Future of Brand Communication and Management

Branding have been evolved hundreds of years, may be more than this. The meaning and prospect of this brand came into use over a decade. The meaning and narratives of brand communication has been progressed and it is not limited to a particular products and services but the horizon of branding widens its spectrum in a larger array. Here, will reconnoitres the concept of branding which have been advanced to a new paradigm, and would venture on what’s coming next.

 

The word Brand is etymologically derived from the word “Brandr”, a term from Ancient Norse meaning “to burn”. Around 950 A.D. the term “brand” denotes to a burning piece of wood. By 1300s this word was used to mean a torch, a factor which burns a piece of wood. This term brand further adds to denote to scorch the cattle of ownership by the year 1500s. The ownership status quo been conferred if their cattle got misplaced, ranched or lost. So, the development of using some similar trait of identifying their respective cattle were used. They had very simple, familiar identification and quick remembrance which lead and pave the way for ‘logo’ which is indispensable for brand identity and image.

Brand communicates to inform, persuade, guide, teach, evoke, enlighten, remind and gives a new insight about a product, service, company, organization to its stakeholders and persuades to pursue the positive perception of the products, service and companies’ strength and core values.

For the drive of easier comprehension, let us put some of those changes in the form of pointers:

  1. The Preponderance of Digital Media: with the advent of digital media, the traditional form of paid media push marketing strategy is no longer valid and lost its conventional power to hold and influence consumers.
  2. Personal Branding: the role of Influencer’s which is in the rise of social media platforms has changed the phenomenon of the conventional definition of personal branding. Social media and branding also the future of branding in a positive room which enables every company and organization to maintain and update their social media pages of triggering and disseminating useful information (Facebook. Instagram and Twitter).
  3. Brand Extension: it creates credibility and consumers gets varied scope of opportunity if the brand positively follows up for further extension.
  4. Brand Association: the top of the mind awareness (recall) and aided awareness (recognition) seems credible in digital age with the help of niche marketing strategy and native advertising.
  5. Co-Branding: this creates the blurred boundaries between global market products and services. So, no matter what, there is a prospect avenue for business collaborations both nationally and internationally. With the rapid changes in the pattern of brand communication, definitely this also need to be focussed international + local products collaboration (because generally the known businesses allies with the established brands).
  6. Brand Equity: Simply, the brand awareness, positioning and loyalty leads to brand equity and paved the way for understanding these three factors in a more diligent manner (recognition/recall/ aided awareness/ TOMA etc).
  7. Naming of the Brand: this gone beyond the graphics but the interactive media content spuriously based on the art, aesthetics, idea and creativity proves to be right in contemporary times. It more emphasizes the ideation blended with virtual reality and augmented reality.
  8. Viral Marketing: this strategy is a new norm to reach out to potential consumers through snowballing and e word of mouth.
  9. SEO: it enhances the website traffic to update the page of the website and searches through hashtags and keywords. It aims to unpaid traffic rather than paid traffic.
  10. Outsourced Delivery: there are few companies and creative bunch of groups who takes this up on behalf of reputed and established brands. The young professionals who is proficiency of digital media marketing, search engine optimization and algorithms related to augmented reality and virtual reality can be put forth for positive brand image.

The rise of the usage and availability of internet across geographic boundaries with economic viability, enhances the platforms of social media which is a driving factor for the next stage of the progression of branding. Point to be noted that the definition of conventional consumer or customers have changed drastically, there is a bent towards the coexistence and participatory. They do not want to consume the products or content anymore, rather tries to participate and so as the future of brand communication not to communicate anymore but to act, feel and intermittence. The power of influencers of social media brands like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook frequently depend on their users to aid and to create their value and how they should be perceived by the public. It further gives them their identity and positive image and enhances the brand durability. Various content sites like Buzzfeed, Amazon, The Huffington post and Yelp be contingent on reviewers to deliver their utmost convincing content. In this regard, many web-based companies and organizations handles their respective brand image and gets loyalty and revenue through active consumers which is unmatched and some thing interesting in these recent times. On the other hand, viral marketing, search engine optimization, and outsourced delivery permits their companies and organizations to have expansion visibility which reduces the cost of products delivery and saves millions of bucks and investment on advertising and infrastructure.

