She Shall Seek And She Shall Find–Where’s Your Brand In That?

Writing on Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, Gina Chen, a 20-year veteran newspaper journalist makes some good points about information consumers today.

The people formerly known as the audience know if they want a certain type of information, they head to Twitter. Another type, they’ll go to YouTube. Something else, that’s what FourSquare is for.

It’s likely not a conscious decision — it’s more visceral than that. But the important point is that the loyalty isn’t to the platform, the application, the delivery system, or the brand. The loyalty is to the need for the information.

Chen’s talking about news brands, but I think any brand with an online presence can learn something here. If our decisions are not brand based, or platform dependent, what exactly is a brand to do?

I say this all the time, but it comes down to offering the kind of utility or entertainment that people are actively seeking. Brands who “get digital” enable their customers to find the content that’s meaningful to them. This practice is a distant cousin to advertising, and therein lies the challenge for the entire industry.

“The industry” has been diligently trying to plant advertising in foreign soil, instead of seeing what grows best in this new field.

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