VALUE MODEL “Value-driven Transformation of Needs“.
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Gutenberg Era vs. Social Media Era: The communications market is infected by confusion
If media continues to be important and digital literacy is relevant in the production and distribution of media products, then a mistake must be corrected in the communications market. Technologies collide, digital is facing off against analog. Apple fights against Google, Microsoft, Nokia and others to be the best, dominant technology supplier. Otto.de, the leading German retailer wants to win customers over Amazon. Print and online communications compete for attention. Consider that digitally printed “print” media and digital online technologies used have common digital media techniques. For the print media production process, technologies like color management and imposition are much more complex and sophisticated than for pure online content. Digital print is the strongest combination of traditional print and online communication. There is no conflict at the expense of print technology, just the challenging perception of print as an “old fashioned” technology.
Why and how the communications market
is infected by confusion
As professionals in the communications market all of us have to adjust significantly to better deal with innovative digital technologies aimed at changing the needs of people, companies, organizations. Needs based on values are still valid. And vice versa: the importance of values are based on needs. Value systems and the way in which we deal with values have changed through the use of technology. This has always been and will always remain so.
Good insights were delivered by Abraham Maslow, a worldwide well known Psychology Professor. Maslow’s work is dedicated to the Gutenberg Era. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a “bag of symptoms.” Maslow‘s hierarchical pyramid, proven over generations is no longer static but has changed fundamentally and irreversibly through digitization.
In the Social Media Era, economic interests are brought to the fore. The digital “Global Village” approach enables each of us to address global and local markets alike. Maslow’s self-realization construct has been surpassed by a focus on growth, relatedness and efforts to guarantee profitable existence. The technology development has long been ready for this shift. The focus is on digital techniques that bring together communications and transactions. The classical media/publishing company and agency services, which have held an intermediary position between supply and demand, sellers and buyers, are substituted by digital technology scenarios.
The result is what we define as ‘social media’ is expanding rapidly into social business. Buyers and sellers are linked to each other by (largely) automated digital scenarios. Business processes, services, product offerings, and communications are equally transparent and interactive.
These need and value system changes, driven by digital technologies, require a shift in technology and media use. In Maslow’s world Print (produced in the traditional manner and by monopoly) could conquer, over the centuries, all need levels continuously and cover them. The new digital, intuitive communications systems are, by their social media functionality, pervasive throughout the needs hierarchy and appeal “real time” to both basic and advanced needs.
Social Media Functionality meets the needs perfectly
Social media functionality conquers the level of self-realization quite easily through blogs, communities, Wikipedia and the wealth of open-source efforts made by each of us as we freely communicate, share ideas, and publish content. Social media functionality peaks demand on all levels and needs, fueled by the creation of multimedia content.
The effect that is created becomes highly relevant economically. It leads to massive digital conversations via text, image, sound, and moving pictures. Communication and transactions are as close as possible (one click away) brought together in an integrated process as delivered in apps like “Shazam” or via Twitter “Tweet Cards”. The personal message about a product or service is supplemented with additional information from the original source and automatically coupled with a shop or salesperson. It could not be smarter or faster.
“Farewell, beautiful old media and advertising world?”
Will such a brilliant, continuous process eliminate advertising by classic seals using classic media content to distribute and sell products? If so, then it says: Farewell, lovely old media and advertising world. But wait. In effect, digital social media impact will be considerably strengthened by transmedia|intermedia networking social media functionality coupled with the analogue forms of content to make the virtual something real, tangible and haptic (and vice versa).
The simplest form of this hybrid communication are printed QR codes that can be scanned and interpreted by smartphones to directly link to online services. We call it Print-to-Web.
The maximum efficiency can be achieved if a user on the Web can redirect to print. User-generated digital content can be selected and changed according to personally relevance factors and then printed. Blogger print books, as well as PediaPress Wikipedia users can get their product collections in book form. Photo books, calendars, greeting cards, posters and many more applications will be transformed by the principle of iPhoto and streamed for printing. Recently, through a growing number of websites, we can also personalize product packaging such as beer, chewing gum, chocolates or pralines by the buyer. This form of hybrid communication using online and print is unbeatable in buyer effectiveness and satisfaction.
Digital and analog as teammates not only meet our needs ‘very well’, but perfectly! This momentum means agencies and media houses / publishers and their production partners must understand and collaborate to meet company / supplier and customer / buyer needs in a engaging and efficient way.
Our needs and values world has been changed by the irreversible thrust of digital technology. We still need to use traditional media, but incorporate and leverage digital literacy with a willingness to rethink what we do and how we reach our audiences. The new social media era of Value System needs (see our illustration) demonstrates what change has already taken place through digital technologies and how hybrid scenarios address contemporary personal and business needs and values.
About the Author
Andreas Weber, Founder and CEO of Value Communication AG,
Mainz/Germany, is a leading business communication analyst and innovation expert. Via different social media platforms you could get in touch.
Twitter: @ValueCommAG | @zeitenwende007
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All Illustrations by Lidia Wey, Mainz|San Jose, CA