Google got itself into hot water with advertisers and programmatic ads need a safe space; Uber continues to lick its wounds but deny injury; the Senate votes against privacy; a new operating model for marketing; Walmart's innovation for the future of retail; liking a brand on social media doesn't change behavior; a paid version of Twitter; how Instagram stays one step ahead of the market; measuring corporate innovation programs; make way for bike sharing; the Trump administration has its head in the sand about automation; ethical questions around the right to privacy; the busier you are, the more you need quiet time; and more in the trust edition of The Full Monty. And don't forget to subscribe to The Full Monty podcast, and check out where Brain+Trust is speaking this week (final section below).
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- Google has found itself in hot water with advertisers who are angry over the placement of online ads alongside offensive or extremist content. A number of major brands, including AT&T, Verizon, McDonald's, L'Oreal, Toyota, HSBC and Johnson & Johnson are pulling advertising dollars from Google and YouTube.
- Google is going into damage control, apologizing in a blog post and committing to add more staff and artificial intelligence to root out the placements.
- As inconsistencies behind the company’s ability to police advertising on controversial content are coming to light, many YouTube creators are having difficulty placing trust in Google.
- But this isn't an issue that's specific to Google. In an analysis, the the Washington Post found that ads for big brands have been placed on politically extreme and derogatory content across the web, highlighting broader issues with programmatic advertising. This is what happens when the media buying process becomes too automated.
- From the Trusted Media Brands Report: the vast majority (81%) of programmatic digital ad buyers agree that ensuring a “brand safe” environment for advertising is a high priority, and an equal proportion feel that in today’s fragmented digital landscape, using brand safe, trusted environments is more important than ever.
- To drive revenue growth in the digital age, new data shows that marketing leaders are upgrading data-collection technology, collaborating closely with IT, and focusing on test-and-learn agility. From McKinsey: Meet Your New MOM (Marketing Operating Model). It's made up of three parts: integrated consumer data (the challenge being not the collection, but the integration; decision making; and distribution platforms.
- With the advent of Sears, JC Penney, Kmart and others closing multiple stores, the retail apocalypse is upon us.
- On the flip side, Walmart is creating a technology-startup incubator in Silicon Valley called Building 8 to identify changes that will reshape the retail experience, including virtual reality, autonomous vehicle and drone delivery and personalized shopping.
- And Walmart is poised to make more acquisitions following Moosejaw, Shoebuy and Modcloth. Evidently if your ecommerce company is a compound noun, you stand a good chance of being acquired by Walmart.
- Spending on native digital display ads will make up more than half of all digital display ad spending in the US this year, growing 36.2% this year to reach $22.09 billion. And the vast majority goes to social networks.
- Latching onto the video on demand trend, movie studios are betting consumers will pay a premium to watch new releases at home rather than in theaters. With prices between $25-50 per rental, it may be easy for a family to justify this arrangement — particularly when you factor in costs like babysitters and refreshments.
- Although with Americans binge-watching for 5 hours straight, there might be precious little time to squeeze in that movie.
- Related: Millennials have finally reached a watershed moment, as they spent more time using smartphones (app and web) than watching traditional TV.
- A fascinating story of a brand turnaround from Bloomberg: Domino's Atoned for Its Crimes Against Pizza and Built a $9 Billion Empire. If nothing else, you must check out this link for the on-brand layout / user experience.
- Domino's remade the "running home" scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off and it's amazing.
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- Merely liking a brand on Facebook doesn’t change behavior or increase purchasing. According to research from MIT, endorsing a brand does not affect a customer’s behavior or lead to increased purchasing, nor does it spur purchasing by friends. Supporting endorsements with branded content, however, can have significant results. It makes sense that people who already patronize a brand would like it on social media.
- An important takeaway: even if a brand decides not to spend money advertising, it can use its social media channels to gain intelligence from its most loyal customers.
TWITTER / PERISCOPE / VINE
- Twitter is considering a paid subscription model for "power users" that may come in a version of Tweetdeck with more analytics. According to a survey issued by Twitter, the intended user base would be "marketers, journalists, professionals, and others." If I were allowed to edit tweets and understand more about my followers, I'd pay for Twitter.
