Shifting the communication mindset of executives

It's time to tell your execs: "There's no such thing as TV, radio & print."

As such, the traditional forms of media: TV, radio and print no longer exist. When you take a moment to think about this, it's nothing you didn't already know. 

They exist in the sense that you can still just about consume them in the traditional way you used to, but the linear, miss-it-and-it's-gone element has long passed. We can rewind live radio, catch-up, binge-watch, stream on devices, consume clips in website articles and news-grabbing moments across everything from Twitter and You Tube, to Tik-Tok. Options for viewing content are numerous and at peak complexity. But are you making the most of them?

In our experience, many senior leaders who grew up with Swap Shop and linear 1970's TV, still think in 'linear' media terms. "Can we get coverage in the local press or regional TV?" The board then charges the communication team with the job of 'getting some press'. 

But for so many reasons, including strategic planning, trust, reputation, transparency and visibility, it's possible to do so much more proactively than putting your faith in a handful of journalists, who may never cover your story to your satisfaction, if at all. Think: Audience. Platform. Yes, mainstream media uses a range of platforms and video sites, so gaining coverage might be perfect, but it's by no means the only arrow in your quiver.

In today's fast-paced digital landscape, the world of communication is undergoing a profound transformation. Covid-19 simply accelerated the convergence of media formats for engagement: i.e., Zoom Teams, often to appear in all three types. When I've appeared on Talk Radio/TalkTV recently as a pundit, I've been on DAB national radio, Talk TV's Sky and Virgin set-top box channels, and YouTube - all at once!

But traditional media like TV, radio, and print/online haven't been the sole avenues for spreading your message for more than a decade, but there's sometimes a lag in the mindset of those seeking media training skills. Our courses at Mentor encourage everyone in the room to think in terms of a 50:50 comms mix. 

M.S.M., (that's TV, radio, print/online) ought not to be your measure for 'gold' or an R.O.I., unless you're trying to reach or impress a certain strata of society. Although a piece on the BBC website, (given its Google rankings), IS great for your SEO. 

Instead, successful communication hinges on a hybrid strategic approach that revolves around positioning your brand, crafting a compelling message, understanding your target audience, and selecting the right platforms to convey your message effectively.

This doesn't mean I'm asking you to choreograph your own boardroom Tik-Tok dance...just yet! But the platform should absolutely be in your comms mix if you're aiming to reach younger people under thirty. 27% of them now get their news from it. (Source Ofcom 2023).

Adjusting the Strategic Communication Mindset: adapting to the digital age

Positioning Your Brand: In the digital age, your brand's identity and reputation are critical. You should clearly define your brand's values, mission, and unique selling points to set it apart from the competition. A well-established brand identity forms the foundation of successful communication.

Crafting a Compelling Message: Your message should be concise, relevant, and resonate with your audience. Storytelling is a powerful tool that can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level, making your message memorable and impactful. This can be distilled in three ways: What do you want to say? To whom do you want to say it? What do you want them to think, feel or do after they've heard you?

Understanding Your Target Audience: To communicate effectively, you must understand your audience's preferences, needs, and behaviours. This knowledge allows you to tailor your message to their interests, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion.

Choosing the Appropriate Platform: Selecting the right communication channels, is crucial. Social media, websites, digital marketing, video platforms and mainstream media offer diverse ways to reach your audience. By aligning your message with the platforms your audience frequents, you maximise your communication's impact. If you have subject-matter experts, you may extend your brand in traditional media, by getting them to commentate on issues - if appropriate for your brand. 

In conclusion, the era of traditional media has given way to a digital world where strategic communication is key. By positioning your brand, crafting compelling messages, understanding your audience, and choosing the right platforms, you can thrive in this ever-evolving landscape.

When booking coaching or communication training, it’s worth considering the options your trainees have in creating proactive ‘owned’ media opportunities. Our strategic media courses reflect these throughout the sessions.

Embracing this mindset will better equip you and the executive team to navigate the digital age of communication successfully. For more information on courses, see our pages above:


Article Author: Dave Mason

Dave is Mentor Media Training's Managing Director. He is a CIPR Accredited Practitioner and regularly trains for the PR industry institute. His extensive career in broadcasting spans 30 years across radio and television. He has coached executives from major public and private sector organisations, as well as the UK Armed Forces/NATO, around the world for the past decade. Dave is respected for his inspiring training, which is supportive and concentrates on fast learning development. A founding presenter and shareholder of Somerset’s Orchard FM, he went on to work extensively in commercial radio around the UK, as well as BBC News, where he was a Correspondent at BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 1 Newsbeat. Dave has been a TV presenter, reporter and producer at ITN, GMTV, (ITV Breakfast), ITV News Westcountry and HTV West. He was one of GMTV’s senior producers for a decade, covering major international, domestic, political and entertainment stories. His roles have included senior news producing and planning, undercover investigations, war reporting and features production. Dave still broadcasts as a crisis communications pundit on Talk TV / Radio, BBC Radio and is a visiting lecturer at several universities. He is a non-executive Trustee of community station Radio Bath and the author of 'Handling the Media In Good Times & Bad'.