ephemeral – adjective – definition – lasting for a very short time
I enjoyed reading Jon Priestley’s (Head of Wolfstar London) words about ‘ephemeral’ content recently: he suggested that Snapchat-style social media content which disappears into the ether at a set time could well be a Next Big Thing, and ponders the implications of this not just for PR but for Google, SEO and beyond. Snapchat’s ethos is to see “value in the ephemeral,” with their self-destructing photo (or video) that will self-destruct in 10 seconds or less.
It’s a bit like the psychology behind creating a limited edition – and the premise that luxury brands often work from – just think about the diamond market or truffles – scarcity generates demand and adds value. More day to day, you only have to look at the run on Selfridges for the limited edition personalised Nutella jars (taking a commodity product and adding a dash of scarcity) to see the principle in action. Or the pop-up shop trend which shows no sign of abating. The recent Black Friday consumer madness could also fit into this ‘blink or you’ll miss it’ mindset.
So next time you’re brainstorming ask yourself what collateral / content can you create that will disappear? What can you create a run on? What can you produce in a tiny quantity? Forget shareable forever, make it short-lived.
How it will all play out of course remains to be seen, but I think the early-adopters of ephemeral content could be onto a winner – if they get it right. What’s most exciting, I think, is that it opens up some genuinely new possibilities, which is always good for a bit of game-changing creativity (until everyone joins the party, the world gets bored and everyone moves on). I wonder if the answer to grabbing the consumer’s attention doesn’t in fact centre around playing the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ card, but in telling people what they’ve missed after it’s already gone. Perhaps with some sort of consolation prize, of course. Hey, no one likes to miss out completely.
You can read Jon Priestley’s full PR Moment blog here. This blog will self-destruct in 10 seconds.