Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Episode 31: The Need for Decent Apologies


Apologies are strange things. Either you don't get enough of them or you're overwhelmed with them, making them virtually meaningless.

There have been all too many apologies lately. But do they really do anything? What goes into a good one, and why it's so important. We explore this and a little more in the latest episode of The Full Monty.

For reference, here are some recent apology ads from:
Disclosure: we recorded this episode last week, long before a certain entertainer tweeted something that got her fired this week.


Download now (4.2 MB, 8:54)

  

Video Version 



    Credits

    Some music is on a royalty-free license from Pond5.com.

    "Grave Blow" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license
    Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100402
    Artist: http://incompetech.com/
    Theme song: "Heroes United" by ScoreStudio.

    Image credit: more fun with Sorry by Erin Kohlenberg (Flickr)

    Subscribe on iTunes - and leave us a review. Also, try the RadioPublic interface.


    If you find this program valuable, please consider supporting it on Patreon. It covers the cost of hosting, email, music and more.




    Tuesday, May 29, 2018

    The Full Monty: I'm Sorry, What? – May 29, 2018


    The lost art of apology; what it means to be human in a world of A.I., the early adopters of A.I. are in a pole position; Uber ends its autonomous efforts in Arizona; look at failures as well as successes to determine your marketing needs; the greatest communication tool of all time; malls are in peril – but the degree to which is up for debate; how to make a stellar online shopping experience; Facebook Marketplace gets the full classified treatment; YouTube's new streaming services compared to the competition; the media landscape of today; GDPR landed – how to ensure you're prepared; signs that your analytics program will fail; habits to improve your intelligence; plus the podcast of the week, wants and offers in the Community section and more in the I'm Sorry, What? edition of The Full Monty from Brain+Trust Partners for the week of May 29, 2018.



    Please consider supporting the considerable effort made for you here each week


    You know you want to

        How about it? 



    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.

    Contents:

    Announcements
    Top Stories
    Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous
    Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy
    Retail Apocalypse
    Platforms
    Media
    Community
    Privacy / Security / Regulatory
    Measurement / Analytics / Data
    Mental Nourishment
    Speaking Engagements

    Announcements

    As you see directly above, we've added a Table of Contents to make navigation a little easier (and especially because some of the good stuff is near the end).  Also, please be sure to check out The Full Monty podcast, which has returned after a year; new episodes drop on Wednesdays. And check out our YouTube channel as well.

     




    Top Stories

    I’m sorry. How often do you hear those words? I mean hear them applied really sincerely. These days, probably not much.

    The journalist Ambrose Bierce lived from 1842 to 1914 and in The Devil's Dictionary, he wrote that to apologize was “to lay the foundation for a future offence.”

    And isn't that what we constantly see from businesses, celebrities, executives, and more? They're really only sorry that they got caught. Because if they were truly sorry, they would have caught the slip-up themselves – not waited until they were outed by the media. So they offer their meaningless apology, and it typically smooths things over. For a while.

    Until the next time they get caught, doing the same thing over again.

    Do we really need apologies? And for those who offer them, what's the art of making a good one?


    As a father with young children, I had to teach them the art of saying sorry. Do you know what sorry means? Well, of course you understand it intuitively, but how would you simply describe what sorry means to a two or three year-old? Think about it for a moment.

    It was an interesting exercise for me as a father.  Here’s how I defined sorry to my kids: when you say sorry it means you didn’t mean to do it and you’ll try not to do it again.

    The first part of the phrase is the easy part. It's what we mean when we apologize for bumping into someone, or making a simple error. But the second part – I'll try not to do it again – that's what takes effort. You really have to give that part some thought, and commit to acting differently the next time.

    How often to you say sorry and really mean it?

    P.G. Wodehouse wrote: “It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.”

    Think about companies that have stepped in it in recent memory. Typically these are companies that have experienced data breaches or that have violated the privacy and trust of their customers. Do you think we want apologies for those things?

