Public Media as a Service

Finland serves as a model country for press freedom. The international press organisation Reporters without borders publishes a yearly Press Freedom Index, where Finland ranks nr. 1 in 2016, 7th time in a row. We have a public broadcasting company Yle, which has been entiteled to collect its funding through taxation since 2013.

With several national TV and radio channels Yle reaches often the largest share of audience according to the research organisation Finnpanel. According to the Act on Yle the Finnish public broadcasting company serves also the audiences of certain language minorities. All of the other content between these big audience hits and small obligatory  productions is of course often being debated and critisized by citizens. Do we need to be taxed for humor, sports or talk shows hosted by an Yle reporter? Is there a chance that the media owner steers the composition of documentaries or news? Do we need a public broadcaster that produces content competing with the commercial media houses instead of just reporting public and nationwide issues?

In the 25th UNESCO conference for Press Freedom in May 3rd in Helsinki a new declaration was adopted. In this ‘This is your right!’ Finlandia Declaration all 199 UNESCO member states are addressed to enhance the right for information, media diversity and cultural expressions through the media in terms of fundamental human rights. Thus, apart from taste differencies on the everyday content, I think we still need a public broadcaster which is relevant, represents press freedom and uses the latest tech solutions to stand tall in today’s media landscape of Finland. We can enjoy talk show hosts like Ali Janghiri, who represented Yle very colourfully in one of the sessions at the conference.

The Helsinki Press Freedom conference also celebrated the 250 years of Freedom on Information Act in Sweden and Finland. The celebration with ranking 1st in press freedom were announced as arguments for  organising the main event in Finland. The conference was a success and served also as a great marketing action for the next year’s conference close to the opposite extreme of media landscape, Indonesia.

Indonesia, as stated by the realistic associate professor Ade Armando at a panel discussion, has a weak public broadcasting company. Among the almost 100 commercial TV channels, the public broadcaster serves mainly for government announcements, which are commonly concidered more or less propagandist.

Being a contradictonary and diverse country, one of Indonesia’s governmental challenges is its citizens’ scattering on 11 500 islands in the Pacific Ocean. Still pluralistic voices lack on publicity. The violentions against press are common and the country ranked 130 out of 180 on press freedom in 2016. Whom are the journalists serving when putting their lives in danger? In George Orwell’s words on media: “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed – everything else is public relations.” Thus, where in Indonesia will these voices of critisism, civic activity or the cultures of several minorities be heard, if not in its public media?

Indonesia’s GNP has more than doubled in the past decade, but by a strong regime typically for rising economies increasing the income gap and internal tensions. The next step on the state level concerning freedom of expression and media education will be the issue of rights on information and expression. Will the country be able to establish a relevant and free public media? Now UNESCO and its member states turn their eyes on Indonesia for the 2017 conference. Encouraged by all of us Indonesia could be guided towards freedom of expression, which commonly is considered as the key to legitimate democracy.

The government has the role of issuing and implementing legislation on the fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression and to information, to education and to be equally treated as citizens. Will this happen through education, public media as a service or other means, remains to be evaluated by the next conference of press freedom. We as media professionals can meanwhile take the genuine Helsinki spirit with us and let it push our work towards a more open, fair and relevant media landscape. Public media serves all citizens, with a special attention to the weakest. Let us not leave one stone unturned until we have made a difference, in Indonesia and globally. This is our right!


Blurred Line Between Communications and Marketing

Brand building has been in the ownership of Marketing management. It is vital to seek and keep the core strenghts and properties of the product (whereas the service can also be branded and called ‘the product’) to build a strong brand. A brand is not only the physical apperance nor it is merely the reputation, but a mixture of both. And most importantly, built on a solid ground, trust. Thinking back of ads embarrasing the whole concept concerned, it becomes obvious that the product itself needs truly to add value to the consumer’s life.

How Does the Communications Take Over?

More and more I see, that it is the Communications department that launches the Brand books, Branding strategies or the Brand concepts. What happened inbetween is the world. Digitalisation happened. Communication has in the past couple of decades evoluted from annual and carefully structured into daily, even hasty bursts of notes and captured moments. Compared to the scattered bits of shared insights, the still carefully planned Marketing actions and campaigns appear artistic and living inside a bubble compared to the branded product sharing, companioning and leading the consumer through today’s media rich reality.

So What is Left for Marketing?

Attraction. In order to build an (even prospect) customer relationship with the consumer, you need to be on everybody’s lips. The Brand and the Product has to have so many dimensions that anybody will need it. That’s where Marketing shows its teeth. Of course the promise to the customer has to be fulfilled both with the purhchasing and (often simultaneously) delivery processes and the produce chain has to meet up with the brand. But that’s another story.

Crossing the Blurred Line

There have been great examples of the dialogue and the interaction between the customer and community management adding value to the consumer. These communities and user generated content platforms can even bypass the value and the attraction of the original product itself. This is what happened between the Finnish Vauva (Baby) Magazine and its online community by Sanoma Magazines. What then is Communication and what Marketing and whereto the attraction should be dragged? The demand for a dedicated Brand Newsroom has emerged. The Finnish Food, Bakery and Confectionary Group Fazer has just launched theirs. It does not claim to be purely Marketing or strictly journalistic, but to live with the more and less dedicated customers in today’s busy world rich of information that often is hard to evaluate alone. Communities and Blogs cross the line between Communications and Marketing daily, naturally and with no further thoughts.

This is something also for the companies to take into account when building our processes and positions.

Make your Innovations the New Normal

Great business can be made when you are able to communicate your  innovation as the ’New Normal’. The European commission has now awarded the Swedish to be the top European innovators with Skype, Spotify – and Ikea.

It is not easy to introduce a new approach to the consumer’s everyday life, but the Sweds succeeded in doing so! Let’s learn (after feeling sorry for ourselves for 1 minute 🙂 that innovative business also needs to change the life patterns of the consumer.

Talk, show and challenge

It is not only about a brand campaign doing strong, but it also demands public discussion both live and virtual. At all levels of (non)expertise, to effect consumer’s attitudes and conceptions. And here, public discussion counts as well the Top National Media as the smallest on-line-community.

This is the very thing that differents the true innovations – and in this case it was the Swedish innovations – from those hundreds and thousands of ideas and products pouring daily in to the marketplace. No matter how genius gadget, program or service you have come up with, if there is no desire and demand for it. Attention and attraction to something that hasn’t existed in your entire life can not be made through a fancy banner campaign. Even thoroughly tested and tracked.

Test, use and again – talk

Most successful products (may it be an item or a service) have been tested within a minor circle first. Only with real users you can start to tamper towards the enhanced user experience, interface routines with the real life and/or scientific testing. All this demands long-haul planning, media and stakeholder group relations and great confidence on the end product. Having faced these phases, you and your stakeholders already have come up with the ’New Normal’ phrases on the usage, the greatest moments and the most common questions and hence you can start and communicate the beauty of the ’New Normal’ life with the innovation – raising attraction.

Note! Especially within the electronics industry there are audiences, who are keen to all new and are most likely  the first ones to buy the product just for the sake of it being new on the market. Still, mostly this kind of customer behaviour demands brand loyalty and pre-marketing.!