Point Magazine : Cover Story (Massive Media) - May-Jul 2011

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 20 MAY-JUL 2011 POINTThe media is growing at an alarming rate, with new channels and platforms being announced virtually every month. Yes, Google+, well be watching. But with that comes the frustration of filtering through white noise to make sense of it--unless you start on the right footStory by Andrew Chow and Adrian Koh Photography Kaden Hoe 21 MAY-JUL 2011 POINTGood communications means good businessHere are two important questions for all business leaders and brand owners to ponder:Traditional media has evolved from hieroglyphs of old to multi-billion dollar news networks today.Before the 21st century, print (newspapers, magazines, periodicals) and broadcast media (film, television, radio) were responsible for according brands social bandwidth. . Companies pay top dollar for the airtime or column inches needed to showcase their brands. Then the digital revolution struck. T h e D i g i ta l Wav eThanks to huge technological leaps, digital media channels have transformed mass communications from one-to-many to many-to-many. Digital media, in the form of social media, have become platforms where brands are merely one voice among billions.Consider the advances over the past 20 years: the convergence of information technology and communication networks; the popularization and democratization of the Internet; the easy access and low entry levels to modern communication technology. Today, it is easier to create, share and consume information in the digital media space, across demographics and psychographics. In particular, the advent of social media heralds a new age of communications, where people are connected through similar interests, rather than similar demographics. Yet what makes social media successful is not its novelty, but rather how it answers an inherent human need. Humans look for and are attracted to people who are like [them] in terms of values, interests and experiences psychologists Michael Lovas and Pam Holloway explained, in their book Axis of Influence.Collectively, social media users can be a force to be reckoned with. Online communities have succeeded in giving otherwise obscure brands such as Online communities have given brands like successful online T-Shirt store Threadless.com mainstream presence. Without social media, the pro-democracy Arab Spring uprising would never have gained the traction it did so quickly. The difference in social media? Live communication. People once had to search for information; today, information looks for us.h a r d w i r e dA major tipping point is the proliferation of mobile devices in the market, such as smartphones and tablets, making information more accessible anytime, anywhere. With a small supercomputer, consumers are gestures away from becoming a brands best friend or its worst enemy. The mobile application revolution, spurred by thousands of startups that create niche mobile services, allows sharing across blogs, microblogs, podcasts, websites, photo sharing and video sharing sites. With a broad range of content across a variety of platforms, audiences create a live stream of digital memories, hosted on the web. Increasingly, audiences are welcoming brands to be part of their live stream.M i n d i n g t h e M e d i u mm a s s i v e m e d i a- P e t e r D r u c k e r Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two - and only two - basic functions: marketing and innovation.Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing,unique function of the business." If communication is an intention to reach out, then media is the channel to achieve that. Good media communications is a holy grail, and most companies hire a bevy of consultants and media agencies to navigate this chaotic and unforgiving landscape.How can I gain traction in effective communications in the media landscape, since its fundamentally linked to success?How can I make sound decisions for my business?22 MAY-JUL 2011 POINTAs i a : A D i g i ta l H o t b e d Of Asia represents a massive growth area for digital media. According to Internet World Stats1, there are about 825 million Internet users in Asia alone (as of June 2010). This means over 21% of the entire Asian population are plugged in a dramatic 622% increase from a decade ago.Asia is not only home to the largest Internet population in the world, but it is also one of the fast-growing, said Will Hodgman, Executive Vice President (Asia-Pacific) for comScore, an Internet marketing research company serving some of the webs largest businesses.With most markets in the region experiencing double-digit growth, marketers and advertisers have the opportunity to capitalize on the potential of the online channel to reach and engage a surging number of people engaging in a variety of consumer activities online, including reading content, watching video, playing online games, engaging with brands, conducting