Choosing Communications Media

When you need to develop a communications plan, there are a number of things that need to be considered. Often the type of product or service that is being promoted
22 Dec 2018 10:00
Choosing Communications Media

When you need to develop a communications plan, there are a number of things that need to be considered.

Often the type of product or service that is being promoted will point to a media choice, but it is also necessary to factor in the target audience for the communication.

Ethnicity, location, age, gender are also factors that could impact on the type of media chosen.


Objective of communication

And above all these, the objective of the communication will need to be the focus of the final media choice.

Fortunately, Fiji has a good range of media to choose from and in each segment there are choices.

In making a decision about which media to use it is important to understand how each of the media types delivers the message and what the strengths of each are.


Understanding communication

To understand this, the following is probably helpful.

There is heavy rain overnight and flash floods are causing problems around the country.

The first you will hear of the news is on the radio and you will get the facts immediately.

Later in the day television will start to release reports and you will see what is happening, you will feel for the people you see and will feel the emotions of the occasion.

Next morning you will be given the facts and explanations of what happened, why it happened and how it is affecting the areas and the people by the newspapers.

You will be given a very broad understanding of the issues.


Role of social media

Of course, social media plays an important part in communication but is highly targeted to people within the same group and for commercial communications is difficult to control (unless you have a good data base).

Social media does provide good secondary support for a number of types of communications.

Radio will alert you and provide advice, television will allow you to feel the impact of the situation and relate to it emotionally and the newspapers will give you all the facts and the background to the event so that you can have a full understanding.

In your communications program the different media will provide a different level of contact and communication.


Measuring communication plans

You will need to measure your communications plans against the strengths of each media to make sound decisions.

In many cases you will need to use a mix of media and use each one’s ability to deliver the message to achieve optimum results.

Where multiple media types are used in a planned media campaign you need to ensure that you do a proper job in each media and not just add media to have a physical spread.

If you do not commit sufficient budget then the media will not achieve the level of impact you need and all the funds are wasted.

You need to prioritise your media and fund the first one, then move to the second and so on.

It is false economy to try to spread media budgets too thin all media in Fiji do have the ability to physically reach almost every person, but their level of communication differs.

Factors affecting reach effectiveness are related to the person you want to communicate with.

Many people can’t be reached in working hours by radio or television and some do not understand English so verbal messages or writing have issues.

Radio and Television can’t be retained for later review so you are relying on simple message and a high degree of frequency.


Commercial communications campaign

Usually in a commercial communications campaign different media are combined to ensure that the message content is successfully communicated.

If you have planned a campaign that uses a number of different media it is important to ensure that there is a string synergy across executions for the advertising in each media so that you achieve the benefit of a unified campaign.

You need to consider a common theme and find devices that will carry the commonality across media platforms.

This can be assisted by ensuring that where there is sound you use the same music and announcer voices and where possible have graphic cross overs between television and newspapers.

A great deal of campaign impact can be quickly lost if the linkage is weak.

It is also important that you have some form of performance measurement for each media you use in a campaign.


Role of newspapers & readers

Newspapers are measured not by circulation but by readership.

Newspapers in Fiji have a readership per paper of at least five persons.

This means that is the newspaper sells forty thousand copies then you can expect two hundred thousand people to read that issue.

In some cultures the readership per issue can go as high as seven.

Also, there is always a segment that reads both papers.

Newspapers thrive on the power and retention of print.



Radio and television audiences

Radio listeners are generally very time specific, listening to the radio only during short periods, so you may need to look for a spread of placements by buying different time zones (breakfast, drive, lunchtime) to achieve a good reach.

Television audiences are programme sensitive, meaning that they do switch channels but this can be used in your favour.

Television is measured using a technique called reach and frequency because research shows that a viewer needs to see a commercial a number of times to gain optimum recall and the usual target is for the commercial to be seen an average three times.

This means that some people will see it once and some will see it six times to gain that average.

For television it is false economy to not buy enough spots in a week to get good recall.

In planning media remember that there are a lot of other choices outside the main media and these should be considered before finalising a plan.

Cinema, outdoor signs, bus signs and other devices are all available, but ensure that you are not diluting the impact of the main media by stretching budgets too far.

It is important to talk to the media sales people and ask them to justify their media beingincluded in plans.

And in planning, try to think like your customer, do not just buy media to your taste and habit, that will almost certainly lead to a lot of missed impact.


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