Business resiliente

23/10/2020

Brand journalism: the new communication model for today’s companies

Brand journalism allows a company to become a media company, introducing a communication style that goes beyond the brand with the result that the brand actually becomes stronger

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Communication as a vector of innovation

How an innovative company sets itself apart in an original and appropriate way does not depend solely on its internal models, its ability to align its structure to changes in the external environment, and its flexibility and predisposition to look to the future. All companies, traditional or otherwise, should be aware of the importance of a factor that can make the difference in their relationships with their markets: communication. Far from simply being a means to promote itself, appropriate communication can shape how the company is perceived by its market and has a significant impact on stakeholder engagement.

An innovative company should be able to position itself appropriately on its market and this includes its image: its communication needs should evolve in step with those of society

From advertising to brand journalism

We have moved away from push and pull marketing strategies and from aggressive to comparative advertising to a communication style that aims at involving the audience though storytelling, from a press office full of typewriters and notebooks to showcase websites. Over the years, companies have never ceased to search for the most efficient way to connect with their markets, as communication needs should not evolveat their pace but rather in step with that of society, their market and their needs and, obviously, depending on the tools available.

Technology disintermediation and the public’s distrust of traditional style advertising have encouraged companies to become media companies to all effects, thusgiving rise to brand journalism

Two major events have taken place in the last ten years that have radically changed how we communicate. On the one hand, technological innovation has provided companies with a growing array of tools to disintermediate how it communicates with stakeholders.
On the other hand, the public firstly demonstrated its distrust of advertising communications, the mechanisms of which are now familiar, with the subsequent rejection of such communications. So, while the more traditional tools, far from being put out to grass, underwent restyling, the communication world started to look around and came up with a new tool that immediately showed its potential, albeit challenging: brand journalism.

Become your own publisher

The first definition of brand journalism by the then marketing head of McDonald’s, Larry Light, tackling an unprecedented corporate identity crisis, is in fact not that new. It dates back to 2004, when Light defined brand journalism as a way to record what happens to a brand over time. The application of this theory and these tools has evolved over time, coalescing around certain key principles.

 

The first principle underpinning brand journalism is that every company can be its own publisher, without having to use information channels managed by third parties. This does imply certain responsibilities, primarily that of not deceiving the reader and not delivering advertising messages disguised as information. It requires a company to be transparent, with the intention to provide a service to the reader (and potential customer) and to understand and respond to their needs by applying a tailored publishing plan. Just like a real magazine.

Do not deceive the reader, meet their needs, define a concise publishing plan and execute it in the reader’s interests, applying journalism techniques: this gives substance to your communication

The second principle is to be professional and committed: a company must learn to think like a media company to be able to apply a brand journalism plan. Its aim is not to direct messages to promote sales but to provide news, information useful to the reader, be they either interested in a certain sector or a niche expert. The writers should be journalists able to apply the techniques, methods and ethical standards of their profession to the company’s sector, triggering a ground breaking evolution in the old style press office, exploiting all the tools and techniques available today.

Superseding the brand to strengthen it

Brand journalism has gained strength over the years with the fine-tuning of the related tools and techniques that have become increasingly sophisticated. It demonstrates how the promotion of a company does not necessarily have to be solely based on directly marketing its products and services.
Rather, brand journalism tends to supersede a brand: its communication does not involve promoting a service or expounding the characteristics of a product. It has its roots in a well thought out publishing plan that embraces the company’s values, taking them beyond its field to coincide with those of its readers
Superseding a brand tends to strengthen it, delivering the stakeholders a value they understand and that lasts over time.

Brand journalism goes beyond the brand. And in doing so, it actually strengthens it, delivering the stakeholders a value that lasts over time