionally is one of professional media organizations which requires changes in the way how brands are being managed today.

Due to the newness of the phenomenon, there is still a considerable lack of research on how owned media influence brand management and the interrelations between brands, media and recipients. In a first explorative study, which used the grounded theory approach, the main categories[1] for a theory of owned media have been identified (Baetzgen/Tropp 2013).

In a next step the hierarchy and interrelations of the core variables have to be further examined. Hence, the goal of our qualitative study is to build the architecture of a theory of owned media. This is the basis of an ensuing survey with its statistical analyses.

Methodically, we use total interpretative structural modeling (TISM) (Nasim 2011; Sage 1977; Saxena et al. 2006; Sushil 2005, 2009; Warfield 1974) as it provides a systematic and comprehensive method for integrating group judgements in developing a structural model. A sample of 50 European and U.S. practitioners, who work in the realm of public relations, corporate communication, advertising, marketing and media, provides profound, intercultural and firsthand insights.



Nasim, S. (2011): Total interpretive structural modeling of continuity and change forces in government. Journal of Enterprise Transformation 1(2): 147-168.


Baetzgen, A./Tropp, J. (2013): “Owned Media”: Developing a Theory from the Buzzword. In: Studies in Media and Communication/SMC, Vol. 1, 2/2013, S. 1-10, http://dx.doi.org/10.11114/smc.v1i2.172.


Saxena, J.P., Sushil and Vrat, P. (2006) Policy and Strategy Formulation: An Application of Flexible Systems Methodology. Global Institute of Flexible Systems Management, New Delhi: GIFT Publishing.


Sushil (2005) Interpretive matrix: a tool to aid interpretation of management in social research. Global Journal of Flexible System Management 6(2): 27-30.


Sushil (2009) Interpreting the interpretive structural model: organization research methods. New Delhi, India: Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.


Warfield, J.N. (1974) Towards interpretation of complex structural models. IEEE Transactions: System, Man and Cybernetics 4(5): 405-417.


[1] Causes: Mediatization and economization of society; digitization and online communication: contexts: logic of mass media, logic of brand, logic of journalism; consequences: brands evolve into media, communication quality as effectivity axiom, conditions: collaboration with media.

Mitvortragende: Prof. Dr. Jörg Tropp (Hochschule Pforzheim)
Vortrag auf Veranstaltung: ECC ECREA Conference 2014
Veranstaltungsort: Lissabon
Datum: 12.11.2014 bis 15.11.2014

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