Thursday, 29 October 2009

Birmingham waves Hello to Digital

Gathering at Millennium Point in Birmingham last Wednesday, saw a meeting of Birmingham’s best digital brains and those looking to integrate digital into their business.

With a line-up including Jon Gisby – director of future media and technology at Channel 4, David Rowan – editor of Wired magazine, and Sion Simon – the minister for creative industries, there was a high calibre of debate as to the future of digital, particularly in light of the sad announcement by the Post last Tuesday.

Whilst the day as a whole relied heavily on discussing the power of social media – namely Twitter on small businesses, undoubtedly the most exciting part of the day was the predictions by the keynote speakers, the main points from which I have summarised below:

- Transparency of companies is inevitable as consumers have more power.
- Our connection to the internet will be 24/7 and completely mobile.
- The body will be the remote – we will be able to engage in conversation with computer characters, and they will be able to read our body language.
- Marketing will have to be personal. More data means more engagement and brands having to personalise to compete on the marketplace.
- The public/private spheres will be broken down as everyone has a voice. EVERYONE IS NOW IN THE MEDIA BUSINESS.
- Huge fragmentation – contact and networks with be split geographically as everything becomes more mobile.
- Reliance on personal recommendations as well as Big Brands – as demonstrated by the Carter Ruck case.
- Affiliations between individuals is now more important – networks will ensure that “word of mouth” can be spread very quickly.
- Interaction is crucial as concentration and attention span decreases.
- Data will be stored forever – nothing will be deleted – “petabyte age.”
- Relationships will be built online – 1/8 Americans married last year met online.
- There will be a “re-physicalisation” where individuals rediscover the physical world through digital means. Eg. tours of historical sites through online apps.
- Data will make you healthier – tracking of all food and activities.

Things will have to be USEFUL, CREATIVE and MEANINGFUL to catch our attention.

David Rowan used this video to bring these points to light:

With the news that Google and Twitter signed a deal last Wednesday, the power of the consumer really does seem to be rising. With Twitter comments soon to be found on Google search, brands reputations are going to have to be managed extremely carefully and the consumer acknowledged rather than ignored.

With the predictions from last week I think our clients are going to have to work harder to maintain interest and can no longer afford to not embrace the digital age.


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