Why should we trust a media brand more than a “regular” consumer brand?
When introducing the idea of media collaborating with brands in creating valuable content for readers and participants, most media shy away from the idea based on the concept of keeping media neutrality. They don’t want to appear bought.
The point is valid, but in this context, are they really ever neutral?
- First of all language itself makes it difficult to remain neutral, then there is the battle of stories; the battle between news desks having the best editorial content at any one time in order to attract the readers – either through creating the most interesting headline or the most emotive. At the same time most newspapers have a position in the political landscape which in effect disqualifies them straight away from being “fair and balanced”. And then there is the editorial process itself – deciding, in every article, what information to include, and exclude. Summarized; media is not neutral, it’s impossible to represent the ONE truth (if there ever is one?).
As long as the goal of media is to sell more of itself, either through increased visitor base, circulation or viewership it is hard to see why this business is different from any other.
And my bet is that it wouldn’t be hard to find brands that outperform media brands when it comes to being perceived as more transparent, more focused on offering sincere value and geared towards creating quality for the customer rather than quantity.
The point being: Why should a consumer find stuff coming from media like The Independent or Washington Post more trustworthy than the stuff coming from Patagonia or IKEA?
When it comes to content people are looking for transparent value:
- - Value in the sense of valuable content inside their relevant context.
- Transparent in the sense that it is clear who is behind it and their intended purpose.
As media is working on redesigning their business models it also needs to recalibrate their understanding of their role. They have been tearing at the trustworthiness of their brands for to long, chasing traffic not qualitative reporting. At the same time companies and brands have come to the realization that connecting with people, through valuable and unselfish sharing of expertise, wisdom, content and stuff creates more valuable long term customers and ambassadors than investing in short term media impressions.
The essence being that media brands and “regular” brands are growing closer and closer together, and this opens up for new business opportunities something media shouldn’t instinctively dismiss.