Information is evolving – well the way we get it and how we absorb it is. Years ago we sat down and read a newspaper – an actual physical thing that would leave newsprint on our fingers and require a desk of a certain size in order to spread it out so we could pore over it.
These days we can still do that, if we choose, or we can scroll news sites on our phones, get pop-ups on our Facebook feeds and absorb information via the opinion pieces of bloggers. There are so many different ways to receive information that depending on whether you’re a glass half-full or a glass half-empty person, this new world is either a blessing for your brand messaging or an overwhelming challenge.
The increasing diversification of news dissemination is prompting governments and corporations to increase their spending on communications. The Federal Government is devoting an average of $2.2 billion a year on communications over the next three years – and it’s easy to see why. While in the past you could air an advertisement during prime time television, pitch a leading story to the city newspaper and get a slot on a radio chat programme and pretty much cover all bases, today you have to consider a whole lot more. You need to look at who you’re targeting, how they prefer to absorb their news, and how you are going to get to them (in a nutshell).
Social media, digital marketing, advertising, public relations, traditional marketing…every aspect is relevant if you want to reach and influence the right target audience.
According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2015, for 18-24 year olds, online is the main medium for reading news; whereas people aged 55+ prefer traditional media – TV, Radio and Print. Nothing surprising here. With two distinct trends separating the community’s news consumption, it is imperative for each market to be addressed with an appropriate target strategy: 18-24s targeted through online channels and 55+ through traditional channels. The surprising element comes in the ever shifting sands of communications. A head buried in the sand approach to new methods of communication won’t cut it – even if you know your target market is 55+ and so know that they prefer traditional media methods as a generalisation there is further segmentation. For example, you might be a traditional suited corporation and therefore want to stay with the tried and tested traditional media methods. However, your target market might include people who have embraced digital communication purely out of convenience – rural or isolated clients, shift workers, people who have family overseas and want to keep in touch and those who have simply adapted due to convenience. An appropriate communications strategy means engaging with the right agency – an agency who understands the shades of grey and can help navigate the landscape with you, to develop a cohesive campaign which reflects the current market trends and can adapt while not advocating a scatter-gun approach.
As the world and social media evolve, as more platforms come online and build or drop in favour, it is critical as practitioners that we evolve with them. When many practitioners began their careers, social media was unheard of, now it is a vital tool to achieve a successful campaign and reach the modern audience. These days you don’t have to be a celebrity to be an influencer. Event launches are full of bloggers and vloggers – with hundreds of thousands of followers each and an incredibly high engagement on posts. The typical audience we once knew has transformed into people who search on social media for clarification before buying a product – who take tips from bloggers on a daily basis and crave the opinion of influencers, more than a column in the newspaper and who are extremely internet savvy.
Due to shows like Gruen Transfer, audiences have a better understanding of the advertising space and how it’s catered to appeal to them. Of course, this means the public may not be as susceptible to traditional advertising as once was. Editorial is incredibly effective in delivering key messages, rather than advertorial. It leads people to read about the client through an article, rather than the more obvious paid advertisement, which most people end up ‘skipping’ after the three second ad is up, or skimming over. The third-party endorsement editorial, the blogger’s post, the influencer’s statement of endorsement on the right platform, are all important to effectively deliver key messages to the reader – to your customer, client and target market. At the end of the day, that’s what we all want – to attract the attention and influence the opinions of our target markets to evoke action.
Further reading about the increased spending by the Federal Government on outsourced communications projects can be found here.