Brand journalism is the art of telling a story; it’s a way for a company to tell their story and interact with their audience. This helps the audience engage with a company and learn more about it and put a face to a name. In this process, a company is able to gain an audience and realize what type of audience they have. They are able to determine what their audience likes, what works, what doesn’t work and this helps them connect with their audience, and they are able to cater to their needs.
Thomas Scott says: “Brand journalism involves telling journalism-style stories about a company that makes readers want to know more, stories that don’t read like marketing or advertising copy.”
Telling a story well, having great content that is informative and knowing your audience is very important. Being vulnerable and sharing your world with your audience, telling real and entertaining stories helps grab their attention. They are more drawn to your company, and you gain the trust of your audience. Having conversations with your audience and making them part of your world makes them feel more important and like they are a part of it, thus making them want to share your videos or stories with their family and friends, and this builds that necessary connection that is needed to gain an audience and a return investment.
We have definitely evolved from just having TV, Radio, and newspapers, all these ways worked very well, and without traditional journalism, we wouldn’t be where we are today it was a stepping stone and we made great achievements even then. Having advertisements on TV, Radio and billboards were a great way to inform the audience, but it was not personal, there was no connection and engagement between the company and the audience.
According to Thomas Scott “The typical person no longer trusts a company at face value. It is human nature to hate being sold, so most people avoid salespeople like the plague. When we want or need a service, we look to sources we trust and ask others for their opinions.”
Companies are turning to brand journalism, a more effective way of telling their story; companies realize people trust their family and friends more than they trust companies. Brand Journalism helps them be able to connect with the audience more, and make their company more human so that they can reel the audience in, and help them be more willing to learn more about their company, and once they like what a company has to offer they will share this information with their loved ones.
Making your audience be able to easily access your network and share your videos, stories and find whatever they need is essential. Knowing your audience well; being able to fill the void that is there will help companies be able to provide what their audience needs, and it all starts with telling your story and that sets the direction for your brand.
Advantages of brand journalism are; it’s a great way to connect with your audience, and a great new style of storytelling. Your able to give your brand direction, narrow your audience and meet their needs, and create content that is custom made just for them. It provides a pathway to endless possibilities. Being aware of what your audience needs and listening to them makes it easier for a company to make products that blend with the customer’s lifestyle, so that a customer doesn’t have to go out of their way or struggle to use your products or connect with your company. They will be plugged into your network and they can rest assured their voices are being heard.
You are able to keep your customers coming back for more information and keep them updated, whether it’s on industry trends, upcoming events, education, fashion or any newsworthy information. Disadvantages of brand journalism are: it’s hard to determine whether the information provided is true or propaganda.
Andy Bull says that “the reality is that publishers – those lauded guardians of pure journalism – are brands too. Such publishers and their newspapers/TV networks/brands have a worldview and a political agenda. They align their brand with political and other causes and tailor their news coverage to suit that alignment.”
Knowing media brands have to select how the news is reported it’s difficult to discern if what is being presented is true or what a company wants you to believe. For example, According to Brave New Films Rupert Murdoch has a total audience of 4.7 billion people, owns so many media entities, he is able to influence a lot of people, and it’s been determined his TV station FOX produces propaganda and they highly support Republicans.
There are very many people who watch FOX news and this raises so many ethical issues; how are you able to determine what is true? The audience may not be fully aware of how they are influenced, and FOX like any other brand will tell their story and gain the trust of their audience, and the audience is blinded and unable to know what is true or false.
The audience believes that the company is credible and believes the information that is provided to them, unaware that there is a political agenda. The stories provide are twisted to cater to the needs of the company and influence the audience. For example during voting season since FOX news is affiliated with Republicans they will highly influence their audience, and an audience member who is trying to make a decision on who to vote for ends up voting for a Republican, because of all the information that is being pumped through TV or Radio and they were not able to make an informed decision. There is nothing wrong with voting for a Republican but it’s unfair when you cannot make an informed decision because you were influenced.
You want to make a decision whereby you heard both sides of the story, and YOU made your own choice, but unfortunately due to this new style of storytelling, an audience member is reeled in thinking this is a credible company that gives true information. It’s hard to know the agenda of a company because at the end of the day each company is trying to make a profit, and some companies will do it at any cost.
You can never be sure of the agenda of a company, whether it’s political or not. Information is forced down to you in different ways TV, Radio, Internet everywhere you go there is influence. Needless to say, not all companies have a political agenda, some companies provide unbiased news and make sure they give a true account of every story and both sides, they not only entertain but they make sure the information provided educates their audience and is entertaining.
Brand Journalism can be very beneficial and can provide diverse opportunities and can definitely take us to the next level, but there will always be companies that have a bad agenda and sometimes we may have to find out information on our own. It’s always good to question any information that is provided. Brand Journalism has paved the way and if utilized well it has great potential and is a great way to connect and build a strong relationship with your audience, trust, credibility, awareness and has great returns.
An example of an innovative company that is utilizing brand journalism well is HSBC they have a website called Business Without Borders.