The past decade has seen an evolution in the PR realm.
We have witnessed the shortening of the news cycle from 24 hours to instant, the rise of instant messaging – sometimes to millions of people, and the headaches this has created for the ever important brand controller – and the ultimate decline (to near death) of the printed publication, just to name a few.
The technological innovations of the naughties have left some catching their breath, and others – who have embraced it - striding forward.
Digital media, social media, and new media platforms – like tablets and smart phones - have changed the PR world indefinitely.
And we’re in for another big shift.
The desktop model has peaked. Fewer people line around the block for the latest Apple release. Apps aren’t news anymore. Consumers are becoming bored with new laptop and tablet releases.
People are not reading physical newspapers anymore, they are heading online via laptops and smartphones - and even that will become redundant. Into the future people will not be reaching for laptops but products many have relegated to the world of sci-fi.
The next technological revolution is coming. Brands that stay ahead of the curve will benefit.
Technological innovations that will change the face of brands into the future will include:
Cameras are everywhere. In hotels, staring up from the palm of a hand (in the smartphone) and recently, in shop mannequins.
A shopper admiring an outfit on a mannequin will be unaware that mannequin will be starring right back. Algorithms will match faces to databases and soon the mannequin will be asking the shopper, by name, if they want to try on that new outfit in that brand they love, and yes, they have it in the right size.
Brands will need to utilise this recognition delicately, as to not encroach on people’s privacy, while offering personalised services.
Eventually replacing smart phones will be space-age spectacles.
They will interact with the internet through voice commands. Google Glasses, for example, will let users message friends, read maps, and take photos.
Brands have been mixed in smartphone involvement, many being unsure of how to utilise the space effectively. Having an ‘app friendly’ website will not suffice.
Brands will need to abandon the box, innovate and create something users will genuinely find useful in this fresh and different medium.
The next few years will see natural language commands become commonplace. Instead of punching letters into a desktop, tablet, or phone, people will simply speak aloud and computers, integrated into houses, cars, and workplaces, will respond, sending off messages, accessing house appliances, readying the car.
Opportunities here for brands will be diverse; however with the time between decision making and action becoming instantaneous, those brands that can ingeniously tap into their consumers at the right time of day or experience will be rewarded with impulse purchases.
By the time Google Glasses become a relic of the 10s and voice commands become commonplace, people will be comfortable, and consider it normal, to be covered in inconspicuous devices.
These cameras, sensors, and displays will respond to the wearer’s will via gesture, touch and voice. They will feed back information to the wearer via displays and whispers.
A good reputation will be vital for brands, as shoppers will simply point to a product on the shelf and ask, is that brand ethical?
Google’s Sergey Brin claimed that in 2017 “Google’s self-driving cars will be available for everyone.”
As cars become ever more automated they are getting smarter and more self-sufficient.
Occupants will be left without a road to concentrate on.
This presents a prime opportunity for brands to reach an audience seeking to fill their time. Abandon the billboard and start thinking along the lines of in-flight entertainment.
These innovations will come to fruition, in this decade or the next, and will form the foundation stones of another technological evolution.
They will present branding challenges, but more excitingly, huge opportunities. Those who seek out innovations can ‘own’ the spaces.
Importantly, while the contact methods may once again revolutionise, strategic thinking should remain. Companies all too often can be caught up in ‘getting on the platform’ as opposed to optimising that platform to complement their broader strategies.
Strategise, innovate, and succeed.
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