It’s a whole new paradigm…
We are in uncharted waters. The television news has become a reality TV show with each day bringing updates on what Trump did today. And not a day goes past without several momentous announcements or proclamations. However, we already know what he is up to because he lets everyone know on Twitter. So the news finds itself reporting on tweets. Disrupted or what?
Disruption is the name of the game. Not only has the staid pace of government been disrupted but the way the news is reported has also been disrupted. Of course, in addition to the announcements, there is also news to report on how much Trump dislikes and distrusts the media. And this has become a story in itself. The first, if unofficial, press conference was a telling off to the assembled media about the reporting of the numbers at the inauguration. It’s all unprecedented stuff (pun intended!)
So, as communicators, how do we best adapt to the new paradigm? Well, the truth is we’ve been adapting for some time to new platforms and channels and the need for content. What’s new here is the almost circumventing of the traditional media by someone in such a position of authority. Trump seemingly prefers to communicate to the public directly (via Twitter), perhaps because of his distrust of the media and how they interpret his actions.
Below-the-line direct to consumer communication is something that switched on brands and organisations have been doing for a while, although most still do this hand-in-hand with a traditional PR approach using the media as a conduit: the golden combination of earned and owned media.
The media still provides a valuable third-party voice, which resonates with consumers – usually. There have, of course, been scandals which have seen newspapers’ reputations hit; the EU referendum in particular saw advocates on both sides questioning the biases of multiple media outlets from the partisan right and left-wing newspapers to the BBC.
It seems likely the D2C piece will continue to grow in importance, but for now earned media will retain its importance. There is a change in the wind though, and speaking as a PR professional, I do believe we are entering uncharted waters….
Written by Emma Murphy, Director (@EmmaMurphy)