It is interesting to gauge the response from people when asked what type of media company they are – most respond they are in some other business, some give a confused answer and some just stare blankly thinking it is a trick question.
Every organization is (or will be) a media company. Thinking you are not is similar to people in the 1990s who did not embrace technology and dismissed the Internet as something that is not part of their business. Do you know anyone who would say that now?
The Web 2.0world has tilted The balance of information power to the customer, this means that you must understand what is relevant to the customer and examine how you can effectively communicate with that customer. We continue to see the decline of traditional media (newspapers, broadcast television), while social networks grow and thousands of new bogs (micro publishers) join the conversation every day and reporters now turn to the web for research and story ideas.
Companies and organizations must understand that their most powerful communication tools are their own employees and their own customers – and they must become familiar with the technologies that let those voices be heard.
This concept is not necessarily new – for years people have talked about employees and customers as brand advocates, the difference today is everyone has access to tools that can amplify even the smallest voice. Because customers and employees are the most trusted source of information, and most people do not trust the press, a marketing message or claim that is not authentic will not only be uncovered but loss of trust can cause great damage to a brand or reputation.
The future of media as a three dimensional landscape – the axis of the space are represented by the types of user-centric communities that exist in media:
- Demographic similar communities – think of a teen magazine, JET or AARP, targeted to a specific age group, ethnicity, etc…
- Geographic proximity – your local news station or newspaper
- Issue centric communities – fashion magazines, trade industry publications, etc…
What each company must understand is how it exists in this three dimensional space, what are the content and media partners that it should work with, what are its customers talking about and then develop a plan to shift marketing to include every member of the community and community. No easy task – but ten years ago how many people even used email.