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Digital Visions: Ten Ideas for the New Decade


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Digital Visions: Ten Ideas for the New Decade

  2. 2. “The bigger opportunity for clients, we believe, is to identify the globalsocietal and technological trends that are reshaping how we think, actand buy - and to pivot into them early. Trends today tend to develop more slowly and are harder to see, allowing clients to take a more thoughtful, thorough and systematic approach.” - Steve Rubel
  3. 3. IntroductionDuring the last decade, we’ve seen social and digital In the following pages you will find 10 essays on suchmedia move from being purely the domain of tech-savvy trends written by some of the smartest thinkers in digitaltypes into a mainstream phenomenon. All you need to marketing. These ideas, when looked at together, revealdo is consider one statistic: Twitter was mentioned on four key themes:television nearly 20,000 times in 2009, according toSnapStream. As a result, companies are investing in it • The shift to digital technologies by both consumersand – slowly – seeing results. and marketers is now global and pervasive across all aspects of our life and growing daily.Given the hype, much attention has turned to guessingwhat will become “the next Twitter.” It’s ample fodder • Our engagement with each other is migrating rapidlyfor tech and marketing pundits, the media and clients from computer to handset.- especially at the beginning of a new year and a newdecade. • Companies (and organized interests) are just beginning to wake up to the engagement imperativeHowever, in many ways this is the wrong question to ask. - and how to fund and develop it over time.Where once it was hard to sleuth out emerging platformslike Twitter, YouTube and Facebook before they grew, now • And finally, the future is about carefully using the datathey just seem to surface out of nowhere. You’ll know the people generate to make smarter decisions, whilenext Twitter when you see it. adhering to concerns over privacy.The bigger opportunity for clients, we believe, is to identify We hope you enjoy our 10 ideas for the new decade. Wethe global societal and technological trends that are welcome you to challenge us on our thinking. After all,reshaping how we think, act and buy - and to pivot into that’s the only way we can grow.them early. Trends today tend to develop more slowlyand are harder to see, allowing clients to take a more Steve Rubelthoughtful, thorough and systematic approach. Senior Vice President, Director of Insights January 4, 2010 New York, NY
  4. 4. Back to RealityFor all the hoopla around the explosion of social media, onewould think the industry would have developed, agreed uponand socialized a standardized approach to measuring its impact.Yes, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has agreed upon coremetrics that quantify things like friends and followers. Yes, therehave been countless blog posts and conference panels on thetopic. However, as one client so rightly expressed last fall, whenyou strip away the hype, what we’ve nailed is how to measureoutputs, not outcomes. commitment to funding meaningful social media measurement;Proving – and perhaps more importantly, being able to predict and the fact that Facebook (with its 350+ million citizens) remainswith a fair degree of accuracy – the return of each client’s a largely closed environment. It’s up to agencies to drive the firstinvestment in the social space is the only thing standing between and brands to drive the second.the discipline being a drop in the ad budget bucket and 20percent or more of any brand’s total communications spending. What Facebook ultimately does is anyone’s guess, but there are countless geek entrepreneurs out there who claim to have foundThe pundits out there will no doubt take issue with my claim workarounds. If I were Facebook’s CEO for a day, I’d take onethat this isn’t already possible and being done. To some degree, look at my balance sheet, steal a quick glance at Google’s andthey’re right. The basic toolset required to get us to ROI exists opt for opening up.and is being effectively deployed by a handful of companies.Intuit and Lego are two prime examples, but they’re the Now, back to reality.exceptions. We need new rules. Yes, social media has gone from sideline novelty to culturalI believe that there are three essential elements missing: a CRM ubiquity. We’re now about to see it become a business driver.mindset regarding media spend and content development; a Money flows to things that produce results. And we can prove it. By Rick Murray President, Edelman Digital
  5. 5. Disruptive-Proof BusinessesOver the last two years, businesses have tightened belts, cutspending and some have gone out of business altogether due tothe economy. But there is another threat that many organizationsface which will likely remain, even as the cycle of recessionbegins to fade - disruption. Many business models are simply notdisruption proof.The media industry has been turned upside down partially asa result of technologies which empower anyone to act like ajournalist. Newspapers have seen their classified cash cowscannibalized by free or low-cost services such as Craigslist. will need to become more connected and in tune with their customers, employees and partners than ever before.Web designers who once charged premium fees for theirservices now compete with Wordpress or other do-it-yourself Disruption-proof businesses will need to become better atservices. predicting possible outcomes and adapting quickly to changes in their environment before their business models becomeThe music industry has been upended, with record stores going disrupted. Listening tools and “real-time” focus groups onout of business as a result of the iTunes ecosystem and digital social networks will make