The range of channels now available for perception management is both a blessing and a curse to businesses. While they now have a wider range of options to choose from, the resulting audience fragmentation means it's harder to communicate a consistent message to the general public.
According to research from IBISWorld, the rise of digital content is the biggest disrupter in this area, as it's taking viewers away from traditional media such as radio, television and newspapers.
Australian public heads online
It seems no medium is safe from digital disruption, as Australian audiences fragment across a number of different platforms, making it harder and harder for companies to ignore potential online perception management channels.
IBISWorld highlighted a number of catalysts for this trend, finding that online content is cheaper for both the public and businesses. Not only are internet-capable devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops cheaper for the general public, the supporting infrastructure is growing too. Fibre optic internet and 4G wireless networks mean the public now has access to digital content no matter where they are.
Increased data allowances and faster connections also mean that business aren't limited in the type of content they can distribute online either. Today's devices and networks are more than capable of handling video communications that were previously limited to channels like television.
Digital influence creates its own audience
Forrester Research found that digital perception management channels are having a notable effect on the way retailers in Europe are influencing people – a trend that is likely to become global.
By 2020, the firm is predicting that half of all retail sales will be influenced by digital channels, highlighting the way that online channels can affect people's perceptions.
Even the digital audience isn't immune to fragmentation however, with the public splitting between different devices and websites. The research also revealed that in Europe, nearly 50 per cent of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), this digital growth is yet to plateau, and is likely to shape the future of perception management for a range of businesses.
The OECD believes that while the full scope of these services is yet to be realised, they are expected to promote innovation within businesses that head online. Business looking to influence public perception need to ensure that all channels are covered by their strategies.