It's time for the annual Trust Barometer from Edelman, the great digital divide in newspapers and other industries, display passes search, the interconnectedness of Detroit and Silicon Valley, Facebook readies its Stadium in time for the Big Game, Twitter wants to give brands access to your tweets, understanding Snapchat, Uber's continued success (Lyft too!), roles you need to recruit for in 2016, building personas on a budget, why classical culture is important, sarcasm abounds, the Chart of the Week, plus our trivia challenge, our podcast pick and more, it's The Full Monty.
A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry. If you’re on Flipboard, you can get these links — and additional ones — by subscribing to The Full Monty Magazine at smonty.co/fullmontymag.
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This is the spot we usually post a video from our Sunday evening Facebook Mentions chat. We had to cancel this week's installment, due to illness.
- The death of the traditional newspaper industry has been predicted consistently over the last decade. It seems more imminent than ever now, with print circulation topping 500,000 for only two national publications.
- Penthouse magazine will cease its print edition, acknowledging the increasingly digital habits of readers (no pun intended). We suppose it's more difficult to store a tablet or phone under your mattress anyway.
- If there's one person who knows how to balance news in the digital age, it's Shani Hilton, the executive news editor for BuzzFeed. Even at a relatively new publication like BuzzFeed she acknowledges that change happens quickly, saying, "We don’t have to do things the way we’ve done them for the last six months."
- There's a bigger divide between companies that are going digital and those that are being left behind. As industries go, the slower to adopt include government, health care, local services, hospitality, and construction. That list is interesting, as it ranges from those that are too big, too regulated to small shops without enough manpower and those that are focused on personal interaction.
- Is search gradually becoming a thing of the past? With more people spending time in apps, that's one indication. The other is that in 2016, digital display ad spending will surpass search ad spending, with a good portion of that being allocated for video.
- In Davos last week, leaders joined forces for the annual World Economic Forum. One of the attendees, venture capitalist Jim Breyer predicted that we're coming to the end of what many have called an economic bubble in the technology industry—specifically that 90% of the "unicorns" (companies valued at $1 billion or more) will fail or be repriced and that only 10% will survive.
- What happens when your startup gets acquired? You write an acquisition blog post. Well, now there's a template for that. Don't miss the translation.
- It's that time of year — the annual tallying of how businesses, the media, government and NGOs are doing in the trust department: the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer. This time around, there's been an overall lift in trust, but there's a more pronounced gap between the way the informed public and the general public perceives trust.
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- Google / Alphabet
- Expect Google to partner extensively with its self-driving car efforts. According to John Krafcik, CEO of the division, they will be "partnering more and more." Although the rumored deal with Ford never went through.
- Such partnering is needed. While some may view the auto industry going head-to-head with Silicon Valley, it may be a matter of a more deep collaboration between the two engineering-driven regions.
- Facebook wants to become the Internet. The social giant is working on an in-app browser that approximates the feel of using a mobile web browser.
- Long read: Inside Facebook's Ambitious Plan to Connect the Whole World is an in-depth piece about its internet.org project that is bringing connectivity to third world countries under the belief that the Internet is a basic human right. Tell that to my pricey network provider.
- Just as the Internet is a basic human right, so is talking about the Super Bowl all over it. Which makes Facebook Sports Stadium a great place to have the conversation. It's a dedicated area where sports fans can find information about the latest games and exchange commentary.
- One of the most annoying memes on the social web flew around Facebook last week, with stick figures encouraging you to be more like them. Alas, poor Bill! I knew him, Horatio.
- Twitter is reportedly developing a new product (a "brand enthusiast gallery") that allows brands to collect tweets from users and re-purpose them to help promote themselves on the social network. "But enough about us. Let's hear what you have to say about us!"
- Is the golden age of Twitter behind us? With more bots, fewer referrals to websites and a general loss of direction, it very well could be. We agree. Bring back 2008!
- And they'd better do it quickly: the executive ranks at Twitter are undergoing an upheaval, amid product confusion and a stock slide. Expect more ousters this week.
- Isn't it time that you took Snapchat 101 and learned how to use the world's most confusing social network (for older folks, anyway)?
