A tech journalist gives us a guide to the future in his swan song; AI is a gift to marketing; the future of the automotive industry is digital; executives need higher confidence in their organizations’ Digital IQ; digital display ads are on the outs; ethics and legal considerations for influencer marketing; the first brick and mortar Amazon store is in NYC; happy birthday to the GIF; Facebook is refunding advertisers amid a measurement glitch; Google’s personal search option; Pinterest is gaining hold among marketers; opportunities within the a deep dive into the podcasting industry and a look at the many opportunities; mobile ransomware is up; on-demand workers will double in the next four years; Lyft‘s moves against Uber; Google Attribution is the holy grail of advertising; becoming more deliberately reflective; and more in the Memorial Day edition of The Full Monty. We’re sure you subscribe to The Full Monty podcast, and don’t forget check out where Brain+Trust is speaking (final section below).
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Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning / Autonomous
The latest in AI, machine learning, bots, and autonomous everything.
- The venerable tech reporter Walt Mossberg has written his last column. And appropriately enough, he takes us to the future beyond the personal computer: AI, AR, drones, robotics, wearables, and self-driving cars. You’ll recognize many of those topics as the same that we cover here.
- A look at the challenges and benefits of robots as societal guardians against crime amid Dubai’s introduction of fleet of robots with face scanning-tech to its police force; citizens will be able to ask them questions, report crimes, and pay fines.
- Forget the notion of AI taking away jobs, Christopher Penn says. The future of marketing is bright with artificial intelligence: instead of spending our time doing menial, repetitive tasks, the future will bring us the ability to design and build the experiences we want for our customers, companies and more.
- Facebook is updating its bot platform in Messenger. And the overarching strategy keeps the following in mind, via David Marcus: “People, consumers, don’t want bots, they want to interact with businesses or services and they don’t really care whether it’s automated or not automated, whether it’s actually a bot or not a bot. They just want a great experience.” This applies for every platform you try.
- Google has launched a new venture capital program focused on artificial intelligence, to be led by engineers.
- Apple is working on a dedicated chip to power AI on all of its devices. It would improve the way the company’s devices handle tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence — such as facial recognition and speech recognition.
- If ever there was an industry ripe for disruption — and in need of a tech overhaul — the automotive industry is it. The omnipresent software/services approach means that the future of the automobile is actually digital.
- To wit: BMW and IBM are teaming up to build “cars of the future.” The collaboration will see the pair explore ways that IBM Watson’s conversational and machine learning capabilities can be used to primarily create a more personalized driving experience as well enhance safety.
- Ford Motor Company’s new smart mobility chief is Marcy Klevorn, a long-serving member of Ford’s IT department . She fills the gap left by Jim Hackett, who was promoted to CEO after the board fired Mark Fields. Klevorn may well be in the running as potential CEO, given the focus that the company is putting on autonomous vehicles and mobility services.
Industry developments and trends, including retail, fake news, customer experience, content marketing, and influencer relations.
- PwC’s Digital IQ Survey found, among other things, that many executives’ confidence in their organization’s “Digital IQ” — their ability to harness digital-driven change to unlock value — is at an all-time low. It’s a matter of talent, experience and innovation that will help drive the change — kind of like what Brain+Trust does.
- Starved by staid corporate culture that thwarts innovation, some CIOs are launching startup-like digital accelerators to stockpile talent and explore new technologies.
- Consumers want more than products and services; they want experiences. So, here are 9 best practices to center your business around experiences from CMO.com.
- Be forewarned: Forrester predicts that digital display advertising is on its way out in its latest report The End of Advertising As We Know It. And I feel fine…
- Influencer marketing continues to grow, but there’s a legal and ethical line that agencies and advertisers need to adhere to. So far, it’s been wishy-washy at best.
THIS WEEK IN RETAIL:
- IBM’s Darrin Archer spoke with Retail Leader about innovation, artificial intelligence, and cognitive technologies in ecommerce and what’s new with Watson.
- Walmart launched its official Chinese flagship store on online retail platform JD.com. Disclosure: Walmart is a Brain+Trust client.
- Manhattan is where the first brick and mortar Amazon bookstore has opened; specifically in Columbus Circle. No word about the shop around the corner.
- AmazonFresh Pickup expanded to Prime members in Seattle, with a neat twist: the ability to automatically read license plates of vehicles, helping the company to match orders with customers.
- Fidelity’s CEO thinks bitcoin/blockchain should be more readily available for individuals and institutions.
- Lauren Kern, executive editor at New York magazine, is leaving to become the first-ever editor in chief of Apple News.
