I haven't been posting for a while - which is rather annoying - just too busy recently with BAU at work plus trips all over teh place and a number of large presentations - phew.
One thing I did pen was this - its a look at what the future might bring which I think is pertinent and has the start of some interesting thinking which I want to flesh out at some point. Have a read and comment - I might be totally wrong about all of this - it just seems to make sense in my head right now.
Welcome to the Velocity Age.
We are now living through a period of extraordinary technological and social change that is having an impact far greater than anything seen in the last 100 years on the world of advertising and marketing – and yet we barely notice it. We are like fish that are unable to ‘see’ the water that they swim in.
Ray Kurzweil – a computer enthusiast and futurologist – recently predicted that there will be 1000 times more technological change this century than the last – a prediction met with a healthy dose of scepticism at the time, but now recognised to be perhaps underestimated! This is being fuelled by the world’s information doubling every 18 months (commonly referred to as ‘Moore’s Law’) combined with the exponential growth of the internet spreading information around the globe at lightning speed.
All these changes are having a profound effect – not just on brands and their meanings – but potentially on life itself.
Humans may not win the race.
Computers are increasing in power, doubling their "intelligence" approximately every two years. Human intelligence is changing only very slowly. Personal computers are now at about the intelligence level of a fly. And that, at the predicted doubling rate, they should be equal to a human by about 2019.
So what will the future be like then? Well, once you have a PC on your desk that is as "intelligent" as you are...and they're doubling in power every two years...in two years it'll be TWICE as smart as you. In four years, FOUR times as smart. In six years, EIGHT TIMES as smart as you – the future may be less about what we do as a race – but what happens to us as a consequence of the technology we have created.
1) Your being observed: Web 3.0.
The ‘Semantic Web’ is the next big development that will replace 2.0. The semantic web is a vision of information that is understandable by computers, so that they can perform more of the tedious works involved in finding, sharing and combining information on the web.
Implication: Traditional advertising may not exist in the metaverse. Brands will no longer need to ‘target’ potential customers with conventional messaging – instead the information will be ‘delivered’ by intelligent agents that will match a products benefit to a specific personal need that can be met by only that brand at that time at that price and delivered in the most time and location specific way. Your computer will know all your preferences based on your behaviour, language, geographic location, daily browsing habits and perhaps social circumstances. Web 3.0 may totally reinvent how data is used in future.
There will be more information available about us as individuals. The big issue will be how much information about ourselves will be public and how much will private and personal.
Implication: Targeting may become even less precise rather than better due to privacy laws preventing companies having access to deep levels of data. Human rights groups may challenge laws around what is considered to be an invasion of personal liberty. The big question will be – who owns the data and who has access to it?
3) Natural Inflation.
People will find that their time online increasingly satisfies their need for information and companionship, access to goods and services and social relationships - but the awareness of the cost to the environment of a product or service will determine its success in the offline world.
Implication: Human beings will increasingly over-value the natural over the synthetic or mediated. Advertising and marketing communications will increasingly focus on the perceived emotional outcomes of using a brand expressed through the benefits to the natural world.
There will be a rise in the use of ‘peak’ experiences as promotional elements – accentuating the power of the natural world linked to a brand’s promise.
4) Retail becomes theatre.
Everything becomes for sale online – the need to enter the physical world to buy what we want or need is increasingly lessened.
Implication: Purchasing cycles (Christmas, holidays etc) may create new value chain solutions to meet demand spikes. Those still on the High Street will need to become increasingly experiential to attract people: Nike Town Amsterdam
5) Brand Darwinism.
There will be an increase in the number of people in social networks rating products and services.
Implication: Only those that can survive the online scrutiny of millions of people rating and debating a product’s inherent utility will survive. Price points will be determined by benefits rather than features. Advertising may become redundant for certain categories but there will be an increase in the number of niche and specialist categories leading to much greater product diversity and complexity.
6) Superficial Knowledge.
Search engines will give us access to the answer to every question we could wish to ask.
Implication: We will know the answer to lots of questions based on scientific explanation - but bigger questions such as the nature of being will remain subjective. We will also have limited understanding of how things work – like using a calculator to do long division without learning how to do it. Brands will become increasingly concerned with educating rather than entertaining.
7) Rise in the fantastical:
New tools for creative self expression will continue to emerge allowing for works that are limited only by imagination.
Implication: Brands that celebrate the individual nature of human beings will proliferate. We will value the wilder leaps of imagination over the conventional and conservative. The frivolous and ridiculous will hold more value than the rational as people use the metaverse for escapism from the ordeals of everyday life
8) The Living Dead:
Your avatar may still exist long after you are dead.