Andy on Twitter

  • And so what they should do is apply the learnings from the four days to five days and get even more. Compressing ti… ,
  • Agree with Mark. How ridiculous is this. Ink is cheap in the world of digital - but doesn’t mean you should use it. ,
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  • Really basic stuff but worth a read... CMOs and Teamwork: How Can High-Performing Teams Shape Success? ,
  • Opinion | Marc Benioff: We Need a New Capitalism - The New York Times ,
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  • And the coverage seems to miss that for some using on their carrier connection it streamed bea… ,
  • The coverage on is so ridiculous. How many people actually got great service vs. those that didn’t? And to… ,
  • A great read for all of you using Google... ,
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Humanizing Brands

 

Given Brands are made by humans, how have so many become so, well, inhuman?

Many of today’s brand challenges stem from not being human enough resulting in a chasm between the brand and the consumer. Turns out that the solution to ending what are highly robotic brand responses and interactions is a robot.

Efforts to achieve this typically require massive investments in human capital – and while this will remain the ultimate solution, it hinders brand engagement and comes with a raft of issues such as cost, consistency of service and experience, and time.

Digital has long been touted as the solution to these issues – as providing an infinitely scalable way for brands to reach and touch more consumers. In the purchase funnel that might be partially the case – but what about before and after? How do brands address the complex task of engaging and advising the consumer across their entire journey?

Early advances to address this have resulted in a raft of chat-bots, animated digital puppets and “hot cartoons”. These have proven to be little more than PR stunts. They attract eyeballs but don’t engage to deliver any value to them. Operating to rote scripts and responses, consumers have been rewarded with little more than sizzle without the steak.

That’s about to change.

By fusing advanced general intelligence – a type of AI – with a hyper-realistic animation engine, brands can now create human experiences, quickly and at scale. And this will advance brands into a new world of artificial general intelligence. AGI is the intelligence of a machine that could successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can. That means, the new face of a brand – a Digital Human – can operate autonomously and in human ways.

YUMI, unveiled today at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity represents the world’s first autonomously animated Digital Influencer. Developed by Soul Machines and P&G’s SK-II, a global prestige skincare brand, YUMI marks the birth of the first fully autonomous digital influencer capable of interacting as a human would but with the control brands need and expect. The technology advances are significant, as are the implications for marketers:

The Rise of Digital Influencers & Celebrities

YUMI will be the first of thousands of new Digital Influencers – some unique, some founded on actual Digital Celebrities – that express a personality unique to them and the brand. Unlike current, information and interaction poor Digital Puppets, their integration with information and AI will enable them to present meaningful information, in a human way, contextualized to the consumer rather than a pre-programmed script. Digital Humans go beyond current PR Stunts with limited ability to interact and engage. They can evolve over time, humanizing the brand across multiple campaigns, products and services.

Crossing the AI Chasm

Today most marketers’ efforts with AI are confined to mining data that is then used to tailor offers and creative to be delivered in the right place and the right time. Digital Humans represent a new opportunity to fuse this data with customer interactions in real-time. Whether you are a Digital Agency, a Data Agency or Creative Agency, the Digital Human becomes the means to converse at scale.

New Creative Solutions

Current Digital Puppets are created through traditional animation techniques that cost as much as the time they take to create. Higher quality equates to higher cost. Solving this problem through an advanced CGI studio enables Digital Humans to be created with, until now, unseen quality, in days.

A New Interface

Digital Humans aren’t just a new face for brands, they are a new interface for any digital environment. Rather than clicking, scrolling, or searching we chat with a Digital Human who does the work for us. Interactions are simplified and humanized.

Digital Humans, like YUMI, humanize the brand by being human. They are imperfect but perfect. They possess knowledge. They respond to you based on emotion and intelligence. They listen, engage and react – autonomously and at scale. They are serious and funny. Importantly, they break from scripts and engage in conversation – and through this conversation, they do the work of presenting relevant information.

But more than anything, the new wave of Digital Humans will humanize brands by thinking and communicating like a human. And in the process, reinvent customer and brand experience.

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Climb That Mountain

Terrific…

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Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Epic

The latest is out and is a must read.

  1. Images are increasingly the means by which people communicate, as technology developments like faster wifi and better phone cameras have encouraged a surge in image taking. More than 50 percent of Twitter impressions now involve posts with images, video or other media; Twitter used to be text-only.
  2. The number of interactive gamers worldwide grew 6 percent to 2.4 billion people last year, as interactive games like Fortnite become the new social media for certain people. The number of people who watch those games — rather than participate — is swelling, too.
  3. As privacy becomes a bigger selling point, expect more options to make your online communications safe. In Q1, 87 percent of global web traffic was encrypted, up from 53 percent three years ago.
  4. Americans are spending more time with digital media than ever: 6.3 hours a day in 2018, up 7 percent from the year before. Most of that growth is coming from mobile and other connected devices, while time spent on computers declines. People are also getting more concerned about time spent online, as more than a quarter of US adults say they’re “almost constantly online.”
  5. Internet ad spending accelerated in the US, up 22 percent in 2018. Most of the spending is still on Google and Facebook, but companies like Amazon and Twitter are getting a growing share. Some 62 percent of all digital display ad buying is for programmatic ads, which will continue to grow.
  6. E-commerce is now 15 percent of retail sales. Its growth has slowed — up 12.4 percent in Q1 compared with a year earlier — but still towers over growth in regular retail, which was just 2 percent in Q1.
  7. Some 51 percent of the world — 3.8 billion people — were internet users last year, up from 49 percent (3.6 billion) in 2017. Growth slowed to about 6 percent in 2018 because so many people have come online that new users are harder to come by. Sales of smartphones — which are the primary internet access point for many people across the globe — are declining as much of the world that is going to be online already is.
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Great Read on Digital Pollution

