If you were born and possibly worked in the time before the Internet, you would have seen the days when businesses were focused simply on making the best products and selling them to customers.
Very little or no education was involved. Knowledge itself was a Unique Selling Proposition that should never be given out for free. When it was required, they came in scripted advertisements with heavy lighting and makeup.
And none would be the wiser is knowing if what the brands said were true or false. Those days are gone. Consumers today have all the information in the world at their fingertips, and don’t believe in the staged perfection and fake positivities.
Content creation and sharing is easier than it has ever been. The most advanced tools are in our pockets and publishing platforms free for all. Brands that outperform others are in one or many ways contributors to their communities.
Many memorable brands either have an inhouse or outsourced media team that churns out valuable content on a daily basis. Today we outline what a media team does, and the types of content that lead to strong brand position among audiences.
What is the Role of the Media Department
Facebook has made it incredibly clear to everyone that posting videos that do not create value will no longer gain any traction on their platforms. This also includes sharing other people’s content. If Facebook’s move is successful, we foresee other social media platforms will follow suit.
We now know that social media platforms will demote bad content, and we also know Malaysians spend a good 8 hours a day on Facebook itself.
On top of that we also know that spending a tonne-load of money on offline advertisements isn’t getting the impressions they used to. So that leaves only one path to reaching your audience: creating valuable content on social media.
This is where the Media Team comes into play. They are a collective of designers, videographers, copywriters, storytellers, marketers and media buyers that work to create original content.
These content would usually carry an overarching message aligned with the brand’s campaign, but produced in a way that doesn’t appear hardsell. Then the content would be release between 2 to 5 times a week.
If you are considering starting a Media team for your brand, here are some content and angles you can start with:
1. Be the Subject Matter Expert
When a brand takes on the position as a subject matter expert in their industries, they help spread valuable knowledge to their Followers.
Educational content that teach others how to use certain products can at the same time reveal the product’s functions and capabilities.
REI is a renowned outdoor specialist store in the USA. If you go to their YouTube channel, though, you would hardly find anything that talks about the products they sell. Instead, they provide a huge repository of educational and inspirational videos.
Informative content can update the public on community news, which can be incredibly helpful with fast moving and high-tech industries.
Social Media expert Neil Patel gives away expert Digital Marketing advice for free while he also provides expert service in the same industry. Contrary to popular beliefs, giving away valuable information for free actually helps build good branding. Since information is already free on the Internet anyway, it matters only who goes through the trouble of making them easier to consume.
2. Breaking Barriers
There is a global onset of consumer fatigue on unconvincing PR and Marketing efforts by big corporations. As such, audiences started to appreciate unadulterated and transparent honesty from brands. 
On-the-Ground content that showcase the daily inner works of a company helps break down barriers between a brand and their Followers. It also humanises every employee by instilling empathy and personal connections.
If done well, some employees would undergo their very own Hero’s Journeys as well, further strengthening the bond between brand and buyer.
Customers who are emotionally connected to a brand will be quicker to forgive and forget honest mistakes.
3. Real World Testing
We see a lot of car experts test drive and review new cars, giving them a multitude of scores they think would help us in our decision-making process. But almost all of them fail to score on one critical criterion that almost always determine which car we get: reliability.
That’s because none of them actually use the car long enough to know if there will be any reliability problems. This problem is rampant across almost all industries. By walking the talk, brands can take advertising to the next level. Use products in the real world setting to prove their capability.
This is also a good platform for brands to figure out the problems that may arise with their products, which could mean customers may face similar problems. A classic example was Snapchat’s failure in building good Android version of their app, because none of their employees used Android devices.
The best way to apply real world testing is with your own employees, and encouraging them to Influence their peers. On top of being able to get quicker feedback, employees who love the products will end up becoming more passionate at selling them.
With all of the above applied by the media team on a regular basis, trust by the community increases. The audience will be more forgiving when mistakes were made, and they are also more willing to support a new product or service. And when hit by bad press, they will also be more ready to defend the brand.
Run advocacy programs to utilise the loyalty gained, especially by getting happy customers to introduce products to their friends and family.
Relevant Platforms for 2019
Social Media should definitely be the first priority for every company. B2C brands can focus on Facebook and Instagram collectively, while B2B should also include LinkedIn.
If videos take on a longer format, YouTube is a good platform as it still retains the attention of videos longer than 3 minutes.
If brands are taking a more adventurous but blue ocean stance, they can also consider podcasting. Be warned though, that this format will not expect to turn any positive ROI in Malaysia for the next few years.
Blogging is still widely practiced, mostly for search engines rather than humans to read. Although it is highly advised to blog only about once or twice a week, and focus the rest of the week marketing that content. Because that thing where a tree falls in the middle of the forest with nobody to hear it.
At the height of a completely democratised media world, brands can no longer sit on the sidelines and only focus on selling. With information being literally free today, the difference becomes which brand is the one curating and giving away that free information. And the one who can successfully pair valuable content with their branding will win the race.
It is also important for brands to practice transparency and honesty, as consumers today prefer that over other benefits. This includes putting your products on real-world tests in order to properly understand what struggles customers may face.
It is undeniable that all brands have to, in one way or
another, see themselves as a Media entity. Whether or not they place the Media
team internally now depends on the goals and capacity of the brand.
 “The Number One Thing Consumers Want From Brands? Honesty.” 14 Nov. 2014, https://www.fastcompany.com/3038488/the-number-one-thing-consumers-want-from-brands-honesty. Accessed 26 May. 2019.
 “Snapchat finally realizes that ignoring Android was a disaster ….” 16 Dec. 2017, https://mspoweruser.com/snapchat-finally-realizes-ignoring-android-disaster/. Accessed 26 May. 2019.