meaning from the data. These willfile swapping. become increasingly essential for enabling an organization to stay informed, while internally they will improve how their ownThe advertising industry has been thrown into chaos by employees share information and which empowers the consumers to skip over adsand demand value in place of messaging. In 2010 and beyond, technologies and the human behavior it influences will continue to disrupt — but organizations who learnDisruption fueled by technology, such as a younger generation to adapt quickly will thrive.that lives more digitally, and other global trends will forcebusinesses to re-assess how they spend media dollars andinfluence the creation of new products and services. This willgradually trickle down into every facet of an organization, forcing By David Armano Senior Vice President, Edelman Digitalchanges in job descriptions, demands and skills. In an effort tobecome a disruption-proof business, brands and organizations
  6. 6. The Valley of AbandonmentThis is the year when businesses finally take social media beyondjust one-time marketing programs and campaigns and up-leveltheir involvement toward a more sustained, serious relationship.In short, we’re moving up from flirting to going steady.In our love lives, relationships are a lot of work - keepingthem alive and meaningful are even more so. Much the same,corporations, large and small, are seeing value in reshaping howmarketing dollars are being allocated by reversing the modelthey’ve become used to – a start-and-stop campaign approach– to one that’s on all the time. of Abandonment. The problem is that a company has to later invest more in re-engaging stakeholders, and the cost hereNote that this does not mean that campaigns are dead. They will ends up being higher than if they had simply kept thelive on as part of a more fluid engagement structure. conversation going.Let’s look at it another way: Savvy Fortune 500 companies are starting to fill in the Valley of Abandonment with ongoing engagement programs that touchSome guys like to seduce a new girl every night at their local an alphabet soup of departments such as HR, PR, CSR, CRM,bar. It may be fun for them, but the drinks get pretty expensive. customer service, operations and marketing.Relationships are more meaningful and more cost-effective inthe long-run because the “maintenance” costs are easier on the Take Best Buy, for example. Its Twelpforce program haswallet than a series of seduction tactics (I’ll leave it to authors unleashed more than 2,000 employees on Twitter, enablingLevitt and Dubner to elaborate on the analogy in their next book, them to offer tech support to customers around the clock andSuper-Duper Freakonomics.) in the open. Best Buy doesn’t stop there – the company’s Loop marketplace also crowdsources operational improvement ideasA campaign model in the social space is the same. Often it ends from employees and gets them funded.up leaving customers, fans or advocates in what I call the Valley Best Buy is a prime example of a company that has By Sylvain Perron wholeheartedly embraced ongoing social media engagement in General Manager, Edelman Digital Canada its operational DNA. Look for others to do the same in 2010.
  7. 7. Location, Location, LocationOver the past decade, we’ve seen an evolution in social Foursquare has experienced dramatic growth last year and isnetworking platforms. They have progressed from tools for finite, now available worldwide.asynchronous communications with acquaintances (, to one-to-one and broadcast messaging (MySpace), So what does this mean for business?to real-time interactions and now constant updates (Twitter,Facebook). All the while, we’ve also seen an explosion in mobile At its simplest level, Foursquare gives businesses a way toprocessing power and mass-market penetration of smartphones recognize and reward their best customers through loyaltyequipped with GPS (Global Positioning System.) programs. More than 200 companies are offering promotions to Foursquare users.Until very recently, however, these were disconnected events.Social networking services had not harnessed the power of Foursquare also is an opportunity for broader consumerlocation-based services in a way that truly resonated with engagement and sentiment tracking. While the level of dataconsumers. Loopt, Brightkite, Whrrl and Buzzd all tried, but they currently available within the site is still relatively modest, as thewere unable to reach critical mass. Arguably, they were too early. service grows it is sure to evolve as a real-time decision support tool. For example, if a user finds himself wandering throughHowever, another key reason these services did not catch on a relatively unfamiliar neighborhood after dinner, he/she canwas that they lacked an essential element: fun. Enter Foursquare, immediately query other venues in the neighborhood when in thewhich launched in early 2009. mood for a coffee or after-dinner drink.Foursquare allows a user to import his/her friends from a variety In the new year, user-generated content will help guide moreof existing networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Gmail. In of our decisions, putting even more emphasis on the need foraddition to providing the ability to “alert” friends to one’s current distributed businesses like retailers, in particular, to focus onlocation via a special mobile application, Foursquare introduced positive customer experience.the concept of earning a variety of badges for behaviors. Userscan enter new locations manually and share tips (such as“order the Pei King Duck”). Moreover, regulars at certain venues,restaurants, pubs, or other retail locations can earn the titleof Mayor. By Michael Wiley Managing Director, Midwest, Edelman DigitalThis added gaming element seems to be the missing link thatmobile social networking needed to catch on with consumers.
