Audience-centered media

CONCEPT 1: Media Ecology

Marshall McLuhan

  • Our use of technology to communicate alters our interactions with the world around us.
  • There are social environments that affect the way we act.
  • Social environments are affected by technology, and therefore the way we are and act is too.
  • It is hard to see these effects and environments when we are immersed in them.
  • The subtle changes technology brings to our lives can be dangerous, but it is hard to pinpoint direct effects when there are a lot of factors that impact social trends.
  • When communicating with others, the medium a message is presented through can be just as impactful as the message itself.

Media Analysis

  • Before technology, noise was the main vehicle to pass along stories and ideas that couldn't be seen, necessary for the survival of ideas and a sense of unity in communities.
  • Ideas became visual with the creation of the alphabet, enabling words to be fixed and analyzed and ideas individualized.
  • The development of the printing press enabled the mass spread of information and languages to become nationalized.
  • Instant communication in the electronic age created a global village.
  • Advancements in technology have led to electronic platforms becoming more and more personalized, creating individuals as gatekeepers to their information based on their interests and beliefs.


  • Technology is not always beneficial to society.
  • It is important to question new technology and its impact on social environments and society, as well as other factors affecting societal trends in addition to technology.
  • Technological advancements have given more power to individuals as to what information they consume.

Applicability & Relevance

  • Both the medium and the message matter, and in order to determine each, one must look at the social environments surrounding an audience to see which they will respond the most to.
  • Individuals now have the power to control which media they interact with because options today are so fragmented, and therefore which messages they hear, so one must tailor messages to media their targeted audience engages with.
  • Technology is constantly evolving, meaning those who utilize it must evolve with it, as well as question the impact that technology is having on society.
  • Projects: Because the Faculty Friends program involves recruiting both faculty and students to the program, our team had to consider which medium would be most effective for each group, as well as messages specified to the different audiences. For example, we chose Snapchat and Facebook groups to promote events to students, but emails and Facebook posts to get information to faculty. Students' messages were briefer and more visual, focused on the fun of events, whereas the faculty messages were more informational, focused on the benefits of the program and what they could gain from participating. Students are impacted the most by the social environment of their peers, meaning we had to choose platforms which students could share events, see friends' interests in them and generate buzz. Because individuals have the power to choose from fragmented mediums, we had to choose the ones in which each audience most interacted with, as well as messages that gave each audience information they would be more likely to engage with.

CONCEPT 2: Convergence Culture


  • Convergence: "the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries and the migratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want"
  • Because of convergence, any story can be told, every brand can be sold and every consumer engages with multiple media platforms.
  • There has been a cultural shift to consumers seeking out information and making connections between platforms, but corporations still exert more power than consumers.
  • Because there is so much information out there, there has been an increase in consumers talking amongst themselves about consumed media, making consumption a collective process and the media industry more valued by this buzz.
  • Media industries are still trying to force consumers back into the old model of obedience and one-way communication.
  • FREEDOM: means of communication now decentralized, dispersed and easily available
  • However, there have been changes and tensions in culture across roles and perspectives as each player attempts to figure out the relationship between media audiences, producers and content.
  • Fans have moved from observers of popular culture to the center of thought regarding media and production.
  • Effects of convergence:
  1. A single, physical means of media can provide services that use to be offered in separate mediums
  2. Services that use to be provided by one medium can now be accessed via several different physical means
  • Convergence creates the coexisting of old media and emerging mediums and technologies, depending on consumer needs.
  • Once a medium establishes itself as satisfying a human demand, it continues to function within communication, no matter if its content, audience and social status shifts.


  • Mediums:
  1. Technology that enables communication
  2. Set of associated "protocols" or social and cultural practices that have grown up around that technology
  • Delivery technologies: the tools we use to access media content (tapes, CDs, MP3)
  • Old media has not died and is not fading away, delivery technologies are only becoming replaced as media evolves.
  • Convergence affects both how media is produced and consumed, and is not limited to commercially produced materials and services, but also our life roles that take place across multiple platforms.
  • People taking media into their own hands is both a cause and result of convergence.
  • Convergence is a process, not an endpoint, fueled by a shift in patterns of media ownership.
  1. Media companies: learning how to accelerate the flow of media content across delivery channels to increase revenue, broaden markets and reinforce viewer commitment
  2. Consumers: learning how to use these different media technologies to bring the flow of media more fully under their control, to interact with other consumers and to choose which content to engage with
  • Companies have had to blur the line between entertainment content and brand messages.

Applicability & relevance

  • Media is constantly evolving and delivery technologies adopting, meaning one must know their audience and which mediums they interact with the most to interact with them.
  • The increase in media and information out there makes it impossible for any one individual to know everything, resulting in more talk amongst consumers, creating buzz. An effective ad campaign, promotion, etc needs to trigger talk amongst audiences to build buzz, brand awareness and consumer engagement.
  • Consumers are now inherently migratory, meaning brands must have a presence across mediums to create brand awareness through repeated exposure. Consumers are more likely to gather information from a combination of sources, and a brand's message must align across each.
  • Projects: A large part of our project, especially in my personal role, was which mediums and delivery technologies our target audiences most often engage with. We created a social media survey to determine which mediums students found about on campus events from, and the results led us to knowing our audience and which media platforms to "converge" to promote the program. Our results led us to develop a promotional strategy across multiple platforms, such as social media, like Facebook event groups and Instagram visuals, with emails, as well Snapchat filters to generate buzz and brand awareness.

