Luke wrote an article for our university alumni magazine, here is for those of you lucky enough to have not studied at our campus:
It turns out that we have something that past students have lacked: we are digital natives. We’ve grown up with the exhausting coverage of reality TV and shared our lives online through Instant Messenger, Facebook and MySpace. We have a different understanding of communications. Mine personally changed the moment I explored the globe with Lara croft on my games console. It was this work, along with many others that pushed expectations further; since then I’ve become easily distracted and I’m not the only one.
It’s become second nature for many of us to use laptops or phones while watching television, or to even play online games and talk to strangers around the world. It’s changed the way we interact with others and interpret media and brands are learning this all too well. In the past, the consumer was faced with a barrier of print or television advertising that enforced the brand’s image. Now we use the Internet to find out what really stands behind that wall in an instant.
Technology has forced brands to re-think how they are perceived and act accordingly with smarter, adaptive and considered communications emerging. The best examples of these are Whopper Sacrifice, the Facebook application, Nike+ – the running tool that uses iPods to motivate the user and monitor their performance – or Fiat eco: Drive which allows drivers to use data analysis to understand how they can drive economically and reduce their damage to the environment.
These are compelling, long-term ideas that create publicity through their innovative and useful nature. It’s a reflection of the development in the industry that these ideas blur the lines between product design and advertising. Ideas now run along multiple narratives at once, with consumers interacting in real time across media, gaining an extra understanding of the brand in each medium. And we are skilled in this very understanding through years of gaming, watching television, surfing the internet and reading.
This is what forward-thinking agencies are looking for: an ability to create ideas that work in real and online worlds, but, most importantly, merges them together. It’s a mindset that many of our generation display, yet fail to harness. And the way to do this is best summed up by Samuel Beckett “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”. Yes, we should experiment with what we know, learn as we go, and adopt techniques as we have new technology. To do this, we need to learn the skills and software required. Learning how to code or to capture film is more important than ever. It’s this DIY attitude that will provide experience, understanding and sharpen our ideas for the current climate. What’s more, through building sites, hacking technology and creating content, you could become essential to agencies looking to identify with modern consumers. Just remember: it started with playing games, watching films or reading, and it’s important to keep that sense of fun every time you experiment.