Trend Report

With the end of the recession faintly appearing on the horizon, marketers, creatives, and investors are evaluating what will be important in the coming months. In other words, they are predicting trends. Here’s a summary of reports.

Churchill Club’s 11th Annual Top Ten Tech Trends
Oya’s CEO and VP were present at this event, where a collection of panelists (VCs, CEOs and some marketers) discussed trends and then voted on them. Shortly after, the crowd was asked to share their vote. Here’s what they agreed on:

1. The “Millennials” — the new college grad generation that doesn’t remember what it was like not to be online — will further innovation farther than ever before because they were born with the web.

2. Advanced batteries have the potential to be the most popular alternative energy investment in ‘09 and’10 if a company can get the technology right.

3. Enterprise data growth will be huge in five years, and 80 percent of that will be unstructured, creating opportunity for information leaders.

4. Wireless broadband will be one of the only IT sectors to see increased funding this year, but the crowd disagreed with this claiming people will always want more bandwidth.

5. “Maintech” not “Cleantech” — it isn’t “greentech” that will thrive in this economy, but newer ideas in more traditional energy technology.

6. Power and efficiency management services will see a flowering of investment and innovation — the smart grid will be increasingly important.

7. The triumph of the distributed web — crowds will control much of the interesting things people look for online.

8. Healthcare administration will see the best growth in B2B software in ‘09 and ‘10

9. Consumption of digital goods on mobile devices is THE growth story of the coming decade and application building will fuel growth in the mobile space rather than the ad model.

10. Electronic displays will prove the hottest investment in hardware this year and the next as long as an ROI is involved.

For a full report on the event, visit http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/20/the-churchill-clubs-2009-tech-trends-energy-data-and-more-energy/

Communication Arts Interactive Annual
The 2009 interactive annual was released in May and the jurors provided feedback on trends they noticed while reviewing the thousands of entries from websites to mobile applications. They include:

1. There’s a growing focus on providing one piece of functionality that’s relevant at the right moment.

2. Design and interaction is becoming more simplified, rather than overwhelming the user with technology that’s just new and popular.

3. The integration of social media continues to grow, but more attention is being paid to making it a seamless and organic experience.

4. There’s been a dramatic overuse of video due to its ability to be both memorable and informative, but if it doesn’t project the personality of the brand it will fail to be an effective medium.

5. Loaders have taken on their own art form, becoming a means of extending the personality of the brand.

6. Mobile will become more central — it’s real time, fits well into people’s lives, and location-based technology will improve online services—while corporate websites become less important.

7. More experiences will be built to cater to dwell time — engaging snippets of brands during commutes and waiting times.

8. TV and print will not go away, but digital will continue to have a stronger ROI.

To view winning entries, visit http://www.commarts.com/interactive/.

The Oya Group
Here at Oya, we have a few predictions of our own — some of which we have already acted on. Here’s our short list of our trend spotting.

1. Digital media will become smarter, integrating into our online experiences as needed rather than pure volume. Fewer bells and whistles, more speed and function.

2. We’re seeing more mobile devices being used in relation to locations. For those without the app or mobile device, digital displays will become increasingly important for on-the-spot communications.

3. Websites will become lighter, moving back to the simplified navigation with fewer videos and items requiring download time. The multi-media factors will be moved into microsites for more targeted experiences.

4. Companies will become more conscious of their brand message as social media evolves as a marketing tool. Vocabularies will expand and there will be more opportunities to directly  interact with their audience.

5. We will begin to see more digital experiences in the environment rather then behind a computer monitor.

6. Print won’t disappear, it will become ‘special’.

7. Community Manager is the new Brand Manager.

8. Blue is the new green and yellow will encourage a positive attitude during these tough economic times.

9. ‘Found’ may be the new ‘search’ technology (Bing, Siri), but its ability to react to human behavior will determine its success.

10. With digital print technology improving in both cost and quality, shorter more customized print runs will be done to compete with the digital noise consumers are surrounded by.

Have you noticed some trends? Leave a comment and share your predictions for the year ahead.

