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Media Research - Connecting v/s Counting

The media research must be recrafted to focus on Connecting rather than on counting, opines Sodhi.

By Premjeet Sodhi, President, Lintas Media Group

The IRS counts how many people read a newspaper or a magazine or whatever other media is covered; TAM counts the number of people who watched a program; RAM counts the number of people listening etc. We debate how while dailies should be counted; but for magazines we should do less of the counting and do something else because they can never beat the dailies in the counting. All the media research that we use is mostly about counting - whereas they all should actually be about connecting.

I keep saying that the era of 'limited media' is over and it was in that era of limited media that counting media was of import. But, now in days of 'over-supply of media' its naive to be still only counting. What really matters is for us to understand how the media-vehicle and the consumer connect with each other. So if we can understand what makes them connect - we can enhance the experience further also by creating opportunities for brands to participate in the 'connecting'.

'Connecting' is about understanding what the media does to the consumer. A media vehicle is not just the masthead or the content - in consuming a media vehicle the consumer experience is a net result of the feelings associated with the medium from the past, the content and also the manner of presentation. This is the same as it is for any other product or service for the consumer.

The research done so far has served us well. But, now the markets have evolved and the same research is in-adequate. The existing research besides being revised needs to be supplemented with research that aids understanding and connecting. Each brand has a different relationship with the consumer and hence for each brand the manner of engagement via media  would be different. From an advertisers perspective therefore, the research needs to advise the brand on the best manner to engage with the consumer. The media brand itself needs to understand what affect the brand has on the consumer so that it can further orient itself to enhance the experience of the consumer.

So far, with the syndicated research available - we know how many people read a newspaper/ magazine or how may people watch/ listen to a broadcast, etc but we have no idea how their interaction with the media makes them feel. Without this kind of information about the relationship between the media and the consumer; the manner in which the brands utilize media to communicate with the consumer often ends up being very trivial, superficial and irrelevant to the consumer.

To enable brands to build a meaningful connection with the consumer - the media research must be recrafted to focus on Connecting rather than on Counting.

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* Article sourced from Nascent Media.

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