Confronting the mayhem in Media and Marketing

What’s Next: The Physical Reclamation

Digital Reckoning

Whether it has something to do with age or just complacency, we have gotten a little slack in terms of the amount of information we publicly share with the world. Sure, there are the temporary flair ups when Facebook introduces a change to its privacy policies but growth in users goes on unabated. The “cancel your Facebook” campaign fizzled and, at last count, the service had more than 500 million users. Another backlash is growing. A cultural counter insurgency that will spread through pop culture faster than you can say Justin Bieber. A mass proclamation for a digital reclamation where we put back some of our privacy walls and recapture our offline selves.

Physical Reclamation

Over the holiday break at least one high profile blogger, along with many others, announced there would not be any post until after the new year. Even the techies are setting boundaries between them and their digital gadgetry. Maybe it is fatigue forcing the decision to turn the digital switch off from Friday afternoon until Monday morning. Perhaps technologies impeding personality over our personal relationships is starting to resurrect our sense of etiquette. Do you really need to check that e-mail, tweet, or update, when out to dinner? Whatever the looming reasons, the result is clear. No more!


Although the digital reclamation is not specifically mentioned as a trend to watch in 2011 by the firm JWT, several individual trends point to this larger theme. Below are the individual trend titles from JWT with a snippet of my take in regards to each.

  • Digital Downtime — untethering is not only ok, but necessary
  • Digital Etiquette — the people in front of us matter more than those clouded around us
  • Ignorance is Bliss — public versus private errs back to the private side
  • In the Flesh — digital is a compliment to personal, not a replacement
  • Objectifying Objects — albums became MP3s, books move to e-Books. what’s not digitized, and even some things that are, will be have value and be sought after in physical form.
  • Social Objects — physical objects with a digital story — wine bottles that link to a past consumers review.
  • Storied Products — the humanization of business and things. we want to know your product, history, employees, ethics, social causes, etc.


Digital advances and online, social platforms will not vanish. We, as users, are simply exercising the right of choice to control them. The shift will merely be a natural rebalancing act.

For businesses that focus on the physical while catering to the personal, there are real growth opportunities. Just as the digital natives and digital nomads will rebalance, the greatest opportunities will be found by balancing the physical experience with the right dose of digital.

Print as a communal conversation starter…

  • Posters at the pub that encourage check-in services or a QR code to record your own video. Link to a Ning-type private community where other patrons can be introduced online before hanging out offline?
  • Baby books that link to online content of the child as they grow.
  • Family tree books/wall art that tell a story.

What do you see?

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