- If you want to stop #FakeNews from spreading, there are four ways to fight back and they involve understanding the four elements that make a fake news story work in the first place: emotional appeal, veneer of authority, insertion point into the online space, and social amplification.
- There was a not-so-super secret login/password combo across a number of online news sites. Now that has gone away. And it had nothing to do with a Trump administration leak. The first rule of media/media is don’t talk about media/media.
- Giphy is determined to build a real business by animating the internet.
- The file format that has done more to change the web is celebrating a birthday. That’s right. The GIF turned 30. And here we thought being a Millennial was all that.
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News to know about relevant social, virtual, and augmented reality platforms that may affect your business.
- Facebook and Google are in a pitched battle for which platform is superior at driving clicks to websites. It turns out that it depends on the type of content. Facebook is better at moving traffic to lifestyle and entertainment stories; Google succeeds with tech, business and sports.
TWITTER / PERISCOPE
- Twitter has hired former Bloomberg executive Todd Swidler to run its live video business. Just another indication of how much of a strategic priority live video is for Twitter as it competes with Facebook.
- Twitter is doing its best to drive the kind of engagement that brands eagerly seek with users by employing Direct Message cards that shuttle users from public tweets to DMs involving partially automated responses.
- Donald Trump‘s iPhone has only one app. Any guesses as to what it is?
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP
- Another privacy backlash is brewing with Facebook. According to a leaked report, the company offered advertisers in Australia the opportunity to target 6.4 million younger users, some only 14 years old, during moments of psychological vulnerability, such as when they felt “worthless,” “insecure,” “stressed,” “defeated,” “anxious,” and like a “failure.”
- Related: a Yale / University of California study found that extensive Facebook usage decreases health and happiness.
- Live Chat With Friends lets users invite friends to a private chat about a public live broadcast. Live With lets you invite a friend into your live video so users can broadcast together.
- Facebook is issuing a refund to some advertisers after finding a bug in its system that overcounted clicks to advertisers’ websites. This is the fifth time Facebook has had to make such a move.
- Facebook has signed deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment creators Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to make shows for its upcoming video service. The service will feature long and short form content with ads. In other words, television.
- Instagram has added four new goals for its ads in Stories to expand on its original objective of reach: traffic, mobile app installs, video views and conversions.
ALPHABET / GOOGLE
- Google has added a ‘Personal’ tab to search results. The personal tab shows results from users’ Gmail, Photos, purchases and more. Part of Google’s efforts to keep users more closely aligned with their service over others — especially when it comes to communications and visual media. It also bodes well for email marketers.
- Snapchat is incentivizing brands and media buyers, offering bonuses, discount coupons and media credits for ad buys carried out in the second quarter of 2017. This is widely seen as an effort to goose its Q2 numbers after reporting a multimillion dollar loss in Q1.
- Pinterest is quietly gaining a foothold among marketers. The company has released a number of new features over the past year and has taken a more aggressive strategy with agencies. Analytics, targeting and a variety of advertising options make Pinterest a smart choice.
- Augmented reality is expected to get a boost from Snapchat Lenses and Facebook Stories (and likely from fast follower Instagram as well). In 2017, 40 million people in the US will engage with some form of AR at least monthly, up 30.2% over last year.
The latest in the world of streaming video, audio, and the advertising, pricing and bundling models related to them.
- Live video game streaming is dominated by Amazon’s Twitch and YouTube. But Microsoft is launching its own video game streaming service called Mixer, which will be featured on Xbox and Windows 10.
- Amazon has started selling subscriptions to live TV channels, including Discovery and ITV, in the UK and Germany.
- Dish Network is rolling out new technology that will make watching television a hands-free experience and stem the cord-cutting.
- Did you know that many people speak at a pace that is vastly below what your ear and brain can follow? The solution for some podcast listeners: speed listening.
- An excellent deep dive into the podcast industry as it stands: from growing listenership to measuring listens and ad delivery, the pipeline of talent, new iOS sharing features, and more.
- Edison Research VP Tom Webster is always generous with his insights. In this case he gives us not his two cents but his five-and-a-half cents on the current state of podcasting. There are many opportunities ahead.
- Program of the Week: Walmart has launched its own podcast Outside the Box: conversations with thought leaders, innovators and visionaries, from the granular elements of retail to macro explorations about the global economy. (Disclosure: Walmart is a Brain+Trust client.) Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts.
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Regulatory / Security
Business disruptions in the legal, regulatory, and computer security fields, from hacking to the on-demand economy and more.
