Monday, May 1, 2017

The Full Monty — May 1, 2017


ESPN undergoes a major layoff; mobile and desktop advertising surpassed TV; This Week in Fake News; Radio Shack goes out in style; Facebook's associated apps) are approaching the 1B mark; Twitter outperforms in earnings and followers; LinkedIn's Matched Audiences will be a boon to advertisers; Airbnb aims for business travelers; Didi is huge and getting huger; Uber aims to fly high; free self-driving rides in Phoenix; what freaks people out about robots; the impact of autonomous processes on society; VR is only one letter away from QR, but some are wielding it the same way; United heard the cacophony and has made policy changes; Fyre Festival organizers had a flaming mess on their hands; CMOs need more than marketing savvy; a look at Hanlon's Razor; and more in the You're Fyred 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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Industry

  • ESPN laid off more than 100 employees on Wednesday, including many familiar and highly credible on-air faces. Most observers chalked the moves up to “cord-cutting,” the freefalling relevance of ESPN’s flagship highlight show SportsCenter in a digital world. This challenge extends to other multimedia brands, whether in broadcast or print, in which content is available on any device, and there's a mismatch of attention and big ad spending, combined with an inability to keep up with a rapidly changing media landscape.
  • Mobile and desktop advertising have surpassed TV, and mobile now accounts for more than half of all digital ad revenues, up 22% in 2016 over 2015, according to the IAB. Revenue from digital video is leading the charge, up 53% in 2016 and reaching a record total of $9.1 billion. As TV ad spend declines in favor of digital, it highlights the challenges faced by networks like ESPN.
  • Taking a more "engineering approach" to the future of advertising marketing, WPP purchased Deeplocal, an "innovation studio." A fitting description for a shop rooted in engineering that creates inventions for clients. The future of advertising may be more about experiences than the ads themselves.
  • Consumers want a digital advertising experience that's more subtle, but the question remains about how marketing silos will be broken down to deliver that.
  • This Week in Fake News:
    • Fake news will continue into the foreseeable future for at least four reasons: our media consumption habits have changed; we consider our friends on social media as trustworthy, and therefore not in need of fact-checking; Millennials gravitate to social for news; and they're more open to alternative news sites for information (think Vox, Axios and Quartz, for example — although these are not fake news sites).
    • Social media is polarizing opinions faster than ever. People pick sides, find like-minded users, and dig in. Academics teamed up to dig into the behavior of some 12 million Facebook and YouTube users, and found that within 50 likes of content in a category, users were entrenched. In other news, water is wet.
    • Facebook recognizes that it has a role to play in disinformation campaigns that occur through its platform. They've got a strategy, but it doesn't include a method for combating the creation of false and malicious material at its source, and a sense of Facebook's responsibility when genuine users share those links.
    • Mark Zuckerberg set out to change the world by making it possible for anyone to share anything. But in accomplishing that, the platform has unleashed human nature on itself, making the News Feed the defacto newsfeed to the world, leaving Facebook the unenviable task of trying to fix its own worst bug.
    • One way it is going about this is to suggest more articles to read in the News Feed to help fight its 'filter bubble.'
    • Turkish authorities have blocked access to Wikipedia by Turkish citizens. No, you don't get to ask why. And there's no truth to the rumor that this is to pre-empt fake news.  
  • Radio Shack has closed hundreds of stores in the past few years, but none closed quite like the Reynoldsburg, OH locationBusinesses with franchisees should consider who has access and control of individual stores or locations’ social media presences. Then again, if you're completely eliminating their livelihood because you mismanaged your entire company, you might just deserve what you've got coming.




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Platforms 

TWITTER / PERISCOPE / VINE

    • Jack Dorsey shared some thoughts about Twitter’s growth and the pressure to grow more, the problem of harassment and destructive speech on the platform, whether his company’s done enough to fight it, and of course about Donald Trump.
    • Despite some ongoing controversies, Dorsey does seem to be making positive strides toward halting Twitter’s slide. The platform added nine million users in 4Q 2016, achieved EPS of 11 cents in the same period, beating expectations of only one cent, and saw greater-than-expected revenues of $548 million. It’s too early to declare victory, but these results should provide investors at least a little relief.
    • Twitter is partnering with Bloomberg Media for a 24/7 ad-supported live video news channel, expected to start this fall. Another play for more video ad dollars.

    FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP

    SNAP

    ALPHABET / GOOGLE

    MICROSOFT  / LINKEDIN

    OTHER

    • WeChat is huge in China. The messaging app has succeeded in the absence of other major platforms, partially because of its simplicity and because of its growth as a mobile operating system. Four insights from its ecosystem report:
      • Time spent on the app is up, with the majority of people spending an hour or more a day on it.
      • 57% of users are willing to pay for content on the app.
      • "Miniprograms" within the app still have yet to catch on.
      • Workplace use of WeChat is widespread and may become more codified.



    Collaborative / Autonomous / AI

    LODGING

    TRANSPORTATION

     AUTONOMOUS 

    ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE / BOTS / BLOCKCHAIN

    Virtual Reality / Audio

    VR/AR

    • A bar in London has added unnecessary VR components to its cocktail menu. Great. We're getting to the point where companies are going to start using VR like QR codes: just doing it because they can, rather than improving the experience or adding value.

    AUDIO




    Content / Customer Experience / Influencer Marketing

    • United Airlines announced ten sweeping policy changes, more than two weeks after the now-infamous dragged-off-the-plane incident with Dr. David Dao (with whom United settled this week). The policy changes, announced in an email from embattled CEO Oscar Munoz, include no longer asking law enforcement to remove customers from flights (“unless it is a matter of security or safety”), increasing incentives for rebooking, and no longer asking passengers to give up their seat once seated on the plane. 
      • Despite the policy changes -- and Munoz’s apparently candid admission in an AP interview that “I messed up” the initial response and that the Dao incident ‘may sway’ consumers’ airline choices -- many have responded skeptically, pointing out among other things that the airline is only increasing incentives for overbooking, not ending the practice. Regardless of the policies United may put in place, the airline’s issues stem as much from culture as from policy — and culture takes much longer to fix. Stay tuned.
    • The rumors of the death of content curation may well be exaggerated; major media outlets like the New York Times are finding success with curation, so businesses taking a smart and audience-centric approach to curation may also find success.
    • We're just at the beginning of the bull market for content marketing. There's a high demand for marketing skills and executives have a desire for more long-form content.
    • It's possibly the worst event promotion and execution in history, and influencers were involved in it. That's right: it's the great Fyre Festival Fail of 2017.
      • And while it may be reasonable to ask the FTC to get more serious, the real blame lies with the organizers, who are now facing a class action lawsuit from disgruntled rich kids. To the tune of $100,000,000.



    Privacy / Security / Legal



    Measurement / Analytics / Data




    Leadership / Further Reflection




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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: Sunset on the Coast of Sicily After a Storm, by Andreas Achenbach (The Metropolitan Museum)

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