The Present, just like its enigmatic sibling The Future, seems strangely difficult to predict nowadays. From nuclear stand-offs to robots taking over, for many of us the here and now is rather science fiction.
We read about the internet of things, gamification and AI with a degree of wonderment and remoteness, as if Alexa has not already taken over .
A few years back keen Google and Facebook followers started blogging about video with some urgency. Already back then we were overdosing on YouTube videos and yet, years down the line, one of the worst kept secrets ever still seems to be this huge surprise: the internet has gone video.
Those of us in the business of communicating deployed a whole range of responses: denial, hysteria, messianic zeal, over-reaction, under-reaction… you name it.
Most non-professionals took to this new age of omni-broadcasting like fish to water and indeed a few ‘amateurs’ got rather successful.
For organisations though, from the tiniest charity to the largest multinational, things are not so simple: The larger players have multiple teams in different territories reporting to different execs, with different objectives, messaging and creative approaches for different audiences. Those audiences, at least in theory, were not supposed to be exposed to it ALL and video was not expected to be so integral to the conversation.
Protocols, standards, lead times, budgets – even the very reasons for creating video content – had all been in place for years but, significantly, for a slower, less interconnected ecosystem.
All of a sudden there is impetus for getting lots of videos out there; companies hitherto obsessive over their unity of form (typography, colours) end up with a rather disjointed approach to video.
Smaller players, especially those not-for-profit, are facing their own dilemma: with communications and engagement budgets already at breaking point, many struggle to find the resource (and time) to keep their images moving. The risks and opportunities around getting video right are nevertheless clear to them all.
Large or small, organisations are starting to realize that they have become accidental broadcasters and that being effectively a television broadcaster is really difficult, even for actual television broadcasters.
Most companies involved with content, marketing, audiences or ‘digital’ claim to have just the solution. They don’t. We don’t.
If we keep on thinking, commissioning and making films the same old way then we should accept that the present will remain unfathomable. There are people in tech, advertising and content creation that are on this very case, right now; very soon today’s normal will be endearingly dated.
I suppose there is something to be said for all of us, content makers, strategists, sellers and yes, buyers too, to start collaborating more genuinely. This may just mean being less preoccupied with defending the ways we do stuff and more focused on changing them.
Obviously if the bots take over faster, more ferociously (or if nuclear conflicts get in the way of our all-important film shoots) then all of the above matters even less.
Until then it be a worthwhile exercise to get back to the present, together.