There's an ongoing debate in the marketing community on the value of traditional mediums. Some argue that TV and radio are dead, but it's not so black and white. It's the integration between established and emerging platforms that's starting to create opportunities never before possible.
Improvements in production quality over recent years have resulted in a surge of TV viewership, but not at the expense of radio, which continues to be a widely relevant medium. Contrary to predictions, consumers have not abandoned pre-Internet platforms. Instead, they're looking for creative ways to incorporate the immediacy and interactivity of social media into mediums they know and love. Brands that ensure traditional marketing is social by design are the ones that will enjoy the engagement that comes with the new territory.
Here are three examples of how traditional media outlets are embracing the interactive nature of the social web:
1. Arcade Fire fans influence video content. Much like TV commercials, music videos don't typically provide a lot of opportunity for interactivity. One of Canada's most successful bands, however, is out to change that. With its new single, Reflektor, Montreal's Grammy-winning Arcade Fire has produced a video that allows viewers to influence the content. Using open source Google Chrome technology, viewers can use their phone, tablet, webcam, or mouse to include their own faces into the video and manipulate the video's graphics.
2. #LetsEatTogether. As one of the most iconic forms of traditional media, television has long represented a static information flow; in other words, the message is free from audience interaction and influence. As more TV viewers engage with social channels through their second screen, we're witnessing the early days of truly interactive television. Take a recent Coca-Cola commercial out of Romania, for example. Recognizing the region's increasingly social media-savvy audience, along with a trend of 60 per cent of viewers eating meals alone in front of the TV, Coca-Cola decided to integrate live tweeting into its new ads. Using the hashtag #LetsEatTogether, the brand encouraged its audience to invite friends to share meals via tweets that appeared in real time on the commercials. This clever integration of old and new helped Coca-Cola's Twitter following increase 15 per cent.
3. Radio reaches out. Indie 88.1, one of Toronto's newest and most talked-about stations, is pushing the boundaries of what it means to be radio. It offers live programming streams, real-time chat, listener generated playlists, audience music submission, video channels, and a mobile app. According to the Indie 88.1 template, the future of radio depends on the degree to which the audience can be an integral part of the programming.
As brand managers witness the growth of interactive social channels, they would be wise to remember the well-known platforms that many still rely on for their media needs. It's the uniting – not the dividing – of diverse media platforms that will allow brands to capture the attention of their audiences.
Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic. She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.