We are going through massive disruption in the media world. From my perspective there has never been a more exciting time to be involved in this space.
Traditional media is under threat. Newspapers are laying off teams of journalists, advertisers are reallocating budgets and the paying customer has found an alternative – free online news, anytime and anywhere.
Television is also under threat. Viewers can compile and watch what they want, when they want it and on the device they prefer to watch it on. If we want to watch a whole series, we can; binge watching is now a phrase we all know and probably do on a fairly regular basis. And radio is changing too. I’ve been working in radio for over 20 years and I never thought it would be under threat, but it is. Technology allows us to listen to whatever we so desire and program our own audio via podcasts and music streaming services.
Given this disruption, the same can be said for how companies and individuals can communicate effectively today. Let me say straight up – what used to work probably doesn’t work today. If you carry on spending your budgets the way you used to, you’ll more than likely be pouring money down the drain.
Much of my time is spent talking about new opportunities for companies and individuals to embrace. When I started Lush TV nearly nine years ago, my job was to convince companies that video was something they should be considering. The iPhone was about to come out, the iPad wasn’t conceived and watching videos online was a clunky experience. But it’s all changed so rapidly. I’m even more convinced now about the aspect of leaders and followers. In all my meetings back then I said to them, ‘This will happen. You will one day embrace video but if you’re not ready now, then wait, watch and follow.’
Thankfully many companies took the plunge early. These leaders showed what could be done. I’ll never forget some of the feedback we had from companies that embraced this new short, sharp, sophisticated approach to video. The same is happening today, and again, I’m coming across leaders and followers. When I talk about what and how companies can communicate more effectively, I encounter those that literally have a sparkle in the eye from the outset. They know this is the future. They know they want to lead the way and gain first-to-market advantage. Then there are those that look dazed, confused, unsettled – hankering for a past world they know and trust. These are the followers that will have to acknowledge they had a chance to be brave and bold but stayed safe and got left behind.
In closing, here are my top 10 tips for any business looking to succeed in an ever-changing media landscape:
- Don’t spend all your money on advertising. I don’t advocate removing this budget altogether but recognise there are so many better alternatives today.
- Be strategic. Invest in a formal strategy. Research and find out about your audience and customers. What do they want, what do they like, when do they want it, and how often do they want it? You think you know this already but you probably don’t. Audience behaviour has changed dramatically even in the last few years so it’s time to think again.
- Before doing anything have a clear objective. Is your goal to get new customers, raise brand awareness, or attract future employees? Are you interested in servicing your current clients and fostering brand loyalty? Don’t publish or broadcast for the sake of it – follow a strategic plan tailored to your business objectives.
- Focus on niche audiences. All evidence suggests the more niche your target audience, the better. We are individuals after all. The beauty of the digital world is it allows us to give laser focus with our aim.
- Control your own media. Everyone has websites. Use this as the home of all your content and news. Everything you create should live here first or redirect back to here. The aim is for people to see what you do and discover more about you and what you offer. Build your own media property; don’t invest in building someone else’s.
- Think like a publisher. Having worked in the media for nearly 25 years, I know consistency is everything. If you are going to embark on a project, stick with it and deliver when promised. Break these rules and you break trust with your audience. Lose credibility and you lose your audience.
- Treat social media as a corporate communications channel. The 18-year-old with a Facebook account should NOT take over your company’s social media updates. You need communications expertise to ensure your reputation is upheld. Remember everything you update or respond to must have your DNA running through it. Your social media voice must be consistent and aligned with your brand values.
- Don’t take on Mount Everest as your first challenge. I speak to too many companies that want to do everything at once. Start small, take small steps, do them well and then take on greater challenges. Remember there is enough content out there. If you’re going to do anything, make it special from the start.
- Think about stories, stories, stories. I don’t want to know about the machinations of your latest technology; I want to know about the impact it has had on people’s lives. Make me care – show me the human side of your business.
For more tips on how to find your story, listen in:
- Finally, experiment! Try something – stick with it for a time and then evaluate. We are all learning in this new world. Be nimble, but be prepared to give something time. A run of TV ads will give you a quick fix but much of what we’ve talked about today will give you the long-lasting results you crave.
Are you ready to become a marketing leader?
If you want advice on how to navigate the world of modern marketing, why not come in for a chat? Our team at Lush has decades of experience in traditional media and understand explicitly how to help brands embark on their own publishing and broadcasting projects. We’d love to hear your stories.