Traditional Communications v Social Media Communications

The following is an open, very realistic view of traditional communications techniques up against social media techniques and why business owners may still  be nervous adopting the more modern methods. For both subjects we have looked at Brand, Message and Purpose. Opinions presented are Charlie’s.

Traditional Communications

{insert update of Executive Summary}

Brand: Company driven
Message: Push marketing techniques
Purpose: Educating to awareness

Brand: Audience driven
Message: Two way conversations
Purpose: Learning to influence

Story in full:

Brand: In traditional media, the brand is strengthened (with reputation maintained) through focused, clear and company driven campaigns. Media consultants for companies are sometimes instructed to keep the company OUT of media, rather than in. This is especially true for the more controversial or conservative. Of course, sideline tactics and diversions can always provide discussion whilst anything negative slips through. This may seem like a negative point of view, however it is worth considering as traditional companies like to manage what is said about their company. Traditionally, it was easy to turn a blind eye or gloss over. PR/press releases encourage print media to publish articles about exciting trends or launches for a company. Or, the company simply pays for ads to keep complete control.

Brand consultants spend hours developing and fine-tuning messages, designs and colours to encourage and influence users perceptions about a company. Of course, not all brands stack up – and one particular area a company is often “caught out” is in recruitment.

It’s important for your brand to remain open, transparent and true to your company capabilities. ~Charlie


Message: Traditional marketing techniques include DL campaigns, advertising, TV/radio, events, and seminars. These are all known as push marketing or, one way communications. The company would not expect conversation, only action ie buy for a sale. Of course, conversation may be handled through a customer service area.

Purpose: So traditionally, communications have been used for a variety of things – mainly at the core is to raise awareness about a product so that you buy it, want it and use it. Of course, this is at the most shallow of ends in the spectrum. Communications are also used to raise awareness about causes, issues, and ideas. It is used to educate and share opinions.

Generated conversations have been behind closed doors, in communities, in the workplace, amongst friends and other such ways. This has been known as “word of mouth”. Of course not all word of mouth conversations by people have been great about a specific brand (think Telstra). Some have been good – friend recommendations for example. Small businesses have always thrived on this (think: the plumber you refer on).

So, to open these conversations publicly, using social media, creates RISK. A business risk that can be embraced and cared for or ignored. To embrace is to win respect. ~Charlie


Social Media Communications

Brand: When we consider brand value within this new age of conversation, it is to firstly consider the end consumer, or the “what’s in it for them” factor.

Brands become more audience driven, with “word of mouth” communications having far more weight than ever before. Marketers everywhere ask “what can we do to make them talk?”. The brand receives a voice louder and stronger than just the company talking. So, good brands WIN. Those who look after their customers, engage well, and take time to listen and respond. Bad brands LOOSE. Big time. Whilst previously a common slogan of “all press is good press” rang true, these days, negative press very much results in a company’s about face to rectify unhappy customers. They deal daily with crisis communications, instead of their next big offering.

Message: A two-way conversation is engaging and helpful for all parties. Both the company and consumer. The messages that are needed to engage and inspire conversation need even more thought than before. They need stories to develop, evolve and grow. This has had much written about it over the past couple of years. The benefit is simple. A company hears what makes a consumer happy (other than in sales which previously may have been the only indicator) and a consumer has a way to influence. The benefits are happier consumers – equating (surely) to more sales. Are companies listening? Some are. And their brand value is increasing and strengthening.

Social Media is much bigger than we give it credit for. It’s not just about PR or just about marketing.” ~ Brian Solis ~


Purpose: Being able to influence is a major aspect of social communications. The consumer is very much in control. This isnt a single person, and it certainly may not result in a company changing direction (think Bonds taking its manufactoring options off-shore) but it does provide a company with learnings, and this is an important competitor tool. If your competitors are doing all “same ol”, and you have been listening and providing.? Well, we say this is a winning situation.

A good quote to digest:

“The changing consumer landscape has flipped business on its head – what was once a company-controlled marketplace has become an uncontrolled, honest place where a very small portion of buying decisions are impacted by company marketing and communications initiatives.” QUOTE: Radian6


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s