The New MEdia: Battling for Recognition in the Age of Sharing

The media industry is bifurcated into two distinct worlds: the struggling traditional segment that longs for a simple, more profitable past that will never return; and the vibrant entrepreneurial segment that is reinventing commerce before our eyes.
Justin Smith, CEO Bloomberg Media Group, 2013 memo

It‘s true: we’re in a period of rapid invention that is changing business and leaving antiquated models in the dust. But, the businesses succeeding aren’t reinventing commerce; they’re returning to an old form of commerce where individual customers matter more than demographic groups.

Technology allowed businesses to become bullies: it enabled them to tell consumers what to think and at scale.

But, technology has a way of always returning to human nature: people want to feel like they’re part of a community and be heard–not to be told what to want.

Instead of adapting to the empowered customer and using the human characteristics that new technology has enabled, most businesses have become like Stuart Larkin–the MAD TV character obsessed with attention–shouting, “me, me, me,” and hoping that if they’re loud enough and crazy enough, people will pay attention.

And, many think they’re on the right track with the attention they received. But, attention is easy; mattering is hard.

Businesses are still using old metrics by counting attention in the form of likes and views. But, likes and views don’t correlate to sales. The reason is simple: attention meaning.

People don’t care about most of their followers or friends on social media. They’re less likely to care about a faceless business. What they do care about is recognition from their followers and brands. They want to be heard, they want to be recognized, and they want to be understood.

These should be your goals because people care about their me more than your me.

It’s the expectation in the new MEdia.

Mattering to customers can no longer be ignored. In the future, businesses will no longer be able to ignore mattering to their employees.

The successful companies in the future will create brands that customers and employees love. They will create meaning.

In short, they’ll be human.

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