August 6th 1991 is the official “birth date” of the World-Wide-Web. On that day, physicist Tim Berners-Lee working at CERN facility in Switzerland published the first website.
In 2012 the web celebrates 21 years of being in existence.
The way the web progressed and evolved over the past 21 years is staggering. We have gone from simple interconnection of documents via links to Rich Internet Applications, Augmented Reality and Cloud Computing. Obviously in everybody’s mind, there is a constant question …
What will happen next?
The possibilities are endless. I do not believe we can, even in our most futuristic dreams, get even close to imagining how the web will evolve.
It has always been expected from Digital Agencies to be the ones figuring out the trends and then share them with the marketing industry. And for a long time they did. Digital Agencies have historically been ahead of the curve, have been the visionaries of the Communication industry and offered their view of how the future of the communication industry and the web might look.
Today, it’s time to change. Today’s Digital Agencies cannot afford to remain just the visionary specialty agencies. It’s time to stop evangelizing and start doing.
Digital Agencies of today should be tomorrow’s leading agencies. They need to assume a leadership role in the ever-changing communication landscape and apply all their marketing & technical knowledge, combine it with the deep understanding of online consumer behavior and data analytics to deliver state of the art campaigns and communication platforms that integrate creativity, technology and media to cut to the clutter of existing ad-messages and produce the result marketers are expecting.
The success of agencies like Huge and R/GA are just proof that such an approach is the only way up and ahead.
When we think of consumers or research their behavior, we always come to the conclusion that the rules they apply when it comes to interacting with their peers or to communication in general have changed.
Let’s take as an example the digital natives or Generation Z (born starting late 1980 to late 2010). They all share a similar approach to life, business and obviously advertising: they all place digital at the center of anything they do. Private life & entertainment has Facebook at the centre, professional life has LinkedIn, shopping has Google or a product comparison engine. Opinions of friends and relatives weigh more in their final buying decision than any advertising message.
To be able to succeed in this environment, Marketing needs to adapt. Any Push type of strategy will not show sustainable results over time. In the context of transitioning from “Push” to “Pull”, from monologue to dialogue and from individualism to community we, as marketers, have to look not only at the message, we have to create the context, the relevance and the ways to cut through the enormous segmentation of media channels. We still need to address the needs of the consumers, but we have to approach them as whole persons and satisfy their needs on all levels - mind, heart and spirit.
Digital communication I believe is based on three pillars: Creativity, Technology and Media. Each of these pillars is equally important and should be brought together into one unique direction and vision.
Without a high level of Creativity that will simultaneously inform, entertain and engage consumers with the brand, any campaign is lagging behind.
Once we have the idea or the creative concept, it has to be properly and flawlessly implemented so that users can use it with ease. Of course a high level of portability between platforms and devices is desired, as each of us chooses now, how we want to be informed or entertained.
Last, but definitely not least, Media plays a very important role in the process. It’s useless to have a good idea which is perfectly implemented but which is poorly communicated and does not reach the intended audience.
Digital agencies need to be able to juggle with several tasks at the same time, and become every day the Agency of Tomorrow, an agency that understand the needs of advertisers while knowing how to communicate a clear and articulate message to the public, and do all this in a context where consumer behavior is continuously changing due to technology and media advancements. Knowing how to integrate all these things in a coherent plan that provides efficiency and reaches the intended audience to obtain the desired outcome, is key for a successful agency.
Digital is not anymore the job of a specialized advertising agency. Digital has become mainstream communication. But fundamentally different from what mainstream communication used to be.
Digital is a way of life.
On behalf of the entire HyperActive team, I invite you to read the 2nd edition of the Digital FactBook.