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Birnbach Communications Predictions For 2012


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For 10 years, Birnbach Communications has compiled an annual list of media trends for its clients. The trends help the agency\'s clients work more effectively with reporters, analysts, bloggers, and customers on social networking sites.

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Birnbach Communications Predictions For 2012

  1. 1. BCI Positioning Dec. 14, 2011Predictions for 2012 Why The Story Matters ● 1
  2. 2. Introduction• For 10 years, Birnbach Communications has compiled an annual list of media trends for its clients. The trends help the agencys clients work more effectively with reporters, analysts, bloggers, and customers on social networking sites. Why The Story Matters ● 2
  3. 3. Break free from 24/7 accessibility• You almost never have downtime anymore.• This lack of downtime may negatively impact ability to concentrate and avoid distractions.• The recognition that we actually need to disconnect, that we need downtime, is likely to generate coverage this year.• Already a handful of companies have limited email, both during the day and after hours – and more will join those ranks. Why The Story Matters ● 3
  4. 4. More will cut the cable cord• Expect more people to reduce their monthly expenses by cancelling their cable subscription – To reduce monthly expenses – To use new technology that provides a flexible alternative.• Goal: To watch what we want, when we want, and on the device of our choosing.• Challenge: – You need to have several apps, along with a computer connected to your TV, and, it’s still too complicated. – Technology is quickly evolving, which means what you buy today may be obsolete in 18 months, requiring new purchases and additional tech support. Why The Story Matters ● 4
  5. 5. Media will continue to converge• Expect more newspaper reporters to prepare video reports for their newspapers’ website and apps while TV and radio reporters prepare text articles for their websites and apps.• We will stop defining media by the device on which we used to consume them. We’re not taping a TV program anymore because we’re not using tape of any kind – we’re recording it onto a DVR and watching it on a tablet. And many of us read the daily paper -- without the actual paper. We need to find new terms to define what we’re doing. Why The Story Matters ● 5
  6. 6. E-books will improve their experience• Already a few innovative publishers are working on combining video and other interactive features into their e- books to provide more value.• Expect e-textbooks to include interactive exercises, and nonfiction e-books to include more video, photos, and audio, while fiction books will come packed with featurettes much the way DVDs are packaged. Why The Story Matters ● 6
  7. 7. The press release will not die in 2012• Companies still need press releases to communicate their news.• Twitter is good as a kind of short burst of news but get lost on the timeline.• Press releases easily can be posted on a corporate newsroom – good from SEO perspective and to demonstrate the company is still active.• However, organizations can’t rely on a press release alone. They need to think about innovative ways to distribute their news, including infographics, data-and-graphics mashups intended to compellingly present information. Why The Story Matters ● 7
  8. 8. Social media will play a bigger role in B2B marketing• More than eight years and nearly 900 million Facebook users later, B2B businesses will embrace social media, following the lead of B2C companies…though they may not focus on Facebook to reach their customers.• B2B companies will recognize the need to generate their own multimedia content, and that there are active and engaged business consumers even for niche sectors.• We expect that more B2B companies will consider increasing budgets to make engaging their targets through social media, thought leadership and lead generation their top marketing priorities. Why The Story Matters ● 8
  9. 9. Time spent with actual people will decrease• So many people use social media sites – from Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn, to Pinterest and Quora and more -- that people have less time to spend with their friends and family.• We expect more attention will be paid as kids in schools face a new way to feel alienated. Why The Story Matters ● 9
  10. 10. Value will be king in 2012• Upscale consumers, suffering from frugal fatigue, have started spending again. But the 99% of us will continue to look for value.• That bodes well for Groupon, LivingSocial and other sites offering discounts.• Key questions: – “Do group discounts actually generate a return for companies?” – “Will Groupon turn out to be a good investment since its Nov. 2011 IPO at $20?” – “How many e-coupon sites do consumers want or need?” Why The Story Matters ● 10
