Learn, unlearn and relearn: The key to mastering the communications mix

Brands must learn, unlearn and relearn In the modern marketing era, it is more important than ever for brands to be able to learn, unlearn and re-learn to be successful. It is also of increasing importance to mix interaction channels with more static channels to achieve effective information delivery. Taking this in to account, how and when should you use these different mediums to achieve maximum impact?

Setting the scene – push and pull marketing

In the world of business, the words “push” and “pull” originated in logistic and supply chain management, but are now widely used in marketing terms. Given that all marketing is about the movement of a message or information between two or more subjects, this makes sense. Suppliers normally push messages and information towards consumers and consumers then subsequently pull the information they require from these messages.

How consumers pull information is totally dependent on both the broadcast medium used and the nature of this communication – either interactive or non-interactive.

In the 80’s the ‘Big Three’ of TV, radio and print were the most desired and used mediums for communication delivery. The rise of brand sales from TV adverts was marked due to it being a new medium for the consumer. It revolutionised how people both received information and how they desired new products. It opened up once-localised markets to wider opportunities above and beyond the printed media and radio.

Today, there are 8 main channels (TV, print, radio, online ads, outdoor ads, sales promotion, experiential media, traditional PR) that can be used to distribute brand messages or information. The rise of these new channels has seen a similar explosion into people’s lives as TV did in its hey-day. This means it is more important for marketers to not only be aware of these channels but fully understand their functionality, usage and outputs. It is like baking a cake – it requires the right mix of the ingredients brought together at the right time to make a sustained impact.

Static, two dimensional mediums such as TV still have an important role in the communications mix, but when and how much should be determined by the type of brand/product you are selling. Interactive communications (three-dimensional mediums) are becoming increasingly more important as the fundamental basis of a communication strategy. Despite this there are only three main ways in which true interactivity can occur – face to face (now known as experiential), social media, and to a limited degree sales promotion – due to the need for someone to actively provide you with personal information to get something back in return.

It is about choices – how do you make the right ones to suit your brand?

There is definitely no one-size-fits-all marketing and communications strategy. Every brand is different and has a different goal and level of requirement. One thing is for sure however – for brands to remain visible and respected by customers today they need to be using three-dimensional mediums in some capacity.

In the ultra-connected world we now live in, consumers expect it. They want brands to be more approachable, more real and more relevant to them. To achieve this, we need to enable two-way communication in a face-to-face and online environment.

The real success comes in both understanding when it is used in your launch, re-launch or awareness campaign and how you deliver your message in a dynamic environment.

Some brands get concerned by not being in control of the information flow but in the dynamic environment, seeding the message and watching it flow is the real opportunity for real people to take your message and deliver it to their network in their own way – making your product more relevant to each group. It is at this point where people get to really understand the value of your product and believe in your brand.

Re-learning for brands is in understanding that a static message is no longer going to work alone to achieve your goals. Many brands have contacted us for this very reason – they are spending the same money on their marketing but still experiencing a decline in customers, sales, website hits and other key areas. So what to do?! Perhaps we need to the heed the advice of  Alvin Toffler – “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”


If you want to learn more about experiential marketing and interactive media usage and how to use them in your strategy, contact us.


Hotcow is a multi-award winning brand engagement agency specialising in experiential marketing. Our mission is simple: to help brands understand the power of “experience-based marketing” and offer expertise in how to develop, plan and execute campaigns in the right way to get the right results, while showing that every pound spent is measurable. Visit www.hotcow.co.uk for more information.

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