August 7, 2013

Which innovations are alive, and which are dead?

In digital design there are always innovations breaking through and threatening to change the world as we know it.

Some emerge with a huge amount of buzz, are promoted with an evangelical zeal, sparkle for a bit, but then disappear never to be heard from again. Think about gadgets like the Apple Newton and personal digital assistants?

Others literally do change the world. Think the Apple iPad and the tablet technology which is currently destroying PC sales globally.

It can be difficult to predict which innovations will burn bright in the future and which will simply fizzle a little then burn out.

We’re prepared to stick our head above the parapet, and give our thoughts on what innovations are alive and kicking and what is breathing its last breath.

Alive – Digital PR

Acquiring links to your website has always been important for boosting visibility on search engine result pages. The difference these days is algorithmic changes by Google have vastly increased the importance of gaining links from quality websites and blogs. Getting the best links can often require more thought and inventiveness than a simple polite request to those websites or blogs.

Dead – Old school SEO

In years gone by many SEO agencies used what would now be considered underhand tactics to improve website rankings on search engines. Although it is still possible to cheat the system, Google is making this harder and actively penalising those who it catches trying it. The way round this is to have a genuine appealing website which people want to visit, spend time on and link to.

Alive Dynamic branding

Forward thinking businesses are rapidly adopting flexible and adaptive branding. Branding is now changing so it can appear subtly different on different platforms. For an example of a business varying its branding, take a look at the constantly changing trademark on Google’s home page. This dynamic branding is not unique to digital brands. Take a look at how the Portuguese energy company EDP displays the trademark on its corporate homepage.

Dead Blanding (Traditional branding rules)

A set of rigid guidelines for branding is now an anachronism – more at home in the era when print was king. There are brands sticking with this way of thinking though. The Royal Bank of Scotland is still using exactly the same branding on its letter heads as it does online. As a result, its website looks sterile and boring.

Alive – Augmented Reality

This is not a brand new technology – it has actually been around for a few years now. The difference today is it is becoming more advanced and more accepted. Ikea is using this technology in its 2014 catalogue. AR is also increasingly offering practical benefits which take advantage of the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets in an exciting way.

Dead – 3D film

Avatar was a good film (much better than Disney’s John Carter) and the 3D element certainly helped market the film, but that was in 2009. Despite an influx of 3D televisions on to the market since then, there has been very little to get genuinely excited about. It may have its uses – it could capture the interest of an audience at a conference or exhibition – but it is still more novelty than mainstream technology.

Alive – Mobile websites

Smartphones are fast becoming ever present personal devices used by all age groups – and people are increasingly using them conduct research and to shop. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore this trend. You can read more about this by viewing our previous blog on this topic.

Dead – Consumer Loyalty

These days consumers are never very far from a personal computing device of some shape or size and this means it has becoming incredibly easy to compare prices. Shoppers are even doing this while in store. When customers visit a website it is now vital they can navigate to the required content and point of sale quickly and easily – otherwise they may just jump to an easier to use competitor website.

Alive – User Experience Testing

When it is so important for businesses to convert visitors on their website, it is vital they test those sites to check they appeal to their customers. A company can check this before going live by using user experience testing. Crowd sourcing technology has now made this extremely affordable. Read more about this on this blog.

Dead – Set top box TV subscriptions

With Apple TV and Google Chromecast now providing households with a way to view web content incredibly easily on your television, how long can the traditional TV subscription survive in its current format? Expect to see more people demanding the full web experience on the main screen of their home in the very near future. 

There you have it, our breakdown of what’s alive and what’s dead. Any we’ve missed? Leave us a comment!

 

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Branding has changed dramatically in the digital era