Red Bull, Channel 4 and The Guardian first partners for platform that simplifies brokering a media partnership

Guardian among first to sign up to Invent

Spotify, Red Bull Media House, Channel 4, Sky and The Guardian are among a group of select publishers to be given the keys to a new platform from digital agency Essence, which promises to better connect them with advertisers.

Called ‘Invent’, Essence claimed the offering makes the process of forging media partnerships faster, more cost effective and ultimately helps both parties land on better ideas for content.

The website enables these selected publishers to access client briefs and propose ideas for content that meet the objectives. It could cover anything from branded content to a a specific campaign tied into a seasonal event. What it's not is another route to securing ad space, according to the agency.

Once a publisher suggests the media partnership, they are assigned an expert at Essence to assess if the proposal meets the brief and to fine tune the idea before potentially going live.

It's designed to be fast. For instance, The Guardian would log on to the Invent website and access live client briefs. To make sure they don’t waste time on something that might not develop into a commission, the publisher would simply write a 100 word synopsis of its insight and idea around each brief. Someone from Essence would then pick up the proposal and work with The Guardian’s team on ensuring it meets all of the client’s the needs.

If the idea is ready to go then the client simply signs it off – this could happen in a matter of hours or it could take a couple of days, weeks or months - with the client, publisher and Essence all working together to refine and co-create.

By sharing brand objectives and specific campaign briefs with these partners at an early stage, Essence wants publishers to become a greater part of the media execution. The aim is to produce more creative and effective media partnerships that bring a more valuable experience to consumers.

It sounds simplistic and it is admittedly still in its early days so briefs are only just being submitted and responded to, but Erfan Djazmi, head of innovation at Essence – who is also leading Invent – told The Drum: “[This is] a much more powerful way to ensure our client briefs are being addressed and ultimately we want to connect our client’s brands with audiences in deeper ways.”

“We’re allowing clients access to ideas rather than being confirmed to a strict editorial calendar – it will give them a steady stream which is a much more powerful way to ensure our client briefs are being addressed.”

He added that it’s also “a more the traditional way of agencies, who brief [publishers] and give a certain amount of time to respond.”

Joe Summers, sales director at Guardian News & Media, described Invent as “ahead of the curve” in what it’s offering publishers.

“The platform is extremely user friendly and allows for only concise responses. This approach offers a seamless exchange of ideas between publisher, agency and client which I'm sure will result in great campaigns,” he said.

Invent will be run from Essence’s EMEA headquarters in London, before potentially being rolled out to further markets – namely Germany in the first half of the year and potentially to North America and Asia Pacific in the second. It also has plans to bring more publishers into the mix.

“The initial group were the publishers we thought had the right speed, creativity and content,” continued Djazmi. “But at the end of the first half of this year we’re going to add to it. It will be a rolling programme throughout the year, given how quickly the media landscape changes, that we’ll add in more partners.”

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