Category Archives: Brands & Marketing

Connection, Communication, Consolidation, Convergence, Context

Last week I was presenting my thoughts & ideas on future tech & trends with a client, so I thought I’d share them here… but let’s look at where we’ve come from, where we are now & where we appear to be heading.

Connection: Advent of the internet; Arpanet (1969), email (1972), internet mainstream (circa 1982), the web (1989)

Communication: Social media, Amazon (1994), Google (1998), Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005), Twitter (2006). RFID & NFC payment systems, Oyster card (2003), Starbucks (10% of transactions are now NF & Mobile)

Consolidation: (Hub Device) Technology & users reliant on connectivity to the internet. Most obvious tech consolidation is the smart phone, no longer separate cameras, music players, web browser (iPhone 2007)

Now
Convergence:
Individual devices share data & influence one another autonomously (AKA The Internet of Things). We’re moving away from a world of dumb devices, to one of connected intelligent smart devices.
Consumption / Gathering:
Wearable devices: Wrist: Nike Fuel, Jawbone UP, Fit Bit, Nymi, Pebble, Samsung Gear, Sony SmartWatch, Qualcomm Toq, TomTom, Nissan Nismo / Head: Google Glass, Weartrons RnR, Melon / Feet: Nike+ Sensor.
Sensors: Medical Equipment (health, safety) Scanadu Scout Tricoder, Climate & Ambient Systems, Automobiles
POS & POI: Info Boards, Posters, Displays, Barcode Scanning, RFID / iBeacons (Estimote)
Smart Devices & Home Appliances: Music, TV, Lighting, Utilities, Security (locks, access controls, monitoring).
Prime Devices: Sony Lens Camera, POV’s, Audio Recorders
Creation / Output: Bespoke Product Design, 3D Printing

Where we’re heading:
Context: Location & context specific “big” data & actions
(The Age of Context / Networked Society).
Example: You’re on your way to a meeting, your Hub Device, knows where you are, your schedule, where you’re going, who you’re meeting (so it likely knows where they are too), what the traffic conditions are like ahead. Earlier it told you to leave early as there was traffic congestion, but that’s cleared, so you’re going to be early, so it suggests you wait it out at one of your favourite coffee shops (it knows there’s space at the coffee shop and can even tell you where the nearest parking space is, it could even pre-order your drink for you if you want), but it also knows it’s your kids birthday and has access to your to do list, so it suggests you can use the downtime to order & pick up the present, as there’s a special promotion on at the moment.

The Age of Context relies on the autonomous sifting of Big Data and putting it into context. Big Data is a cinch to create, but unfortunately a major stumbling block is the lack of correlation between systems & datasets, there are no open standards or protocols for sharing, and the likelihood of the social silo’s of Google, Facebook, Twitter & FourSquare et al sharing our data anytime soon is unlikely without a disruptive element.

The News & Education sectors will continue to go through major shifts, with Healthcare undoubtedly seeing the next major shake up with advances in self monitoring data & preventative care.

Brands & advertisers have huge opportunities to make their offerings even more granular & responsive, so stand a better chance of interaction, by being more personal & engaging by leveraging the viewers personalised preferences & location based data. In effect Contextual Advertising, is the Marketeers equivalent to responsive web design, advertising that adjusts to the viewers location & tastes.

Keeping with the C theme, I could suggest the next stage will be “Coherence” (the quality of forming a unified whole), but I won’t go that far for now… I can’t predict the future, things we take for granted today, weren’t even launched or invented 2-3 years ago, so who knows what we’ll be using in 5-10 years time?

Below is an example of a Networked Society (more examples on the Ericsson Channel)

Can I Ask You For Something?

I just stumbled upon this video by Amanda Palmer, it’s worth 15mins of your time. She outlines her experiences on the relationship of an artist and a fan, and how she overcame her initial feelings of guilt when “Asking” for help. It all boils down to two way engagement and building trust.

Rather serendipitously Seth Godin blogged today about evoking trust, which ties in beautifully with Amanda’s TED talk.

Second Sight

With more and more of us having a mobile or tablet device within arms reach no matter where we are, you’d think that would give advertisers more opportunities to grab our attention, but the opposite maybe true. With DVR’s we pause live TV and watch it when we want, and more often that not we skip the adverts.

But recent research by Ofcom has found that the living room and live TV is making a surprise come back, with 91% of adults saying they watch TV in their living rooms (up from 88% in 2002), with 25% “Media Meshing” (interacting with the live shows via Twitter, Facebook etc), but most surprising of all is that 90% of TV watched in the living room was live. Although that’s only half the story, as  41% of households have only a single TV now, that’s up from 35% 10 yrs ago (with only 50% of 5-15yr olds now, it was 70% in 2007). While youngsters may now spend more time in the same room, they’re focused on their mobile or tablet device, so they maybe  in close proximity, but they’re no engaging or communicating locally.

