The Blog Team, January 2016
A sea change in the other direction, please
I’m hoping that we as a human race can finally blast through the brick wall of indifference about the warming planet. Understandably, terror, pocketbook issues, family concerns and, heck, our daily to-do list occupy most of our worries. But we’re creating a serious problem here, beginning with flood, drought, heat and harsher storms. Education alone isn’t the answer: It divides Americans as much as it enlightens them. The truth is, we’re just not that concerned about harm that doesn’t seem imminent. I believe this indifference is largely a communications problem. But as we’ve seen so often, more data alone won’t make the issue relevant. Short of your own house floating away or your crops turning to dust, what combination of sensory experiences, community impulses and shared values will?
A human touch in the virtual world
I think communication in 2016 will continue to move from content to the experiences created by and through a combination of content, engagement and personal interaction.
OMG! Did I just write personal interaction? Yes!
Although there are a dizzying array of new technological developments, there is one constant: we are human. And despite depictions in the movie “Her,” humans still crave and need the human touch, the profoundly personal. So yes, there is real opportunity in the burgeoning technology of virtual reality. But like any new technology (think Internet of Things or 3D printing) it will likely take some time for us to figure out what to do with it and how it fits into all the other digital cacophony out there.
What we are likely to see in 2016 are more energetic attempts to combine the optimal mix of online and offline, of digital and physical, of network and one-on-one relationships. One organization to watch is “Phigital,” recently bought by Gimbal, Inc. They focus mainly on the technology. But the push is to figure out how to intertwine that technology with a human smile, a personal touch, a relevant and human(e) conversation.
Video takes the storytelling crown
Storytelling will become more about video than either spoken or printed word in 2016. According to a report by Cisco, video will account for 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2019 because it’s turning into the storytelling platform of choice. The reason? Neuroscience.
The brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. That caters to our average attention span of just 8.25 seconds.
If you’re a brand trying to convince someone to buy your product in 8.25 seconds, would you choose video—a visual rhetoric that can engage viewers quickly and efficiently—or text?
The answer is rather obvious. In 2016 video marketing will dominate branding strategies on three different platforms: branded video production, website design, and live streaming.
Branded videos will grow dramatically due to the power of YouTube, now the second most popular search engine in the world behind only Google, and growing fast. From interviews to commercials, branded videos will continue to shift traffic from text-based content in 2016. Marketers will integrate video into web design to make pages more engaging and relevant to the consumer. Live streaming will also take a leap thanks to Meerkat and Periscope, which target followers and instantly form connections.
2016 is the year. Video will be king.
An elective Adderall for our national polarization
The 2016 presidential election is gearing up to be the most polarizing since Hayes-Tilden. If you think the mudslinging is bad now, remember that we’re still in the warm-up round. The real ugliness starts after the nominating conventions. No screen or page will be free of the candidates and their minions whipping us into an antagonistic froth. Their objective: to get us straining at our leashes to bolt into the voting booth and elect the ONLY candidate who can keep America safe from, well, the other candidate.
I hope that this fete of divisive mishegas will be like a giant Adderall shoved down our collective throat. It will get us so amped up that we’ll actually calm down and focus on how tired we are of being divided. Factoring out people on the extreme left and right, the rest will start looking for common ground between red and blue, left and right, liberal and conservative. This Atlantic article on the seizure of a government building in Oregon by disgruntled, gun-toting ranchers is a hopeful sign that our attention might be turning to where we can meet in the (cue gasp) middle.