  11. 11. More efficient light bulbs will not cause the end of the world• Last year, The New York Times, Wall St. Journal and others ran stories about consumers stockpiling traditional 60-watt incandescent bulbs, the result of legislation to encourage the use of more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs or LED fixtures.• Guess what: The deadline for shifting to more efficient bulbs came, and suddenly it became a non-story.• We don’t expect there to be much coverage this year as people realize the alternatives do actually deliver decent white light. Why The Story Matters ● 11
  12. 12. Academic integrity will be important• With many Americans unemployed or underemployed going back to school, we expect more will take online courses for convenience.• But because of competition among job seekers, people will look for programs that ensure academic integrity of their tests – and those academic institutions will turn to technology to monitor tests to ensure there’s no cheating.• As more school districts open up virtual academies for students K-12, expect that academic integrity will become important even at the elementary and junior high school levels. Why The Story Matters ● 12
  13. 13. The most overused phrases• Lean-back/lean-forward user experiences. – Lean-back activities are those in which users passively access content, like watching TV. Lean- forward activities are those in which the user is actively engaged in consuming content, as when they’re searching for content on the Internet or via an app. Lean-back activities can last as long as it takes to watch a sitcom or movie, while the attention span for lean-forward activities tends to be much shorter. LB/LF is important as content developers look at how to best present their content.• Post-PC – Given the exploding popularity of tablets, especially iPads.• Ultrabooks – PCs as sleek and thin as Macbooks.• 99% vs. 1% – Because of the election, expect a lot of mentions of this phrase. Why The Story Matters ● 13
  14. 14. Ongoing stories• The 2012 election, healthcare, taxes and tax reform, and job creation. The candidates, the process, the election as horse race, Super PACs, the strength and weakness of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall St. movement (as well as the 99% vs. the 1%), and sometimes the actual issues.• The euro and euro zone economies and the debt crisis -- particularly troubled Greece and Italy and stable Germany and France -- and the impact of all of this on the US economy.• Facebook’s IPO and its implications for the rest of the social media sector.• The battle between Facebook v. Google+. (Interestingly, Twitter won’t be considered even an also-ran in this story.)• The battle between huge companies. Apple v. Google v. Microsoft. Oracle v. Everyone Else.• The state of the media – because the media love reporting on their competitors as well as themselves. Why The Story Matters ● 14
  15. 15. Ongoing stories• Online privacy will continue to be an important story.• Online reviews – specifically whether they are from real customers who have bought the product or whether they are positive phony reviews paid to counteract real negative reviews – will generate coverage.• The economics and environmental impact of fracking, an efficient but controversial way to extract oil and natural gas from shale. We expect climate science and global warming to be issues during the general election, specifically when discussing regulations.• Net-specific issues such as net neutrality (the need to prevent broadband providers from blocking access to competitors), the e-tax loophole (in which e-retailers don’t require customers to pay sales tax, which gives Amazon and others an advantage over bricks-and- mortar retailers that do charge customers sales tax), and anti-piracy legislation (Stop Online Piracy Act aka SOPA and Protect Intellectual Property Act aka PIPA). Why The Story Matters ● 15
  16. 16. Ongoing stories• Cyberattacks on B2C websites. As more high profile sites get hacked, expect more reports that reinforce fear and uncertainty of online commerce.• Cyberwarfare: the act of attacking one’s enemies by hacking. It’s happening on both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the US media has reported that China is using cyberwarfare against the US, including corporate espionage, so expect it to spread elsewhere.• The rising threat of Chinese businesses, the Chinese economy and the Chinese military.• One story not likely to be covered for most of 2012: Tim Tebow. Not that his 15 minutes is up. Expect the media to regain its interest with the start of the next NFL season. Why The Story Matters ● 16
