Koroberi turns 20: Two decades in an evolving marketing landscape

This year marks two action-packed decades for Koroberi. The world has changed a lot since 1999 and we’ve had a front row seat to major transformations, from the nefarious Y2K bug to the rise and dominance of digital. To commemorate our 20th birthday, we’re highlighting some of the major evolutions and their impact on the marketing world. 

Remember e-business?

Lately, robotics, IoT and 5G have dominated headlines and event panels as the hot topics transforming our world. Turn the clock back to the 1990s and a different transition was taking place, with businesses opting for computers and leaving behind paper-based systems. Yes, it was the rise of “e-business” – a topic a well-respected colleague informed me dominated discussions at ProMat in the late 1990s.

The foundation of our digital age was established at the turn of the century, with many households investing in their first personal computers and banks preparing for the potentially momentous threat of the Y2K bug on early computer systems. Since then, the power of paper in the business world has faded, much to the chagrin of everyone’s favorite group of officemates at Dunder-Mifflin. But there still remains a market for paper-based promotions and options that embrace physical over digital space. While digital dominates how the world consumes content, tactics like trade show booths and direct mailers offer brands the chance to stand out. 

Did somebody say social?

Influence comes from access to an audience and the ability to spread information. Advertisers are after audiences – and long-established publications no longer have a monopoly. Few may have pegged MySpace and Friendster as precursors of a revolution, but once Zuckerberg and Facebook burst onto the scene, social media emerged as an unstoppable force in modern life. It spread like wildfire, first gaining popularity on college campuses and then to the general public.

The digital gold rush was on, with Facebook and other social platforms soaking up as many users as possible, carving out various niches, establishing markets and welcoming businesses into their networks. Then came monetization. How could social companies convert massive followings into profits? 

In came ads and a vibrant commercial community across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and more. The age of social influencers dawned, and power once reserved for large, traditional media companies became diluted and spread to a broader, more disparate group than ever before.

But media groups still matter – especially in B2B

Generally speaking, media trends hit the consumer space first and typically have mixed results truly taking hold and defining B2B spaces. For example, while the Kardashians can define cosmetics and Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid push forward music festivals (or not), the power of Instagram influencers is rather limited in the medical device, wireless tower or warehouse scene.

Instead, specialized industries rely on a refreshed media landscape: a traditional paradigm with established brands and gatekeepers, but adapted for our digital, mobile world. Websites and search engines take the place of newsstands, and email newsletters take on the role of paperboys. Here, the shift to digital is an opportunity to get creative and explore new mediums and modes of delivery while maintaining established credibility and providing a critical third-party perspective. Since B2B requires such a specialized perspective to provide truly valuable information, the marketplace of ideas places a premium on the credibility and third-party perspective of established media groups. 

This is only the beginning

Of course, this is just a taste of the last two decades, and if recent history is any indication, the pace of change is only accelerating. Who knows what’s in store?

For now, stay tuned for more Koroberi 20th birthday celebrations. Upcoming blogs will take a dive into the changing world of design and recap our favorite projects from each year in business. Tune in to see how our work – and logo – has evolved in a changing industry.