In 2003, the billionaire former owner of Harrods, Mohamed Al-Fayed, tasked Guy Cheston with building a media business for the department store. By 2015, the luxury store’s media worked so well it paid for everything else. “Initially, this media sales or the owned media division was really just a little tiny element of the trade marketing team,” he says. “Harrods had set up its own in-house media division, which was funding the entire marketing function of the store.” It went from £1m to £22m in a bit over a decade, and then went skyward. Not every brand is Harrods, but those that nail owned media can make serious cash. First step: Valuing what’s available.Jonathan Hopkins, Founding Partner of owned media consultancy Sonder, says the reaction tends to be: “‘Wow, I didn't realise we were sitting on a $150 million worth of own media’… Once it's given that dollar amount and valuation, it changes the way that the business views the channels,” he says. “When you’re talking about profit margins of 80 to 90 per cent, CEOs and CFOs are going to stand up and take notice.”
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