  8. 8. Asian Mobile MarketingGoes Off the HookAfter years of hype, massive consumer adoption of social mediais giving marketers a reason to get excited about Asia’s mobileInternet prospects for 2010.Micro-blogging services like Twitter evolved from a niche toolinto a key brand marketing vehicle. Meanwhile, social networkinggrowth (and not just Facebook) has been phenomenal. are coming equipped or are being hacked and fitted with SIM cards for mobile Internet access.However, it’s mobile that’s the shining star. Finally, the intersection between social networking, gamingA desire for access is accelerating the sales of smartphones. and mobile is also fueling growth. Local social networks suchAccording to Pyramid Research, smartphones will climb from as Cyworld (Korea), Mixi and (China) have been16 percent of global handset sales in 2009 to 37 percent by battling to hatch the next big casual gaming phenomenon to2014 – with China expected to become the number one market Asia’s highly sought-after youth market. The ongoing roll-out ofthis year. 3G wireless across Asia will only drive increased demand in 2010 for mobile Internet among the masses.In Japan, 70 percent of Mixi users already access the socialnetwork via mobile devices. Twitter Japan is seeing similar results However, with all the growth, what’s key here is that marketingas it rolls out its platform and paid-for service model. on people’s handsets requires a different psychology.The iPhone was a game-changer for China. This was not In order to relevantly engage with customers, Asian marketersbecause it was a big seller - it wasn’t. What the iPhone did was must innately understand how the convergence of social media,create major consumer demand for mobile Internet access and mobile broadband access and smartphone usage alters the localrelated services/devices. Dopod, Meizu and many other local market information landscape. This includes where people getmanufacturers were spurred to release products to meet this their content, how they want to consume it and how they sharedemand. Even handheld gaming units (akin to the iPod Touch) it. Success will require deep research, insight and tenacity, but the potential rewards are huge. By John Kerr Director, Southeast Asia It’s time to get going – the big mobile show may finally be here.
  9. 9. Be Now or You Will Be NeverThe media used to be our most credible source of information.It was the only way companies could deliver a message withoutthe hard-sell of an ad. Readers automatically trusted the newssince journalists often just corroborate our own world views.But the Web has brought new ways of communicating. Anyonewith a cell phone and an Internet connection can produce news,even become relevant and trustful. More importantly, Twitterand live streaming tools like Qik turned communication intosomething unfettered and instantaneous. Web time is “real time”– and more and more it’s the traditional “trusted” media that are on Orkut, Brazil’s largest social network, and grew to more thanslow to react. 5,000 members, and more than 500 blogs re-published news from online portals.With each major news event there are millions who areexperiencing their “Kanye West moment” for the first time; when It is almost impossible to control the velocity and reach of newswe realize that the more authoritative sources we once trusted these days. Events, TV shows, movie premieres, accidents,are sometimes too slow. scandals, elections – they are all commented on by people online. As communicators, we need to be prepared to addressWhen West, a rapper, jumped onstage during the MTV Video issues and react quickly and intelligently.Music Awards and interrupted singer Taylor Swift’s acceptancespeech, the reaction was immediate. There were more than5,000 tweets in the first five seconds. As the show wenton, more than 50,000 people published about the incident,according to MTV.My own “Kanye moment” came during the aftermath of theAir France AF447 crash off the coast of Brazil. Edelman Brazilposted on Twitter all the statements put out by the airliner andmonitored the web to measure the repercussion. Hours later, By Thiane Loureiro Regional Director, Edelman Digital Latin Americathere were already more than 1,000 re-tweets (people spreadingthe news via their own Twitter accounts). A community opened
