Didn’t you get the memo? The watch is here.

BlogPostWatchV2Will the Apple Watch destroy the traditional watch industry? Will app makers and advertisers find new ways to advertise without annoying users? How will you connect with your target audience on this new platform and deliver rich, relevant content? If we agree to notifications on our wrists around the clock—will we ever be the same again—or sane again?

So much disruption, so little time. After all, wearing a watch is so personal. Marketers are salivating at the thought of pushing ideas and content onto your wrist. Educators are excited to think about how this new level of mobility affects digital communication. Business owners are wondering how it will disrupt existing business. What opportunities lie ahead?

Marketers face a real challenge in finding ways to advertise and connect with customers effectively on the miniature face of the Apple Watch (like pushing Ping’s new putter on a golf ball). As you may know, the Apple Watch has the lion’s share of the media’s attention but it isn’t the first digitally connected watch, nor will it be the last. We know that the more personal a device becomes, the more sensitive consumers feel about reading stuff on it. By definition, a smart watch is a highly personal device that’s worn on one’s wrist like a ring. Therefore, it will require a uniquely personalized approach to messaging, publicizing and advertising. Always on.

Sure things are going to change. And change again. Did you know the conversation is already shifting from the discussion of one smart watch (singular) to a system of multipoint sensors on your body?

Much has been written of late about the fact that if you’re in business, you’re in the digital publishing business, too. Your communication skills need to be sharpened—again. Because your publishing canvas is expanding—again. And as technology enables new platforms, new channels and new tactile ways for which to lay narrative, the foundation for crafting a message that resonates has never been more mission critical. So where’s the good news for you in all this change? The art of publishing digitally still applies. The bridge between technology and culture still stands.  But you need to learn the new rules of engagement to adapt, thrive and be successful.

Here are five lessons to remember when optimizing messages in 2015:

  1. Ask the simple question first. With every new digital media device, start by asking, “What are we supposed to use it for?” Know the answer. This was the big question with the Apple Watch. And still is.
  2. Platform optimization trumps responsiveness. Optimize the message for the new functionality, versus adopting a one-size, scales-all mentality.
  3. Tweet thy pizza. Align yourself with culture, technology and buyer behavior. “How will I deliver rich content to this new publishing medium, and then tie it to sales?” Take the pizza king’s lead. Domino’s will soon let you order pizza with emoji on Twitter.
  4. Think like a major publisher and put the Millennial at the center of your conversation. Turn your brand into your narrative, your business into its own online world, which is meant to be experienced digitally first. Take the “world of Red Bull” for example. They are a publishing powerhouse that happens to sell an energy drink.
  5. Iteration and transparency are king. We can no longer fluff, create and publish. We need to interact bi-directionally and honor the wrist (or whatever the end point is) and honor the intelligence of the end customer by being authentic and helpful. The written word needs to rev itself just like the technology does. Let’s not forget that the platform for which we write and design is constantly reshuffling the deck as well.

Will the watch reign supreme? Are you ready for it?

At RIT Online, we pride ourselves on upholding a long-held tradition of applied learning. How do we design our courses and deliver on that promise online? Connect with us at rit.edu/ritonline. If you want to learn more about the topics in this post, check out our communication and digital media or user experience design programs.

Thérèse Hannigan

About Thérèse Hannigan

Director, RIT Online