Basically, to conclude, if there is a brand admiration established by the consumers and they would like to see the advancement of prospect category of a specific product, then they must go ahead. This improvement on positive branding and effective brand communication may bring various advantages to one’s business, for example, good growth, profit and a prospect to meet their clients’ who might need to know the advancement of companies’ brand image. If an excellent inkling or creativity for new product is there to experiment that certainly the consumers/customers may accept or like, then probably yes, the companies must give it a try!

Post-pandemic career prospects in sound

Summary: A discussion about the subjects related to sound and the respective career opportunities.

Introduction: Though pandemic made the lives of sound professionals a bit miserable like it did for many others, now it is back to quite normal.  The cinema, radio, music and television industry are again back in full swing after a small dip in the graph. So for those interested to build a career in the audio, it is necessary to understand the subjects related to sound. Hence, first I will give a brief idea about the subjects related to sound and then I will mention the career opportunities.

How to begin? : The study of sound is a vast field. It is like an ocean with innumerable waves that one can choose form. Precisely the subject of sound is a field of study that deals with how human beings perceive sound. That perception can be manipulated for a better listening experience. That’s the primary goal of a sound practitioner. Now this listening experience of human beings varies according to the sonic environment, where the listener places himself. Depending on this varied listening environments, the science of sound could be studied differently. This is why study of sound has given birth to many disciplines. For example, sound engineering or audio engineering, sound designing for cinema, theatre, radio and television, music production, live recording for cinema, television, auditorium shows, podcasting, acoustics, and sound installation to name a few. Now let’s have a brief idea about each of the field mentioned above.

  1. Sound Engineering/Audio Engineering: This field is a bit technical. To pursue a higher degree in sound engineering one should have a clear understanding of basic physics and mathematics of higher secondary standard. In this subject students are taught about the technical or engineering aspects of the sound systems that are responsible for generating, recording and processing sound for various fields. For instance, in this subject of sound engineering students learn details of microphones including how and where to place them. In other words students develop an idea of selecting suitable microphones for specific purposes. Similarly they learn about speaker systems, how to manufacture them and how to select suitable speaker systems for given sonic environments. They are also taught about the relation between sound reinforcement systems and various types for enclosed and open environments.
  2. Sound Designing: This field focuses more on the aesthetics of sound with respect to various media like cinema, television, theatre, radio etc. It does not require hard core knowledge of physics and mathematics that is required to study sound or audio engineering. Instead it requires a creative drive or passion to play with sound. In this course students are generally taught how to evoke an emotion from within the hearts of an audience. That’s the primary purpose of studying sound designing and it is not as easy as it sounds. To play with the emotion of an audience requires absolute mastery over the art and craft of sound. However, this course introduces students with Digital Audio Workstation or DAW equipped with software, computer, mixing console, sound card, microphones, speakers etc. all installed within an acoustically treated room for a specific purpose. However to design a DAW, the help of a sound engineer is needed. DAW is a concept that has come from cinema post production and then it has been incorporated in the field of television and radio too. For theatre the support of DAW is often required to predesign the sound track for the show. But the live arrangement might also be needed for the same. For cinema generally students are extensively taught about the sound elements like dialogue, music, ambience and foley and to record these elements students are taught how to operate a dubbing studio for dialogue, how to operate a studio for music, how to record and lay ambience in a DAW and how to operate a foley studio. Besides they are also taught about creating and working with various sound effects.
  3. Live Recording: This field is probably the most adventurous part of sound. It requires extreme travelling. For cinema there remains dedicated location audio engineers, whose job is to record clear audio especially dialogue at the location of shooting itself. So in this course students are taught about the dedicated location audio gears and how to record with them. Also this field requires extreme man management skill as the location engineer and his/her team must know how to handle actors and other crew members at shooting spot. Apart from cinema, live recording is a challenging and well paid job for music shows. So the students of this course are taught extensively about setting up sound reinforcement systems for  music shows for example in a stadium. Besides they are also taught about how to manage sound reinforcement system in an enclosed environment e.g. an auditorium.
  4. Podcasting: Podcasting is comparatively a new buzzword. This became popular with the arrival of internet. This is nothing but making an audio track available for downloading for other users. It could be either free or paid. So the students of podcasting are mainly taught about the same thing related to sound designing. There is a trend nowadays that podcasting could be done with a smart phone. It is true that it is possible. But the quality of this type of audio will always be questionable and unprofessional since however digital we might become, our ears are still analogue, microphones and speakers are still analogue and will always remain so. So the quality of a podcast will always indicate whether it has been recorded in a bad or good studio or acoustically controlled environment. So the students of podcasting are taught about the quality of an audio track especially about the difference of recording with a bad set-up and a good set-up as quality does matter in the long run.
  5. Acoustics: This field is basically the study of behaviour of sound in a specific environment. Basically it teaches how to build up an environment for soothing aural experience. It could be a cinema hall, an auditorium, a shopping mall or even a house. All require acoustic treatment to avoid the irritating unwanted sound or noise of surroundings. So the students of acoustics are taught about architectural designs for less noisy and soothing sonic environments. However, this course requires basic idea about mathematics and physics as a prerequisite.
  6. Sound Installation: This is another field of sound. This course teaches about sound reinforcement systems and how to install them. For example, in a multiplex of, say, four cinema halls, the sound reinforcement systems are to be installed. This course teaches about how to do that. It requires basic ideas about electronics and electrical engineering along with thorough knowledge of sound engineering.

