In barely 20 years, the media landscape has undergone a deep transformation. Take Eurovision for example. At the dawn of the 21st century, the singing competition was seen as out-dated and given airtime only on Europe’s cable television networks. Today, the event is followed everywhere from New York to Moscow on tablets, computers and smartphones, with an audience bigger than that of the Super Bowl. In 2017, entertainment and news merged together, with many journalists transforming into often funny, offbeat personalities full of charisma, whereas in the year 2000 most were working in the shadows of the media they represented. Now more than ever, the world is showing its need to get away from it all, to find a bit of humanity.
These “new influencers” hop from one TV studio or radio show to another, speaking as “experts” oozing with personality. They may come from the old-school media, represent a trade or have built up a large following on social media, like Brussels’ home-grown celeb Megan ne comprend pas© (“Megan Doesn’t Get It”). With her delightful monologues filmed using only a smartphone, this pastry chef specialised in fancy cakes is as comfortable gabbing away on camera as she is rolling dough in the kitchen. Megan finds herself very beautiful and doesn’t understand why she still hasn’t been invited to Chanel fashion shows to take selfies with Karl Lagerfeld and Kim Kardashian. In Belgium, her video humoristic commentaries are smashing the records for ‘likes’. Today, commentators like Megan are part of our daily life from morning until night. We listen to them on the car radio, we find them on Facebook during our lunch break, we look for them in the evening on our tablets or with our remote controls. Every day, we seek them out whenever we feel like taking a break, whenever we want to feel some emotion.
HOW TO GET CHIPS ON THE EVENING NEWS
Companies and brands of all stripes are licking their lips at the potential marketing power these new ambassadors hold. Well, guess what? The recipe has been the same for decades and is still being used today. For two vital factors – editorial independence and the freedom to speak one’s mind – have not changed, and are even growing stronger by the day.
If you want today’s influencers to spread your message, the first thing you have to do is get them interested. Next, they need to have access to your information with complete transparency.
And you have to accept to lose control over the way your information will be publicised. All of the marketing fluff will be deciphered and stripped away, leaving only the basic facts, which will then be presented in a different light. Want to make it onto the Evening News? Open your company’s doors and hide nothing. Showcase your employees and the farmers you work with. Let journalists go and meet them, without setting any boundaries. It works. On February 14th of this year – a symbolic date par excellence – Canada’s McCain announced it was strengthening ties with Belgium’s know-how in chip making, opening the doors of its Wallonia production facility to the press. Journalists, photographers and cameramen not only saw the brand’s frozen chip production line first-hand, they also got the chance to meet the company’s employees and partner potato farmers as they pleased. The results? Rich, positive content that was covered by nearly all of Belgium’s national media, including a report full of humanity on the Evening News…
The Canadian McCain opens the doors of its Wallonia production facility to the press.
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