Three major events have taken place in succession this year – CES, MWC and SxSW – and all three have had some key commonalities. Wearables, VR and 360 cameras to name a few.
With great advances in the functionality and diversity of both hardware and software, technology has progressed at an unbelievable rate over recent years. However, what stands out from all these developments is the fact that they’re all now interconnected with social media platforms and services in one way or another. And diving a bit deeper, we can see that at the heart of it all lies content.
Given the emphatic rise of Snapchat, the widespread use of terms such as “the five-second rule” and “thumb stopping” and the oversaturation of the social media scene in general, things are changing. Everything is moving towards making content not only short and “snackable”, but also quickly available and more timely and relevant than ever. Unless you’re creating a great, high quality, big production piece of content that costs a great amount of cash, the short and timely content is what will sustain an always-on presence in the digital realm today.
Thankfully, technology is heading in the very same direction as well, enabling us to do this. Brands can now quickly build short stories on Snapchat, keeping their fans engaged and updated on a daily basis. Brands can also cover their events live using a multitude of live broadcasting services and apps, such as Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook Live, YouTube live streaming, etc. Amazing smartphone cameras mean that pictures taken at an event, store, or even at the office, are now decent enough to push out immediately on social platforms (provided the person taking the picture knows what they’re doing).
There’s a wider community at play here too. Today, we have an amazing range of picture and video capture devices, like GoPro cameras, 360 cameras and high-end smartphones that can shoot in 4K. Coupled with highly accessible and easy-to-use editing software, the content being produced now by both amateurs and professionals is exceptional! Add drone photography to the mix and you can get some really top quality footage.
What once used to be exclusive to production houses is now affordable and available to the masses. Of course, that’s not to say production houses are dying; there will always be the need to produce really high quality content that simply cannot be produced with equipment bought off the shelf by regular people. However, there’s a clear democratization of content creation today that is enabling people across the world to produce more content than ever before.
Today, one hour of material is uploaded on YouTube every second! YouTube celebrities are literally making millions by consistently publishing content that may even be filmed in their own living rooms! Extreme sports athletes are using equipment bought at local electronics stores to produce breathtaking footage of their stunts.
I’ve said it before in a previous write up that brands need to keep an eye on up and coming content creators, hire them or work with them in order to co-create content. Many are very talented and know exactly what type of content particular audiences like to see. Therefore, marketers would be wise to start spotting such talent immediately. From a content creation perspective, these talented young men and women will be the future of branded content, and branded content in its own right is the future of content produced by/with brands.