With the second wave of COVID currently underway, seemingly more severe than the first one, the ‘new digital or phygital normal’ will only evolve with time and demonstrate its impact across everything around us, as ‘evolutions’ normally do.
When the pandemic caught the world unaware, print media or traditional media as we know it, was the first to get hit. Advertising revenues and marketing budgets started to plummet.
Today’s netizens increasingly prefer bite-sized, snackable, crisp content that they can consume on the move, on any handheld device of their choice.
Though the onslaught of digital platforms, smartphones, and the internet has long been impacting newspaper’s reach, readership and circulation in urban and rural India alike, I believe print will never completely perish, rather it will adapt to the changing times.
Credibility of Print
Traditional media inherently has several checks and balances in place before it reaches the audience’s desk. Therefore, its credibility and authenticity are seldom questioned and can seldom be compromised.
Highly curated columns and Op Eds, mainstream reporting are still some areas where print rules. Digital on the other hand, despite exhibiting mammoth potential and promise, has its own downside, such as unverified user-generated content, untrue information “forwards” among such others.
However, considering the fact that, today’s users typically spend seven-and-a-half hours daily on their mobile internet and consume content online (as per a study by QuestMobile), it makes a logical step for brands to be where their consumers are.
Therefore, while planning campaigns and devising communication strategies, brands are going for a media mix, which has both digital and traditional approaches intertwined into each other.
Digital and print mix
Having said that, it largely depends on #brands #services #products to decide, as to what kind of media mix they should go for, what mix of traditional and digital they want to keep in their communication strategy – all these depend on the kind of target audience they want to reach out to, or what category of markets are they targeting.
A B2B brand will have different requirements, different target audience, etc, when compared to a B2C brand. Similarly, a government entity may focus more on traditional media whereas a FMCG or consumer brand may prioritise digital outreach platforms and digital mediums, over traditional mediums.
However, as the digital medium is more real-time, instant, more engaging, immersive, can be creatively adapted – for several brands, communication and messaging through the digital platform is definitely more impactful.
Even now, we see, several brands are effectively using KOL outreach programs, reaching out to influencers on Instagram and Facebook, tapping on to micro-influencers, or regional influencers, YouTubers and bloggers to get their messaging across and to reach out to specific sets of target audience, more relevantly, efficiently and, in real time.
Apps, online news platforms and other digital offerings by a few print media are already bridging several existing gaps when it comes to penetration among the vernacular language reader base.
Hence, skilling, upskilling, and reskilling themselves in the digital domain, will be absolutely indispensable for the new age communication experts. They need to be able to create customised content in accordance to the platform or distribution channels that they are targeting.
For example, keeping the messaging intact, content can be adapted for various mediums such as AR-based platforms, interactive videos, mobile apps, podcasts, videos and webinars, among others.
Content strategies of the future needs to be innovative, integrated and tailored for omni-channel distribution, while ensuring that the brand messaging remains sacrosanct.
Bhaskar Majumdar, is head - corporate affairs, communication and digital, Egis India