Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

New Site: Every Company Is A Media Company...

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 6, 2010

[Introducing a new web site: Every Company Is A Media Company - EC=MC - the transformative equation for business.]

Five years ago, when I first began writing and talking about this idea, that every company is a media company, few people understood what this was about. Today, it's a message that is better understood -- but only among a few leading practioners in media, communications, and marketing -- it still far from being understood by the mainstream.

Yet today, it's a very important concept because the evolution of media, and the powerful media technologies of the Internet, has transformed the entire media industry and is now transforming nearly every business.

Every company is a media company because every company publishes to its customers, its staff, its neighbors, its communities.

It doesn't matter if a company makes diapers or steel girders, it must also be a media company and know how to use all the media technologies at its disposal.

While this has always been true to some extent, it is even more important today, because our media technologies have become so much more powerful.

Our media technologies have become two-way.

In addition to the traditional means of publishing, such as white papers, news releases, etc, companies must now also master the 'social media' technologies that allow anyone, their customers, their competitors, to publish also.

It is no longer a one-way broadcast medium, everyone now has access to an online printing press that can potentially reach tens of millions of people.

The first phase of the Internet made it easy to publish a page of content to any computer screen -- desktop or mainframe.

Now, any computer screen, laptop or pocket, can publish back -- we've wired up the other end of the Internet! It is now a two way medium.

If you thought that Internet 1.0 was amazing -- this next phase will be extraordinary.

In the same way that companies had to change to adjust to doing business online, now they need to adjust to a whole new reality -- how to be noticed in an increasingly noisy world, one that requires new rules of engagement.

Companies must learn how to publish, listen, and converse in a very fragmented media world. There are different rules for participation and behavior, such as in the very different communities of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

The world has suddenly become very complicated.

Our media has also become much more complicated -- more fragmented. We used to have "mass media" where a small set of media companies and channels, in TV, radio, newspapers, trade press -- hosted much of our media communications.

Those days are gone. The reality is we now live in a multi-platform, multi-channel, micro- media world, and the trend is moving towards ever greater media fragmentation -- vidcasts, podcasts, blogs, micro-blogging, Twitter, etc.

It is no longer possible to operate a business the old way -- such as sending out a news release on Businesswire and briefing a handful of journalists, and sitting back.

Today you need to do that ... and more, much more. Every company needs to master these media technologies, and the best media practices, of a rapidly fragmenting media world.

The companies that successfully manage this task will be far ahead of those that sit back and wait.

In media, if you achieve a pole position, it is very difficult to dislodge you. We see this effect all the time. Look at the Drudge Report - it is far from being a slick news site with great reporting, yet it has huge influence.

Sitting back is not an option. If your competitor captures that media pole position of thought leadership in your market, you are in trouble.

Just the tip of a very large iceberg...

When every company is a media company this changes more than just a company's PR/communications department -- it changes nearly every aspect of an organization.

- It changes how you recruit staff, using your own social networks.

- It changes how you provide customer support.

- It changes how you market/advertise your products and services.

- It changes how you develop products and services.

- It changes your IT infrastructure, what type of computers and software you need.

- It changes entire business processes and how they are executed.

- It changes a company's internal skills set and what types of people it needs to employ or train.

- It changes how you measure progress.

- It changes management and how it runs the company.

- It changes internal team organization.

- It unlocks a massive amount of internal and external resources.


Every company is affected...

Every Company is a Media Company (EC=MC) is the most important business transformation of our times because every company is affected.

It is also a massive business opportunity for so many businesses.

Every company is a media company becomes the point of the spear for new business for many companies across many sectors.

- Companies need help in mastering the best practices of being a media company.

- Management needs help in implementing the new business processes and in measuring progress.

- Companies will need new IT equipment, new software, new types of services, and more...

There will be opportunities for vendors of all types, armies of consultants, experts of all stripes, media professionals, teachers, authors...

Everyone is part of this transformation...

Everyone is a potential evangelist for this groundbreaking transformation. Whether as a company insider trying to push through essential changes; or a vendor of products and services; a public relation company working with clients; or management consultants helping companies reorganize specific aspects of their operations...

The job is a huge one and it's going to involve many people.

It will lead to tremendous disruption...

Not every company is going to make it. We are dealing with disruptive technologies...and they key thing about disruptive technologies is that they disrupt.

Even if a company sees the trends, sees the disruption ahead -- there is no guarantee it can avoid the train wreck.

Look at the tremendous amount of disruption that the personal computer created. It was dismissed as a toy yet hundreds of computer companies went out of business. IBM barely survived -- it had to remake itself into a computer services company.

The same will happen to many companies -- they won't be able to change, or adapt in time.

Beyond social media...

Every company is a media company moves beyond the current focus on social media. Social media is just one aspect of a company's media strategy.

Social media is not enough, companies have to focus on their entire media strategy, it becomes integral to their core business strategy.

Leadership is vital...

But to achieve a successful business transformation, this has to be a message that is understood at the very top of a company's leadership. And then it has to be understood by the rank and file.

That's what this web site will attempt to do -- to give the senior leadership, and the rank-and-file of an organization, the tools and the understanding about what's going on -- and the roadmaps for achieving transformation and success.

You have to be involved...

The challenge for a company's leadership is that many of these media trends cannot be fully understood unless you are immersed within them.

You can't 'get it' unless you are in it.

Clearly, that's difficult because senior executives have so many duties, they have to achieve an understanding of EC=MC and have the right staff to help in the transformation.

A key objective of this site will be to convince senior executives that there really is a major business transformation taking place, through examples and other information.

The second objective is to:

- Provide roadmaps and checklists so that senior management know what needs to be done.

- What types of people/skills are needed in-house.

- What can be contracted out.

- What to look for, the metrics that track progress, and what success looks like.

Every company is a media company ... but every company is in a different industry sector, different geography, a different culture.

There are some aspects of this transformation that apply to all but there is so much more that is very specific.

This site will try to collect those things that are held common, and also ones that are specific to an industry, a sector, a geography.

This site will also pull together a directory of resources, of services, and consultants/experts in their fields.

Importantly...

EC=MC has to be a collaboration on a huge scale. It is beyond 'social media.'

This site will seek to publish articles by many authors, seeking to explain what "Every company is a media company" means to them, to their area of expertise, in their sector/industry, and culture. Please send guest posts to [email protected]

I look forward to hearing from you.

- - -

This site's founding authors are:

- Tom Foremski, a former reporter with the Financial Times and publisher of Silicon Valley Watcher. Tom has tracked the changing landscape of the media world and how it impacts companies for more than 25 years. Twitter: TomForemski.

- Don Bulmer, a senior communications executive at SAP, the world's largest business software company. Don brings a deep understanding of how to navigate the internal barriers within large organizations and enable transformation. Twitter: DBulmer.

- Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks, works with enterprise to create business strategy for B2B online communities and social media programs. Considered a pioneer in online community building, she brings a depth of best practice from the many communities she has created. Twitter: VDiMauro.

You can follow this site on Twitter: ECisMC


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