Design and the Human Condition

Reflections- 4.9.20

In lasts weeks class, we discussed the change that advancements in technology had brought to the design situation in Pakistan specifically. It got me thinking about how, within just a little over ten years, everything has switched to the digital world when smart phones and social media were developed.

After doing some research and speaking to designers in the field, I learnt that about ten years ago, billboards and advertisements on television had actual prestigious value. They had a hold on the audience and not very often was their credibility questioned. As there were fewer platforms for advertising and brand imaging to be carried out on, there was less room for error or questioning. The branding was relevant more to the brand’s preference and what message they wanted to send, rather than how the consumer was going to receive it.

Before digital advertising became more common, brands that had larger budgets and hired the best celebrities were the so called ‘reliable’ and trusted ones, regardless of whether that was true.

The rise in social media platforms meant there was suddenly more to it than the classical ways of advertising previously adopted. Brands could now put their product out and receive feedback almost instantly as compared to the lengthier process that came before. This instant validation and gratification exposed to brands to all sorts of people, which could make or break their image overnight.

This development made interaction between the brand and its audience essential as suddenly now everyone had an opinion. With more information available online, customers became much more informed and aware on their ideas and now cared about how they resonated with the brand. The change that arose was mainly with millennials, seeing through a lot of the false claims and information that companies would claim, giving them their feedback and demanding change. An example of this can be seen in the most recent Fair and Lovely campaign, where the word fair was removed from the name. This proves that in this case, the audience so strongly opposed the racist values of the brand that they were forced to completely revamp it in order to salvage themselves.

Nevertheless, just as all things do, digital marketing did have its pros. The digital method was much more cost effective and reached a larger audience than say, a single billboard. Here each advertisement is catered specifically to their target audience, making it an obviously more effective way. The communication gap has narrowed and now the brand is definitely much more conscious of how they are perceived by their audience.

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Maryam Shoaib

Maryam Shoaib

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