Archives for July 2013

July 30, 2013Published by: Anton Perreau

Social media masters: A method in the madness?

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This week The Wall Street Journal announced a shift in job titles relating to social media. Between 2012 and 2013 the number of jobs with the term 'social media' was down by 9% according to indeed.com - additionally, jobs with the word 'Twitter' in the title dropped by 22%. But what does this mean about the world of work?

The main answer lies in finding a social media expertise, it's difficult for someone to understand social media strategy, if they don't have a role to play in the technical functions of an overall business strategy. In an attempt to tackle this new media, many universities are offering courses that focuses solely on this medium itself. The WSJ article by Zara Stone looks at The University of Florida, where an 18-month masters in Social Media is advertised to,

'...examine the impact of social media and explains how it can be used to influence the future of communication, marketing, journalism, politics, entertainment, public relations, and more.'

Understandably, educational establishments aim to broaden students' horizons, inspire them to do greater things or to dig deeper into the methodology (not practice) of their chosen subject. It could be difficult to dig into methodology of Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter though - as the intricate algorithms behind these platforms change daily.

The WSJ piece by Stone goes on to share that skill searches by potential employers with terms like 'Instagram' and 'Twitter' were up by 644% and 44% respectively, between 2012 and 2013. It seems that whilst candidates roles are becoming more integrated with bigger business goals, their innovative skill set is what matters.Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 17.09.00

Indeed social media has created an economy which is much more practical, volatile and intricate. You can't call social networking an industry - it cross-tangents with so many different departmental functions of any organisation that social media is a necessity everywhere. Needless to say, this all leads to one big question - when a candidate applies for a job, how will a degree or masters in social media be perceived, surely knowledge of new media, innovation, interpersonal skills and technology is more important?

Perhaps then the best way to really understand social media is to get hands on, learn how it applies to your pre-existing expertise and innovate the way you choose to use it.

July 30, 2013Published by: Drew

Are politicians finally getting twitter?

 

o-GEORGE-OSBORNE-facebook

There are no shortage of twitter gaffes that well meaning but clueless politicians have committed. From Aidan Burley’s misjudged ramblings on last year’s Olympics to George Osborne’s attempt to appear like the “common man” by tweeting a picture of himself eating a £10 burger, UK politicians just don’t seem to take twitter well. But maybe that’s all about to change. Have politicians finally understood twitter?

Clearly feeling ecstatic that the economy isn’t as bad we all thought , George Osborne recently visited a few businesses such as a Tesco depot where employees were working late shifts. He tweeted about each visit and included the hashstag #hardworkingpeople. While communication firms have apparently praised Osbrone for this use of the hashtag, it isn’t revolutionary or as funny as him eating a £10 burger.

However, it is a step in the right direction for Osborne and other politicians should follow suit. Politicians who use twitter to appear more “human” will only face backlash and ridicule from a skeptical audience. Instead, politicians should use twitter to relay important information to their constituents and any activities they are doing that illustrates their commitment to their position. Osborne has done this with his #hardworkingpeople hashtag. Politicians, particularly in the UK, are perceived as being plain and any attempt to move away from that notion, particularly on social media, will only result in mockery.

 When it comes to twitter, politicians should stick to the plain and simple. Anything else will incite mass heckling from the public.


July 29, 2013Published by: Drew

Publicis Omnicom Group thoughts: focus on future media, not size

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As everyone in advertising and the media will by now have seen, this weekend the world's biggest ad agency was formed, when Publicis and Omnicom signed and sealed a merger to create a group, now known as Publicis Omnicon Group, a $35 billion company.

The press and pundits worldwide have now had some time to chime in with their opinions. Most of the comments I have seen are negative, many simply objecting to the appeal of such a big group to a client and to staff.  This is to be expected, considering how many competitors POG now has.

Analysts' early thoughts are that it's good news for the industry, and the markets are doing well since the news broke too. Some of our respected industry thought leaders are putting forward some excellent points that are worth reading - Craig le Grice's points about diversity and client conflict are wise words indeed.

In Battenhall's world where social media is a big driver in how comms campaigns take shape, what this deal means for brands has a lot to do with what we want the business world of the future to look like and where digital, social and innovation sit. I think that the old model of running agency teams is broken, and I passionately believe it needs to change. We launched Battenhall in March this year to address this, and we set Battenhall up differently, in a way fits the current and future media landscape - not the landscape of the past. This means a set-up that fosters deep digital and social media skills at all levels in the agency. My essay for the Huffington Post and the FT's mention of our company culture both go into more detail.

