Monday 19 March 2018

A Transformed Media Environment

With the continual growth of social media channels and the ease at which people can access and disseminate information, it is not only the media industry that has dealt with the implications.

It now seems that all companies and brands are media companies because of their ability to share news, opinions and stories with their audience and stakeholders. Gone are the days of waiting for the words of Brian Henderson on the 6pm news – the headlines now break on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, blogs and on YouTube.

But are there implications for brands and companies having such a prominent voice within their community and acting as storytellers, or should it just be left to the journalists?

Companies now have the opportunity to grow their brand and reputation through media channels. However this needs to be done strategically and with caution. Brands and companies need to understand the value of transparent conversations; they also need to delve into many different media platforms so their whole audience is reached. The transmedia cloverleaf is a great example as to how companies can achieve this.

Every company needs to master media technologies and adopt best practices if they are going to successfully execute their news into the public domain and therefore act as a media agency. Early this year, Toyota planned a major Twitter campaign to promote the Camry. Toyota created various Twitter handles and directly tweeted a mass of people with the intention of engaging users. However this resonated poorly, as users accused Toyota of bombarding and spanning them with unsolicited messages.

Companies need to ensure that when they are trying to inform and share news with a mass audience, they are using engaging content. When using Twitter especially, the content needs to be interesting and stimulating so you can encourage users to re-tweet and spark conversation. A bland spam message isn’t going to go far in the Twittersphere.

There is also a rising opportunity for companies to create their own news through storytelling. In this current market, companies and brands can demonstrate their knowledge, leadership and ideas with their audience by telling a story.

Stories resonate well with audiences because it provides a holistic and assuring picture of a company or a brand – a story has the ability to inspire and move people, unlike facts in a news bulletin. Storytelling is not only a powerful communication tool, but a worthwhile trust builder.

Storytelling however needs to be accompanied with strategic methods to build a two-way communication system with audiences.  Through listening and engaging with audiences, organisations can tap into particular markets and gain a close relationship with their followers – something not as easy through traditional journalism methods. While journalists still play a vital role in informing us, we are now in a society where it’s a collaborative effort.

Engagement with audiences, customers and stakeholders is at our doorstep, through careful management and practices all businesses can be successful media agencies.


- Alex Loftus