    I'd say yes – but again, it's the second part of the meaning of the word that makes all the difference.




    Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

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

    Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ

    Aᴜᴛᴏɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs / Mᴏʙɪʟɪᴛʏ



    Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

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

    Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢʏ / Mᴀʀᴋᴇᴛɪɴɢ / Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ

    • When it comes to marketing, the choices you make will affect how attention is given to you. But rather than looking at all what went into the successes, it's sometimes helpful to look at what was missing from the failures. Case in point: when shot-up British bombers returned with bullet holes, scientists suggested reinforcing those areas with armour; one contrarian said "Put the armour where there are no holes. Those planes don't make it home."
    • No matter where we go on the Internet, we're trapped in the feed. It's the twice broken model of advertising and media: just as in the TV industry, today’s platforms were designed to focus on the most and not the best, in order to maximize ad dollars.
    • When most advertising channels are closed to your business, how can you build an audience? One entrepreneur shares her journey.  

    Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟɪsᴍ / Cᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs / Rᴇᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ

    • Muck Rack and Zeno Group surveyed more than 500 journalists around the world and found that roughly half of journalists around the world (53 percent in the United States and 41 percent outside the U.S.) don’t use press releases to find new story ideas.
    • Cruise brand Carnival Corp.'s CEO discovered the greatest communication tool of all timelistening – and profits soared. 
    • American Airlines CEO Doug Parker had a chance to fly in one of his airline's newly configured and cramped economy seats, to truly experience the brand the way some customers do. When asked if he did, he declined to answer. That's a no.


    Retail Apocalypse

    Humans are a transactional species, and the practice — if not the very notion of what retail is  is undergoing a historical metamorphosis. 


    SPONSOR

    Want to know what 500 marketers (budgets up to $10 million) believe and how those beliefs influence their behaviors when it comes to hiring and firing agencies just like yours?

    Don't miss this FREE 16 page report, full of information, insight and guidance on how to best approach prospects based on the findings.

    Some of the results are going to really surprise you.

    If you're seeing this, maybe you'd like to see your company's name here too. Let us know.


    Platforms 

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

    Fᴀᴄᴇʙᴏᴏᴋ / Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ / WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ

    • Legal challenges are increasingly putting Facebook and others under scrutiny as to whether they're platforms or media outlets. One lawyer asks, "What is the difference between you and a national newspaper being responsible for the letters they publish on their letters page?"
    • Facebook Marketplace allows users to hire plumbers and home cleaners. This is in addition to recently adding the ability to search for a home rental or buy a car. Sounds like Facebook is also mimicking the classified ads section of newspapers, weakening their case above.
    • “We went along for the ride every single step of the way. But we noticed, over the course of two years, that we were being paid in all types of currencies — followers, shares, views — that did not feel like money,” said The Weather Channel, as it walked away from publishing videos on Facebook.
    • Facebook has made it easier to set up two-factor authentication. If you don't have this security featured activated on your account, please consider doing so now.
    • Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of the EU Parliament last week to discuss Facebook's role in privacy, politics, and society. It turned out to be more of an awkward grilling with unanswered questions than an informal hearing. At least European leaders looked more well informed than their U.S. counterparts

    Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ

    Aʟᴘʜᴀʙᴇᴛ / Gᴏᴏɢʟᴇ / YᴏᴜTᴜʙᴇ

    Oᴛʜᴇʀ




    Media

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

    Vɪᴅᴇᴏ

    • Last week, with a market cap increase of about $150 million, Netflix became larger than ComcastMaybe Netflix should make a bid for Fox... 
    • The Obamas signed a deal to create original programming for Netflix. The shows will include scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features. It used to be book deals and speaking engagements; is this the new status for post-presidential years?