Career Opportunities: So studying any of these subjects will open the doors for a professional to work as

  1. Sound Engineer
  2. Sound Designer for movies, television, radio and theatre.
  3. Studio Manager
  4. Acoustic Consultant
  5. Digital Remastering Engineer
  6. Live Sound Engineer
  7. Studio Designer
  8. Academician
  9. Entrepreneur
  10. Technician
  11. Researcher

Conclusion: In a nut shell to become a sound professional requires hard work, patience and passion. There are many schools in India and abroad that teach various disciplines of audio and now the cinema, television, radio and internet portals are operating in full swing after being hit by an instantaneous wave of the pandemic. The demand for the right sound professionals is higher than before as both the audiovisual and audio-only contents are becoming more and more popular every day.  All you need is to develop the right skill sets and aptitude for audio. Then the world is yours!

Journalism Now and Journalism Then: Evaluating Digital Revolution from a Journalistic Standpoint

When the history of 21st century is scripted, its first two decades will be marked as the period that transformed the very meaning of human existence. The unbelievable surge of digital technologies and the advent of the internet-based virtual world have been instrumental in reimagining humanity that we know or at least claim to know. Every area of human knowledge stands radically changed. Skills that were once considered a handful have rapidly become useless. No wonder that the larger domain of journalism has also undergone fundamental and structural changes.

Print has given way to the all-encompassing web; analog broadcasting has given way to digital broadcasting and plain text have given way to multimedia. With the gradual decline in the average attention span of news consumers, contemporary news can no longer afford to just inform. Infotainment has become the name of the game and interactive infographics have slowly started replacing the once dominant text information. While the first decade of the ongoing millennium was revolutionary for journalism and journalists on multiple counts, its second decade has changed the very approach of journalism. The coming in of the ubiquitous smartphone has heralded a brand new era in the practice of dissemination of information.

