KSL Media’s Steven Kaufman Encourages Brands to Speak with Audiences

Steven Kaufman is the Executive Vice President of Integrated Media at KSL Media, an independent media services company that specializes in helping entrepreneurial companies and challenger brands to acquire and retain their best customer. Steven has an extensive media background, starting off as a media supervisor at Wunderman Cato Johnson and having held various senior roles at media companies including Digitas.  We recently spoke with Steven about online branding.

The Makegood: Steven, what does it mean for brands to stand out online today?

SK: In today’s complex media landscape brands that recognize the importance and are taking steps to speak with their audiences rather than just at them are the ones that stand out. Driving more meaningful conversations through use of high impact, more engaging ad formats ultimately elevates brand awareness online much more than pushing an agenda.

The Makegood:  What is the last online ad that you remember seeing and why?

SK: Every day I’m exposed to a number of ads that capture my attention because, frankly, there are a lot of brands that are doing new and interesting things online to engage audiences in a way that makes them want to remember, and even share, these ads. But for me, the ads that I recall most are those that use tactics like retargeting to ‘find’ me across the Web. In all fairness, it’s probably partially due to the fact that  I am in this world/this space, so when I see an ad ‘follow’ me as I leave one webpage for another, it makes me stop and take notice of it. Similarly, Facebook’s social ads have been sticking with me lately. I like seeing what my friends and family members have engaged with, it’s an effective way to make advertising more personal.

The Makegood: What was the “game changer” of 2011 for digital advertising?

SK: In 2011, there were a lot of things that could be considered a game changer. Technology advancements made a huge impact on how we buy and sell media as well as execute campaigns, and it obviously continues to make an impact. Additionally, I think the continued advancement and further adoption of Smart phones, iPads and things like social TV had massive implications on digital advertising. And what occurred in 2011 was just the beginning. In 2012, as more and more people watch TV anywhere and everywhere, being able to advertise cross-platforms to the same person will be a very compelling form of advertising.

The Makegood: In 2012, what is the number one thing you want to see shift/change in the digital advertising ecosystem?

SK: I’d like to see the industry quantify the value of a Facebook like as well as the value of engagement versus an impression. And along those same lines, I’d like to see the digital industry finally create a new form of measurement around engagement that is not GRP, iGRPs or CTRs – it’s time we had standardized metrics.

The Makegood: What do you think is the biggest misconception about agencies?

SK: Integration. Very few of them are. This is because most agencies obtained their “expertise” in most of the new media channels through acquisitions – something that is particularly true of large holding companies. Many of these acquisitions still operate as separate profit centers in isolation – often in different buildings and each with their own individual revenue and profit goals. As a result, they often compete for budgets instead of collaborate on achieving client objectives. Performance reports between each channel are rarely integrated to show the cumulative effect on campaign ROI. True integration comes from bringing people together from different media channels under one team so each channel understands what the other is doing. In this scenario, budgets flow freely into the best performing media channels without hesitation. Underperforming channels are forced to adopt new strategies based on what is working in the best performing channels. Agencies talk about integration, but few have adopted the business models to truly deliver it.

The Makegood: Thanks, Steven.

This is article is part of a series focused on online branding sponsored by Undertone.