New research was just released that demonstrates a big shift in how consumers buy and what influences their purchase. Traditional ads no longer have the same power to shape consumer opinions as they once did. Amazon (the ultimate cost and quality comparison, along with others) influence consumers more than ever. The studies were based on the “compromise” effect – (see NYT article below for the full story) are probably now saying to yourself, ho hum… and why is this news? Well, it took a while for the establishment to document what most of us already know and practice organically. However, some of the results of the study suggest that digital feedback in the digital world allows marketers to see what works and what doesn’t – what messages are influencing customers and which ones aren’t. And they can make adjustments accordingly…and very quickly. This is all very well and good, and excellent support (although the writers and researchers don’t see it from the customers’ point-of-view, so they are still missing the point) for my position that customer-focused information and insight right from the beginning…pre- advertising/marketing/PR efforts and spending, is more valuable than measuring what works after you’ve spent all that time, money and effort and then correcting it.
PRESS RELEASES BY PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEES lead to content that functions like press releases but are paid-for in so-called NATIVE ADVERTISING. Here are some vital questions to consider:
Is a brand’s PR’s use of mobile media a sign of authenticity?
Will media have explicit editorial surveillance for a press release content that is paid for?
Will editorial content now be dominated by press releases in omni-media and omnicon?
Also, if Native Advertising consists of paid-for deals made between PR committees and a variety of media, how will reward advertising affect authenticity? Will the significant audience care – as long as they are rewarded? (see our July 2013 blog on Native Advertising.) (reward-based advertising rewards consumers for interacting with branded-content in their favorite mobile apps.)
Considering these new forms of PR content, what will editorial content become? Will it lead to an erosion of inconvenient factual positioning found in Brand Marketing Communications?
Will the PR factions of Brand Management actually create “contracts” between Brands and Media? Will the media be receptive to this idea as it changes the role of gatekeeper — to what exactly?
Now that we have omni-tweets and facebook updates and e-mail blasts, what will the consumer believe is the real story of the brand’s positioning, its image and meaning? A significant answer to this question is in the changes in marketing communications. We now have so many more methods of messaging and outlets for those messages: e-books, infographics; blogs, social media, email newsletters, webinars, … , not to mention, the traditional media that still exist.
These can be effective especially when they are a creative part of a brand’s PR and marketing campaign strategy. News outlets still need connections with the people and stories behind the brand.
The press release that was, is still useful. However, it is so much changed. What is needed now is relevant content that truly involves the receiver. The receivers of press releases used to be the media gatekeepers – reporters and editors… but this has changed due to the advent of social and mobile media, company websites and blogs. And a serious reality in this new age of PR is that the receivers of press releases are now almost any audience … and the harsh reality that content providers must face is that their press release content might never be read!
The evolution in information exchanges now requires a whole new
Brand Think!! What do you think???
It may be the time to ask whether this new definition is helpful — NATIVE ADVERTISING is a method of communication that is “native” to the experience offered within a website’s content, valuable content integrated within the editorial feed — not an ad-in-a-box alongside the search page.
Actually, we have already used descriptions of Native Advertising such as advertorial, brand reference, and sponsored content, among others. Thus, Native could be defined as any ad that is blended within content. Also from a consumer’s view, it may be an opt-in interactive choice in which she or he is aware of the advertiser’s message intent, and still opts-in. Different age groups react to marketing online in more or less accepting/receptive ways. Therefore, a Native Advertiser needs to communicate how its offer has personal appeal and feels native to the site, overcoming the consumer’s wish not to hear or see advertising messages.
Up to this era of constant change and 24/7 communications, the advertiser and the media had agreed that the blending of advertising and editorial was not allowed. There was a wall between the two because it was considered confusing to the consumer. It might be suggested that the media’s main interest was in making money through advertising, even more than in providing useful information and entertaining experiences. However, many of the media are in a new world of needing to find new revenue streams.
At this time, an argument is occurring about what the term Native Advertising really describes. And if it also means advertising that will not be received as advertising. On the other hand, it may prove to be perceived as better than the newer omni-channel forms of advertising that surely are on the way.
Some practitioners will contend that in this new “social media world,” many consumers don’t perceive any difference between editorial and advertising. They regard it all as content in their communication.com lives. Behind the strategist’s attempt to create appeals by linking content to a consumer’s wants and/or needs is still the positive positioning of a brand. Whatever method used, increased brand relationship + loyalty = improved brand equity, which is the goal.
It is important to note that consumers are now more informed, aware, and selective. So we ask: Is it wise to use “Native” in our advertising and communications? Will it be a strategy to increase trust or mistrust? Will it be constructive or obstructive? Will marketers get better results, publishers get a premium revenue stream, and audiences get a better experience?
Will Native Advertising be the new strategic direction or just one more arrow in our ad quiver?