An Interview on New Media (Part Two)

I was recently interviewed by Alexa Lee of The Daily Universe, Brigham Young University’s student newspaper, for an article she was writing about twentysomethings who are successful at using new media as business ventures. I have provided a sneak peak of the article below.

(Please note: This is the second in a three part series – Read part one and come back next week to read two more questions that I was asked along with my answers.)

What do consumers want from new media?

New media has without a doubt shifted the consumer to corporation relationship. Before the emergence and, now, the continuing widespread adoption of new media, consumers were not empowered to speak about their experiences with different companies and their respective brands. Now, everyone is a journalist, a food critic, a photographer… Consumers want to be, as a whole, more active in their relationships with brands. If they don’t like something, they now expect that the company will listen to their complaint and do something about it.

A recent example of this was AT&T’s pricing structure when the new iPhone 3GS was released. AT&T customers thought the proposed prices were unfair and protested – through Twitter and blog posts. In the end, AT&T relented and modified its structure. That sort of interaction would not have been possible in the pre-new media era. (An example of the Twitter petition I referenced can be found here: http://twitition.com/f96aq.)

How is today’s communications environment different from even a year ago?

A year ago, the general public was becoming increasingly more aware that these new online tools existed, but I think the overall consensus was that it was just for the “youngsters”. There are a number of reasons why new media has exploded recently, but I think that the role of President Obama’s campaign in this revolution cannot be underestimated. The campaign did a great job of leveraging these new tools to create a community of active and vocal supporters. The resulting tangible, quantifiable success forced those working in marketing and PR roles to stop and consider integrating new media into their overall strategy.

Before, an online communications strategy most likely included creating content for a website and sending out periodic e-mails to an organization’s customers or constituents. It was very much just a “push strategy”, the thinking being, “we’re putting out the information we want and we think is valuable”. Now, it’s much more of a two-way street. The organizations that are seeing results from new media are those that are actively engaging their supporters – and even their critics.

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