Can Advertising Keep Up With the New and Different?

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New media trends are developing faster than at any other time in history. At the same time traditional media, with which many agencies have grown comfortable, is failing at record rates.

While agencies can scramble to find the latest media trends, they may also find that they have trouble keeping up, let alone staying at the forefront of media trends.

Most popular media trends are very young, especially when you compare them with traditional media (television, newspapers, radio and magazines), which has been around for years.

In the U.S. and in Europe, Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace seem to lead the social media pack – but all of those are fairly new. Twitter was founded in 2006. Facebook started in 2004. MySpace is practically a granddaddy, having begun in 2003. Yet, these relatively new forms of media are increasingly dominating the public conversation.

Despite their dominance, it is only recently that online media and traditional ads have really been noticeably blended in the same campaign. It’s as though advertisers have suddenly realized that social media is here, it’s effective, and it’s staying.

The trouble with that is, media trends do change. Right now, they are changing more rapidly than traditional media ever did. What works today may not work next year. The safety of using traditional media for advertising campaigns is gone.

In fact, one could argue that if you’re reading a lot about a media trend it’s all ready too late to get in the forefront of that trend. The demographics of Facebook have already changed to include an older and more professional crowd and Twitter is changing too.

Culture makes a difference too. The ThoughtFarmer blog has an excellent post on cross-cultural social networking that every agency should read. Even though the ThoughtFarmer blog is primarily concerned with intranet development, the points made in the post are valid.

Meanwhile, next year’s “hot” online trends remain unknown. Will it be more of the same social media dominance that we’ve seen in the past few years, or is something else just around the bend?

It’s impossible to tell for sure right now, and that’s a problem for many agencies who must plan their budget months, or even a year ahead.

Can traditional PR and advertising agencies be retooled to respond quickly enough to “catch” emerging media trends, or is a new PR and advertising model needed?

How does your agency predict and use upcoming media trends?

Is your agency a trend follower or a trend setter, and why?

Have cultural differences made an impact on how you advertise?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great point Warren!

    Still, I don’t think that they are done shifting (or showing any indication that changes are slowing down).

    Listening is now more important than it ever was.

  2. Warren Whitlock says

    Retooling may not be enough..

    These “new media” are a fundamental shift.. not just a channel to use to pump out a message.. each allows users to control what they read, and more importantly.. respond back.

    An entity that talks through the channel may reach some.. but the ones who LISTEN will be the winners in this new world. No matter which web site or system prevails, listening and engaging is key.

  3. says

    Great point Ceci!

    The “no holds barred” approach can get organizations to try new things.

    Although I’ve known of some non-profit organizations who seem to be on top of social media – even ahead of some for-profit companies.

  4. says

    Most of my clients are non-profit organizations which traditionally tend to be slow to pick up on new trends. Stereotypically, dot orgs are the last to utilize social media and the full power of the web. However, in these times, there is a certain “we’ll try anything” attitude that has been very refreshing. I have been able to do many more things involving new media than ever before with great returns. All PR agencies should take that “no holds barred” approach and roll with the punches. We all must realize that if we keep doing business as usual we are going to be left in the dust.

  5. says

    Hi Jose!

    Thanks for stopping by! That’s an interesting speculation, but not too far off base. I think that traditional media will have to adopt some new forms if it is to survive.

  6. says

    Hi,

    Alot has been said and I don’t think it’s worth that I should add more, namely because I’m not a marketing specialist.
    However there’s something that I think it’s quite predictable: traditional media with buying power may acquire the mentioned (and others of course) social networks.
    Then how they will merge both platforms, that’s something to be seen.
    Of course that the opposite may also happen.

    Best regards,

    José

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