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Common misconceptions with media monitoring

Media monitoring is more than just a buzz word.

There are many common misconceptions about media monitoring that need to be cleared up sooner rather than later to give your brand the best chance of positive PR. Rather than letting your company succumb to the myths and misinformation being spread around, here are three of the most prevalent misunderstandings and the fact behind the fiction: 

There's more to media monitoring than the digital platforms. 

Myth #1 - You only need digital 

While digital platforms are becoming more important to media monitoring, this is by no means the only area you need to be covering. Tweets, online newspapers and blogs are of course crucial, but so too are traditional media options, like local newspapers, talkback radio and other offline sources. 

In fact, the best way to approach your media monitoring strategy is to accept that digital and traditional media are commonly connected, rather than separate features. For instance, social is often used as an extension to broadcast offerings, according to a study from Nielsen. 

Here at Isentia, we understand that all platforms are important. No matter how small. 

Myth #2 - Only the big publications matter 

For many companies, getting the brand name or products mentioned on a national radio show or published in a country-wide newspaper can mean a big break. Alternatively, a negative story across these major platforms could result in a significant blow to your reputation and profitability. 

It is clear, then, that keeping tabs on the big media players is crucial. However, while some media monitoring providers will focus on national newspapers, big brand radio shows and other major publications, these strategies could be missing an important element. 

National publications can give you a clear picture of what millions of consumers are reading, thinking and discussing, but this is unlikely to give you much information on what the local people believe. 

If your business operates in a rural or remote location, you need to be tracking the local publications. 

If your business operates in a rural or remote location, you need to be tracking the local publications - no matter how small. Similarly, even newspapers circulating in smaller parts of big cities can provide a significant level of insight, if only you are aware of their readership and content. 

Myth #3 - Listening is the most important part 

While media monitoring is critical for business success, listening to the conversations about your brand and industry is far from the be-all and end-all to your strategies.

Once you have uncovered a relevant story or discussion, it's not enough to simply stand idly by and learn from the experience. Taking the next step involves getting an insightful and useable report, deciding on relevant and effective action and getting involved in the discussions. 

Of course, this is all easier said than done, but with the right media monitoring tools, you can get started with your best foot forward. Click here to check out some of our services so that you can be on the right track!

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Research First

Free to choose?

If you’re like most people, you probably think you’re good at making decisions and pretty much always know what you want (and why). The evidence from psychology, on the other hand, points the other way. 

For instance, Barry Scwartz’s The Paradox of Choice shows that the more choices we are faced with when making a decision, the slower we are to make that decision and the more unhappy we are with our choice (if you haven't read the book you can watch the TED talk here).

Because Schwartz's work flies in the face of common sense and classical economics (where more choice is always a good thing), his research has attracted its fair share of critics. In addition, attempts to replicate the jam experiment at the heart of Schwartz's argument have not been an unqualified success. However, the notion that more choices slow down decision making has been demonstrated many times. It forms the basis of Hick's Law, which states there is a logarithmic relationship between the number of options presented to someone and their reaction time.

Hick's Law is often used when designing control systems ('user interfaces') and, more recently, websites. Just like the heart of Schwartz's argument, Hick's Law tells us that the key when presenting options is not to remove choice but to reduce it.

But don’t think having fewer choices automatically means greater agency in our decision-making: One of the most useful insights from behavioural economics is that people don't respond to choices so much as how those choices are framed. Clever marketers know this and so frame choices in a way that silently influence your decision making.

The most famous of these is the so-called Decoy Price. This is the use of high-priced alternatives to reset your expectation of what 'reasonable' prices are. Restaurants don't really expect to sell those $400 bottles of wine but they use them to influence you to buy the $40 bottles (as an aside, always avoid the second cheapest bottle on a wine list because this is the one the owner knows you are most likely to buy and is often lower quality than you think the price signals).

Menus are a masterclass in the use of options to shape the choices you make. There are even menu engineers to help restaurants (and we are not making this up) "build value and increase profits through menus." The lesson here is that the menu is trying to manipulate you and every little detail helps.
And the greater insight here is that ‘freedom to choose’ doesn’t always mean you’re choosing freely.
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