Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Full Monty: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility – April 9, 2018

We must demand more of Facebook (and of ourselves); ethical standards for AI; blockchain in plain English; the massive impending change for online advertising; transforming customer experiences; if you rely on third party data, you need to find another way; more data restriction at Facebook; shorter skippable ads coming to YouTube; data-based TV advertising; what we can learn from Spotify's IPO; what to look for in Big Tech regulation; industry guidelines on consumer data from the ARF; social media metrics that matter; traits of the best problem-solving teams; texting returns us to our origins;  and more in the With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility edition of The Full Monty from Brain+Trust Partners for the week of April 9, 2018.

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The Full Monty, a Brain+Trust Partners publication, exposes you to virtually everything you need in business intelligence at the top of every week. Links are below with commentary in italics. Please sign up for our email updates to make sure you don't miss a thing.

We're coming to you slightly delayed, due to vacation and the resultant overflowing inboxes and app notifications.

Top Stories

As we write this edition, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is appearing before Congressional committees where he is testifying on Facebook's approach to data and privacy. We read the prepared testimony that Facebook released (spoiler alert!) and caught some of the questioning.

You've probably heard the phrase "with great power comes great responsibility." Its origins are uncertain, as it's been co-opted by Winston Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt and even Stan Lee in the first Spider-Man comic. The earliest recorded version is actually from a set of decrees set forth at the French National Convention in 1793: "great responsibility follows inseparably from great power." And that too is preceded by the Biblical verse Luke 12:48:
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
And so we return to Mr. Zuckerberg. His seed of an idea in his Harvard dorm room has turned into a company that touches billions of people around the world in its utopian desire to make the world a more connected place. Facebook has been given and entrusted a great deal – personal data of nearly one-third of the world's population. 

The question is: have we demanded enough of them?

As we've seen and read, Zuckerberg does seem to be contrite and admits errors of judgment. There's no question that Facebook is run as an idealistic and optimistic company, and while it portrays itself as a benefactor to the race, it hasn't played by the rules. Time and again, Facebook has been warned about privacy violations and playing fast and loose with features. From its surprise release of the News Feed in 2006 to the ill-fated Beacon advertising system to consensual data sharing and many more examples, Facebook has lived by apology.

See, it 's not like Facebook hasn't known what it's been doing. With Cambridge Analytica, Facebook knew what happened in 2015, but it's only in recent weeks – thanks to the press – that we've become aware of it. In an interview with NPR, Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg said that the company is now taking aggressive action and making privacy policy easier to understand – about something that has been at the core of their business strategy from the beginning. She said Facebook was "way too idealistic," but it's not "way too idealistic" when Facebook had been given warning signs that they choose to ignore. That's willful neglect.

We can imagine the difficulty in undoing so much that's been done in the last decade by Facebook. With so many users, it must be a daunting task. It's also daunting to think that personal privacy is being treated so lightly by someone with so much power. For a contrast in responsibility, look no further than Apple CEO Tim Cook, who stated that "privacy is a human right."

The control of data will be the major conversation among brands and tech companies in the foreseeable future. From data breaches and hacks to privacy policies, consumers will want to know where their data is going. And as an entity that has a relationship with your customers, you'll want to have as much control over that data as possible, as that's what will lead to better customer experiences and peace of mind for your customers.

Much will be demanded; much more will be asked.

Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

The latest in AI, machine learning, bots, and blockchain, mobility, and autonomous everything.





Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

Industry developments and trends, including advertising & marketing, journalism, customer experience, content, and influencer relations.



Retail Apocalypse

Humans are a transactional species, and the practice — if not the very notion of what retail is  is undergoing a historical metamorphosis. 
  • A global race to automate stores is underway among several of the world’s top retailers and small tech start-ups, which are motivated to shave labor costs and minimize shoppers’ frustrations. As usual, Amazon is the driving force. And we think it goes beyond Amazon's traditional competitors and into many areas of consumerism.
  • Walmart is opening more than 500 pickup towers across the US to distribute customers' online orders with a discount, and take advantage of their physical presence to increase foot traffic at stores. Disclosure: Walmart is a Brain+Trust Partners client.
  • Apple's new Business Chat is in beta and is a universal chat tool that lets businesses interact with consumers via a mixture of bots and humans.


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News to know about relevant social, virtual, and augmented reality platforms that may affect your business.

  • The reckoning is coming for social media's value to business, driven by the decrease in to which data marketers and businesses have access via APIs. Reliance on third party data is going to hamper brands, says Christopher Penn from Brain+Trust Insights. And this is why, at Brain+Trust, we encourage clients to own your data and own your customer experience.




  • YouTube will be featuring shorter, skippable ads. They're guaranteeing more viewability to advertisers, with their six-second ads being skippable after five seconds. Gee, thanks. While it's not "no ads," it's better than longer, unskippable ads.



The latest in the world of streaming video, audio, and the advertising, pricing and bundling models related to them.


  • NBC has taken the lead in data-based TV advertising, with AMC, Fox, Turner and Viacom following with their "Open AP" consortium of audience-based ad targeting.


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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.



    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.

    Mental Nourishment

    Other links to help you reflect, improve, or simply learn something new.

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    Top image credit: The Course of the Empire - The Consummation of the Empire by Thomas Cole (public domain)



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