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.