Communications planning in the 21st century

Cate Connolly

The digital revolution has not just arrived, it has well and truly settled in. Traditional communications channels have mutated, fragmented and diversified to create a spectrum of media experiences that give consumers unparalleled options and freedom of choice.

Of paramount importance in this has been the emergence of a new type of media – social media. Through the likes of Wikipedia, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, and so on, anyone anywhere can create and share content. Our virtual profiles become an intrinsic part of our identities. Relationships are born, lived and destroyed in this new digital space. Through our global emerging-media research 'Wave', we at Universal McCann have witnessed first-hand how quickly this phenomenon has been embraced.

Our definition of social media has had to evolve with each wave of research and now incorporates any form of digital technology that empowers the consumer. During an average week, a typical frequent internet user is now more likely to be found instant messaging or watching online videos than travelling on their local bus (1).