Jeff Jarvis has the story over at BuzzMachine.
The “iPod moment”
As Jeff sees it, an historic “iPod moment” occurs in the media biz when customers routinely use the iPod to access a particular form of media, instead of using the traditional branded format. Unless traditional brands can leap ahead of the customer and welcome them to new digital domains—and the freedoms they provide—the old brands don’t have a chance.
Music labels were the first domino to fall.
“Reading the news”—redefined
From Jeff’s perspective, an iPod moment is now taking shape as the new iPod iTouch, with its glorious screen, emerges as a default reader for all things news, via the iTouch’s Wi-Fi connection. This will deliver immediate, unlimited news, will save a zillion trees in the process, and will push traditional newspaper brands, with all their brand heritage, authenticity and tradition, further toward the pulp pile.
It’s a case of what can happen to legacy brands when what they deliver is now done (better) by someone else.
Changing the game by changing the customer
The iPod (and the Web in general) have redefined newspaper brands by advancing news reading citizens beyond the reach of traditional newspapers themselves. They put more news value in the hands of customers, 24/7, in ways that customers can use. The old brands are still there, but they matter less, because they have less customer in them.
Simply stated, new digital technologies like the iPod have changed the game by changing the customer.
Questions for newspapers to answer
Jeff lists the critical questions that newspapers must answer:
How do we use this wonderful device to give people the news and links whenever, wherever, and however they want it? How do we do that with incredible efficiency? How do we make it local and relevant? How do we take advantage of the two-way relationship we now have, enabling people with these gadgets to share what they know? And – hereâ€™s what everyone really means when they talk about iPod moments – how do we make money doing it?
Re-creating the news customer
In other words, newspapers have to re-create their customers. This is a brand strategy task, driven by the dynamics of growing customer capabilities instead of perpetuating the legacy constraints of paper and ink. For newspapers, trying to contain customers, or to hold them back from the Web’s promise, is the wrong brand agenda. It’s a losing battle from the get-go.
The brand challenge for news organizations
For news organizations, the key brand challenge is to differentiate their customers from ignorance, not from each other. Do that, and your customers will follow.
One way to proceed is for newspapers to identify and model the well-informed and well-connected citizen that tomorrow’s world will need. That new model is the basis for the future newspaper brand platform, one that can advance customers—and their communities—irrespective of media formats.
Beyond “commodity” news
While some aspects of the Web may have made “news” a commodity, the proliferation of available information has made insight and intelligence, and context and meaning, all the more valuable. News organizations may want to build their fresh brands around that.
Photo: mlcastle — Flickr