Creating an effective PR strategy involves extensive amount of media mapping. This process, typically done in-house in consultation with various experts, is aimed at achieving the maximum visibility for the client in relevant media.
In the past few years, there are two essential factors that have changed the essence of media mapping:
- The growth of on-line media
- The changing demographics of consumer behaviour.
From days when we had clear-cut publications and fixed news styles, today on-line news websites have expanded the scope of coverage, thereby opportunities. Every publication has its own website, which could be further divided into strong beats. There are also websites like BuzzFeed, ScoopWhoop, Little Black Book, The Logical Indian and others, and a few years ago you’d wonder what category one would place them in their media lists. But these are essential requirements for communication today. Media consumption has become extremely fragmented.
However, in India, majority of the audience still read newspapers every morning. It is a habit or a ritual before they start their day. Every household typically has one English and one vernacular daily, which caters to different generations within the family.
Secondly, there has been a substantial demographic change. Increasing disposable incomes and rising aspirational values, combined with a well-traveled customer has changed spending habits of people across the cities.
One may not think a luxury brand would even be of interest in Tier-2. But if you speak to the sales reps of any luxury brand today, they’ll tell you that a big percentage of their customers come from Tier-2 cities. These people have the money and are not particularly hesitant to spend it on cars, clothes and accessories. Hell! They even spend on limited edition pens.
But this group of the audience is not reading a Vogue or a GQ or even a Times of India. This is the partly traditional India that appreciates a swanky car, the latest designer furniture and bathroom fittings and believe in the vernacular newspapers they’ve grown up with.
As a communication specialist, you often have to include all these publications in the strategy, but the content and tone for these publications have to differ vastly without losing track of the brand’s positioning.
Premium brands today are fighting to get space in vernacular publications, when not too long ago a brand-that-shall-not-be-named was nearly boycotted by various media for stopping these publications from attending an event. Smaller stories are being highlighted through a combination of new media and social media.
New media has made it mandatory for brands to change the way they communicate. Boring ol’ press releases are mostly on their way out – they mainly provide openings to a wide range of stories about a company and are primary information documents.
However, when you are looking at a quality story, a standard pitch can no longer suffice. Knowledge of the publication, their audience demographic, the tone and content they consume is important to understand how you can pitch your client correctly. These pitches have to be supported with good visuals.
A lot of media consumption happens via social media, on mobile phones. Your content, regardless of the brand, has to be suitable to various formats.
Instead of a typical, broad audience classification, you have to go deeper and thoroughly analyse who is reading it and how you can make this work for your brand.
Including this in your overall strategy is always a winner for yourself and your client.