This is such a fascinating time to be in the communications industry.  Just think about all the new technologies, the new social media channels, and how the media landscape has evolved the last decade.

For brands, life in the digital age is both a blessing and a curse.

Sure, there are certainly more opportunities for engagement in this age of consumerism. However, as marketers and PR professionals, we have to help our clients look beyond telling stories that only seek to influence consideration, evaluation and purchase.  

For example – what was the last major purchase you made for your family? Maybe it was a new TV? A car? A computer?

Where did you go for information prior to pulling the trigger?  Did you conduct any research online or ask friends on Facebook for their opinion? More importantly, if something were to go very right or very wrong with the product, what are the odds you would communicate this situation with the people in your network?

As we all know from personal experience, the brand/product relationship — and our perception of it — continues long after the purchase decision. 

That’s why owned media (e.g., websites) and earned media (customer-created channels, such as communities of brand enthusiasts) are such essential touch points today.

And it’s why an increasing portion of a company’s communications budget should be dedicated to the people and technology required to create, manage, monitor and participate in these content-driven channels.  

—Janet Tyler