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Photo Shoots Gone Bad

Once in a while, it’s good to be reminded of the importance of managing a photo shoot. Just over a week ago, the entire nation got that reminder.

Lesson 1: Communicate, Confirm, Then Re-confirm

In an effort to capture some photographs of Air Force One flying across New York’s harbor, the duplicate backup plane was brought in along with some F-16 fighter jets to escort it. Unfortunately, the public was unaware that the event of a low-flying aircraft circling the city was about to occur. Panic broke out, people started evacuating from their high-rise buildings, and emergency phone calls flooded 911.

Following the false alarm, the director of the White House Military Office assured the press that steps were taken to notify city officials. A furious Mayor Bloomberg, however, was never briefed on the event. Due to the lack of communication, confirmations, and proper briefing, the photo shoot not only took a toll on the city of New York financially, but emotionally too.

After discussing it with some colleagues and photographers, the general agreement was this should have never become a photo shoot in the first place. Use Photoshop instead!

Lesson 2: Stick to Business—Leave the Ego at the Door

Photo shoots can be glamorous, involving celebrities, pre-release top-secret products, and incredibly talented photographers. Amidst all the excitement, egos can get in the way and jeopardize an otherwise fantastic photo opportunity.

Jill Greenburg was becoming a hot photographer, shooting covers for Wired magazine, Fortune, and developing a style of photography many other photographers were trying to replicate. It didn’t take long for the editors from The Atlantic magazine to come knocking on her door. The assigment was to take photographs for the cover of their magazine, of Senator John McCain during his campaign for president. She completed the assignment, but captured a few of her own at the same time, retouched them, and posted them on her own website with slogans and statements that ridiculed the candidate.

Not only was this incredibly unprofessional, it was also embarrassing for the publication that trusted her. Last I checked, they were considering taking legal action and did not pay Greenburg for her work. The photography community also lashed out at her actions and she has since changed her agency rep twice (mutual departures).

The extended lesson here is to have strong relationship with your photographer, a solid contract, and a clear creative direction that won’t be altered because of personal opinions.

Lesson 3: Lights, Camera, Models, Props, Wardrobe, Makeup….

There’s a lot of coordination involved in preparing for a photo shoot. Location, proper staffing, transportation, equipment — it’s a lot to organize. Some of this is the photographer’s responsibility, but most is in the hands of the client and agency. Communication, again, is the key to making a photo shoot go smoothly, though being able to improvise on the spot is also necessary in extreme situations. Here’s an article I found that illustrates this lesson very well—enjoy!

http://www.prophotolife.com/2008/11/19/ever-had-a-photo-shoot-gone-bad/

Compressing a Long URL

Sometimes, when hand coding HTML isn’t an option, inserting a hyperlink can be a pain. This is especially true when the URL is over 30 characters long.

While updating my status on Twitter, it became apparent that I needed to find a solution. Some users claimed inserting an <a href=”url”></a> tag would do it — it didn’t for me. Others said Twitter would also compress the long URL for you — no such luck. Maybe I’m doing something wrong.

Twitter Help didn’t give me any answers so I went off-site and found http://phaze.me/. This free service will compress any URL you give it into a short URL (ie. http://phaze.me/18qq). You can also customize it (ie. http://phaze.me/Free Stanford course on developing iPhone software).

Similar services are available here:
http://bit.ly/
http://tinyurl.com/
http://lizzer.com/

Wondering What Your Customers Are Thinking?

Ask them!!

Here is a cool resource for custom online/mobile surveys: Zoomerang.com … and it’s free!

This website has a lot of great features. It allows you to create surveys with advanced reporting, PowerPoint charts, skip logic, custom branding and more. There are three different membership tiers; and the free membership gives you access to the basic tools you need to create a survey of up to 300 responses.

I gave it a test drive and can honestly say that creating the survey is REALLY easy and there are tons of options. You can create pull down menus, multiple choice questions, organize the question order with a drag and drop feature, and preview the survey just as your recipient would see it. 

So if you ever need to create a poll or a survey, check out their site … or have Oya do it for you!

Zoomerang.com Screenshot