“The bigger opportunity for clients, we believe, is to identify the global
societal and technological trends that are reshaping how we think, act
and 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
During the last decade, we’ve seen social and digital In the following pages you will find 10 essays on such
media move from being purely the domain of tech-savvy trends written by some of the smartest thinkers in digital
types into a mainstream phenomenon. All you need to marketing. These ideas, when looked at together, reveal
do is consider one statistic: Twitter was mentioned on four key themes:
television nearly 20,000 times in 2009, according to
SnapStream. As a result, companies are investing in it • The shift to digital technologies by both consumers
and – 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 guessing
what will become “the next Twitter.” It’s ample fodder • Our engagement with each other is migrating rapidly
for tech and marketing pundits, the media and clients from computer to handset.
- especially at the beginning of a new year and a new
decade. • Companies (and organized interests) are just
beginning to wake up to the engagement imperative
However, 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 platforms
like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook before they grew, now • And finally, the future is about carefully using the data
they just seem to surface out of nowhere. You’ll know the people generate to make smarter decisions, while
next 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. We
the 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 slowly
and are harder to see, allowing clients to take a more Steve Rubel
thoughtful, thorough and systematic approach. Senior Vice President, Director of Insights
January 4, 2010
New York, NY
Back to Reality
For all the hoopla around the explosion of social media, one
would think the industry would have developed, agreed upon
and socialized a standardized approach to measuring its impact.
Yes, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has agreed upon core
metrics that quantify things like friends and followers. Yes, there
have been countless blog posts and conference panels on the
topic. However, as one client so rightly expressed last fall, when
you strip away the hype, what we’ve nailed is how to measure
outputs, 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) remains
with a fair degree of accuracy – the return of each client’s a largely closed environment. It’s up to agencies to drive the first
investment 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 20
percent 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 found
The pundits out there will no doubt take issue with my claim workarounds. If I were Facebook’s CEO for a day, I’d take one
that this isn’t already possible and being done. To some degree, look at my balance sheet, steal a quick glance at Google’s and
they’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 cultural
I 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
Over the last two years, businesses have tightened belts, cut
spending and some have gone out of business altogether due to
the economy. But there is another threat that many organizations
face which will likely remain, even as the cycle of recession
begins to fade - disruption. Many business models are simply not
The media industry has been turned upside down partially as
a result of technologies which empower anyone to act like a
journalist. Newspapers have seen their classified cash cows
cannibalized 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 their
services now compete with Wordpress or other do-it-yourself Disruption-proof businesses will need to become better at
services. predicting possible outcomes and adapting quickly to changes
in their environment before their business models become
The music industry has been upended, with record stores going disrupted. Listening tools and “real-time” focus groups on
out of business as a result of the iTunes ecosystem and digital social networks will make meaning from the data. These will
file swapping. become increasingly essential for enabling an organization to
stay informed, while internally they will improve how their own
The advertising industry has been thrown into chaos by employees share information and collaborate.
technology which empowers the consumers to skip over ads
and demand value in place of messaging. In 2010 and beyond, technologies and the human behavior it
influences will continue to disrupt — but organizations who learn
Disruption fueled by technology, such as a younger generation to adapt quickly will thrive.
that lives more digitally, and other global trends will force
businesses to re-assess how they spend media dollars and
influence the creation of new products and services. This will
gradually trickle down into every facet of an organization, forcing By David Armano
Senior Vice President, Edelman Digital
changes in job descriptions, demands and skills. In an effort to
become a disruption-proof business, brands and organizations
The Valley of Abandonment
This is the year when businesses finally take social media beyond
just one-time marketing programs and campaigns and up-level
their 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 - keeping
them alive and meaningful are even more so. Much the same,
corporations, large and small, are seeing value in reshaping how
marketing dollars are being allocated by reversing the model
they’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 here
Note that this does not mean that campaigns are dead. They will ends up being higher than if they had simply kept the
live 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 touch
Some 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 in
the long-run because the “maintenance” costs are easier on the Take Best Buy, for example. Its Twelpforce program has
wallet than a series of seduction tactics (I’ll leave it to authors unleashed more than 2,000 employees on Twitter, enabling
Levitt and Dubner to elaborate on the analogy in their next book, them to offer tech support to customers around the clock and
Super-Duper Freakonomics.) in the open. Best Buy doesn’t stop there – the company’s Loop
marketplace also crowdsources operational improvement ideas
A 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.
