In the initial rush to get online, a lot of companies succumbed to the obvious temptation of simply replicating their traditional content on the Web, without paying too much attention to the fact that people have different information needs in different media environments.
Thankfully, things are starting to change. While information providers must keep certain promises to their users, they are beginning to realise that they should not be producing exactly the same content for all the delivery platforms – be it print, analogue broadcasting, the Internet, digital TV or even mobile phones.
It is important for media companies to have a brand identity that spans all platforms, but every effort should be made to deliver qualified brands that are relevant for each type of medium, by re-evaluating the needs of the customer and adapting the product.
This is where lessons can be learned from companies in the packaged goods sector. The intense competition among consumer brands demands a constant cycle of product innovation and brand re-evaluation. The personality of the Levi’s brand may be unmistakable, but the old classic has only remained fresh through reinvention of the product and its image.
It is vital that the media industry now takes these principles on board, because the diversity of media platforms and content providers has only recently exposed them to the kind of competition suffered by packaged goods brands.
For many years Teletext existed in a virtual monopoly, providing the only commercial text service on analogue TV. The weekly audience is still huge at 24 million, and research has shown that it is a highly valued and trusted information source. But the analogue service has a passive relationship with its audience that is not particularly relevant as it moves forward on all digital platforms.
A lot of work has therefore gone into developing a new personality for the brand that maintains its values of trust, while developing it as an “active” rather than a “passive” choice for the consumer. New products for the Web, digital TV and mobile phones have been introduced that address the needs of each particular platform.
All “old” media organisations must continually revisit their position as they move forward, delivering qualified brands and products that will involve users in all media environments.
Simon Curry is head of marketing for Teletext