financial transactions and making online purchases, he added. But while Asias digital imprint is on the rise, there is no one size fits all formula across all nations in how they want to be connected to information on the web. According to research commissioned by Ogilvy & Mathers team of social media specialists in Asia, digital ecosystems are distinct even among countries with similar levels of development. South Korea has the worlds highest broadband penetration, Japan has about 75 million users who access the Internet chiefly over mobile devices. Indonesia recently overtook the United Kingdom to become Facebooks second largest market. Even China boasts 88 million bloggers despite the Great Firewall, making up more than a third of the worlds total.O l d E m b r a c e s N e w By 2010, print medias deepest fears were realized. Across the world, many publications saw steep declines in readership. News-week, once the second-most read magazine after Time, lost more than half its subscriptions between 2009 and 2010, from 3.1 mil-lion to 1.5 million. Online video streaming sites like YouTube and Chinas Tudou led to sharp declines in television viewership.Adaptation became the order of the day. Hitherto-powerful news agencies and television networks are flocking online in an acknowledgement of the evolution of times.Many news agencies around the world such as The New York Times, Associated Press and Singapores Straits Times have their own Twitter feeds through which they stream their latest stories.Television networks such as Singapores Mediacorp has begun posting recently-aired episodes of their free-to-air channels online, an acknowledgement that viewers no longer wish to be entirely bound by a fixated schedule.Yet this does not solely represent a top-down model.News pick-ups are frequent. Sohaib Athar, a Pakistani IT consultant, live-tweeted the raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed, resulting in news agencies scrambling to establish his cred-a s i ao n l i n e2 1 %o f A s i a i s c o n n e c t e d t o t h e I n t e r n e tSouth Korea has the worlds highest broadband penetration, Japan has about 75 million users who access the Internet chiefly over mobile devices. Indonesia recently overtook the United Kingdom to become Facebooks second largest market. Even China boasts 88 million bloggers despite the Great Firewall, making up more than a third of the worlds total.m a s s i v e m e d i a 23 MAY-JUL 2011 POINT> 1 0 0 , 0 0 0o n l i n e s u b s c r i p t i o n s a s o f A p r i l 2 0 1 1t h e n e w yo r k t i m e sHave authority, credibility and recognitionReaches a broad demographic, especially the older generationGenerate brand awareness through strategic ad placementFacilitate word-of-mouth spreading of information and opinions online at the speed of trustConnect with enthusiastic fans who are passionate about your brand, building brand ambassadorsAllow instant feedback that brands can act on to improveAllow pilot testing of new ideas with targeted audiences before a full launchSustain a longer campaign through consumer-generated conversations, which are perceived as more authentic and current v sibility and ultimately rely on his tweets for story updates. The Arab Spring was another pertinent example, with journalists banned from visiting many parts of Libya and Yemen.While these are ominous signs for traditional media, are showing that traditional media is not going the way of the dino-saur yet. Segments of audiences still prefer old-school journalism and editorials, and this has given a second life to newspapers like The Times in the United Kingdom. Digital editions have recently seen healthy uptakes as these newspapers and periodicals find their target markets. M e d i a I n t e g r at i o nPerhaps what was needed for traditional media to survive was to find its place in the new media landscape, and making an effort to discover where their target audiences were.A clear fact is that a win-win climate now involves an inte-grated approach combining the strengths of both traditional and digital media to engage, retain and win new audiences. A breakout exam-ple is Old Spice, a line of mens fragrances and body wash. The hybrid viral cam-paign by advertising agen-cy Wieden+Kennedy was launched in 2010, and first in-volved tongue-in-cheek adver-tisements posted on YouTube. A breakout hit, it garnered mil-lions of YouTube views and on-Traditional media outletsDigital social media outlets5 Wall Street Daily: Social Networks Just Crushed Old MediaAnd This New Paradigm is Here to Stay (http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2011/05/03/social-networks-replace-old-media/)m a s s i v e m e d i a24 MAY-JUL 2011 POINTline buzz that eventually led to coupon deals, media in-terviews and Twitter engagement. Following the cam-paign, the brand recorded a whopping 107% increase in sales.The concerted effort to engage audiences with a simple big idea that men can be sexier with a body wash