Location, Location, Location
Over the past decade, we’ve seen an evolution in social Foursquare has experienced dramatic growth last year and is
networking platforms. They have progressed from tools for finite, now available worldwide.
asynchronous communications with acquaintances (Classmates.
com), 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 to
processing power and mass-market penetration of smartphones recognize and reward their best customers through loyalty
equipped 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 consumer
location-based services in a way that truly resonated with engagement and sentiment tracking. While the level of data
consumers. Loopt, Brightkite, Whrrl and Buzzd all tried, but they currently available within the site is still relatively modest, as the
were 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 through
However, another key reason these services did not catch on a relatively unfamiliar neighborhood after dinner, he/she can
was that they lacked an essential element: fun. Enter Foursquare, immediately query other venues in the neighborhood when in the
which 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 more
of existing networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Gmail. In of our decisions, putting even more emphasis on the need for
addition to providing the ability to “alert” friends to one’s current distributed businesses like retailers, in particular, to focus on
location via a special mobile application, Foursquare introduced positive customer experience.
the concept of earning a variety of badges for behaviors. Users
can 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 title
By Michael Wiley
Managing Director, Midwest, Edelman Digital
This added gaming element seems to be the missing link that
mobile social networking needed to catch on with consumers.
Asian Mobile Marketing
Goes Off the Hook
After years of hype, massive consumer adoption of social media
is giving marketers a reason to get excited about Asia’s mobile
Internet prospects for 2010.
Micro-blogging services like Twitter evolved from a niche tool
into a key brand marketing vehicle. Meanwhile, social networking
growth (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, gaming
A desire for access is accelerating the sales of smartphones.
and mobile is also fueling growth. Local social networks such
According to Pyramid Research, smartphones will climb from
as Cyworld (Korea), Mixi and RenRen.com (China) have been
16 percent of global handset sales in 2009 to 37 percent by
battling to hatch the next big casual gaming phenomenon to
2014 – with China expected to become the number one market
Asia’s highly sought-after youth market. The ongoing roll-out of
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 social
network via mobile devices. Twitter Japan is seeing similar results
However, with all the growth, what’s key here is that marketing
as 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 marketers
because 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 local
related services/devices. Dopod, Meizu and many other local
market information landscape. This includes where people get
manufacturers were spurred to release products to meet this
their content, how they want to consume it and how they share
demand. 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.
Be Now or You Will Be Never
The media used to be our most credible source of information.
It was the only way companies could deliver a message without
the hard-sell of an ad. Readers automatically trusted the news
since journalists often just corroborate our own world views.
But the Web has brought new ways of communicating. Anyone
with a cell phone and an Internet connection can produce news,
even become relevant and trustful. More importantly, Twitter
and live streaming tools like Qik turned communication into
something 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 than
slow 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 are
experiencing their “Kanye West moment” for the first time; when It is almost impossible to control the velocity and reach of news
we 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 address
When West, a rapper, jumped onstage during the MTV Video issues and react quickly and intelligently.
Music Awards and interrupted singer Taylor Swift’s acceptance
speech, the reaction was immediate. There were more than
5,000 tweets in the first five seconds. As the show went
on, more than 50,000 people published about the incident,
according to MTV.
My own “Kanye moment” came during the aftermath of the
Air France AF447 crash off the coast of Brazil. Edelman Brazil
posted on Twitter all the statements put out by the airliner and
monitored the web to measure the repercussion. Hours later, By Thiane Loureiro
Regional Director, Edelman Digital Latin America
there were already more than 1,000 re-tweets (people spreading
the news via their own Twitter accounts). A community opened
The New Morning Paper
Habits are evolving. We first replaced our local morning paper
with online news sites like the New York Times or aggregators
like the Yahoo home page. But now another shift is underway.
Our first login is an early morning look at Twitter or Facebook via
mobile phones. We now learn about breaking news stories like
increased violence in Iran or Tiger’s indiscretions first from our
friends’ Tweets and status posts – not from Matt Lauer.
The data illustrates the trend. Akamai, which analyzes Internet
traffic, says usage starts to rocket at around 6 a.m. on the
East Coast. The most trafficked hours are between 8 a.m.
Is it ironic that even when we aren’t quite ready to grumble up
and 11 a.m. Verizon Wireless reported that the number of text
a “good morning” to our families, we are ready to join our social
messages 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 as
percent 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 that
the pros use social media as “personal news aggregator[s].”
At the crack of dawn, they check their Facebook and Twitter
accounts to see what stories friends and other media are posting
and which topics they are discussing.
