Brands wake up to multichannel future

As technology continually evolves and consumer demand for content on-the-go increases, the word on everyone’s lips is multichannel. Figures recently released by Ofcom highlight that Brits are embracing new technologies far quicker than any other European nation.
Witnessing the highest value of online purchases (£1,031), largest take up of high end smartphones (iPhones etc) and the most notable proportion of laptop users in comparison to desktop users, British consumers provide a real opportunity for brands. However, far too often we are seeing organisations making the mistake of following suit, instead of designing and implementing multichannel communication strategies that respond directly to their own customers’ needs.
Despite mobile becoming a huge priority for brands, this doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. The same goes for social media, video, e-zines and print. Although it is great to see so many businesses embracing change and testing the waters with new communication platforms, the key is to select the right channels for the right audience. It is no good, for instance, implementing a mobile app because your competitor is. Instead, time and money should be invested in getting the offering right to ensure the brand/consumer relationship is built properly to guarantee long-term loyalty.
There is no doubt that the digital space is becoming cluttered, but content providers are experts in giving consumers the content they want in the way they want it. As consumers increasingly go in search of content through a range of channels that suit their habits and are accessible while on the go, brands must respond. Providing content through just one platform is no longer enough – brands need to take a multichannel approach which has the ability to engage with customers at all levels.
The key to making any channel a success for a brand is having the insight to be able to translate that brand effectively across different channels. In the digital era, one of the most important things to remember is not that everyone is online but that everyone is not just online; we all watch TV, read magazines and consume media in a variety of ways every day. It is those that have this customer understanding and can transfer this knowledge into cross-media content that are in a prime position to lead their clients into uncharted territories, experiencing success in the long term.

Julia Hutchison is chief operating officer of the Association of Publishing Agencies

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