Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Birnbach Communications' Top Predictions for 2013, Part IX

Premature deathwatch of things that are very much alive, Part III   

o    The Office: Not the NBC sitcom, which will go off the air this year, but the need for offices as we’ve used them.  There have been a spate of illustrated articles portraying offices of the future based on the impact of new or nearly here technology – the result: articles that still play off the concept of the paperless office (see below) and office hoteling, a first-come, first-serve concept for allocating temporary office space within large companies that has been around for more than a decade. From our perspective, people love to hate their offices, and these articles that often depict an officeless future are more wish fulfillment than actual transformation. That said, current technologies like cloud computing and videoconferencing do facilitate working from locations other than from an office, and we’ve seen a steady increase in telecommuting and working from home, leading to articles about tech in bed – but for a lot of jobs, an office will remain necessary.

o    Paper: Back in June 1975, BusinessWeek published an article called “The Office of the Future” that included some prescient thoughts that have come true – like messages available on a “TV-display terminal with keyboard” – along with this: “Some believe that the paperless office is not that far off.” Some feel that the cloud will finally get rid of paper because you will be able to access your files everywhere so you won’t need paper. However, printed materials, including press kits and presentation folders, are still important ways to transmit information in ways that support and extend branding. Based on the clutter we see in many offices, we don’t think a paperless office is actually going to happen or that it’s necessarily a sign of progress (except for having less messy offices).

o    Social media gurus: Actually, this is not a media trend as much as it is a Twitter trend for people to identify themselves as social media gurus. One recent study reported there are 181,000 social media gurus, ninjas and mavens on Twitter. Most of the ones we see claim to be gurus and to be able to help you generate thousands of followers – yet, anecdotally, many so-called gurus have relatively few followers themselves.

o    Media relations: Social media is no longer just for early-adopting B2B companies but media relations continues to be important. By the end of the decade, both media relations and social media will converge into a single integrated effort.
Let us know if you agree or disagree. Check back tomorrow for additional predictions or click here for Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII ("Premature Deathwatch, Part I") or Part VIII ("Premature Deathwatch, Part II").

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