The Swirl: March 7, 2016

We know - getting up on Mondays is never easy. You deserve a little break, so sit back and enjoy. In this edition: curing the mobile addiction, pretty pictures galore, and life after millennials.  


GIF (n) - file format that can support animated images.  Short for "Graphics Interchange Format." Contrary to popular belief, it's pronounced "Jif" like the peanut butter brand and not "gift" without the T.

Last week, Twitter invited all the followers in the Twittersphere to participate in the first ever #gifparty, promoting its new GIF function. Essentially, Twitter used its platform to get people talking about its platform...on its platform. A little inception went a long way. Brands were jumping on the bandwagon left and right, and the Mythic team wasted no time joining in on the fun. Neither did a few of our clients. Ain't no party like a GIF party.  


These days, it's hard to imagine a life unconnected. It seems that we spend more time on our phones or computers than we do having real interactions. It's great for some things, like snapping that perfect foodie pic or keeping in touch with college friends states away. But when is it too much? If you've ever felt like this at the dinner table, you're not alone. No need to worry though - brands are here to save the day. Chick-fil-A, MasterCard and AT&T are making it their mission to help you kick the mobile addiction to the curb. And it seems like consumers are starting to get on board.  


Turns out being disconnected really isn't as bad as we think. As this article explains, unplugging can really enhance your experiences. Stargazing is actually pretty cool, and food tastes even better. Shocking, right? What's interesting is that the more consumers crave connection, the more they also need those small moments when they can disconnect. They want to have their cake and eat it too. This might seem like a disadvantage to brands, but companies like REI are finding that it's more of an opportunity. Their experiential movement, Every Trail Connects, is a perfect example of how you can inspire these sought out moments. The catch? You'll probably need that product to have the perfect experience. We see what you did there.  


The way brands think about products and services. For consumers, it's not about the cell phone box or trail-ready backpack, but rather about the experience that the respective brand enables them to have.  


Between Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, there's no doubt that visual channels are here to stay. It's not all that surprising, given that most people would rather look at a picture than read a bunch of text. Remember Oreo's daily twist? One of the main reasons it was so successful was because it turned simple images of cookies into conversation. It's clear that communication is shifting from words to pictures, videos, GIFs, and even emojis. And more and more brands are taking advantage of this opportunity as the visual web continues to evolve and platform capabilities expand. Izze tapped into Friendsgiving and set up multiple Instagram accounts to help users plan the perfect event. Sour Patch Kids used Snapchat to unfold a story over the course of a week. And then there's Miller Lite, who took it a step further and used Instagram to promote loyal fan content. These are just three, but there are so many different ways to do it. The bottom line: visual platforms are not slowing down, and neither are brands.


There's something powerful about visuals. And it's not just that stunning pictures are fun to look at. Visual assets are core to how brands tell their stories. They communicate all the feels. Plus, consumers can process images much faster than text. Meaning that you get their attention longer. That's what we call a win.  


Content marketing - across all industries. Visual storytelling should be a top priority this year. Brands are already investing in this opportunity, and it's only expected to increase. Read this guide if you're looking for a place to start.  


Believe it or not, there is life after millennials. We call them Gen Z, and they are about to push Gen Y out of the spotlight. They might not all be buying products yet, but their behaviors and consumption patterns are about to inspire big change. What you need to know: they're mature, self-directed, and resourceful. And they have less of an attention span than millennials. We didn't even know that was possible.  


Entering 'Z' territory is not going to be easy. They're fragmented, socially shrewd, and tech-enabled. Even with endless choices and unlimited access, they approach spending with risk. Spending money in large sums scares them. It's going to take a lot of trust to get them, so it's time to start thinking about them now. Brands need to serve up engagement in a perpetual and experimental way because this generation of post-millennials is always on, always multi-tasking, and always being tempted by the next best thing.  


Segmentation. As easy as it is to think of all kids like millennials, Gen Z has different habits that require special attention. Get a head start here.


We know everyone loves when algorithms change. Catch up on Google's latest shift in rankings and how you can improve your SEO.  


New client? No problem. Check out this white paper from Hubspot on how to increase client kickoff efficiency and get started on the right foot by asking the right questions.