Below are some interesting stats collected by the Time Warner Media Lab on the effectiveness of advertising and the second screen.

 

infographic-second-screen-effect-1

 

data-timewarner-05-2013

iBeacons, Apple’s Stealth NFC Killer (Plus a Retailers Dream!)

I’ve an iOS developers account, so I’ve been playing around with iOS7 for a month or so, and have to say it’s pretty good, there’s still a way to go yet and there’s still a few bugs to iron out, plus I’m glad to see the back of all that digital felt & leather! But that’s not why I’m posting, iOS7 is out now so you can check it out for yourself.

No the reason I’m posting, is iBeacons. Like a lot of people, I’ve been longing for Apple to include NFC in the iPhone, and was hoping the 5S would have it, so was a bit miffed to see that it was still absent… but I missed iBeacons in the launch keynote presentation.

Now it’s all starting to fall into place, fingerprint scanning, Bluetooth 4, iBeacons… oh sneaky! I won’t go into details but let me point out a couple of very important distinctions between RFID & NFC… RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a protocol that allows the wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data. NFC (Near Field Communication) is a set of standards for devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.

So what does that mean in English… NFC chips are now in almost every credit / debit card and many smart phones, and allow you to make small payments or gather item info etc. As the name implies the great thing about NFC is that the devices have to be in very close proximity to connect… but that’s also a bad thing, as a retailer cannot push notifications to shopper unless they’re within 5 cm.

iBeacons (which is integrated into the iOS7) on the other hand uses the RFID protocol, which means that any iPhone / iPod / iPad (iWatch in the future), can detect other iBeacon devices at a range of 200m (but it can also be limited down to 10cm). So what this means for retailers is that they can transmit customised coupons, product offers / info, location, maps, directions etc directly to shoppers within their stores without needing shopper instigation, is Minority Report Advertising about to become a reality? But there’s another really important factor about iBeacon, the users iOS device isn’t just a passive receiver being bombarded by coupons and offers, as any iOS7 device can also become an iBeacon transmitter! This allows the user to filter out unwanted offers and connections… bad for the retailer you may think, but on the contrary it’s great news, rather than wasting theirs and the customers time with offers they’re not interested in, the user can tell the retailer (or advertiser) what they are interested in, now that’s powerful… plus there’s likely to be greater uptake by users if they can filter what they do and don’t want.

The potential advantages of iBeacons is huge, and with the built in fingerprint confirmation, the concerns over long range cyber pickpocketing or snooping are reduced. Of course if Apple had included a NFC chip as well that would have been perfect, but this is Apple’s way of breaking the back of NFC payments, are at least slowing it down in the short term so it can get leverage (sort of what it did with Adobe’s Flash dominance on the web vs HTML5, and look how that ended up). Apple do have their own a NFC / fingerprint solution in the works, but that may never see the light of day, especially if iBeacons and the fingerprint scanner take off in the way they’re planning!

So maybe I will upgrade to an iPhone 5S after all.

more details here on Gigaom

and check out the Estimote Beacons 

The Real Thing

I really like coca cola, when I was in my 20′s I’d drink about 2-3 ltrs of the stuff a day (yes you read that correctly, that’s 8-10 cans a day), and contrary to what you may think, I was as thin then as I am now, plus I still have all my own teeth!

But Coca-Cola’s having a tough time at the moment, with greater public awareness on the obesity epidemic and the reported dangers of artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, their sales of diet coke have dropped by 3% (diet Pepsi down 6.2%), while Coke is down 1% (Pepsi down 3.4%). Coca-Cola announced earlier in the year that they would start a new advertising campaign defending the use of these sweeteners. But let’s hope for their sake that it’s more successful than their previous campaign on obesity.

That didn’t go too well, going by the drop in sales, the comments on their Youtube and Facebook pages, plus the meme video with an overdubbed voice over that appeared within a couple of days of the original video. I can’t help but think they would have been better off not trying to spin it in such a positive manner, and rather than telling us to come together, maybe they should have come a bit clearer with the facts, as without doing so, they simply left themselves open.

Maybe due to the online backlash from last time, is why so far, they’ve stuck to print advertising, but in this world of social media, they know better than anyone, you need to be out their participating in dialogue, and not simply broadcasting your message

Meme video 1,714,573 views (1,000,000 more than the original coke advert)

The original commercial (734,458 views)

New Advertising Campaign

Quality-&-Ingredients-hed-2013

Do You Want a Green Egg?

“Help us help the environment, go paperless” is the pitch you get from your utility company, your bank, your broadband provider and anyone else that sees sending you a paper statement or invoice in the post as a cost to them. We all know that they don’t actually care about the cost to the environment, that’s just marketing spin, we know they need to look good because everyone else is turning green, so they have to too.

