Vision Critical

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Some of the biggest players in media and entertainment were on hand at this year’s Vision Critical Summit to share what’s new in audience engagement. The discussions were timely, as significant challenges like evolving audience consumption behaviors, audience fragmentation, increasingly complex measurement gaps and new technologies continue to pose a threat to media brands.

Companies like ESPN, Tumblr, Warner Bros., Univision and Sony Pictures Television shared what they’re doing to reignite the loyalty of their audience. Here’s a look at some of the top themes these leading media brands discussed at the Summit.

  1. Get a more complete picture of your audience.

By focusing on ratings, impressions and other metrics, media companies reduce their audiences to data points instead of treating them like real people. That approach needs to change, according to Vision Critical founder Andrew Reid, who argued that audience engagement needs to mirror real human relationships.

The key, according to several speakers, is to supplement measurement metrics with direct audience engagement. One leading television company said that engaging people in its insight community gives its audience a voice, which helps give a much clearer picture of audience consumption as well as shape its content and product strategies. Using the insight of its audience, the company is able to differentiate its packages and digital content, giving the brand a real competitive edge.

  1. Consider a multimedia approach.

The same television company said that while it has established its brand as a television entity with viewers, it is also actively pursuing a multimedia strategy—something that its insight community is able to help shape. The community has been instrumental in validating trends in the online consumption habits of its audience—insight that the company uses to make decisions about its product offering and sales strategy. For many major sports events, the company engages its community to understand when sports fans watch games (and how) and what new technologies people use to follow sports updates throughout the day.

  1. Mind your tone and voice.

Many media brands exude a distinct personality in their content, but often the same tone and voice aren’t carried through in their audience engagement activities. That’s a huge mistake, says a young, high-growth media company. Activities in your insight community need to use the same language that your audience has come to expect from your brand. Keeping a consistent tone in your research methods helps drive engagement, which enables you to get quality insight from your audience.

  1. Delight and surprise your audience.

Another major media company maintains a high level of engagement in its insight community through exclusive content and events only available through the community. During one holiday season, the company created a video featuring some of its celebrity stars greeting the members of the community. Surprising members with such exclusive content helps build the company’s brand while enhancing its relationship with its community members. People in the community are also often invited to intimate in-person events.

  1. Build a more meaningful relationship with your audience.

To anticipate changes in the media space, companies need to maintain an open dialogue with their audience to unlock new trends and behaviors. Working on your relationship with your audience, while also considering platform metrics and measurement, will help companies better anticipate market dynamics across all aspects of the business, according to several speakers. A strong relationship with your audience is key to gaining the insight you need to compete for advertising dollars and unlock new opportunities for content monetization.

For more marketing, market research and innovation takeaways from the 2015 Vision Critical Summit, read our full recap here.

How media companies monetize insight and drive revenue with research

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