- The Republican National Committee is backing a petition that would allow political campaigns and businesses to leave automated messages on your cellphone voicemail, without your phone having to ring. Mark our word: the 2018 midterms won’t be won and lost on healthcare or jobs, but on spam voicemail.
- Meanwhile, a good tool for addressing spam calls is Robokiller.
- Be prepared: the TSA may ask you to separate your laptop and tablet from your bag. And a complete laptop ban for all international flights to the U.S. may be in the works.
- Circle with Disney has raised $10 million for its user-friendly device that restricts Internet access for kids.
THIS WEEK IN HACKING:
- The opportunities for hackers to infiltrate your company and your customers is growing. For example, in Q1 2017, mobile ransomware more than tripled and the average DDoS attack size surged.
- So what is a company to do? The third annual SANS Institute 2017 Security Awareness Report is out, and it educates security awareness professionals on how time, the right talent, and good communications make for the best and most effective security programs.
- Most of Chipotle‘s restaurants were hit in a data breach between March 24 and April 15. Stolen data included account numbers and internal verification codes that were captured via malware. The company is still reeling from food safety issues from 2015.
- Be careful of links on social media platforms: hackers are hiding cyberattacks in social media posts that otherwise look innocuous.
- The number of on-demand workers in the U.S. is expected to nearly double in the next four years. That means 9.2 million Americans are expected to work in the gig economy by 2021, up from 3.8 million last year, according to combined research by Intuit and Emergent Research.
- To IBM, “collaborative” means co-located. The originator of telecommuting is raising eyebrows with its mandate for marketing staff to report to one of six offices. One CEO explains why this is a step backwards and is likely to backfire.
- Airbnb is running its own internal university to teach its staff about data science, acknowledging that a more data-literate workforce is the key to the future.
- Two new premium ride-hailing options are available from Lyft: Lux and Lux SUV. A key step in winning over some of Uber’s higher-end customers.
- Lyft officially launched a dedicated app for its drivers that allows drivers to schedule pickups in advance and offers extra bonuses for pickups in high-demand areas. Some see this as a major advantage over Uber. That, and acting like an ethical company.
- Uber, on the other hand, underpaid its NYC drivers by tens of millions of dollars over the past two years. How’s that for collaborative?
- A look at the funding and valuation of various ride-hailing companies. Uber may have the highest value, but Didi has raised the most money.
Measurement / Analytics / Data
The future is not in plastics, but in data. Those who know how to measure and analyze it will rule the world.
- Google Attribution is here and it may be the holy grail. Its goal is to be a home for evaluating marketing campaigns. And it is meant to move marketers away from the dreaded last-click attribution that does nothing to inform us of consumers’ intent.
- One of the most important features of Google Attribution is the credible measurement of online-to-offline action, using credit card information to link in-store activity to online activity.
- The new service also offers extensions such as address/map location, hours, photos, call buttons and other information for YouTube ads.
- Prediction is an important part of forecasting, which itself is a subset of analytics. So here are 10 commandments for aspiring superforecasters via Farnam Street..
Other links to help you reflect, improve, or simply learn something new.
- Have you ever found yourself flipping through your phone for no discernible reason? You just take it out and begin opening apps. You’re not alone: nearly half of people unlock their smartphones without a specific app in mind. Bored? There’s an app for that.
- Well, that’s one of the behaviors that Josh Spector decided to eliminate as he decided to stop checking his phone and started using it with intention.
- Reflection is important for leadership, but many leaders have trouble with it. Why? They don’t understand or like the process, they don’t like the results, have a bias toward action and can’t see good ROI. So here are some simple steps to take that will help you become more reflective.
- In the era of over-friending, Roman philosopher Seneca reminds us that trust and selflessness are at the core of true friendship. If you don’t completely trust someone, or your motives for your friendship are transactional, it’s not a true friendship.
- If you want to improve your writing, look no further than Winston Churchill’s memo on brevity.
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Upcoming Brain+Trust Speaking Engagements
- Keynote at the CEO Communications Summit at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Montreal, June 13-14, 2017. (Scott)
- Keynote at Health:Further in Nashville, August 23-25, 2017 (Frank and Scott)
- Can we speak for your organization? Drop us a line.
Brain+Trust Partners doesn’t believe in gobbledygook — we use common sense strategic guidance to help you master the evolving marketplace. From strategy development to technology and data vendor selection, to digital transformation and streamlining processes, our focus is on the customer experience. And our decades of experience working for major brands means that we deeply understand the challenges you’re facing. Let us know if we can help you.
Top photo credit: Ft. Henry Bombardment 1814 by Dr.frog at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
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