Image source: http://www.friendsofeurope.org/event/digital-skills-for-the-future/attachment/google-logo-large/
A seismic shift is taking place in our industry and adjustments are being made as the tremors grow louder and more frequent. Those at the forefront are mobilising to ensure that when the full quake comes they will be 100% ready. Others aren’t even sure that anything’s happening at all.
I watched, listened and read with fascination Google’s new announcements – hardware releases, new comfort-based designs and a rather interesting shift in the way search might be used. Google knows that the little box we type our every thought into won’t continue in this form forever and they want to make sure that when it changes they’ll remain the “just google it” of our lives.
I pulled this quote from one of the more interesting articles I read “Artificial intelligence comes first. In that world you must own the interaction point, and there is no room for ads, rendering both Google’s distribution and business model moot. Both must change for the company’s technological advantage to come to the fore” – this really caught my attention. Google has many brilliant minds working to ensure it is who it is and operates at optimal pressures for both consumers and its own financial well-being.
Clearly the big brain is running full-steam ahead into a sector that, as of yet, has no clear rules, no dominators, no concrete advertising formats and no specific advertising revenue model. This should be a very big wake-up call for our media industry. How will we plan and, of course, show ROI in-line with metrics that aren’t yet accepted as “robust”. Where will the audited data come from and how will we serve the inventory, if you can even call it that?
There is no doubt in my mind that this is the future. History has always proved that consumers tell us what they want and it’s up to brands to listen and adapt or see an uncomfortable and sometimes agonisingly slow demise. We need to listen carefully right now as things are changing quickly and those in the know, like our friends at Google, are going to come out trumps.
We need to carefully assess these changes in-line with our current media agency models and of course expectations and commitments to our clients. How do we complement the science of perfect, channel-specific communications and measurement with immersive experiences that might not resemble an ad at all, more something that provides texture or sensory enablement knitted perfectly into a consumer journey?
Those that choose to focus on the current landscape and trajectory of things are those who could be wiping away tears in the not too distant future.
Ben Thomson from Stratechery.com says “We can be both impressed by Google’s strategic thinking and yes, courage in facing this new epoch, even as we are a bit bearish about their prospects: technology alone is rarely enough, and the only thing more difficult than changing business models is changing cultures”.
It takes a while to turn around a super-tanker but it’s sure worth it. The digital environment is getting more complex by the minute and sitting idle while it breaks down doors and carves an unexpected path is definitely not a good idea. We need to listen and implement steps now to ensure we are the media agencies of the future.