Peering into 2012 and beyond

<This is a longer post. Skip down to the 2012 section if you want to get on with it.>
crystal ball


Well, it’s that time again. It’s been two years since my last proclamations for the upcoming year(s). It’s no accident. Even though we’re all speeding up, I think trends and predictions take some time to bear fruit.

Let’s look at how I did from my predictions in 2010:

  • People will go pay for big experiences with family and friends. Mixed. There was a small bounce back in 2010, but the double-dip reversed that quickly.
  • Micro-innovation – new ways to make money on the Interwebs. Not Really. The micro gave away to the macro innovation. Once again, people are extracting large sums of money out of the Internet, only this time it’s with an actual business plan.
  • Social Media will become a requirement. Yep. Kind of a “Well, duh” prediction, but I’ll take it
  • 2009 = personal brand, 2010 = being a person. Nope. The highly managed and curated personal brand is alive and well.
  • Make your advertising entertaining plus add value. Mixed.  I mentioned in 2010 a commercial making you laugh as being valuable because people were down. Interestingly, if you look at AdWeek’s 10 Best Commercials of 2011 there’s a fair amount of serious going on. Sure, some are playful, like the VW Force spot, but there’s none of the completely over the top ads from year’s past. That was surprising.
  • Online inspiring Offline action. Not yet. Not so much a prediction as a recommendation from 2010. More of this as it’s in this year’s prediction.
  • The rise of city pride. Yep. Looking back it’s eerie talking about people not being able to move because of the housing crisis. I don’t think any of us knew how bad it was going to be in Jan 2010. In my neck of the woods we have the very…umm unique Durham as an example of city pride. One look at the second coming of Detroit is all you need to see city pride in action.
  • Smaller Online Tribes. Yes and no. There continues to be a wide net thrown on the online social experience when it comes to brands and friends. At the same time, there’s been a huge interest in local discovery—Yelp, Meetup, Groupon—for real-life experiences.
  • Wildcard: Gen X & Y conflict. A big YES. Ohhhh man, did this one ever come true. I don’t remember reading about the impending conflict in 2010, but the writing was on the wall. Boomers had to hang on to refund retirement, Xers were stuck, Yers were barred from entry or the first to go from jobs. Some examples from Gizmodo, Washington Post, and Penelope Trunk’s post and subsequent comments. 


So what’s next for 2012 and beyond?

Here’s some thoughts on where I see communications going and opinions on where it should be headed.

ORLO – Online-Real Life-Online – Not only do I think this will be a big trend, I think brands need to make it happen if they’re serious about nurturing their fan base. This means bringing a real life experience to your online fans and driving a piece of the experience and their reactions back online to feed the fan machine.

Analytics is king – With companies staffing up with social media specialists and the economy still limping along the onus is on communications to show value. Unsurprisingly, the spreadsheet-set really like spreadsheets.

Twitter interactions declining – We’ve already started to see it over here. It’s become more of a RSS feed of what the Internet hive mind is looking at than a way to connect with that really cool person. What’s most disturbing to me are the stories of Twitter flamewars. The day that Tweets resemble YouTube comments is the day that Twitter dies.

Rise of video – We’ve been banging this drum for several years now. In the next few years technology may finally make it easier than ever for video creation.

More effort into mobile. Mobile will gain more importance as the second screen or in tandem with the first screen. Mobile sites will be the new must-have. People carry their digital lives with them and brands can’t afford to miss an opportunity to connect at any time.

What do you think? Agree or disagree? What trends are you seeing in your industry? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.


Author BrianCrawford

More posts by BrianCrawford

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Ben Farrell says:

    RISE of video? Damn – I may need to take a step back. I eat, sleep, and breath web video and audio. I thought it had already risen – we’ve got all the major studios/networks fully entrenched now. The company I work for does discovery/metadata around video, and we’re generating tons of interest just based on that.

    I’d say it’s already risen, but it’ll definitely continue to snowball! Or maybe since I only deal with studios/networks and stuff I just think it’s bigger than it is.

    I think we’ll see more money being poured into video – as with new devices and new markets we’ll need to see more transcoding efforts, more development effort to code for the devices, etc. But that’s just shifting the content around from one screen to the next.

    • Brian Crawford says:

      To a certain extent I agree with you. If you’re already doing video then it seems like video is everywhere. But, most nonprofits, and even corporations, have barely dipped their toes into the video water. I’m talking about self-produced, of course.

      With improved cameras and editing apps in iPhones and Android phones, the democratization of video—from shooting to editing—marches on.

Leave a Reply