Futureproofing through interactivity

YouTube broke another of its records this week when its live webcast of U2’s “360” concert at Los Angeles’ Rose Bowl on Sunday generated nearly 10 million streams worldwide. This is a significant success for Google’s video company, but it also serves as a poignant reminder to marketers that technology will prove fundamental to futureproofing brands as traditional methods begin to be overshadowed.

In the music industry, it’s further evidence to back artists’ calls for better record deals that take into account touring, merchandising publishing and the recording of music as one enterprise. Traditional record companies simply make and sell music recordings. Indeed, last week, we saw the BBC agree to stream Robbie William’s Electric Proms performance live in cinemas.

The effects of this are reaching a broader spectrum of entertainment brands from the theatre to football games. As Marketing Week revealed this week, HMV will use its joint-venture in-store cinema to stream live events, in its bid to become a “cultural hub”. It’s a sign that even the most traditional brands are looking to futureproof themselves; political campaigns will soon emerge online, possibly before being screened on TVs.

Technology like this is changing the way consumers relate and engage with brands. As our guest columnists from Microsoft explain this week, it’s important that all marketers think beyond traditional advertising means and look at ways of incorporating a multitude of “screens” into their marketing methodology.

This is something we have touched upon in our special report this week retailers and banks are using screens in this way to engage with consumers.

Similarly, Google has pledged to provide live satellite navigation for mobiles free, moving away from its traditional stance as a search engine giant. Meanwhile, struggling broadcaster ITV is adapting its e-mail marketing plans to increase loyalty. It’s this future-gazing mentality that brands need.

Simon Fuller, the creator of the Spice Girls’ and American Idol, recently said that content providers were the key to future success online, describing digital media as a “war zone” where creative ideas will dominate…I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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