Curiosity Matters

An Exploration of Branding, Design and Cultural Trends

Tectonic Shift In Advertising

We've finally reached that point in advertising where we've gone through a tectonic shift in what defines advertising and who is producing it. Actually - one could extend this to the entire media industry. When I first started in advertising, working at a CRM agency back in 2007, direct was considered second class to above the line, brand agencies. PR was its own separate entity that advertising folks thought were relegated to a bunch of fashionistas with lots of magazine connections. And mobile didn't even exist. Blogging was owned by individuals or small publishers who didn't have much credibility as journalists but were fun reads. But then - the iPhone was introduced, influencing a major shift in consumer behavior. With the internet at our fingertips, we all started developing a relentless appetite for content. We became hyper-connected through Twitter and Facebook. Our online personas went from anonymous avatars to cleverly written, full-name-revealing Twitter profiles. And we learned that we are what we share. Sharing became a form of social currency among our social networks. What we shared mattered from network to network - could we stir up a political debate among our high school friends via Facebook or Tweet a link to a cool ad before anyone else in our feed? Fueling this growth was an increasing ability to consume content - wifi and 3G gained speed, websites became mobile-friendly and companies stopped blocking various website access.

Finally, brands started taking note. They realized that preaching from an unreachable pulpit was losing its efficacy. And if they wanted to stir conversations about their brand, they actually needed to create them. But like a preacher educating his congregation on the tenants of Jesus, they learned to talk about the happenings and interests in that person's own life - connecting the brands with that consumers day to day.

And thus, advertising was shifted on its head. Try looking for strategy jobs right now and you'll only see jobs for content marketing or social media strategy. Try looking for traditional editorial jobs and you'll be directed to online websites and blogs. We've reached a fundamental shift in how brands approach consumers. It's no longer simply a "two way street" with consumers having the ability to connect with brands. Consumers have demanded a deeper relationship with brands - seeking inspiration, advice, entertainment, support and accurate information just as we'd seek from our actual friends.