Concept 3: Branding

Dr. Lori Pindar

  • A brand is not a logo.
  • A brand is the mental and emotional connection people have when they hear a brand name, while a logo is a visual symbol for a brand.
  • Branding is an action - determining what association you want people to have with you brand. In order to do this, you must know your audience and what you provide to your audience that others don't.
  • The act of branding results in the creation of a brand identity, which incorporates the aspects of your brand each of the five human senses experiences.
  • Brands are not just companies or organizations - every individual has their own brand.
  • Branding is a process, one that results in an experience or a "story" for the audience to engage with.


  • Branding determines how people think of you.
  • You must know yourself and your audience.
  • "Sell the problem you solve, not the product."
  • Brands are not limited to an organization - individuals must determine what they want people to associate them with when they present themselves, such as in an interview.
  • Brands encompass all 5 senses.
  • Advertising is no longer about selling a product but instead promoting an experience.
  • Branding is crucial to sales, persuasion and influence (Gentile):
  1. Build Brand Awareness
  2. Create Brand Preference (through repeated exposure)
  3. Purchase or Use
  4. Establish Brand Loyalty

Applicability & relevance

  • Each organization, person, product or company has its own brand, meaning one must always consider brand identity when communicating oneself or an organization to others.
  • One most focus on presenting an experience or a story for the audience to engage with rather than an object or idea, and this experience and brand identity is central to how an audience will think about an entity and what they will think about when hearing the name of a brand or individual.
  • The audience is central to how you brand yourself, meaning one has to consider the audience's needs and interests when determining a brand, what "problem" that brand "solves" and how that brand has an emotional connection to a specified audience.
  • Projects: Our team had to "brand" the Faculty Friends program as an experience that can provide students with a faculty connection, activities and incentives, as well as an experience that can provide faculty with more personal interaction with students and a way to give back to Clemson. We also applied this "experience" idea to our Festival presentation, where we had to present in a way to tie in multiple senses, such as touch, sound, sight and taste, to engage the audience more. Finally, we also had to decide what we wanted Faculty Friends' brand identity to be when preparing for our presentations and the festival day, as what we said, how we presented it and the fun aspects, like the Photo Booth, Snapchat filter and games, were what we wanted the audience to think of when they heard the "Faculty Friends" name.


  • Each of these three concepts focuses on the changes that new developments in technology and media have brought to communication, specifically, a switch from profit-driven media to consumer-driven media.
  • Any communicator's focus now has to be one thing: building relationships with consumers. Because there are so many sources and options out there, either for information or products, consumers are going to interact with brands they feel they have a connection to or that offer them a benefit that others don't, requiring effective branding and messaging choices that resonate with their audience.
  • Through Media Ecology, we learn that the digital age has brought with it an increase in technology that affects the way we interact with the world and our social environments. This technology has caused media to converge and given people more choices in how they communicate and what tools they use to do so, as shown in Convergence Culture. Following the evolution of media, time has only allowed for more senses to be involved in communication, from just sound to now even touch, explaining why branding stresses a full five sense experience. Because people have freedom in their choices now, brands must focus on building relationships and providing experiences to make consumers choose them over others.
  • The future of communication is only going to bring with it more advancements in technology, meaning the media ecology list is going to continue growing, giving more choices to individuals and power to consumers. Delivery technologies will evolve, and mediums will converge, requiring brands to truly encompass the whole 5 sense experience that technology now allows. Brands must work harder and harder to gain brand loyalty, meaning they must know their audiences, in both what messages and mediums they respond to, what they are looking for in an experience and how to emotionally connect with them to succeed.


of course I had to create an infographic to conclude... :)

I think these concepts and connections fit in perfectly with our class and semester. Just the name of this class, Multimodal Communications, indicates the numerous mediums in which to communicate and the need to study them all to effectively do so. Even just in classes, we receive information from reading, watching videos, listening to speakers and using a variety of digital sources - the possibilities are endless. These options were not around a few years ago, and what was around is no longer, meaning media and technology is only going to keep evolving, and communicators have to evolve with it. As a Communications major, someone going into this field, I found these three concepts personally to be the most relevant to my experience as a student and in this class specifically. From my studies and personal experiences, brands are only be challenged more and more to connect with audiences, as people increasingly are paying to not see advertisements or do not respond to direct sales efforts. So this is largely why I chose the three concepts, because this challenge is what I am going to be facing in the future, and the lessons listed on the infographic are questions advertisers, marketers, companies, organizations, etc. are all having to go through, and the connection is only going to become more important as consumers' power will continue to increase in the future.


Gentile, D. A., Dr. (2010). Selling ideas, attitudes, and behaviors. Journal of Agromedicine, 15, 96-97.

Jenkins, H. (2008). Convergence culture: where old and new media collide. New York: New York Univ. Press.

McLuhan, M. Media ecology. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

Pindar, L., Dr. (2017, February 21). Branding and visual communication. Lecture presented in SC, Clemson.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.