Which is fine, but they should at least stick to their end of the bargain. When I sign up to be paperless, that’s exactly what I want, they promised not too send me any more paper in the post, but they lied. Of course they kept their end of the deal on one level (but only because it cost them actual money) I no longer get the statements and invoices sent out to me (although I now have the inconvenience of going to them to find them, having to remember yet another username and password, plus they only keep them for a year, what???? so I have to download and store them myself! but that’s another story for another day)… but I still get just as much marketing junk mail from them trying to entice me with new offers and services. Where’s their green credentials now?

Thankfully I don’t get anywhere near the amount of junk mail I used too, but it still annoys me that I still get any at all… especially as like most people, it never gets opened, as it all instantly goes into the recycle bin. There was a time years ago that I would open it, but only to see if any contained a freepost envelope… why? so I could stuff it full of the junk mail I’d received from someone else, which I would then drop in the post box on the way to the office in the morning. I know, not very grown up, not very clever and not good for the environment, but it made me smile (in fact it made me smile just now when I thought about it again!)

Of all the companies that I have accounts with, I believe only Egg banking had the option to stop ALL post, and sticking to their promise, I’ve not had a single piece of marketing or post from them through my letter box in years, yes I get the odd email, but that’s OK, it’s not everyday, just once a month, if that, plus I can automate it to the junk folder if I wish, so no biggie. Let’s just hope it stays that way, now that they’ve been bought out by Barclays!

So in answer to the question, yes I like my eggs green.

One For The Ladies

Here’s a novel way of positively implementing facial recognition software for an advertising campaign by Plan UK.

If the poster recognises you as a woman (90% success rate), then it displays a video highlighting how women around the world are denied choices based solely on their gender, with a call to action to become engaged in the plan. If it believes you’re a guy, you’re not shown the advert but instead presented statistics on the problem, turning the table and driving home the message that as a man you’ve now experienced what it’s like to have your freedom of choice taken away purely down to your gender.

Neat idea that should garner plenty of press coverage and undoubtedly get a few people hot under the collar, but that’s a good thing!

more info:
Plan uk
Choices for Girls

Apple’s Flashy iPod Touch Ad

There’s a iPod Touch advert on Wired’s homepage that’s very smart.

Anyone not in the digital media industry, will likely look at the advert and not be overly impressed, but technically, this ad is very impressive, as it extends beyond what you assume is it’s frame, the iPod covers the menu bar above (which remains active), and that my friend is really neat, in a very geeky way.

I’m assuming it’s done with a combination of still graphics synced perfectly with the video below, but I could be wrong. Although the question to ask now, is whether this is all done in HTML5, or did Apple use Flash?

The Next Train Will Arrive in the Vegetable Aisle

Hate grocery shopping? Hate waiting for public transport? Then why not combine them and make them twice as bad? ah, but elementary maths tells us that adding two negatives creates a positive!

This is a really simple, yet very effective way to get customers to try out Tesco’s online retail store. Perfect for South Korea, where 80% of the population have web enabled smart phones. Unfortunately Tesco would unlikely have the same success on their home turf, with no mobile reception and crowded rush hour platforms, the London Underground would be an impossible test bed.

Don’t Build It and They Will Come, 90k Of Them!

That appears to be Martin Hasek’s philosophy, the creator of Noteslate, and it appears to be working. I posted about the Noteslate back in January, I was sceptical then and unfortunately my scepticism was founded, as this CNN report confirmed shortly afterwards, but that doesn’t appear to have stopped 64,000 people clicking the like button on their homepage, 10,000 following them on Twitter, plus over 17,000 optimistic hopefuls liking the Noteslate Facebook page (there were only 500 when I hit the like button!), most of which are keen to see a real noteslate in production, although some are flagging a bit now on the Facebook page, and posting negative and frustrated comments.

So why do this? Surely Martin is going to anger a lot of people when he comes 100% clean, or will he? After all he’s proven without doubt that his college industrial design project (apparently that’s where it all started) has a market, one that may make investors very interested in the concept, although without any IP protection, I’m not sure how interested they’d be… although if you do the maths, based on the original price of $100 per unit (highly unlikely), that’s still 90k fans & likes x $100 = $9m… not bad for vapourware! Plus if Noteslate don’t release it, someone else undoubtedly will.

Either way, I’d personally love to see a noteslate type of device, without doubt I’d use it everyday, it dovetails perfectly with our no paper philosophy, we’d certainly look at ways of communicating with it and automating syncing with our own systems.

One thing Noteslate highlights and proves to us at no paper, is that people have no problem imagining a world where they don’t use or rely on paper, of course we’ve believed that for a long time, but it’s nice to know others believe and feel the same!

more dis-information at noteslate

more information at no paper