Today I want to explore the nature of hyper connectivity, in relation to my workplace, & more specifically my job in Advertising.
Hyper connectivity by definition is “the state of being constantly connected to people and systems through devices” such as smartphones, tablets & computers. By being connected through these devices people can enable and promote constant communication, and an “always on” approach.
We often hear the term “Hyper connectivity” when discussing the use of multiple means of communication, such as email, instant messaging, telephone, more recently social media, (and by definition) face-to-face contact. Before these inventions, communications and messaging were much slower, take a letter for example.
What is special about these new world mediums is that they overcome geographical barriers, and distance is not an issue. We are now only a moment away from contacting someone on the other side of the planet with instant messaging. This level of hyper connectivity has had a profound social, political and economic consequences.
By being hyperconnected, technology can do, and is changing the face of every industry from music, to cars, to health and fitness, and also advertising…In this post I wanted to explore how hyper connectivity and digital technologies affect my industry of advertising by taking a chronological view, detailing the rise of new technologies enabling a hyper connected culture.
A flurry of agency deals and moves in the mid-to-late ’80s put players in place such as WPP, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi & Omnicom. These agencies, and others, were bringing in huge profits that allowed them to keep expanding and consolidating for over a decade.
Lots of money made during this time meant that the agencies were able to employ a lot of salesmen and creative minds to keep up with demand and to supply the world ad market. By placing more people on the ground large agencies justified spending huge budgets, and slowly increased agency fees for the world’s largest brands.
The 90s brought with it the digital era which gave birth to new platforms that would make reaching audiences more accessible than ever before. The advent of personal computers and the Internet were a great equalizer between large and small agencies, as now, anybody with an internet connection could now begin to set up advertising campaigns, so a new generation of marketers were born.
Over the next 10 years communications completely evolved and changed. The huge increase in connections and communication power meat that young people were able to embrace rapidly changing technologies and new distribution platforms. This forever changed how consumer marketing was created and shared. Small teams with access to the internet were able to create global campaigns without the need for huge marketing teams with offices around the world.
Post millennium, we find ourselves in an “information age”. With just a few phone taps we have the ability to access information on almost any topic. The effect this has had is that clients, with time on their hands could now Google “how to”, rather than outsource difficult work to agencies.
As with all change, some things were lost, but more was gained. For advertisers the rise of mobile phones from early 2000’s allowed advertisers initially to market through SMS , but after the later introduction of smartphone technology, this developed into all encompassing in-app advertising through text, images, sound, video. Hyper connectivity now meant you could send your advertising messaging anywhere, any time, any place for the first time in history.
Since the early 2010s everything has been approaching a “super” hyper-connnected state with communications at all time high. Communications between offline and online is commonplace. For example smart watches that track your running distance or communicate with your scales to track your weight.
For agencies the major development that hyper connectivity has brought around is Programmatic media buying. Programmatic has made headlines in the past few years at the industry buzzword and is now hugely advanced and very much mainstream. The pragmatic media buying is when software uses real-time bidding platforms, to bid and purchase space on publishers networks to serve ads, thus increasing the speed and efficiency of online advertising even further. Before long we can expect that advertising boards, television and other media types will be connected to the internet for media buying and selling purchases.
What do you think’s next? Looking at the above trend shows that connections are increasing, and speeding up with technology moving into new parts or society. With this in mind It is likely that more and more experiences will involve technology and communications. Looking at the case of Uber combined with Google’s driverless cars makes it easy to predict that it won’t be too long before we have driver less public transport as mainstream?
In Advertising, as with other professional roles, we have already began to see some of the more manual tasks and processes being undertaken by technology, which in turn means more time can be allocated to ideas, and strategy over laborious groundwork. We can all be excited about the possibilities that we can apply our brains too, and help in the further advancement of these technologies.
Hyper connectivity over the last 30 years has meant that agencies, in a fairly short space of time, needed to be quick to adapt to the changing demands. What’s happening to the advertising industry now is similar to what happened in the music industry over the past decade with disruptive start-ups challenging the establishment. What was once a top-down approach has been opened up to allow for grassroots productions to have success. Hyper connectivity has allowed agencies to compete with agencies twice their size; provided the brain-power and desire is equal to the task. Large corporations with too many barriers may struggle to keep up with the changing demands in the industry of users and customers, and today’s agile agency model may be more suited.
Clients of the future will require responsive teams designed to quickly adapt to any new technologies or platforms. Speed, as always, is important, and what we have learnt from start-ups, is that agencies that are the first to overcome challenges efficiently can be hugely beneficial, and will be rewarded. The edge of innovation is where many clients are looking, and less and less at heritage agencies. Utilising the incredible wealth of knowledge and technology that our generation has is vital to producing solutions beyond just marketing.