Caption your Communities
Consumer Generated Media promotes open, two-way communication between organisations and publics –
but are we ready for consumer to consumer communication?
So, who is the ‘community’ (apart from a group of characters in a surprisingly entertaining sit-com)?
Vastly, a community is a group of people with a shared interest. Irrespective of geographical or sociological attributes, communities are brought together through a mutual subject.
The landscape of defining communities in the world of PR has broadened and been flipped upside down. In Web 2.0 consumers and publics can interact with one another on a platform with no location boundaries or communication barriers (thanks to the Google Translate plugin – a crucial addition to any website), creating what we like to call online communities.
This in itself has implications. Web pages, blogs, Twitter pages and a myriad of ever-growing social media or consumer generated media platforms – a part of what we call the ‘New Communication Paradigm’ – have gone beyond promoting two-way communication to creating a new thing called ‘consumer to consumer communication’.
Consumer communication is a magnitude of the old-school word-of-mouth where consumer communities have a means of sharing their feedback, thoughts, opinions and experiences of an organisation’s product, service or discourse.
This works to the organisation’s advantage in that it provide the noise of ‘feedback’ they are constantly trying to obtain through ‘it will only take a minute of your time’ phone and email surveys.[tweet 423626729563766784 align=’center’]
Aussie PR queen Roxy Jacenko (CEO SweatyBetty PR) knows the
beauty of broadcast and bulletin in a consumer driven marketplace.
However, the double-edged-sword mandates a flow of information to ensure consumers are sharing based on carefully curated content that has been provided.
Here, the organisation pulls the right portions of ingredients of The Promotion Mix and follow the recipe to strive towards corporate communication success.
The Promotion Mix is a bag of goodies that encompasses different ways of communicating key messages, such as “advertising, personal selling, public relations, publicity, direct marketing, and sales promotion” (Magold & Faulds 2009, p 357).
By feeding the public with one-way, semi-controlled information to through traditional media forms such as print, television and radio, publics are provided with information that is carefully formed and constructed to reflect the organisation’s key messages and objectives.
Making sure all platforms reiterate the same message is a fundamental job of the PR department, marketing department, advertising department and sometimes even the Human Resource department (when dealing with employee relations).
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is the glue that holds the broad spectrum of an organisation’s Corporate Communications together. Achieving a cohesive message across all communication frameworks is at the heart of executing a successful public relations and communications campaign. Falsified, elaborated or contradictory content is utter social media suicide.
Therefore, the different elements of The Promotion Mix should achieve a unified and accurate message to represent the organisation in a positive and well-informed light.