Some Predictions for 2007, Part I

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by: David Polinchock

Since everyone is getting into predictions for 2007, I thought that I would make sure that we threw some down as well! Here’s the beginning of my predictions for 2007:

  • The buzzword for 2007 will be authenticity and it will become a driving force for businesses. With the consumer having a new found voice, companies not acting in an authentic and honest way will be subject to the wrath of the new social media tools. Witness what’s happened with all of the flogs of Sony, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and I’m sure many others. And take a look at what happens in the blogsphere when companies don’t deliver on their promises. Heck, just take a look at some of the posts on our blog about my personal experiences in this area. Companies will be held more accountable then ever before now that information can travel the world in a matter of seconds.
  • As we’ve written about before, people will start to realize that despite all of the hype (including Time recently proclaiming us the person of the year), this is the normal cycle of new media since the beginning of media! We wrote about the Penny Press before and NPR ran an interesting series last week about the start of radio. In fact, the beginning of radio sounded a lot like what we’re seeing happening right now in the online world of myspace, blogs and youtube. When radio started, it was apparently extremely easy for anyone to get a broadcast license and it seems that many people got those licenses. They would broadcast from their homes and they could broadcast anything they wanted. Then, big business got involved and all of those individuals started disappearing. Today, of course, there are a small handful of companies that control radio in almost every city and I’m thinkin’ it would be almost impossible for an individual to get a broadcast license.  

    We’ve also written before, that those that don't know from history, always think they're doing something new and that’s what’s happening today with all of the social media hype. That’s not to imply that there aren’t some valuable tools being created here, but there’s a cycle to media that I’m pretty certain we’ll be seeing here. Google’s already purchased youtube and most of the media companies are coming up with their own versions of youtube. And everyone in our industry is trying to figure out how to turn these social sites into a marketing tool. And yep, that’s been done before too.

  • OK, this one is a no-brainer. The use of emerging technologies will continue to accelerate in 2007 as we scramble to find new ways to communicate to our audiences. More companies will explore Second Life and in 2007 we’ll see the first experiments in combining the real and virtual worlds together. I think that we’ll see some mixed reality experiments involving cell phones and we might even see virtual reality make a comeback! And if I can do a little horn tootin’, CyberEvent Group, a company I started in the early 90’s, created Experiential Advertising™ and was a pioneer in using virtual reality for advertising purposes. Yea, that’s how far ahead of the curve we are!
  • Many people today probably don’t remember the early days of fax machines when they would ring all day & night with unsolicited advertising. It didn’t take long until a law was enacted making it illegal to send unwanted faxes to people (although, it was recently amended to make it a little easier to send advertising faxes) and it is possible that we will start to see legislation relating to advertising in 2007. Sao Paulo banned all outdoor ads and UK banned junk food ads in kids TV and that’s only the beginning. Expect to see more litigation and regulation in the coming year as people strike out against advertisings continued encroachment into every aspect of our lives.
  • Retail spaces will become even more important as a connection point between the consumer and the brand. And while that will mean a boom in traditional advertising methods like digital signage (click here to see how we feel about that!), it will also create greater opportunities for brands. More and more brands will create their own Retail Experiences and/or Pop-up Retail, as they realize they need a deeper connection with their audiences. Sure, creating cool online activities are important, but at some point you need to really touch the brand. With more and more retailers cutting back on their in-store experiences, that’s not the best place to experience the brand. In fact, during a recent web vast for POPAI, 100% of the participants said they get better information online then they do in-store. So brands will build and staff their own locations, even if they’re only temporary. And traditional retailers will have to recreate their physical space to make it just as easy to navigate as their online space.  

    So, I’ll end there for now and pick up again after the new year. Since today is my birthday, I'm going to try and put down the computer and go enjoy the day with my family!

    So from my family to yours, our very best wishes for a great 2007!

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