Setting Higher Standards

I recently heard a segment on CBC Radio 1 (88.1 FM Vancouver) regarding the popularity of eReaders (Digital Book Tablets). The piece basically discussed the pros and cons of this technology, its acceptance rate, the front-runners, etc. However, to me the most memorable part entailed the quality of the content (i.e., the message).

When I was in my 20s, it became obvious to me that the average person had limited space for books, records, VHS tapes, etc. Therefore, we needed to be highly selective of chosen literary pieces, styles of music, and films.

In today’s overloaded digital media culture, storage is not an issue (hard drives, data clouds, servers, DVD, etc.) and space is cheap. Hence we hoard; the great works, popular pieces, average stories, much of which is the dregs, which bring us back to eReaders. The CBC broadcasters felt the convenience of the eReader (storing dozens of books at a time or downloading books on-demand) had to be measured against the quality of literary works, non-fiction and fictional stories, self help, DIY, autobiographies, etc. I agree that there just is not enough quality in the written word to justify an eReader, resulting in our standards dropping and our content becoming simply adequate, marginal, suitable or just okay.

The same scenario is happening in the brand marketing, advertising and photographic worlds. Targeted communication strategies are overlooked for a mere online presence (quantity vs quality). Companies will proclaim an immediate need for a new website or a Facebook page, a Google AdWords campaign, or a Mobile Media plan, etc. Over the past 25 years, we have found a more proven approach to be: We need a brand marketing strategy with goals and objectives, brand roadmap, core values, brand promise, brand messaging, competitive advantages, target market segmentation, action plan for implementation and yes, a brand distribution channel or medium (online and offline).

As much of the communications industry is migrating “in-house” (due to the new economy), there are misconceptions: A person who understands Adobe Illustrator automatically qualifies as a certified graphic designer; a professional photographer is a person with a Nikon camera; or having a presence on Facebook qualifies anyone as an online marketing expert.

Technology has given us the tools and I for one, am thankful, but we need to set higher standards by mastering the purpose, the process and the expected ROI.

In brainstorming and think-tank sessions, we often speak of the “Town Crier” or “Bell Man” in past times. He was not a multi-tasker (blacksmith, baker and knight) with limited skills in each of many areas but an officer of the court. He was engaging, topical, and knowledgeable, and above all else, a scripted specialist (e.g., news anchor Peter Mansbridge on CBC TV) who delivers public pronouncements as required by the court.

Yes, it is essential for today’s media workers to be exceptional at a multitude of professions to remain competitive; however, there becomes a point when an in-house department needs a longer look “outside the box” to outsource their firm’s “areas of improvement”.

Consequently, as companies broadcast to multiple brand distribution channels (online offline and internal, external), their content strategy, chosen medium for their messages, and frequency of delivery are critical to the success of their brand marketing campaign. And we know that when their brand is “on message”, so are their employees and yes… so is their bottom line.

At ISI, we have continued to re-invent ourselves over the past quarter century. If you follow us, our clients are seeking brand marketing consultation, content strategies, team building with employee-retention, online marketing strategies, social media adaptation, and the brand integration of their vast communication touchpoints. The burn-out rate for in-house staff is rising. Consider consulting companies like ISI as a pressure valve – we will release the stress, streamline your communications and implement a detailed step-by-step brand marketing action plan and content strategy for your young in-house digital implementers.

And yes… CBC Radio 1 and 2 are commercial-free… that is pure content for the people.

Pungky Dwiasmoro Hiswardhani

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