As a marketing professional, there is nothing I hate more than receiving any form of communication (email, Web experience, social media, mobile, whatever) and not see an obvious place where I can either opt out of the communication or protect how much information is being captured. As a consumer, I probably hate it more.
Is it any surprise that flashy headlines and fake celebrity death memes on Twitter get so much attention? In this era of digital narcissism, where our gateway to content is through the lens of the people we like and admire most, traditional and digital publishers must now grasp for attention in an even flashier way.
The speed with which our world now lives could well put an end to the world of iconic brands. Before all of this connectivity, a great brand could stand the test of time. It now seems like insanity. The Beatles were iconic. Do you believe that any of the musicians today that we admire will be able to leave this kind of legacy? What about companies?
For almost as long as email has existed, people have complained about getting too many emails. We celebrate inbox zero as if we just gave birth to a new child. While some lauded the arrival of the first BlackBerry, many saw it as a digital manifestation of the ball and chain that would shackle them to their office.
When someone jumps from the edge of space back to earth and it's all supported by one brand, you know you are staring at a winner. Felix Baumgartner's supersonic freefall from 120,000 feet not only broke the speed of sound and a world record to go along with it, it practically broke YouTube as millions upon millions of people watched the drop from space online. And with that event, Red Bull also captured the hearts and minds of marketers all over the world.
It turns out that consumers want one thing: their issues resolved. And, they want it done fast. Faster than fast. The challenge is this: the majority of brands act fast... as fast as they can. Sadly, it's not even close to being fast enough for consumers. Now, brands and consumers are going to have move forward and figure out a way to define what the true speed limits are.
After walking the floor at Montreal Comic-Con for a few hours on Saturday, one thing became abundantly clear: the majority of the commercial activity that was taking place at this physical event cannot be duplicated or replicated in a digital format. By cultivating true fans and giving them unique opportunities to connect and share, they're not only keeping alive a traditional media channel (or two), but they're inventing new and fascinating ways to extend their characters and build interest.
In short, everything that you thought the Internet wasn't about in a world of 140 character tweets, Facebook status updates and YouTube viral video sensations. These deep and rich treasure troves of content are also gaining mainstream attention, and it all seems to be drawing more and more energy towards podcasting: a medium that many have already written off.
Where do we go for the truth... the whole truth and nothing but the truth? In essence, new media is most amazing because people are beginning to doubt what they read, hear and see. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's probably one of the best thing that has happened to the news since it was created.
There is a major shift in business focus that is under way. Digital media has forced businesses to change. Dramatically. This is nothing new. What's interesting is that we're seeing two, distinct, breeds of business being born: product-focused businesses, and customer-focused businesses. Which one do you work for?
If you take a serious look at the media world, there are only a handful of significant players. While it may be easy to define "significant" as a company doing interesting things, it's more practical to look at the media landscape. Last time I checked, no media company was behind the creation of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or any other new media darling du jour. My guess is that they'll be investors as soon as they physically can be.
What does Facebook sell? You could say advertising. They sell advertising to the tune of several billions of dollars each and every year. If Facebook is a media company, we then have to ask ourselves: What kind of media channel does Facebook provide and how does it compare to those other media channels?
Recently, a very senior marketing professional who works at one of the world's largest corporations was recounting a story of how they saw a postal truck outside of their corporate head offices in Silicon Valley, and every single parcel that was being offloaded from this truck was from Amazon. He thought to himself: "This is the what retail looks like in 2012."
The use of robots to crawl the Internet to grab as much information for possible in a malicious way is nothing new. The ability for website owners to get smarter and ensure that they are protecting their consumers (from both the robots and third-party deals) is nothing new, either, but the numbers are getting out of control.
In the past few weeks, I've come across a handful of blogs that are regurgitating this myth about consumers and control. As someone who spends the majority of my time in the boardrooms of some of the biggest brands in the world, please trust me when I tell you that the marketers are firmly in control of the brand.