- Are we witnessing the great unbundling of Twitter? Amazon's Twitter-like livestreaming of Twitch and Reddit's new profile pages may be indicative of a wider trend.
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP
- To combat fake news, Facebook is rolling out its "disputed by" feature that will highlight links that are in question.
- A recent Weber Shandwick study found that 82% of Americans are concerned about the impact of fake news on the news and information they receive from the media.
- Facebook opened Live streaming up to PC users using built-in or third-party cameras, expanding it beyond Pages to all accounts.
- Facebook is testing GIF buttons for comments. Just what you've been waiting for.
- Amid the company's full-tilt onslaught of Snapchat, some users of Messenger and WhatsApp don't want their messaging systems clogged with cloned features.
- Instagram will soon let people book appointments with businesses, part of an effort to expand the app's consumer uses.
- Live-streamed Instagram Stories videos can now be saved to your phone, proving more than an ephemeral experience whereby the videos disappear after 24 hours.
- When Instagram went from square-only images to rectangle-allowed, the move not only gave the company more confidence to change its app, but also inspired it to go much further in evolving the service. How Instagram Changed — Before It Had To. An essential lesson of getting ahead of your competition and not letting the market define you.
GOOGLE / ALPHABET
- Google has long tried to work with publishers on ad monetization and search results. This approach has helped position it more favorably with publishers than that other platform giant, Facebook.
- Big changes are afoot in AdWords: ads may trigger when searchers use different word order and function words as Google broadens its definition of close variants.
- Aiming to make it a more robust rival to Slack, Google removed SMS capability from Hangouts.
MICROSOFT / LINKEDIN
- LinkedIn is introducing trending topics section curated by human editors. It rolled out on Wednesday to US users on mobile and desktop.
Collaborative / Autonomous / AI
- Many corporations have their own internal innovation programs to accomplish a number of intiatives, from partnering with start-ups to creating new business practices. But a critical factor in all of them is how they measure success.
- IBM is known as having innovated in remote work access, but it's reversing that trend by calling thousands of employees back to regional offices. It's a controversial move that has practical implications.
- Airbnb has launched in China and Chinese consumers hate its name so much, they're trying to come up with a new one. The company's name is Aibiying, which is Chinese for "welcome each other with love." The logo finally makes perfect sense.
- Bike-sharing is the next big thing as China's bike-sharing startups are coming to U.S. cities. Companies had a presence in Austin at SXSW recently, and naturally will test in San Francisco.
- Uber's latest corporate scandal: a visit to a Seoul escort-karaoke bar by a party of Uber execs in 2014 led to an HR complaint from a female employee — and the company applied pressure on the CEO's ex-girlfriend when the matter threatened to come to light.
- Uber moved to Arizona, where there are no self-driving car restrictions, and in doing so, endangered others with an accident with one of its vehicles, resulting in a rollover.
- And yet, Uber said that it had its best week ever, despite continuing image problems. Of course, these are self-reported data.
- Sources shed light on Uber's self-driving car mess: slow progress on tech, haphazard public demos, and a talent exodus triggered by its Otto acquisition.
- Not quite sure whether this story belongs in autonomous vehicles or aritificial intelligence, which perhaps illustrates the increasing overlap of many of these trends: I Used Amazon's Alexa to Control a Ford Fusion and I'm Convinved It's the Future of Driving.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE / BOTS / BLOCKCHAIN
- Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin opined that displacement of jobs by artificial intelligence and automation is "not even on my radar screen" because the technology is "50-100 more years" away. The tech community's response: we're dumbfounded. Tech community's first step: create AI that replaces the Treasury Secretary.
- Meanwhile, 38% of jobs in the U.S. are at high risk of being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence over the next 15 years, according to a new report by PwC. The reason is the higher focus on service-related functions that are easily replaced by machines (e.g. bank tellers and ATMs).
- Microsoft's CMO for the U.S. told marketers to embrace the future to ensure they're not going to be replaced by robots.
- Get ready for more human-like chatbots that handle customer service. If they're anything like the new Grand Moff Tarkin, it's going to be freaky.
- Public relations is not going to be spared in the race to artificial intelligence. Are you ready?
