Monday, April 24, 2017

The Full Monty — April 24, 2017

The United issue shows there may be more at stake in concentrated industries; sports-free bundles may encourage cable subscriptions; This Week in Retail finds Walmart experimenting with a discount formula and looks at what's causing the retail meltdown; the request for Twitter to sell itself - to users; announcements from Facebook's f8 conference; publishers are unsatisfied with Instant Articles; how Facebook pummels the competition; Yahoo's demise is a harbinger; Uber really has some ethical issues (again!); AR is the future of Facebook; The Podcast Consumer 2017 report; the FTC needs to crack down on sponsored posts; success factors for CEOs and managers; and more in the post-vacation 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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Edition notes: I'm back from vacation this week, but have to attend my father-in-law's funeral. Next week may be a bit light.



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    • Twitter is going hard at video: brands can now run in-stream video ads to align with videos from Amplify partners, including top TV networks, major sports leagues, major publishing houses and magazines and professional news outlets. Twitter also highlights that these are "brand-safe" placements, pitting itself against the issues YouTube has recently been dealing with.
    • Did Twitter delete some tweets that were negative toward United Airlines?
    • Twitter's annual shareholder meeting will include a proposal generated via a petition that recommends that Twitter sell itself to some of its more fervent fans.
    • There's a serious problem at Twitter that needs to be addressed: disinformation is being spread by fully automated bots as well as semi-automated spam and trolling accounts that make up a sizeable part of Twitter's active user base. Just look at any @realDonaldTrump tweet seconds after it's been sent it's been liked and retweeted hundreds, if not thousands of times.





    • Yahoo’s demise is a signal that web-native companies are next. If you run a business that relies on digital-advertising revenue for an outsized portion of your funding, you need to find new streams of revenue. Now.

    Collaborative / Autonomous / AI


    • The lodging industry’s plan against Airbnb shows “the hotel cartel is intent on short-sheeting the middle class so they can keep price-gouging consumers,” according to Airbnb. Is this another instance of taxi companies vs. ride-hailing upstarts? Or does the hotel industry have a workable solution? If the plan is just more legislation and regulation, rather than updating their business model, it may be a long, slow decline for traditional hoteliers.


    • New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission is proposing that car services that only accept credit cards should be required to offer tipping as part of their user experience. Yeah, they're looking at you, Uber. Lyft already offers a tipping option.
    • Uber has extended its internal investigation on sexual harassment and workplace culture. With hundreds of current and former employees lining up, it could be quite revealing.
    • The culture there must be fairly toxic, as Rachel Whetstone, Uber's head of communications, stepped down. Who can blame her? She had a job that was about as enviable as Sean Spicer's.
    • Uber program “Hellcreated fake Lyft rider accounts to track Lyft driver locations, and identified individual drivers using Lyft vulnerability. Add this to the laundry list of questionable business practices by Uber. Why are you still using the app?
    • Uber secretly identified and tagged iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a practice that could have resulted in the app being booted from the App Store. This New York Times article Uber C.E.O. Plays With Fire sums up his behavior and the company's business model succinctly: "In a quest to build Uber into the world’s dominant ride-hailing entity, Mr. Kalanick has openly disregarded many rules and norms, backing down only when caught or cornered." He'll push boundaries and copy competitors, like Facebook; in that, he's like Mark Zuckerberg — but without a conscience. 


    Virtual Reality / Audio



    • IHeartMedia, the parent company of IHeartRadio, warned that its current debt position indicate that it may not survive another year.
    • Have a podcast? Here are the seven best podcast promotion tactics.
    • The Podcast Consumer 2017, the latest in Edison Research’s annual study of the medium, contains all new data on podcast users in America. Highlights:
      • Podcasting continues to rise, with Monthly listeners growing from 21% to 24% year over year.
      • The Podcast listener remains an affluent, educated consumer— and one that is becoming increasingly more likely to gravitate to ad-free or ad-light subscription experiences.
      • Subscribers tend to have been podcast consumers for longer than non-subscribers, consume more podcasts, and are more likely to use their smartphone as their primary podcast player.
      • While Home continues to be the most often named location for podcast listening, the vehicle is a strong second.
    • Program of the Week: Gabbing Geek is three friends doing a weekly podcast about movies, comic books, TV, science fiction, books, board games, video games, and all other things geeky. Suggested by Ryan Garcia. Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet:  
    • And don't forget to subscribe to our show via email or on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher,  Spreaker or SoundCloud.

    Content / Customer Experience / Influencer Marketing

    Privacy / Security / Legal

    • How Russian hacking evolved: simple credit card schemes in the '90s, takeover by organized crime in the '00s, and now joint criminal and government hacker teams. Important to understand, from the standpoint of corporate security, communications and society.
    • InterContinental Hotel Group initially announced a data breach of 12 locations. It turns out it's a little bigger: 1,200 IHG hotels were affected by the data breach. IHG is neither the first nor the last big organization that will suffer a data breach. Your company should be planning for how you'll respond if/when it happens to you  across the whole organization, from IT to communications to customer care to legal and beyond.
    • Instagram celebrities (yes, that's a thing) keep sneaking in sponsored posts, according to the Federal Trade Commission. What? Influencers and celebrities not disclosing a material relationship with brands? No! 

    Measurement / Analytics / Data

    Essential Watching / Listening / Reading

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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: Belisarious Begging for Alms, by Jacques-Louis David (Wikipedia)



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