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Seeing through all the smoke!
First Nations are segregated
You’ve come to understand that the Aboriginal community is by definition a segregated community. Reserves in Canada are separate from mainstream people. They are found far and near in urban centers and in almost any region you can think of in Canada and yet, still, are largely a mystery to most Canadians.
You read the mainstream newspapers and watch the television news, but it seems all they tell you about is protests and blockades, bad housing and water conditions, residential schools and murdered and missing Native women and lately, about the high prices of food in isolated northern communities.
But there has to be more than this!
Indeed, there is. Aboriginal communications have progressed.
Based on the need of Aboriginal Canadians, publishing and broadcasting has developed and is distributed to this segregated population.
Mainstream media has had little understanding of Aboriginal issues and communities, so ignored them for the most part. Fortunately a few motivated individuals and political organizations stepped up to the plate to fill the void.
Prior to 1991, the federal government provided funding for programs that enabled Aboriginal publications to train, develop and grow their staff. In 1991 this all ended abruptly. Of the eleven publications that were operating utilizing these funds, only two were able to restructure and refocus their resources in order to survive.
In those days, advertising sales was more like a request for support. Many Aboriginal organizations received funding from various levels of government and there was an abundance of advertising dollars to spend. Advertising sales was simple and easy and so many opportunistic non-Aboriginal publishers (particularly in the prairies) entered the industry.
These publications invested very little into the content and were focused on maximizing their revenues and profits.
The influx of these publishers caused confusion and frustration with readers and advertisers. Readers had a tough time figuring out which publications were legitimate and which weren't. Many corporations and their marketers were also confused and frustrated.
The result was that many companies were left with the impression that Aboriginal media had little value to advertiser with little to no return on their investment. Companies instead of taking time to examine their options - opted out altogether.
In 1995 this began to change slightly. Some publishers in the west and may eastern based publications organized their efforts to seek legitimate advertisers that could benefit from marketing to an Aboriginal readership. Native publishers began to focus on the value of their readership and began marketing this to these advertisers.
Seek out Aboriginal publications with an established readership
Unfortunately, there still exist some publications with poor readerships and poor business ethics that taint the industry as a whole. Legitimate Aboriginal publishers see this as a blemish on Aboriginal publishing. Vague claims by publishers and a lack of critical follow-through on verifying claims by clients has equaled the impression that Aboriginal media has little value to advertisers.
To this day, marketing and communications people have continued to judge all Aboriginal media to be equal and most are not willing to invest time to find the leaders and the exceptional publications that people are reading.
We know how difficult sorting through the maze of data is and we are willing to help.
So this blog is designed to help you, whether you are in communications or marketing, to understand how to recognize and confirm the validity of any Aboriginal media choice and apply it to your own communication needs. This blog will be about providing you with real data and tips on protecting your investments.
Take the guess work out your search
This blog is meant to take the guess work out of finding the right Aboriginal media vehicle to communicate and get results to your own communications and marketing efforts when including an Aboriginal audience into the mix.
The fact is, there are Aboriginal publications serving different needs of the Aboriginal community and as well as the needs of a variety of advertising clients. There are a couple perspectives of thought on these issues and those will be covered here in the near future.
It is our hope that publishers will also contribute to the discussion of the issues and provide more specific data to assist potential advertisers.
This blog will give you direction on how to confirm circulation claims, readership estimates and demographics of any publication. When marketing and communications people demand a higher level of disclosure from publishers the result will be improved business ethics and increased quality of content.
The benefits would also be realized by readers as well as the advertisers - as the two go hand in hand. Quality content establishes quality readers and that is, ultimately, what an advertiser is looking for.
This blog will ask you questions so you can also truly understand how to find the right media to meet your own needs. It may be anything from selling a product or service, promoting an event, recruiting for staff or students or even to establish a brand on the path to better Aboriginal relations.
One thing you must keep in mind is of the ever changing media choices. With the development of electronic media distribution, websites and social media, Aboriginal publishers offer an established readership that is predominately Aboriginal and in most cases is still the most effective plan that will get your communications in front of the largest number of Aboriginal people with a single choice.
A similar problem of legitimacy of claims exists at a higher percentage with web based publishers - few of which actually know their web traffic or demographics.
There are similar stats that can be mined by web based publishers who also must be willing to give disclosure if marketing and communications people are to have the confidence of investing their time and money into those sites.
We'll share that information in the near future. For communications and marketing, regardless of the media channel or distribution method - what is critical is identifying who the audience is.
Media is changing fast and with that change, the potential for being caught in a risky media choice increases. We at Windspeaker/AMMSA hope to assist you to find the media choices that will best provide the return you need to achieve your communication goals with Canada’s Aboriginal people.
Next blog topic: Not all Aboriginal media is created equal: learning to spot the differences.
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