In 1979 the Buggles released the hit single “Video killed the radio star.” This musical phenomenon was a commentary on the changing world of technology. It was the first song to be played on MTV, which also happened to be the world’s first music video broadcasting channel.
By late 2019, we could already see the extreme changes and exponential evolution of technology and the media, and how much it had changed in just 40 years. Fast forward to August 2020, and wow, look how the world has changed in the past seven months.
Remember that old internet-based video conferencing platform? What was it called again? Oh yes, Skype. This time last year we were all trying to do business via Skype without the line breaking up. How many of us knew about Microsoft Teams six months ago? Most of us could never quite get video conferencing right without huge outlays of tech equipment. For face to face business meetings we were catching flights, jumping from plane to plane – this week Joburg, next week Cape Town. And staff working remotely was only a consideration and remained that, a consideration for some time in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives and business greatly over the last 7 months and has probably fast-tracked digital business by at least 24 months, which means the future of business already here. What was an occasional option, video-conferencing that is, has become a necessity. E-commerce has exploded to become online-everything. Digital business has become an extension of our lives, ingrained in every fibre of our DNA.
In August 2019, I was of the opinion that there would be no digital-only marketing agencies 12 months on. What I mean by this is that if digital wasn’t naturally part of everything you did, your business would be dead. Digital is now a ‘passport factor’, with deep digital ingrained into every part of your business. We have to think digital-first, and mobile-first because it’s in the hands of over 50 million South Africans.
The key to building successful brands is to create compelling content and to engage in meaningful conversations with consumers. Strategic, creative partnerships will win – those who listen, who understand consumers, and uncover the human truths to connect. Automation can’t think or engage the consumer, at the end of the day creative thinking will remain, as human beings we out-think, and out-strategise and find the most creative business solutions. Positioning brands distinctively and engaging with humans emotionally will remain, and those who do it best will win.
Engaging content really is king, with quick quality video and audio content production being essential. Podcasts, radio streaming, vodcasts and online TV, demonstrate that forty-one years after the Buggles had us singing their number one hit, the video and radio stars are still alive and well, perhaps in a different guise, yet all contributing effectively to bring us entertainment, education, and brand engagement.