If you look at the history of branding, technology has always been a driving force. It started with the invention of the printing press (and the subsequent development of traditional advertising), then came film (without sound) and radio, then talkies, then television.
In most of these cases, the advancing technology has made its predecessor less relevant. For example, low-cost video really put the hurt on radio (the Buggles wrote a song about it, for Pete’s sake!). As marketing evolved with communication technology, it tended to leave the old ways behind.
Interestingly enough, this doesn’t seem to be the case with the Internet. At first, the world wide web struggled to deliver video properly (remember when streaming was optional?), so the two technologies held an uneasy partnership. Today, Netflix and Hulu and Vudu do nothing but stream video – tons and tons of video. And you don’t have to be connected to your cable to watch it. Want to check out the game on your phone? In 2012, that’s no big deal.
For the first time, a new technology (the web) has completely merged with an established one (video). What began with shaky videos of dimwits jumping their skateboards off of parking ramps has turned into an integrated way of showing off products and services that is getting more and more professional.
If you have a TV commercial that people enjoy, they expect to be able to re-watch it on your web site. (Which is amazing in itself: people seeking out your TV commercial!) In fact, now you can have a single video production and use it for a ton of purposes. Make a commercial, make a bunch of videos for your web site, make a version for your meetings and presentations, put some video into your pay-per-click ads, then put all of it on YouTube and Facebook and tell the world.
But just as some things change, others stay the same. For a few years, shaky video and terrible audio were perfectly acceptable ways of communicating online (“Look – I shot it with my phone!”). Then human nature took over, and – as it always has – the better a message was put together, the more it stood out. At first, professionals spent a lot of time trying to look like everyone else (“I want it shakier!”), but then we realized that since everyone else had video that looked bad, the only way to stand out was to look – good! And now professionalism is taking over video online as well.
The good news is that professionalism doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, high-end video is less expensive today than it ever was (we recently made a nationally- televised TV commercial for 1/10 the cost of a spot made 20 years ago). Anyone can afford video – and everyone can afford to do it right!
Video is here to stay, folks. And I can’t wait to see what’s next.