Think your marketing department won’t be affected by the launch of the Apple Watch earlier this week? Think again.
The impact of wearable technology will impact far more than just fashion and digital design trends. Even if the adoption rate isn’t as high as is predicted, the trend that will soon cause a flurry of frantic activity in marketing offices around the world is the impending change in information consumption.
Both studies based on formal research and those based on pure observation have proven that information consumption trends have changed significantly in a short period of time.
These days the most popular written pieces tend to be those divided by sub-headings, as it helps readers who have learned the skill of consuming short bytes of information at lightning speeds, to stick to longer form content. Even the decision on whether or not to read the full written piece is sometimes based on the value of information received from reading only the subheadings.
Long form content, although making a comeback this year, will always have a place, as people have an innate need to gather information. It is the format and length of lure that leads to informational long form pieces that has and will continue changing.
Major shakeups in the recent past for content creators (writers, marketers, PR professionals, journalists, videographers etc) include:
- Email, which required a less formal approach than handwritten letters and allowed for more visually striking communication
- SMS, which negated spelling and grammar to force sales messages into 160 characters
- Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc which forced everyone to acknowledge the importance of social relationships in communication
- Twitter, which brought the # back to life, made @ buttons on devices wear out quicker than ever, and chopped messages length to a tidy 140 characters.
Wearable technology, whether it is a smart watch or smart set of eyewear, has brought about a new disruption. With tiny screens, room for only a single message, adapted scrolling functionality, wearable technology demands extreme brevity like no tool before it.
For content creators, who spend countless hours producing perfectly poised materials, the looming change in information consumption is a scary business. What many clients don’t realise is that it takes the same amount of time, if not longer, to create a piece of content that is suitable for the brevity demanded by developing mobile technologies, than a longer piece suitable for print or computer.
Content creators need to become skilled in formats suitable for the extreme brevity that is demanded by wearable tech, and will also have to educate their clients on the need for messages in a variety of formats.
Fame and fortune have been used in the same sentence for centuries. And when it comes right down to the bone, the publicity generation component of PR is all about creating fortune through fame.
My textbooks on the subject heartily disagree with such a statement, and if you are a PR professional you might already be climbing on a soapbox. I would usually join you, but for the purposes of this blog post, please allow me the freedom to explain.
PR, although not the most well-known marketing discipline, has also been around for centuries.
Sometimes called propaganda (war), sometimes called spin (politics), sometimes called lobbying (activism), sometimes called stakeholder relations (corporate), PR is a complex discipline that can span a wide variety of industries, tools, and platforms.
It however still (mostly) boils down to making a person/group/product/brand famous in order to create fortune for them. Whether the fortune be measured in finances or influence is a whole different conversation topic.
The thing about fame is that the whole "overnight success" thing is a bit of a myth. Yes, there are flukes, but those "overnight success" stories have most probably been 10 years in the making. It's just overnight and new for those who never knew.
The same (mostly) applies in PR.
One of the expectations we have to manage most often is the one of quick fame.
"We saw the publicity Company X got in Publication Y and we want the same. Can you send me a quote for a once-off press release?"
"Your press release will help me to fill all the seats at my (poorly marketed) event next week, right?"
"How many sales can I expect from this radio interview?"
"My competitor was on TV last night. Can you phone the presenter and tell her I want to be on the show tonight?"
As an SME owner myself, I am very sympathetic to these types of questions, as money and time are both things that are usually in short supply. As a PR professional, I cringe at these questions, as I know it will be money in the water, and water under the publicity bridge in a heartbeat.
The fact of the matter is that PR isn't driven by actions (press releases, events, media interviews etc) alone, but by the knowledge and experience behind the actions.
While a once-off, short-lived PR campaign might create a fair amount of publicity, we find that the results with the most impact come from the clients who have an ongoing commitment to generating relevant content suitable for on of the most demanding target markets ... the newsroom.
Editors and journalists don't care about the shiny features of your latest prototype, or the appointment of a new Assistant Junior Director of the mailroom. They quickly delete articles and invitations that contain puffery, lengthy paragraphs filled with technical jargon, and items that just generally break every rule in the courtesy book.
What newsrooms want are valuable, relevant stories from reliable sources, not sensationalist announcements from those just looking for a spot in the limelight.
PR can most definitely help create quick fame that will end at the quickly forgotten "one-hit-wonder" stage.
To gain the most value from PR, one should rather aim for the Hall of Fame.
UPDATE - 11/09/2014
As luck would have it, the day after this blog post was written, we received a news clipping of an article that was included in the Corporate Governance feature of Business Day. The article was not written based on something we initiated, but rather as a result of a long-standing working relationship we have with the editor, who has on several occasions in the past contacted us to coordinate interviews with the IoDSA, one of our clients.
How's that for the proof being in the pudding?
We recently celebrated our company birthday at Mongena Game Lodge, and what a celebration it was!
After a day of hard slogging in a strategy workshop, with temperatures matching the howling wind, we were blessed with an incredibly beautiful sunset during our sunset boat cruise ... without even the slightest whisper of a breeze.
As the sun set over the peaceful sounds of birds nesting in the reeds along the dam, we raised our glasses to many more sunsets and sunrises over the At That Point family.
If you would like to become part of our golden circle of clients that are on the journey of creating fortune through fame, invite us over for coffee ... we'll bring cupcakes :)
To all our wonderful clients and partners, thank you so very much for allowing us to take care of your brands, publicity generation and social media channel management. Without you, our jobs wouldn't be half as much fun as it currently is.
For a few snapshots of our time at Mongena, hop on over to our Facebook page.