April 14, 2011
Lately I have been paying particular attention to the relationship between the speed at which technology changes versus the average person’s ability to comprehend (or care) and this quote sort of summed it up:
“I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.” — Bjarne Stroustrup, Danish computer scientist
It seems that once I step outside the advertising arena where most of us in some form or fashion practically live on our computers, iPhones, iPads or some other electronic device, there is a huge disconnect or I don’t care attitude out there. Many feel that everything is changing so fast it is impossible to keep up, so why try? And I think the greatest challenge to us in the Biz is to keep in mind that everyone is not as tethered to technology as we might be. There are days I feel I am drinking from the technology fire hose… and I live, eat and breathe this stuff.
This has been a huge topic of discussion here at the agency and I have even done some informal research. I have asked over 400 people this question about web site navigation: If you are on page twelve of a website and want to get back to the home page and there is no Home button, what do you do? (The answer to this question is at the bottom of this post.) Only two people have given me the correct answer, a programmer for IBM and my 10-year-old nephew.
And this is just the most trivial (and almost absurd) example. Last week I wrote about Popcodes. The US hasn’t even fully embraced QR Codes and there’s something new out to replace it. One day everyone on Twitter is extolling the virtues of a new app for geo-positioning and the next week the same people say it sucks and that some new app is better. Now don’t get me wrong. I am in favor of advancements in technology. I am an early adopter of most technology and as I mentioned, live in this arena and struggle to keep up.
So here’s my question: Are the developers of all this wonderful technology paying attention to Joe Q. Public’s ability to keep up or are they all talking (and developing) for themselves? Will there be a technology backlash in the near future because of this?
Let me know what you think and how you are keeping up. Oh yeah, The web navigation answer I promised is: on nine out of ten sites, if you click on the logo, it will take you back to the home page.
February 22, 2011
I often hear people interchange the words Public Relations and Advertising as if they were the same profession and I can see where the lines are easily crossed by those not in the industry. One of my past colleagues described the difference in a grossly simplified, yet easy to understand analogy:
PR educates that the best way to get from point A to point B is to drive a car. Advertising tells you the car needs to be a particular brand.
Though these two industries share the common goal of educating an audience to achieve a communicative goal, they are very different in their approach. The goal of a PR professional is to achieve publicity by way of media sources. They use press conferences, press releases and personal calls, etc., to generate interest in a client’s story. The information released by means of public relations tells all the pertinent information in an upfront manner. Creativity in public relations is finding that hook that will resonate with the publishers, editors and news directors to make them want to pick up the story.
Through advertising, however, you have total creative control over how a message is crafted and your tools include creative copy, photos, illustrations, design, sound and motion. You are paying for space to reach a desired and specific audience – you have guarantees that the message will be communicated. Consumers know they are being sold to; advertising needs to have a high level of creativity to solicit a response. Advertising can craft wording with a sense of urgency, like “Call Today” or “Act Now” whereas PR presents the facts.
Public Relations and Advertising need to work hand-in-hand within your marketing mix, but they have different strategic purposes – they are not the same, but are definitely related.
February 16, 2011
Imagine your next computer has an unlimited amount of space. All the music, videos, TV shows, work files and artwork you want — no limit. And you can access all this from any computer or even your cell phone, lightning fast. And your new computer costs less than $200.
Welcome to Cloud Computing — this is the future.
Actually, you’ve probably been using The Cloud and didn’t even know it. Facebook is a prime example. You upload photos, videos and words to Facebook and it stores them. That’s a simple version of Cloud Computing. Web-based back-up systems are another example of The Cloud. It’s like a giant hard drive of which everyone has a section (probably rents a section for a small monthly fee). With a password, you will be able to access this giant hard drive and work on any file; the same as you do now with your current computer. Your new computer (and even your smartphone) will simply be a means to access The Cloud — no files, no software on your computer. It’s all in The Cloud. Did I mention that this is the future? It’s probably three–to–five years away from universal use.
Of course, we are only on the leading edge right now of Cloud Computing and there are still a lot of potential bugs that need to be worked out: security, bandwidth and universal high-speed Internet access to name a few. However, they will work out the details and some day in the near future ‘Having your head in The Cloud’ will have a whole new meaning.