Not too big, Not too small

Have we got the 'Medium' for you!

Have a great idea and want to share it, but don’t know how? Like the idea of blogging, but don’t have enough time? Well have we got the “Medium” for you!

Medium, the new twist on web-publishing allows users to post their ideas online without the commitment of a blog. Posts are organized into collections which are defined by themes. Medium allows you to share your ideas with more than just your “following” as anyone can read, comment or recommend your post; your voice WILL be heard.

Medium allows companies to target audiences based on their shared activity, interests and values. Consumers are no longer bombarded with irrelevant information, and consequently, companies can directly target consumers who are interested in their products and want to know more. Companies can connect with all consumers that share their brand’s passions in one space, using one Medium.

What is Medium?

"We're re-imagining publishing in an attempt to make an evolutionary leap, based on everything we've learned in the last 13 years and the needs of today's world"

The creators of Blogger and Twitter, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, have paired up again to revolutionize the digital publishing world with their latest social media platform, Medium.  In a post outlining Medium, Williams writes, "We're re-imagining publishing in an attempt to make an evolutionary leap, based on everything we've learned in the last 13 years and the needs of today's world.”1 Medium can be said to be a hybrid of the existing social media platforms of today’s web-universe. Medium allows users to post entries without the burden of becoming a blogger, and is based on the premise that most people prefer to read and view content, rather than post it themselves. Posts are organized into “Collections” which are defined by a theme. The future of Medium will allow all users to create their own “Collections” which can be public and allow anyone else to post in the collection, or they can be invite-only. Users that read posts on Medium can choose to “Recommend” content to others. The act of recommending signals the algorithm which determines which posts within a collection will appear first.

To begin, users simply sign on using their Twitter account. Medium will allow users to share their thoughts and ideas more easily and more elegantly. Medium takes some of the decision-making out of writing posts by not allowing users to choose font size or colour. By taking away some of these decisions, Medium will accommodate those who want to blog, but don’t have the time, nor the energy to blog full-time. Medium makes no expectation of ongoing commitment, and its ethos is one of openness and democracy.

The beauty of Medium is that, unlike a blog where you need followers, you do not have to have a following in order for your voice to be heard. Medium’s goal is to provide content to the right audiences faster and more efficiently. This will help users pay attention to the information that they are most interested in, and allow ideas to be shared beyond friends and family.

On October 29, 2012, Medium allowed anyone to read and give feedback on all posts. Medium is currently still in closed beta testing with updates to the website being made almost daily, and publishing access has rolled out to friends and family. The next step is for Medium to allow anyone to publish or create a collection.

#markettrends

Medium accommodates the external trends that emerged as a result of busier lifestyles, the need to share one’s accomplishments and life events online and the increased popularity of personalization. In today’s environment, “time is money” and while consumers are being bombarded with extremely high levels of stimuli, they do not have the time to sift through it all in order to find what is relevant to each individual. The consumer wants to have timely access to all the relevant information he or she needs and with the use of “collections” that aggregate content based on similarity in subject, Medium allows its users to access what is relevant to them at this instant.

Medium also fulfills its users’ desire to share online with others, and their need to achieve their own 15 minutes of fame. This platform allows users to post personal stories, opinions or simply thoughtful insights on the subject of their choosing, in a manner that does not bombard one’s entire social network with content that will be relevant and interesting to only a select few.

Today’s consumer demands increasing levels of personalization in all aspects of their lives, especially so when it comes to one’s social media tools. Users want the option to choose what type of content they see, on which topics and from which authors. Medium allows its users to view collections that include content on a given subject by multiple authors as well as the option to view all posts from a particular author. Now, relevant information on topics of interest is right at the users’ fingertips.

This platform also accommodates the market factors specific to social media as consumers are looking for a user-friendly, no-hassle experience that allows them to have their voice heard without acquiring a substantial number of followers. Medium does not require any level of commitment: visitors can read, view and even recommend content to other users without having to create content.  Registration is very simple as all one needs is a Twitter account to start viewing the content currently available on the site.

Medium is a platform that allows bloggers of all skill levels to have their thoughts, stories, anecdotes and insights heard on a global scale in an environment that emphasizes the impact sharing stories can have on humanity.

