We’ve had tech hype for electricity, the car and the internet. VR is on everybody’s lips today and tomorrow it’s all about AI. We’re always looking for, and talking about, the next big thing.
Technology is changing exponentially, but more importantly, so is the adoption of technology. Hence, the hype from a couple of years ago is already today’s standard. Most of the times without anyone raising an eyebrow.
Uber is a great example of this. It went from hype to being an integral part of people’s lives in less than two years. The same goes for cloud services. This used to be a hype a few years ago. Today, nobody’s really getting excited about the technology, whilst it is silently powering most of our apps, digital services and communication.
So, have we hit maximum tech hype? I’d say we never will. The pattern seems to be that there will always be a hype. The things that work out become implemented and standardized at a pace we have never seen before. The stuff that doesn’t really make anyone happy falls into oblivion.
However, great things seldom happen on the first try. We need to constantly experiment and test technologies to find them. This means you will need many iterations to reach perfection.
And that is also one of the reasons that I think that the term hype, the urge for something new and more, makes us human. It is almost a necessity for the evolution of mankind to ask ourselves “is there something more?” and tell ourselves that tomorrow will be an even more interesting day. Without the hype we would stand still, we would be happy with what is, and that wouldn’t get us anywhere. And that is also the reason why we at DDB Stockholm love the fact that something new is coming, even if we’re not sure about what it might be.
Still, our primary responsibility as marketers when it comes to technology is to find the relevance for the brand. This includes everything from the technology itself to the maturity amongst potential users. Every aspect of the brands’ mission, voice and strategy has a counterpart in technology and finding the brands technological DNA is an important part of what we SHOULD do.
Some brands want to be first in order to prove their commitment to innovation, like Nike. Others want to take an emerging technology and make it available to everyone. Both strategies have proven successful. However, I personally like the latter, since it is in line with values of democratization that is what people associated with Sweden globally. Happy Gogglesfor McDonald’s is in my opinion a great example how inclusion and scalability can be combined.
We saw massive launches of Virtual Reality like Oculus and Vive. Having other major players making the introduction of new technologies provided the perfect time for McDonald’s to make this technology accessible and available for all, basically for free.
That end of the spectrum is a bit under underutilized today. Innovation doesn’t always have to do with using the latest technology. Rather, it needs to be combined with audience insights and timing in order to be truly successful.
Working as a marketer, especially in Sweden, during these defining times is truly a privilege. We have all the components needed to continuously challenge the limits of how much tech we can incorporate in our lives. Everything from cutting edge infrastructure to a culture of curiosity makes us the perfect region to observe in order to understand where the world might be going. But we should also remember that much of the planet still doesn’t have access to what we in the Western world take for granted.
It is estimated that some of the most dramatic change in our global economy are yet to come. Between 2016 and 2020, 3 to 5 billion new consumers will go online for the first time. Billion.
They have never uploaded a single photo nor answered an email. They will join us in creating ideas, inventing stuff and dreaming about a brighter future. In short, they will bring the global tech hype to levels we cannot yet comprehend. Or in other words, if you’re in the hype business like us, things are looking up.