Digital natives: shortcut wonderland. Digital footprint N°6. #digitalnatives #research



With 60 to 80 sms’ sent on average everyday, Facebook statuses updated 1.5 times a day, msn, chats and blogs, it’s no wonder that communication has become series of shortcuts. A new language has been created: smileys, abbreviations and acronyms. Communication is becoming more clipped, short, rapid and often more visual. Simpler put, with the number of conversations around, the attention span is getting shorter by the second.

And this is certainly not confined to the web. Look at the media space today, look at the information that people share, never has the headline been so important, and very often the headline is the information in itself, with the longer form content remaining very much ignored.

But it’s also and most importantly a new method of "consummating" your relationship with others. Girlfriends or boy friends get dumped by sms. Even sexual relations are consummated faster, without looking to spend more than the night together.
What seems, on the surface, to be nothing more than a new manner of writing, has a much more fundamental impact in reality.

A digital footprint which has real consequences for communication:

First you need to be grown up enough to realize that in principle, people have no desire whatsoever to have a relationship with your brand: they just don’t have the time…unless…unless the experience, the service provided is worth every second they will spend with it.

Second the need for the simplest messages. A normal reflex, you would tell me, and you would be right because after all, it is even the definition of good communication. Except that over the last ten years, messages have gotten more complex. Pushed by a need for innovation, they carry numerous promises. See it (or ear it) for yourself by listening to a radio ad break. And count the messages. On average, 4 in a 30 second spot. This needs to change dramatically if we want an audience with no attention span to listen to what brands have to say. Because you do not just want simplicity today. You need extreme simplicity.

Third the cult of speed itself ahs started to crrep in, from time saving devices to speed in communication itself:

  Finally, a target audience that you will have to speak to in a new way, bypassing words for something more sensory. You’ll need to create an anticipation of the brand’s sensation, of its benefit, its potential taste, its olfactory, tactile and auditory appeal; so many signs creating the desire to buy a product. Every detail counts. Its not just the idea which has to be good, rapid and enthusiastic, the psssst of coca cola, the Cadbury purple play just as an important role as the idea that conveys them. In fact in this commercial, the sound of coke become the idea

This is a technique which distributors have become experts in, offering us a multitude of sensual shortcuts. From new concept stores, to luxury shops, or even local supermarkets. Concept stores are a demonstration with instant wow-factor, luxury stores get you brand drunk, and supermarkets make you enter via the fruit and veg aisles to give you the impression of freshness and awaken your senses.

tomorrow: freebie economy

Adweek’s 2009 Global Agency of the Year

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