    Aᴜᴅɪᴏ

    • The Four consist of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Who will be the fifth horseman? Good money is on Spotify.
    • The advertising market around podcasts is fascinating. But have you ever gotten the sense that a handful of brands dominate the shows? This headline acknowledges that: Podcast Industry Stalls as Entire Audience Acquires a Mattress and a Website. It was inevitable.
    • Program of the Week: Our pick this week is Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer, Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur. The show features business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side happy, wealthy, and growing.  Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts

      

    Community

    A place for subscribers of this newsletter to help each other. Do you have a special request or need? Email us and each week, we'll pick one to feature. And hopefully the power of the crowd will work. As Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations, "...help men. Short is life."

    This week, the request comes directly from my own team: do you or any leaders on your team need a current state of the industry deep-dive? What's hot in digital and social, and what's coming next? Brain+Trust Partners can help with an executive briefing. Gather as many or as few of your team as you like and book us for an hour, a half day or a full day and we'll share our perspective, shaped by years of brand-side experience and partnerships with technology companies.

    Can we help you with anything? Send an email to fullmonty [AT] scottmonty [DOT] com with your request and we'll see if we can get it into a future issue of the newsletter.
     

    Privacy / Security / Regulatory

    Business disruptions in the legal, regulatory, and computer security fields, from hacking to the on-demand economy and more.

    Pʀɪᴠᴀᴄʏ / Sᴇᴄᴜʀɪᴛʏ / Hᴀᴄᴋɪɴɢ

      Rᴇɢᴜʟᴀᴛᴏʀʏ / Oɴ-Dᴇᴍᴀɴᴅ Eᴄᴏɴᴏᴍʏ



      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.




      Do you like what you see here? Please subscribe to have trends on digital communications, marketing, technology and business delivered to your inbox each week.


      patreon.com/scottmonty

      It takes many hours to assemble this newsletter each week. Donating shows that you care.



      Upcoming Speaking Engagements

      Upcoming events:

      Can we speak for your organization or event? Drop us a line.



      Brain+Trust Partners companies evolve at the speed of customers. From social and content strategy development to technology vendor selection, to improved operations, our focus is on helping companies craft one true view of the customer. 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 image credit: The Lictors Bring Brutus the Bodies of His Sons by Jacques-Louis David, 1789 (public domain)

      -- 

      Tuesday, May 22, 2018

      Episode 30: I'm Right, You're Wrong


      While the furor of Yanny vs. Laurel is wearing off, the debate that captured the Internet's attention (for at least a few minutes) got us thinking about how often humans pick sides and dig their heels in.

      Conflict is inherent in the human condition. Since our earliest days of walking upright, we've warred with each other, built resources to protect ourselves from others, and marveled in tales about rivalry and competition. Indeed, it's what ancient sport was founded upon and what makes modern sports such a huge industry.

      But in many cases, it's not about one side versus the other, or just two choices. The world is more nuanced than a white dress or blue dress would have us believe. And we explore a bit of that in the latest episode of The Full Monty.


      Download now (4.5 MB, 9:36)

       

      Video Version 



        Credits

        All music is on a royalty-free license from Pond5.com

        Theme song: "Heroes United" by ScoreStudio.



        Subscribe on iTunes - and leave us a review. Also, try the RadioPublic interface.


        If you find this program valuable, please consider supporting it on Patreon. It covers the cost of hosting, email, music and more.




        Monday, May 21, 2018

        The Full Monty: The Choice Is Yours – May 21, 2018


        There are always more than two options; Google corrects its oversight in Duplex; the running robots that will overtake us; what blockchain blockheads can learn from the Great Beany Baby Bubble of '99; Waymo may win; what CMOs think marketing needs to work on; Walmart ends a couple of experiments; how the subscription business model works; trends in social media platform usage; the value of Facebook ads; Twitter's effort to reduce trolling; Netflix goes all-in on original content; podcasting's music problem; the call for Facebook to be broken up; if we want better Internet privacy rules, we need to show we care about it; using data and humans together; trustworthiness, likability and listening go hand in hand; plus the podcast of the week, a new Community section and more in the Choice is Yours edition of The Full Monty from Brain+Trust Partners for the week of May 21, 2018.



