Media Evaluation Without Borders?

This piece originally appeared in the Thursday 20th March 2014 issue of [Click here for original]

WHILE both companies can take many positives from this week’s announcement, the ultimate winners are the media evaluation industry and its clients.

It marks an inevitable evolution in media evaluation and serves to highlight how providers like Salience Insight are having to keep pace with a 24/7 news culture that now embraces social media. But perhaps of greater significance, however, it is a recognition that piecemeal media evaluation, determined by narrow geographical confines, is no longer relevant to many clients.

But ‘global’ doesn’t imply best. Global should not become the media evaluation industry’s mantra, nor used to infer a hierarchy, or scale of operation, in which only companies with a network of international offices are able to provide clients with an effective and seamless service.

There are thousands of organizations who have no need for evaluation services beyond their immediate home market, and whose existence creates a ready and successful market for local providers.

But whether global or not, the one certainty is that there can be no substitute for local market knowledge. CARMA International’s grasp of the business and political workings of Washington DC has shaped its reputation for more than 30 years, while Salience’s expertise in the UK and Middle East markets, for example, has quickly helped us establish a ‘glocal’ brand identity.

Mergers and acquisitions in the communications business reflect the ebb and flow of a dynamic industry. Some are predatory, others offer a marriage of convenience. In our case, the ability to access CARMA’s extensive market knowledge was as critical and decisive a factor behind our deal with them, as were the benefits of achieving economies of scale and product, technology and service synergies.

A new order is emerging as the world recovers from the economic downturn. We now have the new MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) and Middle Eastern economies jockeying with the more established BRIC countries for investment and recognition. Companies will rely on companies like Salience Insight and CARMA to sift through the white noise that inevitably accompanies such shifts of power, and to deliver the meaningful insights that can shape business strategy.

In practical terms, the acquisition this week brings one step closer to reality a scenario where a Washington-based corporation announces a major initiative in, say, Dubai and, within 24 hours, receives a detailed analysis of local media reaction, offering insights into the nuances of social media activity, and making appropriate recommendations.