Is Platform A on the right track?

I attended an event last night put on by Platform A, the new entity that is the umbrella for AOL’s content sites, Advertising.com ad network, Tacoda targeting infrastructure and other digital mediaIs Platform A on the right track? sites and services. Three key takeaways for me were:

1. Their themes of “fragmented media,” “consumer engagement,” “context” and “relevance” are absolutely the right themes for a media services company to focus on. Marketers should be embracing these themes as well.

2. It is really difficult to unify so many pieces under a single brand. Platform A still has some work to do on this front. Many marketers have similar challenges. Platform A’s strategy is well defined, but it hasn’t clarified its unifying mission yet. I’d encourage any company with a broad portfolio to distill its “reason for being” into a simple and understandable statement that connects with its key audiences.

3. It takes both time and effort to close the gap between perception and reality. What AOL in particular has done over the past year since decoupling its content from its ISP service is admirable. Its main site is an effective functional portal that embraces integrating content from other content providers, including social networks. AOL’s specialty sites appeal to large groups with common interests, including music, food and personal finance. But I had no idea. My perceptions of AOL were based on the old AOL. Like many marketers whose realities are better than the prevailing perceptions, Platform A/AOL could benefit from investing in marketing. A novel idea I know, but one worth committing to.

If you were running marketing for AOL, what would you do to get consumers to take a fresh look at the portal?