        Please consider supporting the considerable effort made for you here each week


        You know you want to

            How about it? 



        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.



        Announcements

        Three things this time around: (1) thank you for the feedback on the Top Stories section it was nearly universally voted up; (2) we've added a new section called Community in which Full Monty subscribers can ask for and receive help from each other; (3) I've rebooted The Full Monty podcast. with a very personal episode:






        Top Stories

        Last week, we were treated to one of the major conflicts of our time. It was not global superpowers at loggerheads, but rather the Internet, looking to skewer itself over the audio clip known as Yanny or Laurel. To me, the most fascinating part of this was not the debate, but that an audio file could be heard differently by different people. Particularly given my own audio struggles.

        Humans have had conflict since their first appearance on earth. Tribes battled each other, religions held tales of gods trying to outdo each other and even brother killing brother, literature has been dotted with it, from the Montagues and Capulets to Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty.

        But often times, we're given false choices because it's easiest to make a decision when there are only two things to decide between. This versus that, my team over yours, Democrats or Republicans, white dress or blue dress – we're typically fixated on a choice between a pair of things. Even one of my favorite podcasts, Business Wars, focuses on the battle of the brands, whether it's Blockbuster vs. Netflix, Nike vs. Adidas, or Marvel vs. DC. It's easier for us to compartmentalize.

        The world is usually messier than that. In workplace conflicts, there are wide arrays of feelings, motivations, priorities and the rest that inform how employees make decisions. But human nature loves victory. We root for the underdog, or we cheer the champion that defeated the also-ran. We love a good villain and admire a great hero.

        As we move toward to the temptation to make quick decisions, take sides, or declare victory, let's recall that perspective matters. A simple change in focus or looking at something from a different angle can change how you view the challenge in front of you. Rather than insisting on your position, try asking some questions or offering some understanding.

        Bonus: here's an expanded discussion of the above, in video.




        Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

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

        Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ

        Aᴜᴛᴏɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs / Mᴏʙɪʟɪᴛʏ

        • Facebook has rolled out dynamic lead-generation ads for auto brands, allowing dealerships to integrate lead-gen forms into their vehicle catalogs and CRM systems.
        • When it comes to autonomous vehicles, Waymo is set to win the race: its technology is on par with other leaders, but with the significant backing of parent company Alphabet, it can go the distance.

        Bʟᴏᴄᴋᴄʜᴀɪɴ

        • Blockchain is much more than just cryptocurrency, but with all of the hype around Bitcoin right now, its worth focusing on some lessons from the Great Beany Baby Bubble of '99. Will history repeat itself?


        Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

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

        Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢʏ / Mᴀʀᴋᴇᴛɪɴɢ / Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ

        Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟɪsᴍ / Cᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs / Rᴇᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ

        • If you want to know if someone is trustworthy, look for these 15 signs. Trust is tied directly to reputation, both in individuals and brands.


        Retail Apocalypse

        Humans are a transactional species, and the practice — if not the very notion of what retail is  is undergoing a historical metamorphosis. 


        SPONSOR

        Want to know what 500 marketers (budgets up to $10 million) believe and how those beliefs influence their behaviors when it comes to hiring and firing agencies just like yours?

        Don't miss this FREE 16 page report, full of information, insight and guidance on how to best approach prospects based on the findings.

        Some of the results are going to really surprise you.

        If you're seeing this, maybe you'd like to see your company's name here too. Let us know.


        Platforms 

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

        Social Media Examiner surveyed 5,700 marketers and developed a report of their planned use of different social media platforms for the next year. It's skewed more toward small businesses, but the disparity between Instagram and Snapchat is amazing – not to mention how Facebook doesn't seem to be hurting at all.