  10. 10. The New Morning PaperHabits are evolving. We first replaced our local morning paperwith online news sites like the New York Times or aggregatorslike the Yahoo home page. But now another shift is underway.Our first login is an early morning look at Twitter or Facebook viamobile phones. We now learn about breaking news stories likeincreased violence in Iran or Tiger’s indiscretions first from ourfriends’ Tweets and status posts – not from Matt Lauer.The data illustrates the trend. Akamai, which analyzes Internettraffic, says usage starts to rocket at around 6 a.m. on theEast Coast. The most trafficked hours are between 8 a.m. Is it ironic that even when we aren’t quite ready to grumble upand 11 a.m. Verizon Wireless reported that the number of text a “good morning” to our families, we are ready to join our socialmessages sent between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. jumped by 50 party online for the hottest news? That’s what’s on my mind aspercent in July 2009, compared with a year earlier. we start 2010.Journalists too are starting their day with social media.Mashable’s study on journalists’ social media habits found thatthe pros use social media as “personal news aggregator[s].”At the crack of dawn, they check their Facebook and Twitteraccounts to see what stories friends and other media are postingand which topics they are discussing. By Cricket Wardein Executive Vice President, Managing Director, Edelman Digital West
  11. 11. Converging DivergenceThe web is nothing if not infinitely complex. Every time youpeel back a layer or explore something new, you find a wholecommunity, with complexity and dynamics all its own.At the same time, Google has become everyone’s “home page.”Google accounts for nearly nine out of every 10 searches, frombasic factoids to new products and emerging communities.To connect with people successfully online, we must embraceboth the “convergence” of search as well as the “divergence”of the modern Web and understand how they complementeach other.The way forward is simpler than we might think at first. Bypursuing a strategy of dispersing our web presence, we canalso improve performance in Google and therefore addressconvergence, too.Consider this: social networks like Facebook, Flickr andYouTube are really “mini webs” unto themselves. So, justas you have a traditional Website to ensure a basic Webpresence – and hopefully a good deal more – you can alsohave a presence in online communities, or what we also referto as “digital embassies.”Establishing “digital embassies” like this has direct online visibilitybenefits. For example, cross linking between your embassies canimprove your search results, thereby raising your profileand generating more conversation about your brand, issue By Marshall Manson Director of Digital Strategy, Edelman Europeor product.
  12. 12. Journalism Strikes Back“The Media is Dying” is a popular Twitter channel that tracks Former Florida Sun-Sentinel reporter Jerry Lower took a loanlayoffs and the financial struggles battering traditional news against his house to start The Coastal Star, an offline and onlinemedia. The tweets read like epitaphs, whether it’s impending newspaper serving the Delray Beach area. His paper is turning adoom at The Associated Press; London’s Observer, the world’s profit, as is Health News Florida, a niche news site run by formeroldest Sunday paper, closing; or the Tribune Company shrinking Orlando Sentinel reporter Carol Gentry.papers to save on newsprint. Pierre Omidyar, an investor who backed early citizen journalismThe reality is, however, that while news became bigger than ever startups Backfence and Bayosphere, is launching a non-profitthis past decade, journalism got smaller. “Content” replaced news service in Hawaii staffed with professional journalists. Thinkstories; aggregators replaced reporters; and being first replaced of it as a “public radio” model that requires reporters to rely onbeing accurate. their communities for stories and financial support.Yet the tide is turning. In 2010, journalism strikes back. The Chicago Tribune has also gone “hyper local.” ChicagoNow is a blog hub with more than 120 local bloggers who are experts inAccording to a study by the National Newspaper Association, 86 the minutia of daily civic life that only a taxpaying resident couldmillion Americans still read local newspapers every week, and 60 love. The bloggers are paid five dollars per 1,000 page views andpercent say the newspaper is their primary source of information are encouraged to comment and interact with the community.about their community. The long-term viability of these ventures depends on making theLocal news is the accelerator that will ignite journalism’s stories unique. News site “pay walls” won’t matter if consumersresurgence. People will support it, and advertisers will pay for it. can find the same information somewhere else for free.ESPN didn’t launch a Los Angeles-focused web site because ofKobe Bryant, but because there are millions of advertising dollars Actually, people don’t find news anymore so much as news findsup for grabs. them, via customized “streams” on computers, mobile phones, e-readers and other devices.The news industry layoffs put well-trained journalists on themarket. These seasoned reporters, joined by younger J-school Look for traditional news organizations to get into thosegrads with Flip cameras and iPhones, are already reshaping the streams and stock them with fresh stories (and learn how tomedia landscape.
