FUTURE Perspective is a quarterly newsletter written by Elaine Cameron, head of Strategic Research & Trend Analysis at Burson-Marsteller EMEA. The newsletter focuses on trends that have concrete communication takeouts.
FINANCIAL/INNOVATION Virtual CurrenciesFUNNY MONEY ➔ Bitcoins are produced without the COMMUNICATIONS TAKEOUT involvement of governments or banks, thusSo we have established that money can’t buy avoiding taxes. Instead, they are generated byyou happiness, but how will the world look as software and are stored in an online e-wallet,we move closer and closer to a “moneyless” similar to cash. As of May 2011 there weresociety. Will the term “filthy lucre” finally be 6.2mn Bitcoins in circulation and the value hasrendered redundant? rocketed to over $6 per Bitcoin, making theMass Mirage total Bitcoin economy worth over $36 million.➔ Money is going out of fashion. At least coins, ➔ Several of Silicon Valley’s tech behemothsnotes and cheques most certainly are, only to are also battling to take control ofbe replaced by electronic transactions of all this burgeoning market. After dabbling morekinds. It has been a very long time since the than a year on tests with its Credits system, KEY DEVELOPMENTSnumbers in your bank account had anything to Facebook’s virtual currency hit its stride last The world of money is opening out in a bigdo with real wealth. Currency once stood in as a September when it became, among other way today:token for something valuable - like gold - but things, the exclusive payment method for mostmodern currencies are more like a mass mirage applications created by Zynga, the developer of ➔ Facebook credits are becoming anthat we can all see. As long as we all agree that a roster of games including Mafia Wars and important alternative currencya currency has value, and preferably the same FarmVille (the latter now boasts 65 million ➔ Cash will be phased out for digitalvalue, then it all stacks up. players). Besides online, Credits can be paymentsVirtual Goods purchased in the form of gift cards at brick- ➔ The rise of Bitcoin is important in shifting and-mortar retailers such as Walmart, Best transactions out of the purvey of➔ Due to an overall increase in consumer Buy, and Target. And they aren’t just governmentsconfidence, analysts believe the sale of virtual exchanged for dollars, but euros, Danish krone, ➔ In many developing countries mobilegoods could rake in more than $2.2bn this year phones are becoming the predominantand around $12.5bn worldwide, according to and 13 other currencies. banking platformThinkEquity. That’s a dramatic burst of cash Mobile Payments ➔ Micro-payments for content could workcompared to just two years earlier, when the ➔ Mobile payment transactions already total through social media and dominant platformsvirtual goods market tallied $738mn in the U.S. $240bn annually, but that’s just the tip of the such as China’s QQand $6.3bn worldwide. iceberg. Juniper Research predicts that the ➔ These could flow into crowdfunding forRisky Business market will grow 2 or 3 times in the next 5 creative endeavoursIn the UK, a 29-year-old hacker was caught years. ➔ Behaviourally we are some way fromstealing the identities of two Zynga ➔ So how will we keep track in a world where micro-payments working wellemployees and swiping $12mn in the everyone is spending and lending both real and ➔ Money will inevitably shift to the cloudcompany’s virtual currency. Given the potential virtual currencies? It seems that cellphoneloopholes, International regulators are now apps like the recently launched Google Wallet WATCH: TWO FUTURISTS DISCUSSwrapping their heads around an industry that will be key. An app could let you manage any number of currencies and trade them with THE FUTURE OF MONEYonly a decade ago hardly existed. your friends - or even do it for you. It will be a http://bit.ly/o7vGen simple case of letting the phone sort it out.