        Fᴀᴄᴇʙᴏᴏᴋ / Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ / WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ

        Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ

        Aʟᴘʜᴀʙᴇᴛ / Gᴏᴏɢʟᴇ / YᴏᴜTᴜʙᴇ

        Sɴᴀᴘ / Sɴᴀᴘᴄʜᴀᴛ




        Media

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

        Vɪᴅᴇᴏ

        Aᴜᴅɪᴏ



          

        Community 

        A place for subscribers of this newsletter to help each other. Do you have a special request or need? Email us and each week, we'll pick one to feature. And hopefully the power of the crowd will work. As Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations, "...help men. Short is life."

        This week, I wanted to share something unique with you. My friend Dave Delaney has created a workshop called Communication Reboot.  High turnover rates impact company culture, productivity, engagement, and overhead.

        So what does Dave do? He works with your teams to improve company culture and communication by using the techniques of improv in his sessions. Check out Communication Reboot to see how Dave's unique take on things can help your team.

        Can we help you with anything? Send an email to fullmonty [AT] scottmonty [DOT] com with your request and we'll see if we can get it into a future issue of the newsletter.
         

        Privacy / Security / Regulatory

        Business disruptions in the legal, regulatory, and computer security fields, from hacking to the on-demand economy and more.

        Pʀɪᴠᴀᴄʏ / Sᴇᴄᴜʀɪᴛʏ / Hᴀᴄᴋɪɴɢ

          Rᴇɢᴜʟᴀᴛᴏʀʏ / Oɴ-Dᴇᴍᴀɴᴅ Eᴄᴏɴᴏᴍʏ


          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.




          Do you like what you see here? Please subscribe to have trends on digital communications, marketing, technology and business delivered to your inbox each week.


          patreon.com/scottmonty

          It takes many hours to assemble this newsletter each week. Donating shows that you care.



          Upcoming Brain+Trust Speaking Engagements

          Upcoming events:

          Can we speak for your organization or event? Drop us a line.



          Brain+Trust Partners companies evolve at the speed of customers. From social and content strategy development to technology vendor selection, to improved operations, our focus is on helping companies craft one true view of the customer. 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 image credit: Modern Rome - Campo Vacino by JMW Turner, 1839 (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

          -- 

          Tuesday, May 15, 2018

          Episode 29: Listen, You're Not Alone


          Hi, stranger.

          It's been a while.

          I was recently in for a medical test and it gave me time to reflect (don't we all need that every now and then?). In doing so, I realized that there's a certain feeling that we probably hold inside - a feeling that if we shared it with others, it could lead to better outcomes for everyone involved.

          Along the way, I decided to take a different approach to tell this story, and share something very personal with you that I haven't been able to express previously. I hope you can appreciate it.

          Download now (6.0 MB, 11:44)



            Credits

            All music is on a royalty-free license from Pond5.com

            Theme song: "Heroes United" by ScoreStudio.

            Incidental music: "Despair and Triumph" by Kevin MacLeod.



            Subscribe on iTunes - and leave us a review. Also, try the RadioPublic interface.


            If you find this program valuable, please consider supporting it on Patreon. It covers the cost of hosting, email, music and more.





            Monday, May 7, 2018

            The Full Monty: This Time, It's Personal – May 7, 2018


            Brands need to think about customers over channels; how human and machine relationships will affect designers and ethics alike; the leading digital personal assistant; the generations adopting technology; the battle for e-tail in India; all the F8 announcements; cord-cutting and paywalls mean subscription hell; Spotify and Pandora earnings; change your password on this platform; new analytics features from Facebook; what Teddy Roosevelt knew about creating; plus the podcast of the week and more in the This Time, It's Personal edition of The Full Monty from Brain+Trust Partners for the week of May 7, 2018.



            Please consider supporting the considerable effort made for you here each week


            You know you want to

                How about it? 



            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.



            Announcements

            Quick survey question: do you find the Top Stories section helpful/interesting?
             Yes
             No






            Top Stories

            Last week's commentary began with a focus on Big Tech – how Facebook and Google hold a duopoly in digital advertising – and ended with a call for brands to own their data. Given that the piece mostly focused on the former, we'd like to explore the latter a bit more.

