By Priya Naidoo
With the dramatic evolution of the global digital media platform over the past few years, we at Tsogo Sun, along with public relations practitioners all over the world, have had to quickly adapt to it and devise new strategies in the way we disseminate our messages, engage our audiences and market our brands.
Traditional print, television and radio still have a strong role to play in the media mix – usually in the more in-depth coverage – but the up-to-the-minute responses that companies now need to be prepared to make in the face of a breaking story come directly from digital media.
When a company experiences a crisis, it no longer has the luxury of time to develop a crisis statement. Response has to be almost instantly in the public domain through Twitter, Facebook, website and other digital platforms. The story will already be out and opinion and comments will be flying through the airwaves, possibly detrimentally to the company’s image, unless clear, transparent, honest and open communication – with the right tone to suit the message and the target market – directly from the company is already out there in the media.
Events have not escaped the digital media wave, and we have found ways to ensure that our events are covered as they happen on digital media – often to the delight and interest of our followers.
Playing in the digital media space is not an occasional or a ‘when it suits us’ strategy. Once a company makes the decision to go the digital marketing route, it has to dive in wholeheartedly, keeping its messages in line with its values, vision and goals.
The fact is that the nature of digital media is a lot more personal, responsive to customer sentiment, and quicker than was previously considered normal – making it a lot more challenging for companies to always stay on the right side of public opinion and sentiment, but a lot more exciting too as it gives us the opportunity to put a very human face on who we are as a group.