This article, albeit very limited in its scope, would make an effort to document the larger changes that has marked journalism and its various offshoots over the past one decade. Just so that one is clear, all these changes that we are referring to are not necessarily desirable. However, like everything else in life, journalism has also altered – for the better and also for the worse. For the purpose of easier comprehension, let us put some of those changes in the form of pointers:

1. The Predominance of Online Journalism: If the first decade of the new millennium belonged to television journalism, the second decade most surely belonged to online journalism. While the popularity of print journalism continued to dwindle, online journalism kept on growing. The liberal usage of multimedia and easier language made online journalism the hot favourite among both the millennials and members of the Generation Z. All existing studies and surveys predict the further growth of online media to the extent that it will be the only thing in the fray.

2. The Arrival of Social Media Journalism: Before delving into the trend, it is important to point out that social media and journalism are two different concepts and are not intrinsically connected to each other. However, the rapid increase in the usage of social media and the instant need for news somehow contributed to the growth of a new phenomenon known as social media journalism. Today, breaking news items break on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook pages serve as platforms for larger discussions on recent trends. Today, anybody from any corner of the world can post a piece of news for the rest of the world to see. It can be argued that social media journalism has largely democratized the flow of information.

3. The Growing Relevance of Alternative Media: There was a time when large corporate entities and media behemoths had absolute control on the collection, production and dissemination of news. However, thanks to the largely economical nature of the online medium, a good number of smaller and independent news ventures are cropping. While some of these media organizations have already broken even, there are many that are making rapid inroads into the larger news ecosystem. Consequently, geographical locations that were once considered fringe are increasingly featuring in the mainstream. Larger corporates have lost their monopoly on news.

4. The Ominous Entry of Fake News and Post-Truth: Thanks to Donald Trump, the former President of the United State of America, the world was informed about an essentially oxymoronic term called fake news. For the purpose of academical

propriety, we would rather use the three individual terms ‘disinformation’, ‘misinformation’ and ‘mal-information’. All these are different types of misleading or false information that owe their origins to a multitude of reasons including ignorance, propaganda and unholy political ambitions. While not entirely different, the term ‘post-truth’ probably has a wider ramification on the very sustenance of press as the fourth estate of democracy. Post-truth represents a dystopian scenario where emotions and personal convictions become stronger tools in shaping public opinions than objective facts. This phenomenon indicates a general disdain for logic and common sense.

5. The Increased Popularity of Infographics: The current generation has a general liking for representative visuals. Therefore, infographics serve as a potent tool to retain the consumers of news. To put it in simple terms, infographics are charts, visual data and statistics that help people digest complex information in a systematic and uncomplicated manner. We have come to a point when different news organizations report stories only through infographics. In the next few years, this trend is only going to grow.

6. The Gradual Vanishing of Gatekeeping: For all those who are not aware of what gatekeeping is, it is the process of filtering information before publishing. With blogs, vlogs, social media and personal websites slowly becoming the primary mode of disseminating news, gatekeeping as a phenomenon is increasingly losing its relevance. While this has democratized the flow of news to a large extent, news credibility and authenticity have become sore areas. It is expected that as we move ahead, a mechanism will be worked out that will impart balance to the whole process of journalism.

7. Mobile Journalism Is the Next Big Thing: Journalists across the world are increasingly using smartphones to gather, produce and disseminate news. In fact, mobile journalism or MoJo, as it is popularly known, has become so powerful that it is predicted that in the next one decade, journalism will be primary mobile.

8. News Virality: What was once called breaking news during the heydays of the broadcast revolution is now known as viral news. Some news become viral and gather a significant number of eyeballs in a very small span of time. In fact, the greatest mechanism to make a story viral is to put it on social media platforms.

While the points mentions above are rather generic and broadly define the transformation that marks the news industry, there are many others that are equally important, if not more.

However, for the purpose of brevity, we shall discuss the same some other day. Just in case you find this blog useful and relevant, please make it a point to share it with as many people as you like for them to know the changes that have engulfed the world of journalism.