            The IAB report The Rise of the 21st Century Brand Economy contains a few nuggets worth considering. Namely:
            1. As the retail apocalypse continues, there are permanent changes in industry supply chains that are shifting the center of growth in the U.S. consumer economy from brick-and-mortar locations to digital outlets.
            2. Economic benefits are accruing to firms that create value by tapping into low-barrier-to-entry, capital-flexible, leased or rented supply chains. These include thousands of small firms in all major consumer-facing categories that sell their own branded goods entirely or primarily through their owned-and-operated digital channels.
            3. The single-point retail fulfillment experience has permanently changed to a variable experience, which in turn transforms all value-creation and extraction activities before, during, and after the sale.
            4. All retail sales growth is shifting from brick-and-mortar stores to digital, data-enriched channels.
            5. First-party data relationships are important not for their marketing value independent of other functions, but because they fuel all significant functions of the enterprise, including product development, customer value analysis, and pricing.
            6. An arms race for first-party data is influencing strategy, investment, and marketing strategies among major incumbent brands across all categories.
            That's quite a bit to digest. Let's dwell on it for a bit.

            On one end of the spectrum, we've got Amazon and Walmart fighting for supremacy as the One Distributor to Rule Them all. And as we've previously seen, all it takes is a head fake by Amazon and an entire industry's market is in upheaval.

            But on the other end, we've got hundreds or thousands of brands that are competing in the DTC market, effectively cutting out distributors and retailers and handling the relationships themselves. Brands have been conditioned to serve the channel, not the customer, so it's not surprising that they're woefully underprepared to compete with the likes of Warby Parker, Quip, Casper, Allbirds, Dollar Shave Club, and more.

            All of those companies have made it frictionless for customers to use their products, with deliveries and returns being handled directly by the brand. Some have even gone as far as to build in a subscription model to make it even easier to acquire the products. It's really not that different from what we're seeing in the media world, with cord-cutters getting what they want from a variety of networks and subscription services that have made an end-run around the traditional cable and satellite companies.

            All of the above means that traditional an upstart brands need to be serious about personalized experiences. Knowing your customer and giving them what they need (even if they don't know they want it) is the new expectation. And rather than having 10 audience personas to develop and market to, there will be thousands or more, each different from the next.

            But here's a fear amid heading down this path: personalization may eventually lead to a decline in shared consciousness. Think about it: with a nearly infinite number of choices, it means that we'll have less in common with each other than when there were limited choices. Johnny Carson was universally known and seen by tens of millions of viewers because that was the show to watch at 11:30 pm (back when there were few channels); now every late-night show host gets a couple of million. Saturday morning cartoons were a thing of our childhood; now our kids are watching the thousands of YouTube channels and influencers available to them.

            In 1987, E.D. Hirsch wrote Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know in which he wrote:
            "[C]ultural literacy—the grasp of background information that writers and speakers assume their readers and listeners already have—is the hidden key to effective education in America."

            And here we stand, on the edge of a society that is placing more emphasis on catering to the individual. That's the kind of cultural literacy that brands could do with right about now.





            Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

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

            Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ

             


            Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

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

            Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢʏ / Mᴀʀᴋᴇᴛɪɴɢ / Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ

            Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟɪsᴍ / Cᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs / Rᴇᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ

            • Apple is paying some Apple News publishers for early exclusive access to their video content. Apple clearly wants to win the video battle happening across platforms.
            • As any journalist can tell you, the best answer to the question “what happened?” is not: ask a bunch of your friends what they think, organize their views along a spectrum, and then decide where to plant yourself. But that's precisely what Mark Zuckerberg wants to do.


            Retail Apocalypse

            Humans are a transactional species, and the practice — if not the very notion of what retail is  is undergoing a historical metamorphosis. 


