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Future Implications

Written by Chris


in Branding Design

Do you remember how cutting edge it was to go from this device (left) to an electronic typewriter to a word processor? I sure do, as a matter of fact that is how I used to get my college papers done. I certainly had a love hate relationship with that pesky correction ribbon and correction key, nowadays known as a backspace button.

Marketing in the 90s

Imagine being a marketer at a corporation in the 90s trying to get a message out about your company before the web, social media and email. How would that happen? Running television, newspaper and radio ads for starters. Imagine this, you issue a press release by sending it out in the mail or if your company was cutting edge by fax machine in hopes the reporter gets it in time for his or her deadline. And to follow up you would have to call them on the telephone. Yes the telephone, remember there was no email. You actually had to talk to someone (if you were lucky enough to get a hold of them)! Then the fun began, you would either peruse the television news channels and newspapers looking to see if you got coverage or if you had the budget the company would hire a newspaper clip service. Yes people would actually scour the printed articles and “clip” them out with scissors which would get forwarded to your organization. There was no Google or alerts!

Envisioning the Future in the 2000s

Back then I remember going to a Public Relations Society of America Seminar (PRSA) and they talked about the wave of the future and how their would be no more newspapers in the future, everything would be online as computers evolved. The general consensus was people would always want something tangible. But as things progressed we started to see a slow transition from print to online. But newspapers will go out of business, then what will they do? Then it happened, I purchased my first computer – no more typewriters and word processors, this was the real deal! I was typing my first paper on it and wow, imagine the convenience using the backspace and delete buttons to make changes instead of using the correction key to backspace over a typo and hope you are correctly aligned so the correction ribbon does it’s thing. Best of all, no starting over on the computer if things didn’t go right with the manual correction of a typewriter. Wait, I can save the stuff on the screen to a hard drive??? What an awesome feature, unless you didn’t save the document while creating it and inadvertently hit the power switch on the wall next to you (I never made that mistake again). Now we have autosave.

The turning point that started to convince me that perhaps this notion that newspapers were going to go online was when I got my subscription to AOL. I could retrieve the news, weather and email from it using a dial up modem. Okay, but what about all those people who don’t have a computer and want to hold something tangible while commuting to work on the train? Enter the smartphone which evolved from a massive cell phone in a bag that was hooked up to your car which included a magnetic antenna stuck on the roof which later morphed into portable device such as the flip phone which could be transported in your pocket.

The Future and Where it’s Going

I remember hearing about the iPhone and when it came out I rushed to the store. I could not believe I didn’t have to call 4-1-1 for a phone number, is that even around anymore? I was able to type in a business name and it came right up. Amazingly I could call them right from the phone by clicking on the phone number. This is when I knew the way people got there information was going to change forever! I could have never guessed in the 90’s this is where it’s heading and with the implosion of apps and social media in the 2000’s it’s incredible to see where it has come from.

Looking ahead, it’s so hard to tell where it will be in 5-10 years but if I had to guess video is not going anywhere nor is social media. It has forever changed the way businesses communicate. In the intro I talked about press releases, while they are still utilized, there are much more efficient ways to get the message out. Let’s not forget the rise of virtual and augmented reality, these will certainly get integrated into social platforms. We’re already seeing the use of bots to respond to incoming inquiries. Who would have thought in the 90s that television would take a backseat to streaming? And to retrieve music, CDs would be replaced with downloads. Privacy is another major concern, it will be interesting to see where that is going. Will people continue to sacrifice it for free services or pay a premium to protect it? As the technologies increase companies will have to figure out how to keep up when it comes to reaching and responding to customers. This will clearly be driven by technology and behavior. Technology has made task easier in some ways but more complex in others.

I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please share with me your past experiences with technology and communications and where you think it’s going.