led to the sharp spike in sales.Engaging Generation Y The Generation Y, born during the late 1970s to 2000, were the first to fully adopt digital and social media as a lifestyle. As a result, brands started to engage with them, designating popular online influencers into brand ambassadors. These virtual celebrities endorse these brands by integrating them into their lifestyle. For example, LG in Singapore recruited 7 notable individuals in social media to contribute a story of their lives for 7 weeks revolving around its new product, the LG Optimus 7. As these people hail from all walks of life, they strike a chord with the man-on-the-street, creating strong interest in LGs range of smartphones. Perhaps what was needed for traditional media to survive was to find its place in the new media landscape, and making an effort to discover where their target audiences were.Audiences now expect integrated communications: they want to be spoken to (traditional media), they want to speak out and speak with brands (digital and social media)Engagement Is The DifferenceIt is no longer enough to sell straight to the customer. In 2010, an IBM consumer survey found that consumers wanted retail brands to be more interactive and engaging online. The survey, which involved 32,000 online consumers from China, India, United States, Canada, Brazil and United Kingdom, showed that the modern shopper is smarter and more informed through product discussion and information consumption via Facebook and Twitter. Consumers want to talk to brands too. 75% of the respondents said they want to be informed where the nearest store is while 68% want to be able to know if an item is in stock via their mobile phones. 79% of shoppers also want the option of printing coupons from websites. Its a smarter consumer out there, one who is really willing to engage with the retailer, explained Shannon Miller, a business development leader for IBMs Global Business Services, retailers can tailor their strategy for each of these technologies to address what the consumers are asking them to do.We are in a shoppers market today, because consumer access to technology and information gives them all the power, said Jill Puleri, a global industry retail executive at IBM Global Business Services.n av i g at i n g t h e m e d i am a s s i v e m e d i a 25 MAY-JUL 2011 POINTStrategizing Communications Through Content 02 03Original content With social media, anyone who can create unique content holds the power of broadcasting. Business-owners now share the online space with their target audience. Original content, such as advertising campaigns, will be picked up and shared among audiences. The focus is on communicating your brands values and promise to the audience. Co-created Content A result of collaboration with brand ambassadors who identify with the brand and thus contribute co-owned content, which bears the mark of both the brand and the user. Businesses may exert some degree of control over such content.User-generated Content The most creative and convincing type of content is also the type that business leaders must accept they hold no control over. Such content is representative of the users perception of the brand rather than the rigid confines of its predetermined elements. The focus is on the brands popularity.Retailers cannot afford to sit still as this digital revolution happens. They must engage plugged-in consumers in new and different ways, on their terms, and with more bi-directional feedback and dialogue.The IBM survey also showed that if retailers could provide more interactivity through customized promotions or ensuring product availability, 61% of consumers are willing to spend more. IBM found that emerging market consumers of India, China and Brazil are almost twice as willing to use multiple technologies for shopping and making purchases, highlighting the huge uptake in new technologies there.The old mantra goes that the customer is king. And the king wants to have a conversation.The Right MixA comprehensive media strategy is a hybrid of traditional and social media to reach target audiences effectively. Many brands have discovered that a long-term, sustained social media strategy that runs alongside a traditional media campaign pays dividends in terms of both drawing eyeballs and building loyalty with customers. Global cruise liner Royal Caribbeans efforts to engage popular bloggers online has consequently raised its profile in Singapore. Paired with a strong promotional campaign, Royal Caribbean has secured a sizable mindshare and brand recognition in the country. Evidently, a campaign that opts for one form of media exclusively over the other will miss out on opportunities that a hybrid strategy can give. There are some key considerations in 01m a s s i v e m e d i a26 MAY-JUL 2011 POINTdeciding the right balance, including brand communications objectives, level of commitment to customer engagement, and a risk appetite for failure.R...