The Internet Trends Report is here; strategist’s guides to blockchain and artificial intelligence will help frame each for your business; don’t let technology rule you; the autonomous driving economy may be as large as $7 trillion by 2050; teens are ‘meh’ about your ads; 9 traits of highly successful CMOs; Walmart goes on the offensive against Amazon, leveraging its scale; fake news may be an activist investor issue; Twitter and the BBC will live stream the election; China has a jump start on ditching email; VR for sports and employee training; Tencent is everything; Pandora is offering branded radio stations; best practices for security of the Internet of Things; Airbnb traffic is up; Uber has (another) no-good, horrible, bad week; there’s still a measurement gap out there for brands; looking into the past to embrace the present and steer the future; and more in the
cuvfefe Internet Trends 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.
- As the conceptual side of computer science becomes practical and relevant to business, companies must decide what type of AI role they should play. Here’s A Strategist’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence from PwC to help you along.
- Similarly, the distributed ledger technology that started with bitcoin is rapidly becoming a crowdsourced system for all types of verification. Could it replace notary publics, manual vote recounts, and the way banks manage transactions? A Strategist’s Guide to Blockchain will help you understand the utility of the technology as it applies to business.
- What is the state of AI now, relative to brands? And how should brand marketers prepare for what is to come? In this month’s Branding Roundtable, those questions and others are put to three international experts on brand and AI, including Brain+Trust Partners‘ Tim Hayden.
- Apple‘s WWDC happens today, and we may be party to a debut of a new product. Sources say that Apple’s Siri-controlled speaker is beginning production, featuring a virtual surround sound and no screen.
- Chatbots are all the rage and are destined to change greatly over the next five years. The bot matters about as much as the cardboard box that Amazon uses to ship your items. The intelligence behind those bots, however, matters a great deal, says Conversable‘s Ben Lamm.
- It’s easy to become the by-product of so much ubiquity in technology. From alerts to ease of access to repetitive behavior, we may be falling prey. Don’t let your technology tools use you.
- Uber has fired Anthony Levandowski, the autonomous driving engineer it hired from Google with its acquisition of Otto. Well, that was fun while it lasted. Now we’ll see if Levandowski testifies for or against Uber in the upcoming court case as the battle for autonomous domination continues.
- Google‘s autonomous driving unit Waymo is exploring self-driving trucking, according to early testing with one truck.
- A study by Intel and Strategy Analytics says that the economy related to autonomous driving may be worth $7 trillion by 2050.
- New research from connected car company INRIX found that Americans trust technology giants slightly more than automakers to build autonomous vehicles (27 percent vs. 23 percent), followed distantly by ridesharing companies (four percent). Almost 3 times as many Germans trust traditional carmakers to build autonomous vehicles compared to tech giants.
- Michigan is taking steps to build its own intelligent freeways. Vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) technology is an important component of autonomous driving, just as vehicle to vehicle (V2V) technology is.
- Bosch and Continental are partnering with Baidu, the Chinese internet giant, to work together on not only automated driving, but also on connected cars in general and mobility services. Worldwide, we’re seeing this integration of technology, transportation, and information.
- We shared this link last week, but it bears repeating: the future of the automotive world is digital.
Industry developments and trends, including retail, fake news, customer experience, content marketing, and influencer relations.
- Google says it will preinstall an ad filter in Chrome starting early 2018 aimed at ads deemed “annoying” by the Coalition for Better Ads.
- With some 57% of consumers making purchase decisions based on the recommendation of an influencer, every brand needs an influencer strategy. Now if we could just find that online influencer who’s swaying those 57 percent…
- Sports commentator Frank Deford died last week, but his audiences extended beyond sports fans. Why? In his stories, Deford didn’t focus on sports; he focused on people. A lesson for all content creators.
- The New York Times now has 13 million subscriptions to its 50 email newsletters. In their case, product innovation and smart callouts have made a difference. How’s that for failing?
- Given the challenges that chief marketing officers are under and their shortening tenure, you won’t want to miss the nine traits of highly successful CMOs.
- In a new survey from YouGov, teens are split on whether or not they trust ads and are more likely than older audiences to skip ads.
THIS WEEK IN RETAIL:
- Walmart (disclosure: a Brain+Trust client) held its annual shareholders meeting last week. In the three-hour business update and show, Walmart revealed a number of ways it is going head-to-head with Amazon, from automated pickup towers to Scan and Go technology for checkout.