We are a small, fast-growing agency. We'll be big one day soon, we're getting there as fast as we can. So we certainly don't think big = bad. It's all about how ideas, talent and innovation are organised. As you will see from much of the POG deal's analysis (ie here), digital is not a big part of the new business. But we hope to see things changing in their new agency set-up, as it is all around us in the media.

The bigger picture here is that POG is simply a collection of agency brands, each of which are very different. Some are huge, some very digital, many less so. I wish all the agencies the best and hope that the $35bn leviathan we now have in agency land can continue to thrive and innovate in the future.

(As a side note, POG's presence on Twitter has been a bit of a dog's dinner so far. We're still trying to make out which of their accounts are real and which are fakes...)

July 25, 2013Published by: Anton Perreau

The seven types of Snapchat user

Snapchat has made a careful mark on all our mobile devices, the service. As of June 2013 18.9% of iPhone users in the USA were using SnapChat regularly. By now you're probably on one of two sides, the sending or receiving end. To distinguish some of the more common traits of an avid SnapChat user, the Battenhall team has defined seven stereotypes of the SnapChat world.

Read more


July 23, 2013Published by: Anton Perreau

Royalist or Republican? Choose your news on The Guardian

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Over the last couple of days we've been heavily bombarded with news of the Royal babyBattenhall tracked online conversation surrounding the coverage - it seemed the resounding word being used by people on twitter was 'PUSH!' (I think she got the message.)

Whilst some have flocked to St. Mary's Hospital, camping out clad in red, white and blue, others have taken to the social-sphere to complain about the intrusiveness of constant updates. It almost seems better to just stay offline if you want to avoid any news about the Royal baby.

However, The Guardian today have taken their own spin on what you want to read - adding a small button to the top right of their home page where users can select 'Republican' or 'Royalist' either hiding or showing the Royal Baby news respectively. A hat-tip to users who are tired of Royal baby news, but also an understanding that it's news, and very important news at that.

Head to The Guardian homepage yourself to check it out and choose your team.

July 17, 2013Published by: Fereshta Amir

Next step: wearable technology for pets

FIDO project

We're only just starting to see early adopters of wearable technology wandering the streets with their Pebble smart watch or Jawbone Up on the wrist and Google Glass on the head. We know that wearable technology is amazing and in the future we'll see it being used for animals, plants and even vehicles. Who's to say that one day you couldn't put a piece of wearable tech on your pet fish to find whether the pH level of the water is right.

We're now seeing wearable technology filter down to animals, as humans and their companions alike can benefit from wearable devices. Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a wearable canine computer that could allow dogs to send messages to handlers. This project, Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations (FIDO), is the brainchild of Thad Starner, the original technical lead of Google Glass.

FIDO works like this: the dog activates a sensor on its vest or collar to transmit a verbal command that the handler hears through an earpiece and view on a head-mounted display similar to Google Glass. Not only could this help disabled people navigate more effectively, FIDO could enable bomb-sniffing dogs to communicate with their handlers remotely and rescue dogs could alert a human team when they've found an injured person. The possibilities are endless! There will be a trial of FIDO of which results will presented at the International Semantic Web Conference in October.

Wearable technology products for animals have been around for a while. Luda offers monitoring products for horses and cows, including horseAlarm, which can monitor wellbeing by analysing sweating and how often the horse is lying down. Another one is an electronic dog collar monitoring your dog's wellbeing by Bio-sense Technologies.

We think that Google Glass is just the beginning for humans, as FIDO is only a starting point for wearable tech for animals, so watch this space!


July 17, 2013Published by: Anton Perreau

Tracking Digital Consumer Behaviour: Deep Digging from McKinsey

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Understanding and tracking the way in which digital consumers behave is becoming more complicated by the minute. Different mediums that didn't even exist a month ago, let alone a decade or a century ago, change on an almost daily basis. Whilst skimming the surface of new digital trends is easy, the ability to gain insight, plan and act upon that knowledge simply can't be performed fast enough until we dig a little deeper.

To help brands with all of this this, McKinsey; the large American global management consulting firm, has produced a report from insights into how digital consumers behave. The report explains that,

'Understanding and acting on the probable contours of change requires reflection and a deep knowledge of customer behavior, industry dynamics, and feedback loops...'

The first comparison made by McKinsey is from their iConsumer research here in Europe. McKinsey defines four segments of the mobile market, stating that whilst they may all have the same mobile plan or handset, the way they consume on those devices is dramatically different.