By Cricket Wardein
Executive Vice President, Managing Director,
Edelman Digital West
The web is nothing if not infinitely complex. Every time you
peel back a layer or explore something new, you find a whole
community, 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, from
basic factoids to new products and emerging communities.
To connect with people successfully online, we must embrace
both the “convergence” of search as well as the “divergence”
of the modern Web and understand how they complement
The way forward is simpler than we might think at first. By
pursuing a strategy of dispersing our web presence, we can
also improve performance in Google and therefore address
Consider this: social networks like Facebook, Flickr and
YouTube are really “mini webs” unto themselves. So, just
as you have a traditional Website to ensure a basic Web
presence – and hopefully a good deal more – you can also
have a presence in online communities, or what we also refer
to as “digital embassies.”
Establishing “digital embassies” like this has direct online visibility
benefits. For example, cross linking between your embassies can
improve your search results, thereby raising your profile
and generating more conversation about your brand, issue By Marshall Manson
Director of Digital Strategy, Edelman Europe
Journalism Strikes Back
“The Media is Dying” is a popular Twitter channel that tracks Former Florida Sun-Sentinel reporter Jerry Lower took a loan
layoffs and the financial struggles battering traditional news against his house to start The Coastal Star, an offline and online
media. The tweets read like epitaphs, whether it’s impending newspaper serving the Delray Beach area. His paper is turning a
doom at The Associated Press; London’s Observer, the world’s profit, as is Health News Florida, a niche news site run by former
oldest 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 journalism
The reality is, however, that while news became bigger than ever startups Backfence and Bayosphere, is launching a non-profit
this past decade, journalism got smaller. “Content” replaced news service in Hawaii staffed with professional journalists. Think
stories; aggregators replaced reporters; and being first replaced of it as a “public radio” model that requires reporters to rely on
being 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 in
According to a study by the National Newspaper Association, 86 the minutia of daily civic life that only a taxpaying resident could
million Americans still read local newspapers every week, and 60 love. The bloggers are paid five dollars per 1,000 page views and
percent 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 the
Local news is the accelerator that will ignite journalism’s stories unique. News site “pay walls” won’t matter if consumers
resurgence. 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 of
Kobe Bryant, but because there are millions of advertising dollars Actually, people don’t find news anymore so much as news finds
up for grabs. them, via customized “streams” on computers, mobile phones,
e-readers and other devices.
The news industry layoffs put well-trained journalists on the
market. These seasoned reporters, joined by younger J-school Look for traditional news organizations to get into those
grads with Flip cameras and iPhones, are already reshaping the streams and stock them with fresh stories (and learn how to
get paid for doing so). And look for more journalists to serve
as news “curators,” like Robert Quigley of the Austin-American
Statesman, who uses Twitter to find the best local information to
share with readers.
Finally, let’s not forget citizen journalists. One only needs to
remember the iconic images of the London Underground
bombings in 2005, the first-hand reports of the Virginia Tech
massacre in 2007, or the tweets about the Iranian elections in
2009 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 the
profession to survive. Instead, journalists this year will learn how
to become better citizens, re-connect with their communities and
earn back the public’s trust.
By Gary Goldhammer
Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy & Development
The Data Decade
Last year, according to former Amazon.com 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 are
in the entire history of mankind through 2008. However, you ain’t building vast data warehouses that recognize patterns. This
seen 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 and
With 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 the
Already, this is changing the way we live, work and play; and it same web.
holds huge promise in making marketing communications far
more efficient and effective. Mint.com offers advice on saving money based on others’ input.
Google serves up personalized search results based on previous
But before we can look forward, it’s important to consider the queries. And there’s more. The International Herald Tribune noted
brief 15-year history of the consumer Internet and the two trends that many are taking to “self-tracking.”
that preceded the Data Decade.
“Bedposted.com” 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 weighing
just 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 Media
With the rise of Google, however, that all changed. In the 2000s, and Associated Content are building out giant networks of sites
millions ditched their bookmarks in favor of just “Googling.” that automatically assign content to writers based on their search
Search 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 are
both driven by intent. We need to know what we want. However,
we often don’t know what we don’t know. But that’s going
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 like
in the Terminator movies, is to fight machines with machines.
What does this mean?
First, we all need to become more data driven. Marketing is still
far too rooted in creative hunches. We need to adopt some of
the 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-yourself
mentality when it comes to research. Many tools for gathering
incredible 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 is
in perpetual beta, and data is our constant companion.
By Steve Rubel
Senior Vice President, Director of Insights
250 Hudson Street
New York, New York