  13. 13. get paid for doing so). And look for more journalists to serveas news “curators,” like Robert Quigley of the Austin-AmericanStatesman, who uses Twitter to find the best local information toshare with readers.Finally, let’s not forget citizen journalists. One only needs toremember the iconic images of the London Undergroundbombings in 2005, the first-hand reports of the Virginia Techmassacre in 2007, or the tweets about the Iranian elections in2009 to be convinced of their lasting impact.Citizen journalism will continue to be effective and necessary,but individuals don’t need to learn how to be journalists for theprofession to survive. Instead, journalists this year will learn howto become better citizens, re-connect with their communities andearn back the public’s trust. By Gary Goldhammer Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy & Development
  14. 14. The Data DecadeLast year, according to former Chief Scientist As millions of us enter text in little white boxes - be it on Amazon,Andreas Weigend, more data was generated by individuals than Google, Twitter Facebook or elsewhere - the machines arein the entire history of mankind through 2008. However, you ain’t building vast data warehouses that recognize patterns. Thisseen nothing yet. Just wait until you see how we use it. means high-value information is surfaced before we even ask. “Google’s true holy grail is understanding, anticipating andWith the dawn of the new year, we’re entering the Data Decade. serving our intent,” pundit Jeff Jarvis wrote in the Guardian.We’re in the early days of a massive trend where content,people, products and services find us via our personal and Machines are already subconsciously helping us make decisions.aggregate data footprints, rather than our seeking them out. The experience is entirely personal. No two people see theAlready, this is changing the way we live, work and play; and it same web.holds huge promise in making marketing communications farmore efficient and effective. offers advice on saving money based on others’ input. Google serves up personalized search results based on previousBut before we can look forward, it’s important to consider the queries. And there’s more. The International Herald Tribune notedbrief 15-year history of the consumer Internet and the two trends that many are taking to “self-tracking.”that preceded the Data Decade. “” quantifies your sexual encounters. Kibotzer.The 1990s were all about browsing. In the dial-up days, we com quantifies your progress toward goals like losing weight.would navigate from site to site - either to fulfill a certain goal or Withings, a French firm, says it makes “a Wi-Fi-enabled weighingjust for serendipity (remember “surfing” the Web?) Thinker Om scale that sends readings to your computer to be graphed.”Malik calls this The Destination Web Era. Journalists are getting into the act as well. AOL, Demand MediaWith the rise of Google, however, that all changed. In the 2000s, and Associated Content are building out giant networks of sitesmillions ditched their bookmarks in favor of just “Googling.” that automatically assign content to writers based on their searchSearch became an integral part of our global culture. keyword popularity - yes, our data footprints. In some cases, this totals 4,000 new items per day.The browse and search paradigms have a flaw in that they areboth driven by intent. We need to know what we want. However,we often don’t know what we don’t know. But that’s goingto change.
  15. 15. In short, everything is becoming measurable and annotated.The war for attention is being shaped by machines. Therefore,the solution for marketing communications professionals, just likein the Terminator movies, is to fight machines with machines.What does this mean?First, we all need to become more data driven. Marketing is stillfar too rooted in creative hunches. We need to adopt some ofthe mentality that pervades cultures like Google and Facebook.Every decision and program should be based on data and facts,while respecting consumer privacy.Second, professionals at every level need a do-it-yourselfmentality when it comes to research. Many tools for gatheringincredible data, research and insights are free and easy to use.Finally, every program should be considered a work-in-progress.Launch early and iterate often based on the data. Marketing isin perpetual beta, and data is our constant companion. By Steve Rubel Senior Vice President, Director of Insights
  16. 16. Edelman250 Hudson StreetNew York, New York10013