Shaken, not Stirred

Medium would primarily complement the part of the marketing mix that is centered around the post purchase evaluation stage of the purchasing process as its main focus will be on helping the brand resonate more with its current customers as well as foster loyalty in addition to the consumer’s overall relationship with the brand. Medium and its collections of posts could be used as an altered form of discussion forum for current and potential customers. Stories that enthusiastic, loyal customers post which mention a given brand could be gathered together in a collection about that brand. This brand-centered collection could be used as a “community watering hole” where all those interested in a given brand can share information, thoughts about possible innovations for the brand or more simply, stories that reflect the brand’s core values.

Furthermore, Medium could also be used in the information search phase of the purchase process as it could catch the attention of potential customers who share the same interests as the brand in question.  In this case, the brand would be using a pull strategy instead of a push strategy.  This would be especially useful if brand recognition is low or if the brand is relatively new to the market (brand awareness), as becoming associated with the activities or interests that define its core values is crucial for any brand’s success.

Medium’s users are those who are looking for a user-friendly, no-hassle platform on which to share their thoughts, stories and insights on topics they are passionate about. They do not want to be bothered with the overwhelming bombardment, complexity and restrictions that are imposed by other social media tools. Medium’s users are looking publish their information to a location where it will be accessed by those who find this information both useful and interesting.  Medium would be useful for brands who describe their target markets by psychographic segmentation because of the platform’s use of collections that aggregate all content on similar topics. These collections would provide companies with the ability to target audiences based on their shared activities, interests, opinions and values.

Potential synergies do exist between Medium, Twitter and Facebook. Currently, Medium can be accessed using one’s Twitter account, and is thus gaining access to Twitter’s large user base. If Medium was also linked with Facebook, this would allow users the option to share the individual stories or collections that they find particularly interesting. The ability to share a post on Facebook would not be automatic; even if a user recommends a post it will not automatically be displayed in their friends’ news feeds. However, having this option allows users to share their passions more publicly should they wish to do so. This also allows those enthusiastic and loyal customers to continue to display their love for a company’s brand.

Bumpy Road Ahead?

In order for Medium to be successful, there are a few risks to consider. There is a large risk that users will not post at all, or will post things that do not interest a large amount of people. If posts and collections are not of interest to a lot of people, Medium will not be successful. Another risk is that if companies are very quick to adopt this new social media, it will deter new users from posting or reading posts on medium. Therefore, Medium should monitor the site attentively during the initial launch in order to control the amount of initial involvement from businesses. Some other risks for Medium include the use of Twitter as their sign-in. If potential users do not have Twitter, they may not be willing to sign up for a Twitter account just to go on Medium.

Your company's Medium

Existing Brands

If Ford was to use Medium as part of its marketing mix for its Ford F-150 with Eco-Boost, efforts would be centered on the post purchase evaluation stage. Ford would be looking to start a conversation around their product in order to foster a strong relationship with the brand. Ford should create its own public collection which could be named “Built Ford Me”. Examples of posts created by Ford could include writing about Eco-boost and encouraging others to write their own opinions and/or suggestions for improvement. Ford could also post within collections that would resonate with truck enthusiasts such as “1001 uses for your Truck”, “Vintage Automobiles”, or more broad categories such as “Road Trips”.  These collections will allow consumers to interact with Ford on a more personal level because Ford is posting in the collections that are of interest of them. Medium will allow Ford to have even more contact with its most loyal consumer base as well as be top of mind for consumers who may not own a Ford but share Ford’s values.  Ford’s creative strategy would be to reinforce that they are “tried and true” by using affective tactics to evoke feelings that are then associated with the brand.

New Brands

Wake Up is a new brand on the market that offers fair trade coffee beans in radical flavours such as “Neapolitan blend” and “Triple Brownie Indulgence”. Having low brand awareness and recognition, Wake Up will use Medium as a way to connect with customers who share their interests and values. Wake Up should create a collection centered on consumer behaviours that are relevant to their product such as waking up in the morning or awareness about fair trade practices.  For example, the “Wake Up and Smile” collection would be where people can post about waking up on the wrong side of the bed or even funny stories about those who really need their morning coffee. This collection would help potential consumers become aware of the brand and associate it with their morning routines. The company could also post on public collections that are somehow associated with their product and brand values such as coffee enthusiasts, fair trade supporters or good books to read.  Wake Up’s creative strategy would be “this is who we are and what we are all about” and would utilize both cognitive tactics (unique selling proposition) and affective tactics to create associations between consumer interests/needs and their brand.

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