  17. 17. More fees• Look for all types of companies to start adding fees for things that had once been included in the price. – Airlines will continue to charge for baggage, onboard food and other things that used to be included in the price of a ticket. – Banks are charging consumers to use their debit cards or paying bills by phone (or backing off, when there’s too much public pressure). – Shipping companies charge surtaxes to offset spikes in the price of gas, which, by the way, has dropped from sky-high prices.• Another aspect of fees: They won’t go away.• Expect a number of companies who should know better to make a mistake in how they communicate their fees to their customers. Why The Story Matters ● 17
  18. 18. Mobile payments will increase• Spearheaded by Google Wallet, Visas, and Verizon, 2012 looks to be a big year for mobile commerce.• Using smartphones to make purchases will not attract most Americans this year, but a growing part of the population will love the convenience of not having to find an ATM or not paying fees to use another bank system’s ATM.• Eventually going cash free will be mainstream by the end of the decade. Why The Story Matters ● 18
  19. 19. B2B Videoconferencing will hit its stride• Consumers are chat via video using Skype, Facebook & Google+ as well as their smartphones.• They’ll increasingly start to use video chats for business, but they’ll find that while the free services are fine to talk with a long-distance friend or family member, it’s not okay when talking with a customer. They’ll look for business-class services. Why The Story Matters ● 19
  20. 20. Converging technology won’t live up to its hype• Converging technology was supposed to result in single devices that could handle multiple functions.• The problem: we still need too many chargers and have too many devices to sync, including: – Laptop or ultrabook. – iPhone or Android phone (or, decreasingly, BlackBerry). – iPad or other tablet. – iPod. – E-reader.• Interestingly not everyone wants the same from convergence: young adults love all the features on their phones, except two: the phone (because they rarely actually use phones to make a call) and voicemail (they prefer texts). Why The Story Matters ● 20
  21. 21. Data will be bigger in 2012• At least the approach known as “big data,” software that enables users to capture and visualize huge amounts of data on their desktops, will be big in 2012.• These days, companies gather a tremendous amount of data, and it is only getting larger and larger. The challenge: how to visualize the data so that the business can gain insights and not be overwhelmed.• Unlike Business Intelligence, which often looks for trends within a company’s data, big data enables companies to ask questions on the fly to identify new trends and insights, and to generate real-time answers. Why The Story Matters ● 21
  22. 22. Ongoing tech trends from 2011• Cloud computing: This trend started in 2010 but continues to go mainstream.• The battle of tablets: Just because the first battle went in Apples direction does not mean that wannabe iPad Killers have given up the fight. Competitors still want to get into the action and capture some of the marketshare. From the medias perspective, its a two- horse race between the Kindle Fire and iPad. We expect a third option to gain some traction, but the iPad will continue to dominate.• The three most important tech trends will be mobile, mobile, mobile. Unless the three most important trends are social, social, social. For example, enterprise technology now needs not only to have an intuitive interface, it also must be accessible on iPads.• Gaming is not just for kids. Gaming will continue to be integrated into business and training apps to keep people engaged and entertained. Why The Story Matters ● 22
  23. 23. The role of CES will diminish next year• The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been considered so important that non-tech outlets feel compelled to cover the latest cool gadgets launched at the show.• But that is changing.• The reason: While CES is not "dead show walking," it is being supplanted by Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW), March 8-18. The change does not mean we dont love gadgets – because we still do – but that in a Post-PC era, we live in an app world. Why The Story Matters ● 23
  24. 24. Reporting and metrics will continue to be important• For marketers, analytics will become even more important than ever.• Department store owner John Wanamaker is remembered for a quote about metrics: "I know that half of my advertising budget is wasted, but Im not sure which half." That’s not acceptable anymore.• There are so many ways to measure how companies are engaging with their customers and potential customers – that one challenge is to prevent being overwhelmed by metrics and figuring out which ones truly matter to the organization.• More than ever, we think clients will be asking and looking for ways to measure ROI. Why The Story Matters ● 24
  25. 25. Questions? Comments?Agree or Disagree? Let us know Norman Birnbach Birnbach Communications 781.639.6701 Why The Story Matters ● 25