Experts Blog

Are Your Communications Digitally Transformed?

  • Philippe Surber

The rapid shift from conventional to digital communications and a radically changing user behaviour have a lasting effect on marketing communication. In the past, media corporations held the ultimate authority in terms of news and interpretations. Customer magazines have always existed, but in order to bring their own concerns into the public, corporate communications managers depended on a good access to journalists. That was once.

Social media have taken their place. Ā«The media sector has missed its own revolutionĀ», says a person who is certainly well-informed: Etienne Jornod is the Chairman of the NZZ Media Group. Their community managers are the new readers of letters to the editor. This new profession interacts with a special kind of community. In addition to Generation Y, it is populated by digital migrants and silver surfers. A bunch of digital contact points has filled up and complicated the good old shop counter.

Offer Benefits and Interaction

In order to reach these customers, companies are no longer dependent on the conventional press release and the help of newspapers and magazines. A well-told story finds more recipients with very little information loss in the social media than on «20 Minutes» or the «Tagesschau» together. However, the content, which has to be provided for this purpose, must be characterised by far more than a good search engine exposure and the number of likes. You need to provide context-dependent benefits and interactions. What is the user asking himself? How is he feeling? How does the impersonal digital channel respond? Kate Kiefer, responsible for the product language of the American mail provider MailChimp, places special emphasis on the tone:

«The way we write on the web influences the feelings of our customers». These, in turn, lead to actions: «If we do this correctly, we inspire people to take action: visit websites, purchase products, or subscribe to services.» That is why classic media corporations that are concerned with quality, such as the NZZ media group, now employ digital scientists as well. The company understands that in the course of digital transformation, it must capture more than the number of readers and interpret opinions. The same applies to any other company.

Do Not Sound Like a Robot

For 20 years, companies have misused their digital channels as a cheap container ship for their elaborately produced brochures and leaflets. With digital omnipresence, however, the content, which is precisely focused on the channel, user and context, is at the centre of communication. It is not an easy task, but feasible. So next time, before you publish any digital content, take a simple recommendation from Kate Kiefer to heart. Read it aloud. «This helps us not to sound like a robot.»

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