Virtual Reality / Audio
- Some Lowe’s stores are testing out an augmented reality app that helps shoppers find products on their shoppping list faster via Google Tango.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook is betting on AR, which he believes will keep his company on top and may even supplant the iPhone. Sources shed light on Apple's augmented reality team, which is working on several products including AR glasses and AR camera features for the iPhone.
- One of SoundCloud's first employees is leaving the company. Head of internal communications David Noël's departure puts into question the viability of the company's future. Nothing is certain; if you have files on SoundCloud, be sure to have them backed up or hosted elsewhere.
- Look out Spotify — it's SuperPlayer, a Brazilian streaming music player that is using chatbots to make music recommendations.
- An interactive map to determine just how noisy your neighborhood is.
- The break-out success of the podcast Missing Richard Simmons is raising ethical questions with regard to privacy. Who, in the 21st century, has the right to be left alone?
- Program of the Week: I've just finished listening to the three-part 18-hour series "The Adventures of Alfred Hitchcock." It's part of the podcast The Secret History of Hollywood, branded as "podcasts for the classic movie lover." From gangsters to classic monster films, Adam Roche covers it all in a deeply researched documentary-like style. 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.
Content / Customer Experience / Influencer Marketing
- Mark Schaefer implores you to Stop Creating Random Acts of Content. Lack of a cohesive plan and direction for your company's content will result in underperformance and wasted efforts. Intentional topics and frequency will build loyalty.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- The U.S. Senate voted to overturn consumer-friendly privacy rules, meaning that Internet providers will now be able to share your web browsing history. It now goes to the House of Representatives for a final vote. If this is something that concerns you, contact your Representative and ask them to vote against H.R. 86.
- Here's a texting program that will allow you to reach them.
- London was the site of a terrorist attack last week, near the Houses of Parliament. The UK's home secretary said she was in a meeting with WhatsApp to demand that the government be allowed access to encrypted messages on the system moving forward.
- Starting March 15, 2015, more than 20,000 videos of classroom lectures and podcasts on UC Berkeley’s YouTube and iTunes channels became unavailable for public viewing, thanks to a lawsuit by two students, claiming that the Americans with Disabilities Act required all content to be captioned.
- So, LBRY mirrored all of the videos and is hosting them on its own site. Enterprising individuals are always finding a way around restrictions.
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- Modern marketing looks slightly different than what we've known. In particular is the focus on data activation and personalization, two concepts that go hand-in-hand. A quickly evolving industry standard is the Consumer Data Point (CDP) , which makes it possible for marketers to scale data-driven customer interactions in real time. At this point, we should be well beyond the "customers who bought this also bought that" rubric.
- Foursquare is using its location-based data to power an analytics platform to help retailers understand foot traffic.
Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- Are you a good boss? The combination of leadership and management skills can be tricky, especially when we have to inspire and motivate our teams while dealing with difficult people. Inc. has five things to consider as you make that journey.
- While you're at it, here are five interview questions to avoid and five questions to use instead.
- Often the solution to being knocked off the top rung of a ladder isn't always to keep scrambling to regain your rung. It's to build a better ladder, via Tom Webster.
- There’s plenty the British don’t speak of. But the death of the 90-year-old Queen might be one of the least spoken about—and best planned for—inevitabilities faced by an entire nation. Sam Knight delivers a minute-by-minute account of what could happen when Elizabeth II, who has outlasted twelve U.S. presidents, dies within the walls of Buckingham Palace. Code word: “London Bridge is down.”
- Have you emailed me, to no avail? Sorry for the Delayed Response.
- Productivity is all the rage. So when people want more out of you and you continue to "multitask" (but not really), focusing becomes truly difficult. And yet, it's not a matter of lists, apps, or processes. Focusing is an art, not a science.
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Upcoming Brain+Trust Speaking Engagements
- Keynote at Texas Society of Association Executives Tech Talks, March 30, 2017. (Tim)
- Keynote at Ragan's PR and Media Relations Summit in New York, April 5-7, 2017. (Christopher)
- Speaking at the Detroit Speed Conference, June 1, 2017 (Scott and Christopher)
- Keynote at the CEO Communications Summit at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business in Montreal, June 13-14, 2017. (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.
Bonus: the connection between Patroclus and trust.