Source: 2012 McKinsey iConsumer Survey (Europe)

Source: 2012 McKinsey iConsumer Survey (Europe)

The four segments - as shown above, are:

  • Traditionalists: these are consumers that use phones for the purpose they have always been intended - voice calls.
  • Data Principals: use lots of data and barely any voice calling functionality.
  • Data Entertainers: also use little voice but are heavy users of video, music, and games. According to McKinsey,

'Upward of two-thirds of music usage involves streaming services, MP3 files, or satellite radio.'

 

  • Mobile omnivores: are superusers of both voice and data services. Along with the Data Entertainers above, these consumers use over 85% of data traffic.

These segments are prevalent now due to the nature of content that is being consumed, as McKinsey explains,

'Almost half of all video viewing in the United States, for example, takes place in ways that barely existed a generation ago.'

McKinsey continue to explain that when working with a digital-publishing client they found that 80% of visitors to the clients website were very occasional. In analysing the audience, it became clear that to retain loyal profit-generating users a radical change in the business model had to take place, with tiering and specialisation.

Success may require a diversity of business models, one for high intensity users and others to address the broader audience

Source: 2012 McKinsey iConsumer clickstream database (United States)

Whilst focusing on this high-detail explains some of the insight McKinsey have shared through their research and experience. Some of the more broad segments can be explained through six shifts. To summarise:

  • Devices: In personal computing time, the share of mobile phones and tablets has almost doubled since 2008, to 44 percent.
  • Communications: Smartphone use is driven by streaming content, creating it's own issues for mobile carriers.
  • Content: The value in traditional media has eroded. The average number of apps installed on them has doubled since 2008 whilst spending is fragmented and growth uncertain.
  • Social media: Businesses are still trying to use social media as part of their marketing efforts. Achieving measurable returns on social networking platforms is a continuing challenge - at Battenhall we think this is because traditional PR strategies fail to realise the bigger picture of social networking.
  • Video: The increase in the number of video options will pressure traditional advertising-supported business models for distributors, advertisers, and content owners.
  • Retail: Ecommerce only about 5 percent of all retail sales. As connected mobile devices proliferate, they could transform the shopping experience. The combination of mobile retailing and true multichannel integration will transform the buying experience and begin what McKinsey calls, 'the era of Retail 3.0.'

To summarise, McKinsey confirms more echoed rumours amongst the digital community that the digital frontier must be understood and appreciated in order to work for brands and businesses. Data, streaming, captivating content and sharing dominates mobile use whilst the methods in which this media is being transmitted through hardware is out-dated and requires serious attention.

The challenge for brands now is to realise the potential of bespoke solutions for consumers, working with hardware providers, consultants and experts to make a solution that works for all their key stakeholders.

Learn more about the McKinsey report at McKinsey.com.

July 16, 2013Published by: Drew

Boom time for digital health

george osborne jawbone up

In the last few days a couple of high profile moves have been made in the digital health and quantified self space. First George Osborne the UK chancellor was snapped repeatedly wearing a Jawbone UP, a device I also personally invested in not too long ago. Then last week Yahoo's new CEO the ex-Google tech aristocrat Marissa Mayer announced that she will be giving all 11,000 of Yahoos staff Jawbone UP wristbands. All of a sudden people now know what I'm wearing around my wrist.

Marissa Mayer Jawbone UP

My interest in digital health and the quantified self started early last year. I started a blog, looking at how digital health technologies are starting to reshape how companies organise themselves, listen to their customers and what they do with all this new information. And last summer I also rolled out digital health technology to all staff at the company I worked at back then - we went for the, then, market leader, the Fitbit.

Why are people and companies doing this kind of thing now? A few reasons. The quick wins first of all: A move like this gives off a progressive, pro-innovation stance and one of being tech savvy. And we all know geeks now rule the planet, so that's a no-brainer. Use a scheme like this well though, and you will be able to increase happiness around the office, health and wellbeing levels will rise and it's good for team building. I've seen all of this first hand.

Most importantly though, when using or implementing digital health tech in the workplace we should look for ways to learn from how we work, ways that aren't apparent to the naked eye, and use this technology to make positive changes in new and innovative ways. That takes attention and effort. Not just a bit of tech bling.

I for one think that what we are seeing with the quantified self, digital health and wearable tech boom is a new era of interaction between us as individuals with the environment around us. This includes interactions with companies, products and services. The smart organisations will be the ones that embrace and innovate in this boom time in a way that can give them a step up in the game.