This tweet from YouTube caught my attention last week.
Increasingly better, faster processors and connectivity are the hallmarks of the Internet age. Combined with the convergence of technology, access to knowledge and information is now truly (or at least nearly) ubiquitous.
What we can do with content and how we consume it is changing every day.
Who would have thought that online video would constitute half of all mobile data traffic, let alone that we would even want to watch it on our third screen?
And now, according to YouTube, not only is the rate at which video is being uploaded growing, but so too is our capacity to download and watch it faster than ever before. We can now watch video almost as soon as it is uploaded.
Our appetite for information has grown, but is there a point where won’t be able to consume any more, any faster? Will the day come when we say enough is enough or will our consumption keep pace with the technology?
A little while ago, I had the pleasure of having breakfast with the amazing Gary Vaynerchuk. Sitting in the Shangri-La Hotel restaurant, overlooking Sydney Harbour we discussed the future of social media and why it’s now all about the customer service.
The first thing that struck me about Gary was that he is exactly as I’d imagined. That is to say no B.S., 100% Gary.
He is passionate, engaging and overflowing with confidence that what he is doing is the right way to do it. His energy is totally infectious and had us hanging off his every word. But even then, he is also incredibly warm and friendly, genuinely caring about what you have to say.
Since most of the Gary V story is already covered in Crush It!, I won’t bother recapping it here. What we did talk about (besides parenthood and the Knicks chances of landing LeBron, amongst other things) was social media and how it profoundly effects business.
From Gary’s point of view, what social media has done is force previously faceless brands to get a personality if they want to succeed. Simply put, social media has fundamentally changed people’s expectations of how they expect brands to interact with them.
So what is Gary’s secret to succeed in this brave new world?
Brands need to tell their story, build advocates and empower them to share that story with their networks. Technology and the platforms aren’t nearly as important as the change in mindset this entails. It is about genuinely caring for your customers and treating them with respect and like human beings.
Following on from breakfast, Wine Australia have actually gone out and done this with their A+ Australian Wines project that went live last week. Worth a look!
Customer service is the new black in Gary’s world – and with his track record who could argue.
Location-based services are also going to be huge according to Gary. A claim he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is by his personal stake as an angel investor in Simple Geo and Gowalla.
Even bigger, Gary insists, will be Facebook credits. This will not only transform Facebook into a legitimate economic force but change how we incentivize and monetize the consumption of branded content.
Despite the storm in a teacup (my opinion) over Facebook’s privacy issues, the simple fact is they are far too big a player with nearly half a billion heavily invested users to go away seemingly overnight (a la Second Life).
With our time over all too soon, he talks passionately about his business Vayner Media and the growing list of A-list clients desperate to cash-in on the Gary V brand and expertise (such as NHL, New Jersey Nets and Campbells). All, I might add, without a hint of arrogance only absolute confidence that he is going to crush it big.
And to his goal of one day owning the New York Jets, I wouldn’t bet against him.
Gary’s response to my tweet, “What could the Australian wine industry do to empower their fans to spread the word and develop overseas markets?”
Thanks to Lucy Anderson and Paul Henry from Wine Australia for giving me this fantastic opportunity to have some one-on-one time with Gary.
As I wind down my time at Square Holes, I thought it would be fitting to reflect on the digital trends I’ve observed over the past 18 months. While there have been dozens, these are the ones that have the biggest implications for marketers and communicators.
So without further adieu…
Mobile finally takes off. Seriously.
We’ve been saying this one for a few years now, but this time it really is. In the last 12 months there has been a seismic shift in the role mobile phones play in people’s lives. Driven by falling data prices and the spectacular growth of the smartphone market (seriously, 1 in 3 people I know has either an iPhone or Blackberry with a few Android phones starting to pop up as well) we are becoming less reluctant to use our phones for things other than voice and text. Even the way we use social media is quickly shifting to mobile.
How we find news has changed.
In the days pre-social media, if you wanted to find out what was happening in the world you needed to actively seek it out by either reading a newspaper, watching the 6 o’clock news or tuning into a radio news bulletin. Now, the news finds you. Social media and the evolving web has changed how we find out about today’s breaking news stories. We have become less and less reliant on offline and online news outlets, and are instead finding out from within our networks on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Not to say that mainstream news is irrelevant, rather that social media is driving traffic there.
And just recently, Jon Klein, Presdident of CNN had this to say,
“The competition I’m really afraid of is social nets. We want to be the most trusted source. But on Facebook, people are depending on their friends as news sources.”
With stories like the Michael Jackson’s death and the Hudson river plane crash either breaking or finding legs on social media, we’ve only just scratched the surface of where this is headed.
Forget the water cooler. Shared experiences are happening online.
The internet has transformed how we exchange information with each other. Rather than being reserved solely for times when we are hanging out socially at the backyard BBQ or around the water cooler, we now share what we are feeling, thinking or doing 24/7 on social networks. Instead of making us feel disconnected (as the skeptics predicted), we are in fact more connected now than ever before and with an ever larger network of people to boot!
Social media has empowered us to share information in ways previously reserved for pundits and the media. We trust the recommendations of our peers over so-called experts and aren’t afraid to let the world know when we have a bad experience. You only need look at awards shows or events like the release of ‘Avatar’ to see how powerful social media can be at making, or breaking, your success. Similarly, brands are also more accountable than ever before and can no longer afford to ignore the conversation e.g. Domino’s, American Airlines, Dell, etc.
What do you think? Do these trends apply to your business? What other digital trends have you observed?