I know, this question was asked a gazillion times before. And answered by much more profound minds than I could ever aspire to be.

Let’s look at the question from a different angle.

Let’s not focus on how we are going to consume media (tools, platforms). Let’s forget about the location where we will consume media (home, public place, office, etc.) And let’s not bother discussing what we will do with media (lease it, share it, own, co-own it, etc.)

Let’s answer a different question:

How are businesses are going to manage this new media world?

Sure, we have amazing examples of companies utilizing new media to their advantage: Zappos, Virgin America, Starbucks.

But, let’s be honest here: the majority of businesses are completely lost in this new world. They are acting like a 13-year old trying to score a date. They understand the world of media is moving faster and faster while they stand still and fall behind. They desperately hold on to tactics and processes that used to work 20 years ago. Just like the 60-year old who tries to squeeze himself into the wedding suit from 30 years ago. They are more care-takers of media than real managers or leaders of their destiny. This applies to paid, earned and owned media.

But, let’s focus on earned media.

Most brands claim to be engaged in social media. Frankly, they are lying to themselves. A daily tweet or Facebook post doesn’t mean engagement.

It’s checkbox engagement.

Most businesses are barely engaged in the real world. They shield themselves from customers by deploying phone trees, arduous forms and bureaucratic processes. Why would a narcissistic brand believe they can suddenly communicate with their customer base just because there is a new tool or platform?

Time Warner Cable is a great example.

I drop around $200 monthly for cable and Internet service. And I’ve done it for 15 years. That’s around $40,000 in 15 years. Did they ever thank me, offered free on-demand movies for a month, gave me something that says: “Thank you, Mr. Hook, for being such a great customer!” Of course not.

My brand experience is extremely low, if Dish or DirecTV offer me a special deal: I’m gone. I’m just too lazy to research this further and plan on returning their remotes and cable-boxes. And, I’m not alone. Just check out their Facebook page: It’s a great example of brand misery. They post content once a day, never to listen to anyone. People are bitching, complaining, expressing their deep hate towards the brand. Time Warner Cable’s answer: Push another message. It’s all about them, narcissistic, deeply dysfunctional.

They do on Facebook what they do on TV: push a message, push another message, push more messages. This push mentality translates how to engage with customers and treat them. Time Warner Cable has no clue how to navigate and manage new media in positive ways.

They are just one example. As I said before, the majority of brands act that way. They need to take a hard, long look at the mirror and ask: “How are we going to manage the future of media to be successful?” Zappos, Virgin America and Starbucks can answer the question honestly and don’t need to worry about their media future.

The other brands will continue to lie to themselves or finally wake up.

If you don’t engage and communicate with your customers in the new media world, you’ll be talking to yourself very soon.

And you well deserve it.

Enhanced by Zemanta