Of course, our childhood aspirations rarely translate into the career paths we choose later in life. However, I wonder whether if you were to go into a classroom today and ask the same question what the response would be?
I am sure there would be those children that still aspire to the traditional occupations, however, there would be new occupations some of which those that don’t count themselves as millennials will not be familiar with. This is predominantly down to social media and the influence it has on children. Influence has always been a powerful tool, and never more so than today with the ability to connect with almost anyone on the planet through any number of social media platforms.
What is an influencer?
An answer you might hear in the classroom is that children might want to become an ‘influencer’ when they grow up. This is where they build up a number of followers on social media. These followers want to see what that influencer is posting about.
Given that most people with social media use it every day, anybody with 1 million followers or more is an attractive proposition for a company wishing to target a specific audience. Traditional advertising methods are indirect – i.e. you have no idea whether your television or radio advertising is reaching your target audience. However, if you are a fashion label and you offer money to a social media influencer that is renowned for posting about fashion, then you know if that influencer posts about your product, all their followers will be aware of your product.
Becoming a Youtuber
Another interesting career choice is perhaps a ‘Youtuber’ – people who post videos on YouTube. They will normally have their own channel which viewers can subscribe to and be notified when a new video is uploaded. According to Forbes, one of the highest paid YouTubers was an English 28-year-old (called DanTDM on YouTube) who earned $18.5 million dollars in 2018. He did this by posting videos of him playing computer games. (Source: Forbes.com)
Some influencers/YouTubers are even starting to become household names with several appearing on reality television shows. Celebrities with roots outside of social media can even cash in on this new medium, with some rumoured to be offered up to $1 million dollars per post. This is understandable given that some have in excess of 50 million followers.
The importance of technology
This illustrates the vast impact technology is having on all our lives, whether in the classroom as children or as adults and how we go about our daily lives. Often failures in business come down to a reluctance to embrace new technology. The UK high street has many issues, but often when reading about why a business has entered administration, it is often down to their failure to embrace the online shopping revolution.
It shows the importance of investing in technology and keeping abreast of changes in this arena. Technology is always changing and, its not just the new kids on the block either. One of the oldest technology listings, Microsoft, has seen its share price rise almost 40% over the last year. Source: Bloomberg as at end of November 2019.
Even outside technology it is important to see which companies are utilising technology. Are they targeting their marketing through influencers or are they using traditional methods? Seeing which companies are embracing modern technology is very important when assessing whether they make a good investment. Does the company have a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account? Are they notifying their followers of special offers, discounts or new product lines? These should be considered among the fundamentals when assessing a good investment opportunity.
It is more important than ever that companies adapt to new technology and social media to reach new and existing customers, especially with new data protection regulations being introduced (GDPR). You don’t need to collect personal data off your clients if they willingly follow your company on social media. If anything, personal data is yesterday’s technology and if collected wrongly, or even worse, released by your company accidently, can result in hugely damaging fines. To demonstrate the severity of this you needn’t look far in the media - British Airways experienced a data breach recently which resulted in a fine of £183 million.
Of course, new technology and social media bring all kinds of pressures as well, especially for children. Part of me is thankful I am not in a classroom today, but if I was, I think I would stick to my childhood aspiration of being a truck driver!
The value of an investment with Rowan Dartington may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested.