16/10/2013 17:04 BST | Updated 21/10/2013 20:28 BST

Let Us Introduce You To The Native Age

Our start point for this project was the idea that the traditional metaphor of ‘Church and State’ was broken.

Back when things were much simpler, journalists (the Church) and media entities (the State) co-existed in an arm’s-length relationship; related, but divided. Ultimately though, they formed a successful duopoly that lasted hundreds of years; until now, with the domination of digital platforms, the democratisation of content creation and the subsequent emergence of Native Advertising.

What the Church and the State metaphor excluded was one key element; the audience (or to stretch the metaphor further, the congregation).

Historically, the congregation were on the outside looking in, a passive audience to be preached to, whether by editor or advertiser. Today, on websites like this one and across the media spectrum, readers are taking an increasingly active role in discovering, editing, writing and interacting with news and entertainment content online. Thus the demands of the congregation have begun to change; they want to be a part of the story; to be entertained; to be talked with, not at.

These new forces in storytelling and editorial are forcing media owners and marketers to rethink these old models and define new ways in which the Church, State and congregation can interact.

Native advertising has been damned with that dreaded ‘buzzword’ phrase, but such is the way when something remains poorly defined and understood. As leaders in this emerging field, we have set out to conclusively define native advertising, and in particular understand what its ramifications are for the advertising and marketing industries.

We don’t believe it’s a fad. We think we are at ground zero for what will become the most preferred form of advertising by 2025.

Sean King, CEO of content marketing agency Seven, says this is the present and the future and it’s about time brands realise it. “The action is where the content is, that is where you interact with the customers, where you engage with them, where you collect data from them, where you give back value to those people. That is where it's at and I think if brands don't realise that now, they will.”

Welcome to the Native Age…