- Walmart is also exploring blockchain for delivery drones, by which the company could automate unmanned aerial delivery, addressing the last mile of the customer experience.
- And not to miss out on the current opportunities, Walmart is testing using store employees as a delivery mechanism, as they can deliver packages on their way home from work. With the ubiquity of Walmart stores (90% of the U.S. population is within 10 miles of a store), they effectively act as distribution centers; employees can enjoy additional pay for services rendered.
- Meanwhile, Amazon’s share price has topped $1,000, thanks primarily to its cloud services business, and to ecommerce.
THIS WEEK IN FAKE NEWS:
- A proposal will be voted on at Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting that asks the company to issue a report detailing how false new stories are a threat to democracy and Facebook’s own reputation.
- Fake news could be a broader activist investor issue at a number of companies — particularly those technology platforms that have morphed into media entities (wittingly or unwittingly).
- We’re at a pivotal point not just in the life of our democracy, but in how we think, read, and make choices. Google is also complicit in how some fake news is promulgated. It takes more effort than ever to educate oneself and dig into details.
- One of the most significant jobs in communications is open: Communications Director at the White House. But it may be a difficult one to fill. The challenges include a boss who doesn’t seem to want to stay on message, a combative press, a potentially damaging reputation, and the scrutiny of the entire world.
THE 2017 INTERNET TRENDS REPORT:
- It’s that time of the year — when Mary Meeker from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers presents their annual Internet Trends Report.
- As you might expect, it is a deep dive in technology and behavioral trends (355 slides, to be exact!). Some of the notable items that may require a little more include:
- The slowing of global smartphone growth and of Internet users. (Slide 6)
- In the USA the average adult spent 5.6 hours per day consuming media online. (Slide 9)
- Digital advertising spend is up to $73B — a 23% increase over 2016. (Slide 12)
- While advertising spend has closed the large gap between mobile and print, there’s still room for improvement. (Slide 13)
- The new kind of consumption is subscription retail. (Slides 77, 175)
- While 65+ year-olds spend more time with media than 18-24 year-olds, the younger cohort spends more than 3X the time of the older one on digital media. (Slide 171).
- With more data in their hands, consumers expect digital health services. (Slide 308).
- And here’s the full report:
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News to know about relevant social, virtual, and augmented reality platforms that may affect your business.
TWITTER / PERISCOPE
- While Facebook and Google are catching a good deal of heat for fake news, Twitter is being gamed for the spread of misinformation.
- Twitter added a new “Requests” inbox for direct messages that adds a useful filter while also protecting users from abuse and unwanted messages.
- Twitter and the BBC are teaming up to live stream the British election (which is now delayed, following the weekend terror attacks in London). The partnership is indicative of the broader trend of converging social video and traditional TV. Other bits of news from this update:
- Twitter is beefing up its news content;
- Elections drive increased use of Twitter;
- Twitter is the only digital platform with 24/7 live video.
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP
- As Snapchat continues to rule among the teen set, Facebook continues to take a more active role in encouraging younger folks to use its own communication apps. The latest: Facebook has a teen-friendly chat app in the works.
- Facebook’s new collaborative photo albums let users save text posts and check-ins. The company is also making it easier to add friends as contributors to create shared albums, and adding the ability to display a “featured album” prominently on your profile.
- Instagram ads can now link to brands’ Messenger accounts and bots; links can be attached to photo, video and carousel ads on Instagram and use referral codes to open a specific messaging thread on Messenger. Facebook is getting serious about integrating its ecosystem.
ALPHABET / GOOGLE
- After a backlash from creators about advertising and controversial content, YouTube is cleaning up which videos are part of its ad network. They plan to ban ‘hateful’ videos from making money on their platform.
- Microsoft is emulating Snapchat’s Stories with its reimagined Skype experience, which also includes categorizing itself as a search and transactional tool.
- In China, email has always been dead. The alternative? Messaging apps.
- It looks like Delicious is finally fading away. The social bookmarking platform has been sold five times since its inception and now Pinboard says that it has acquired the site and will be shutting it down on June 15.
- Walmart will be using VR technology at its 200 Walmart Academy training centers to train 150,000 employees a year on customer service and management topics. Disclosure: Walmart is a Brain+Trust client, and earlier this year, we were able to see the VR training live. It was impressive.
