As technology increases the speed and volume of communications, the way brands interact with the media has also changed, writes Harriet Evans.
The world has become more digitally focused and traditional media outlets are feeling the pinch. Print publications are shutting down and media houses are pushing resources into digital alternatives, to not only keep up with consumer behaviour but also the 24-hour news cycle.
The social media generation (Gen Z and Millennials) has created a new era of media where influencers have achieved a ‘celebrity’ like status through having a huge network of followers interested in what they do, say and think. This generation consumes news through video or digital sources more frequently than any other, a recent study from the Reuters Institute puts this in perspective: Digital outlets serve as the main source of news for those under 35, including 64% of those between the ages of 18 and 24. It’s a new landscape where your target audience has instant access to information.
So how can brands benefit from the shifting media landscape?
Brands can now become influencers in their own right, without the help of the mainstream media. Paid or non-paid content can be created and be pushed out through their channels, or brands can partner with influencers on an individual basis to create exclusive content that drives engagement and resonates with their audience.
An example of a brand partnering with an influencer to create exclusive content is Fiji water’s recent partnership with Danielle Bernstein and her fashion blog We Wore What. Together they created exclusive content for Bodyworewhat, an influencer marketing campaign offering short workout videos. The campaign demonstrated Fiji’s commitment to hydrating those who want to look and feel as fit as Bernstein, while helping her fans get there with all the right motivators.
Creating live connections
Social media is constantly expanding and brands and influencers can connect with their audiences in real time, with live streaming options such as Instagram and Facebook Live. Brands can keep their audience engaged at events by live tweeting or recording Instagram stories, sharing exclusive content and offering a sneak peek behind the scenes.
Italian’s women’s magazine Grazia UK recently hosted a debate on Facebook Live and streamed multiple events, as they put together their first community issue at Facebook’s London headquarters. One popular event was their Brexit roundtable, where followers could engage in real time by asking questions and sharing their own opinions in the comments.
The way the media landscape is structured, audiences have become more and more accustomed to consuming news through digital channels. Mobile-optimised video makes the increasing number of on-the-go consumers extremely accessible. Brands have the opportunity to connect through video, on their own channels as well as through a wider influencer network.
A great example of a brand using interactive video is when Diet Coke drove awareness through its ‘Stay Extraordinary’ video campaign. They achieved this by creating a series of videos, featuring Diet Coke consumers and aggregating them onto the one main, interactive video.
Leveraging social media
Social media should be an integral part of the digital marketing mix. Journalists research their stories on social media and often pull story ideas from Twitter and other channels. As a brand if you can create a social account with a buzz, which is sending out timely and relevant content throughout the day, journalists may pick up your story or re-share it with their followers. You are effectively creating your own PR tool and attracting new opportunities.
The good news for brands is, good content is still good content, and a compelling message still resonates. The only difference today is that the delivery mechanism has changed. Flexibility is key; technology is moving faster than the blink of an eye and the best thing you can do as a brand to stay ahead of the game is to evolve as quickly, if not faster than the digital world around you.