The parade of technology buzzwords is stronger than ever. AR, VR, MR, AI, IoT, Blockchain? Where did they come from? Where are they going? Will they become the new mandatories for your brand? It’s the impetus for Hank McLendon’s new series: a deep-dive on emerging tech—and how to determine what matters most for your business.
From the moment a computer first said “hello” back in 1984, digital technology has been transforming the world of branding and marketing. Along the way, CMOs, brand managers, design managers—really, the whole spectrum of marketing professionals—have had to constantly adapt, and re-adapt, to new technologies and capabilities, each creating potential threats alongside powerful new opportunities.
For the last 20-plus years of this (r)evolution, I’ve worked as a digital creative and strategist helping marketers understand these technologies and how they should best be leveraged. Sometimes to enable great creative ideas, sometimes to connect with consumers in new ways, and sometimes to modify or create the products or services themselves.
Generally, a given technology starts by creating value “out of view” somewhere—in some space that isn’t called marketing.
I won’t lie: it hasn’t been easy. Each introduction of an emerging technology requires the marketer to a) become educated and understand the technology enough to grasp its value, b) understand where it is on the adoption curve and how it’s creating value right now, and c) understand where it’s going and its long-term implications for the brand and for society as a whole. Failing at any one of these leads to wasted time, effort and money at best, and leaves a brand vulnerable (or extinct) at worst.
Generally, a given technology starts by creating value “out of view” somewhere—in some space that isn’t called marketing. It grows in adoption and starts to change culture: how people communicate, how people create, how they connect. And then, much later, it bubbles up as a buzzword in the marketing world, and suddenly, we’re all talking about it. Is it a fad? Does it generate enough volume? Does my brand really need “friends?” (A factual quote from the early days of Facebook.) And thus the process of education, evaluation and experimentation begins.
The good news is that the rapidly evolving parade of new things isn’t a new thing anymore.
Typically, some experiments work, some don’t. Some brands win big and adapt (how did a shoe brand become a part of my Apple Watch?). Some blunder spectacularly (did Kodak fail to consider a world without film?). The good news is that the rapidly evolving parade of new things isn’t a new thing anymore. Patterns have emerged, and we have a better understanding of the path to adoption. There are ways to approach emerging tech that help reveal its true value and ensure your brand can share in that value.
And despite the challenges, it’s just fun! As new superpowers come online, who doesn’t want to plug in and level up? The hyperreal world looks pretty amazing, so let’s jump in and see where it can take us.
This series will look at emerging technologies that may be “buzzwords” to many marketers, and that we at LPK believe are highly relevant to brands and businesses. The goal is to fulfill the three areas of need identified above:
Our first deep-dive will look at Extended Reality (XR), a technology that promises to change the face of human/computer interaction. Extended Reality (XR) is a term used to encompass multiple technologies, which are the more likely buzzwords you’ve been hearing: augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR). Stay tuned and we’ll take a closer look at each.
In the meantime, if you’d like to connect on emerging technologies in brand and innovation, reach out below.