Brand Strategies For “The Validation Era”

Steve Rubel, EVP of Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman, spoke at Mashable Connect in Orlando last week. One of the things he said is we are now entering a new era in Internet time. Rubel calls this new stage, the Validation era.

Prior to the Validation era, the Internet experienced two other distinct eras, says Rubel. The first was the era of “Commercialization” (1994-2002), in which publishing was “costly and inaccessible to the masses.” The era of “Democratization” (2002-2010) followed and was made possible by low costs of production, enabling almost anyone to be a publisher.

According to Mashable, Rubel and his peers at Edelman see a shift in authority, in which Internet users are beginning to “find the signal in the noise.” The changes underway since 2010 are accompanied by an essential shift in trust, with academics, experts and technical experts rising to become the most trusted sources. Meanwhile, the authority of peers has notably declined 4% since 2009.

Here is the slideshow Rubel presented in Orlando:

Authority in the Age of Overload
View more presentations from Edelman

His slides address the steps brands can take to function within this newly defined Validation framework. Things like “elevating the experts” in your company, and “dazzling with data.” Rubel emphasizes the need for visual data. “People on the Internet do not read. They read 20% of a webpage before they move on; 57% never come back to that page; and we spend 15-20 seconds on a webpage before we move on. We are a global planet of fruit flies.”

I don’t quibble with his findings, but I am enough of a contrarian to say we don’t write for fruit flies at AdPulp. We write for people who like to read.

Thanks again, for reading.

[UPDATE] In a different twist on the concept of validation, Seth Godin believes it’s the era of validating your audience.

What do customers, friends, the socially networked, users, neighbors, classmates, servers, administrators, employees… maybe even brands… want?

notice me
like me
touch me
do what I say
miss me if I’m gone

Naturally, I’m intrigued by this line of reasoning, and I often wonder if I’m failing to make it about you, not me. Here, and elsewhere. So let me ask, isn’t the act of writing for an audience an acknowledgement of that audience’s existence?

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Chief Storyteller at Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • http://twitter.com/MediaFiche MediaFiche

    Interesting topic. The segmentation of audiences might be the key here.

    When you group everyone together into this big advertisingblogmessgroup, it is probably easy to prove that the majority of people don’t read. However, if it is segmented into particular audiences, that is probably less and less true.

    Which brings in the audience’s existence. When you write, you write for an audience. You not only acknowledge them, but with good writers you know what and how they enjoy reading. So, for the blogs who serve the “fruit flies” they focus on little bits of food, but for the writer who serves “information carnivores” you focus on something more substantial.

  • Whatever

    Rubel should apply his digital beliefs to his Powerpoint presentations. The document is thoroughly unreadable. The second slide – INSIGHTS@EDELMAN DIGITAL: Ideas that inspire innovation – says it all. That is, the guy is a hack, spewing cliched and contrived drivel.