Rankings/Social ScoringSOCIAL MEDIA/TECHNOLOGY ➔ The ability to accurately measure influenceFUTURE OF INFLUENCE is critical. While not yet in widespread use, COMMUNICATIONS TAKEOUTFrom the value of virtual currency to the value there are some social media analytic toolsof online opinion and e-reputation. Your emerging that quantify the quality, rather thanreputation has a huge influence on your daily quantity, of online connections—and provide alife as well as your private and professional score to anyone with a social media presence.future. Your image on the Internet is ➔Online reputation and influence willincreasingly an asset worth preserving and become increasingly significant for consumers,developing and your opinions will soon be brands, and marketers alike. Going forward,something you can tangibly trade. marketers will use social scores to find the right online influencers for their brands and HOW TO BE INFLUENTIALTechnology propelling influence categories. There are many companies offering ➔ Create content that really resonates➔ One of the key consumer trends of this age rankings with various degrees of credibility. with your audience. Specialise - become is the power of influence globally. Influence ➔The dominant player determining the known for the subject relevant to you is a majority activity in many countries intersection of online reputation and influence ➔ Authentically increase the size of the around the world. More than 6 in 10 is Klout, a social scoring system that assigns community you are communicating consumers globally say they complain about individuals, and some companies, a grade from with. The more people in your online bad products and services, according to one to 100 based on data points from community, the more likely that what you Roper Reports® Worldwide data. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Instead of are saying will resonate with some of them➔ Social networks and online ratings are focusing on the typical social media popularity ➔ Do not engage in mutual-follow-back facilitating this trend. Almost 4 in 10 contest, Klout scores are founded on the new schemes. Let your audience grow Internet users globally have visited a social social media currency of retweets, likes, and organically. Be active; to drive resonance networking site or online communities. And comments. you must be constantly engaging with the almost 1 in 5 Internet users post ratings or ➔Like Klout, PeerIndex calculates people’s people you want to be your audience reviews of products or services. And it’s not online authority not just by the number of ➔ Interact with the people who are just a phenomenon in developed markets followers they have. It also looks at a variety of retweeting you – if they are opinion like the U.S. Among the countries with the factors to measure online reputation. A person leaders then they will talk about your highest rates of social networking and online can get a score of 0 to 100. This is calculated product or service the more you engage communities are Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia over 120 days of online activity, taking topics, with them. Take social media monitoring and Poland. audience, and activity into account. People can on board, this will allow you to monitorInfluence as a commodity only get a score of over 90 if they are in the top your brand and assess how influential➔ You can enlist fans by making reference to 0.001% of the community. So there would only specific bloggers or tweeters are experiences surrounding an image, be 1 person with a score that high in a ➔ Recognise market-by-market personality, brand and charisma of the community of 1,000. These scores act as differences influencer. Elite athletes like Olympic guidance so that in a hyper-connected world medallists are paid a king’s ransom for people may know who to trust. endorsements. More and more often, CALCULATE: WHAT NUMBER ARE complete strangers can gain our trust, and YOU? http://klout.com/home influence us e.g. Tripadvisor.
PodcastingHR/TECHNOLOGY ➔ Podcasting has become a popularSOCIAL LEARNING technology in education, in part because it COMMUNICATIONS TAKEOUTThe future of learning has evolved from what provides a way of pushing educationalwas originally known as e-learning, to learning content to learners. For example, Stanford2.0 and now “social learning”. This latest University has teamed up with Apple toiteration makes its adoption by companies even create the Stanford iTunes University -more achievable. which provides a range of digital content (some closed and some publicly accessible)From e-learning to learning 2.0 that students can subscribe to using Apples➔ The traditional approach to e-learning has iTunes software. been to employ the use of a Virtual Learning ➔ However, student-produced podcasts are Environment software that is often the future of educational podcasting. Swap SKILL SET NEEDED FOR SOCIAL cumbersome and expensive. It is also user-generated content for learner- LEARNING structured around courses, timetables and generated content and you soon get the ➔ Understand key social media and social testing. Too often this approach is dictated by picture. media concepts: trust, belonging, self- the needs of the institution rather than the ➔ Apple, with its strong presence in the confidence, self-direction, motivation, skills individual learner. education market, has been quick to ➔ Knowledge of moderation strategies and➔ In contrast, learning 2.0 (as coined by recognize the learning potential of student key moderation concepts Stephen Downes) has taken a ‘loosely joined podcasting. Apple is heavily marketing its ➔ Knowledge of key community approach’ that combines the use of discrete iPod and associated content creation tools management strategies but complementary tools and web services – (iMovie, GarageBand, and iTunes) to the ➔ Ongoing professional development by such as blogs, wikis and other social software education sector. The podcasting section of networking outside the company through – to support the creation of ad-hoc learning iTunes even has a category dedicated to social learning communities. education. READ: SOCIAL LEARNING STRATEGIES CHECKLISTEdu-blogging Broadcast model is broken➔ Blogging is increasingly finding a home in ➔ Today’s digital generation is no longer http://bit.ly/q4YXjJ education (both in school and university), as content to accept the old broadcast model CONTACT not only does the software remove the of education as passive recipients of technical barriers to writing and publishing knowledge. Theyre used to multi-tasking, To request further information, give online - but the journal format encourages and have learned to handle the information feedback or suggest a future topic for students to keep a record of their thinking overload. They expect a two-way the newsletter, please contact: over time. Blogs also of course facilitate conversation. Whats more, growing up Elaine Cameron critical feedback, by letting readers add digital has encouraged this generation to be Strategic Research & Trend Analysis, comments - which could be from teachers, active and demanding enquirers. Rather EMEA email@example.com peers or a wider audience. It’s a short leap than waiting for a trusted professor to tell from there to applying this principle to the them whats going on, they’ve already used workplace. Google or Wikipedia to find out for And don’t forget to follow on Twitter: themselves. http://www.twitter.com/FUTUREPersp