- Intel thinks that the future of sports viewership is in VR. The tech giant has grand ambitions, and thinks that fully immersive live sports is the key to giving fans what they want – eventually.
The latest in the world of streaming video, audio, and the advertising, pricing and bundling models related to them.
- China’s Tencent = Facebook + YouTube + Netflix + publishing + the biggest online game empire in the world. That’s an equation for success.
- With all of that video streaming happening, Netflix knows quite a bit about us.
- Now go binge on Season 5 of House of Cards.
- Now go binge on Season 5 of House of Cards.
- Pandora is incorporating parts of its subscription-based Pandora Premium service into advertising units, building branded radio stations that offer on-demand listening. Gatorade is among the first brands to try this programming.
- SoundCloud is coming to XBox One, integrating its streaming music service through the gaming device, beating Spotify and Pandora to the platform.
- Adam “The Podfather” Curry aims to make the podcasting industry a little easier to tackle with Podcaster Pro, a piece of integrated hardware.
- Program of the Week: The New York Times podcast The Daily is 20 minutes of news, five days a week. Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts.
- And don’t forget to subscribe to our show via email or on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spreaker or SoundCloud.
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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.
SECURITY / HACKING:
- Some 250 million computers and 20% of corporate networks worldwide were infected by Fireball adware from China’s Rafotech. Fireball can push and execute any file. Rafotech spreads its adware by bundling it with legitimate software, sometimes without giving users the opportunity to opt-out of the installation.
- In the very near future we’ll see almost everything become a “connected entity” – where entire cities become smart hubs creating vast amounts of data. As such, we need security best practices for the Internet of Things.
- Airbnb is popular. How popular? Traffic to the site is up 30% over last year, more than Marriott, Hotels.com or even Booking.com.
- As popular as Airbnb is, the concept of renting out your car to strangers still hasn’t caught on. Possibly because a guest can’t use your condo to injure third parties. And because it’s more comfortable to be amorous in a domicile than in a car.
- Lyft has released its first diversity report, and it seems to be a bit more balanced than other tech companies: 63 percent white, 19 percent Asian, 6 percent black and 7 percent Latinx, with 42 percent female.
- Texas is getting more friendly to ride-hailing, and in Austin, the home-town favorite is RideAustin, which shares revenue with local charities.
- A reminder of why Uber was so fixated on China: China accounts for two-thirds of the global ride-hailing market.
- Uber had a poor news week (AGAIN):
- The company lost $708 million in Q1 2017 and is looking for a new CFO.
- Uber was criticized for enacting surge pricing following the London terror attack. This is not a new practice for Uber. When will they learn from their mistakes?
- Last week, we reported that Uber shortchanged New York drivers on fares for nearly two years. Now we find that Uber was aware of it as early as 2015.
- Have we mentioned #DeleteUber?
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.
- New research from Brand Innovators and Origami Logic reveals that while most communicators understand the value of effectively implementing marketing performance measurement (MPM) practices, 72 percent of them characterized their organization’s efforts as average or below, uncovering a significant measurement gap.
- Web analytics firm KYA looked at 530 sites with 15 million visitors and found that engagement is highest on Mondays and evenings. So get to work on all of these links tonight!
- Why a healthy dose of skepticism and a clear understanding of the process behind data collection leads to stronger strategies and real impact.
Other links to help you reflect, improve, or simply learn something new.
- One of the great skills of a communicator is the ability to interview someone. Here Mitch Joel sums up seven ways to make your interviews as good as Howard Stern’s or Charlie Rose’s.
- To be a great boss, show these four traits to your employees every day. Lift your employees up and build a relationship with them first — even before you work on one with your customers.
- Bob Mankoff is retiring as the editorial cartoon director of The New Yorker. And this is the story of his funniest — if not the funniest — cartoon in the history of The New Yorker.
- Finally, a look at Ancient Rome in 20 minutes. There is much to learn from the past that can inform how we embrace the present and impact the future.
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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)
- Session at Content Marketing World in Cleveland, September 6, 2017: “How to Build and Maintain an Audience with a Remarkable Newsletter” (Scott)
- Automotive and Transportation Lab at Content Marketing World, September 8, 2017 (Christopher, Tim and Scott)
- Digital Summit Detroit, September 12-13, 2017 (Christopher)
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: Giovanni Paolo Panini – View of the Roman Forum (Wikimedia Commons)
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