What a great read… loved this quote:

Digital pollution is more complicated than industrial pollution. Industrial pollution is the by-product of a value-producing process, not the product itself. On the internet, value and harm are often one and the same.

Hate speech and trolling, the proliferation of misinformation, digital addiction—these are not the unstoppable consequences of technology. A society can decide at what level it will tolerate such problems in exchange for the benefits, and what it is willing to give up in corporate profits or convenience to prevent social harm.

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Sometimes we don’t like the truth

But that doesn’t mean the truth shouldn’t be told.

Such a shame that the pressure – especially on front-line staff – resulted in this campaign from Heart Foundation being pulled. Brave marketing that gets cut through needs airtime.

As Mark rightly said:

“There’s a lesson here, right? Let’s take it away from heart disease for a second. Most marketers play it too safe. Most marketers don’t achieve salience. Most consumers never notice or digest the message, because we don’t push whatever the position might be far enough,” he said.

“If there’s one thing you see across successful campaigns, back to this bravery point, you have to push it up to the line, and maybe sometimes over the line – not intentionally, but the attention and effectiveness depends upon it. And I think for me it’s one of the great shames, if this is one of the great campaigns of the last five or 10 years in Australia, one of the great disappointments, though it’s understandable, is it’s been pulled.”

Kudos to Chris Taylor for a gutsy campaign. And for the honesty and authenticity in speaking to the fallout.

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The Primal Urge Marketing Lacks

Wired continues to surface some of the best stories out there. This one, derived from Coders is a beauty and got me thinking about why so many marketers aren’t obsessed with driving efficiency. We are often so focused on the outcome we fail to acknowledge the inherent inefficiencies in what it took to get there. When we go in and look at marketing teams – often for frustrated CMOs, CEOs and boards we see common threads:

  1. No operating system or cadence – everyone busy as busy in their swim lane but no systems to orchestrate work and optimise processes
  2. Little data on the work being done – no idea on what output requires what input and how to 10x both
  3. A purely financial lens zoomed in on campaign ROI – and this ROI is largely only calculated on the media spend, not the cost of human and creative capital to pull it off
  4. Overinvestment in demand-side technology – and underinvestment (frequently none) in the marketing platform that would enable marketers to do their best work
  5. Little understanding of capacity constraints – endless, mindless meetings; endless distractions; no blocking off time for focused work

There are many more. So much can be learned by any marketer by hanging with their respective tech development teams – or finding the best out there and hanging with them. Look at their tools, disciplines, rigour and ask the question – “what if we did that?”. What if we increased the metabolic rate of marketing as a function:

The thrust of Silicon Valley is always to take human activity and shift it into metabolic overdrive. And maybe you’ve wondered, why the heck is that? Why do techies insist that things should be sped up, torqued, optimized?

There’s one obvious reason, of course: They do it because of the dictates of the market. Capitalism handsomely rewards anyone who can improve a process and squeeze some margin out. But with software, there’s something else going on too. For coders, efficiency is more than just a tool for business. It’s an existential state, an emotional driver.

So many of us have become observers of the data we generate as humans – our steps, fitness, heart rate, calories consumed.

Maybe we’re becoming uncomfortable with how we, too, in our daily habits, have embraced the romance of hyperoptimization. Look at the scene on any city street: Employees listening to podcasts at 1.5X speed while racing to work, wearing Apple Watches to ensure they’re hitting 10,000 daily steps, peeking at work email under the dinner table. We’ve become like the coders themselves, torquing every gear in our lives to remove friction. Like any good engineer, we can make the machines of our lives run awfully fast, though it’s not clear we’re happy with where we’re going.

The question is how to do it without removing the very human elements that make marketing so wonderful. For many geeks I know, this in fact is the goal:

Christopher Thorpe, a veteran of more than a half-dozen tech firms, told me about “an incredibly talented engineer” he once worked with who fit that bill. “He was very upset with me that we told jokes in all our meetings, because we were wasting time. ‘Why are we spending five minutes having fun with 20 people in the office? This is work time.’ Everybody is laughing—but, you know, you’re wasting all this valuable time.” The joke had frittered the time of 20 people! This guy would begin rattling off the math: “Five minutes times 20, that’s like, you know, you’ve wasted an hour and a half of person-time on these jokes.”

But what if we focused more as marketers on the inputs that generate the outputs? What if we focused on taking the friction out of marketing?

Either way, Coders is a great read.