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For way too long, digital and social media have been regarded as two exotic planets, floating out there somewhere.  It was all about the number of followers, the age of your blog, and if you had some fancy names to thank in your social media book.  But, to the ultimate frustration of marketers, CMO’s and CEO’s, most social and digital stuff was just hanging there, not even remotely linked to strategy, campaign, or product.  Those days seem to be ever.  New strategic and planning mythologies are rolled out to ensure that social and digital are completely integrated, and that campaigns are deeply rooted in moving the needle business-wise.

Also, it looks like a fair share of developments in digital and social technology are finally getting out of the fluffy all virtual zone, but are rapidly linked to what they can do to enhance matters in this real, mostly physical world. Digital and social experiences are great, but for brands they only become interesting if they merge seamlessly with the real world., preferably driving sales.

Nike’s running shoes and application are a great example. How to build a community in a most individual sport: running. Adding real life sensors to real life shoes, operated by real life runners, and using the collected data in an online community where people can compare, share, and compete makes a social media experience very physical.

What Dassault systems is doing together with the Harvard University is also promising: get all the physical data of real places, like Paris, or the Giza pyramids documented in 3D, in the Cloud, man it with avatars, and invite schools to use this space technology to offer their real life students a perfect immersion in history.

Another good example is enhanced and augmented reality, build into fashion wear.  Google Glass comes as a pair of spectacles (sort of :-)), that  overlays your true view with all kinds of digital data. Offering the same technology Apache fighter helicopter pilots have been enjoying for some time now to everyone opens exciting new possibilities.  @JasonSilva, recumbent eidetic brain, energy bulb, futurist and philosopher raved on the Google Glass possibilities naming it  ‘a total paradigm shift and ‘one of the first examples of the convergence of the digital and human space in a way that is not intrusive’. Virtual data possibilities in real life through Google Glass are endless: from simply finding directions, accessing social network updates, weather, traffic and temperature, facial recognition and identification …

The real world is being touched and transformed by virtual and social technology more quickly and more radically than natural evolution itself and it seems only the beginning.  For brands, facing these exponential changes requires the willingness to let go of the obvious, and start making smart educated bets in expanding their marketing, communications and connecting strategies, looking for convergence with relevant digital, social and virtual technologies.



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