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            Platforms 

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

            Fᴀᴄᴇʙᴏᴏᴋ / Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ / WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ

            • Facebook held its F8 developers conference last week. Here are all of the announcements from F8. Some highlights:
              • You'll be able to clear your Facebook browsing history. They keep track of that?
              • Messenger has more than 300,000 bots. Don't worry - these are the good kind that assist customer conversations.
              • Augmented reality effects for Messenger and Instagram, the launch of Oculus Go, the ability to find blood donation areas
              • A dating feature to compete with Tinder.
            • Facebook is extending its push into the corporate technology market, adding business software integrations to Workplace, its enterprise collaboration tool. Integrations include SurveyMonkey, SharePoint, and Adobe.
            • Spotted in New Zealand and Australia: downvote buttons on Facebook.
            • Instagram is preparing to let you add music to your Stories.
            • Also in Instagram: a native payment feature that will allow users to send money to each other. An expected development, as WhatsApp and Messenger both feature this. Facebook is protecting itself, ensuring that if users leave any one of its platforms, they'll still have essential functionality in its others.
            • At the same time, Facebook is simplifying Messenger.
            • British Parliament has requested that Mark Zuckerberg testify before its Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee before May 24. If he fails to comply, they'll issue a summons for him. 

            Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ

            • During the NewFronts, Twitter announced 30 new or renewed video deals, including with ESPN, NBCUniversal, Viacom, Vice Media, and more. The partnerships span entertainment, news, lifestyle, music, gaming and sports, including expansions of existing deals with Live Nation Entertainment, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.

             Aʟᴘʜᴀʙᴇᴛ / Gᴏᴏɢʟᴇ / YᴏᴜTᴜʙᴇ

            Sɴᴀᴘ / Sɴᴀᴘᴄʜᴀᴛ




            Media

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

            Vɪᴅᴇᴏ

            •  So you've cut the cord from your cable company. But subscription creep is happening as you add service after service for programming. Add to that your newspaper, magazine, and music subscriptions, and soon you're in Subscription Hell. When is enough enough? Or worse, when is enough too much?
            • Comcast is increasing Internet speeds for some customers. Some. As in, only those who have elected to purchase the Internet-TV bundle. Sorry, cord-cutters. It looks like Comcast has cut you out of the deal. As if Comcast needed another reason to be despised.
            • Realizing that it needs a solution for today's viewer, ESPN has rebooted SportCenter for mobile.
            • Publishers are creating video programs as a new way of distributing serial content, in conjunction with linear TV streaming networks. 

            Aᴜᴅɪᴏ

            • In its first earnings report, Spotify missed revenue projections by about $40 million. The streaming music provider saw a 30 percent increase in Premium subscribers to 75 million, with about 170 million subscribers in total.
            • Record labels that have invested in Spotify have netted about $1 billion. Sony, which held the largest stake, sold about half its shares for close to $750 million. Then, Warner Music Group followed suit – selling off 75% of their shares, and netting close to $400 million.
            • Pandora fared a little better, with an increase in revenue of 63 percent, at $104.6 million. It increased its paid listenership by 5.63 percent.
            • Program of the Week: Our pick this week is a set of recommendations from Jeremy Bednarski: the best 20 marketing podcasts you need to check out nowDo you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts.  
            Don't forget to subscribe to The Difference from Brain+Trust Partners!


             

            Privacy / Security / Regulatory 

            Business disruptions in the legal, regulatory, and computer security fields, from hacking to the on-demand economy and more.

            Pʀɪᴠᴀᴄʏ / Sᴇᴄᴜʀɪᴛʏ / Hᴀᴄᴋɪɴɢ

              Rᴇɢᴜʟᴀᴛᴏʀʏ / Oɴ-Dᴇᴍᴀɴᴅ Eᴄᴏɴᴏᴍʏ



              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: Spring Blossoms, Montclair, New Jersey by George Innes c. 1891 (public domain)

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