Corporate Publishing 2.0: Take the blinkers off – focus on customers

If you want both to win and retain customers in the future, you must rethink the way your company communicates - more holistically and personally, write researchers at the GDI in a study.

This text is based on an excerpt of the GDI study “Digital Corporate Communication – Being part of tomorrow's conversation”. Download here.

So far, marketing has been  responsible for all kinds of advertising, corporate communication was responsible for appearances in editorial content of third-party media, and corporate media produced a company’s own print products. For a company that wants to position itself in the digital age, it makes more sense to focus on consumers and their needs than on media channels. We examine two factors:

  • Content of the publication: Here, we distinguish between product information and editorial content. Product information comprises facts and stories about products and their price. Editorial content contains information and stories about topics of general interest that are not directly associated with certain products.
  • Goal of the publication: Here, we distinguish between sales-oriented and information-oriented publications. A sales-oriented publication uses entertainment and image promotion for the purpose of increasing sales. It strives to convey positive feelings. The purpose of an information-oriented publication is the education and support of well-informed consumers and citizens. It is important to include negative information as well as positive.

Based on these two axes, we can describe the following matrix of media positioning:

Matrix Corporate Publishing Positioning

A company has to pursue several directions at the same time, because both product information and editorial content are becoming increasingly in demand in the  digital media world. On one hand, product-related information tends to be shorter than editorial information and is therefore better suited to a mobile online world. On the other hand, product-related information refers more specifically to acute customer interests. For example, anyone who scans a product in a store with their smartphone primarily wants to know whether it is better than the alternatives. At the same time, short product information can encourage  deeper interest, which can be satisfied at a later point in time, as with an editorial article. Therefore, the combination of product-related information and editorial contributions complement each other.

While content should work across as many channels as possible, certain content is more suitable for some channels than others. An expert survey by GDI shows that platforms, AR and VR or websites are more suitable than print for consumer-relevant content. The latter was considered by the surveyed experts to be the most suitable communication medium for editorial content besides websites. This assessment is related to the assumption consumer-relevant content must be more personalisable than editorial contributions. Readers are often only interested in such content if the product is consumed immediately. Personalised products – sometimes even personalised prices – are nothing special anymore. It is only a matter of time before product information is personalised to a greater degree.