- Probably. If the White House can grok Snapchat, then you should too.
- Remember Foursquare? They're still around, and they just raised money on a $250 million valuation and their CEO and co-founder Dennis Crowley moved to an executive chairman role.
Trivia question: What global mega brand is adopting "Taste the Feeling" as its new campaign slogan? *
- Uber can remain in business in London, as the city's transport authority, TfL, received an outpouring of support for Uber from the public.
- This show of support is a global phenomenon, and particularly in the US, Uber has pulled off a massive coup that hardly anyone has noticed: it has managed to get pro-Uber legislation passed in a significant number of states.
- Uber is trying to beat the competition by creating a price war. Drivers are getting hit the hardest in the ride-hailing company's quest for more customers.
- Speaking of prices, someone might let the taxi industry know that regulation doesn't mean consumer protection. Case in point: an audit uncovered some $47 million in overcharges each year by the Las Vegas taxi industry. Who says you need to go to the casinos to lose your money?
- The less confrontational Lyft is succeeding despite Uber's best efforts.
- At the same time, Sidecar has shut down and General Motors acquired all of its assets. Along with its $500 million investment in Lyft, GM is looking like a visionary and the clear leader among the US auto industry when it comes to alternative transportation options.
- London-based Hailo may be next. The cab-hailing app needs new funding after losing £22 million last year, and faces stiff competition from Uber. A quote from Sidecar's CEO in the story above laid bare the facts: "Uber is willing to win at any cost and they have practically limitless capital to do it."
- The collaborative economy is laying the ground for a future state in which autonomous functions will create more efficient business models.
- While many are predicting near-term autonomous driving, the fact is that trust is what's holding us back and that change will be incremental — not because of technology but because of human nature.
- We may have more to fear from the rise of the machines, according to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. His concern addresses the eventual obsolescence of humans. It may be time to re-read Isaac Asimov's I, Robot.
- Podcast Recommendation of the Week. This week, check out Re/code Decode with Kara Swisher and Lauren Goode. Hear hard-hitting interviews about the week in tech with influential business leaders and outspoken personalities from media, politics and more. Do you have a podcast recommendation for us? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts
Content / Customer Experience
- Two of the three roles that digital marketers need to recruit for in 2016 give a nod to the importance of two ends of the spectrum: influencer marketing manager and customer experience manager.
- A company that needs help in the customer experience area is United Airlines. At this point, their mission is simply to become less awful. They've got their work cut out for them.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- Be careful when you're on the road. Particularly at hotels, where you're more vulnerable to hackers. Not only is security more uneven at hotels, but when a guest makes a room charge in the hotel bar or restaurant, hackers are counting on the guest not investigating the charges until checkout time.
- Facebook's friend finder feature is illegal in Germany. Because the last thing Germans want is to be notified that friends might like to connect with them.
- The notion that highly regulated industries can't do digital marketing is a canard. All it requires is a coordinated team that's invested in the success and a fine-tuned process with support from management.
- You may recall that Taco Bell executive who was fired after assaulting an Uber driver (which was caught on video). Well, he's suing the driver for $5 million. Reminds us of this scene from Liar Liar.
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- If you're interested in creating personas, one of the best places to find the data is through Facebook's Audience Insights. You'll be able to build personas on a budget that way.
- Marketing is becoming more data-driven, with more marketers keeping databases and getting savvier at segmenting.
- As you build our your marketing analytics team, make sure you leave room for a position that will be getting more attention in the coming year: data storytellers.
- The sarcasm analysis machine that Bloomberg and Cornell University are working on is gaining traction.
Chart of the Week
Brought to you by Zignal Labs, a realtime, cross media analytics platform (and a client).
The sarcasm analysis machine could have been helpful in the news that Univision is buying The Onion. A savvy move to increase its digital chops and to expand the Spanish language reach. And it clearly made a splash as seen in the chart below. But the word cloud indicated that people were skeptical of the news at first.
* Answer to the trivia question above:
- Coca-Cola is changing its catchphrase from "Open Happiness" to "Taste the Feeling." The move strikes is as one of practicality that is focused on moving more product. This is in direct contrast to the more aspirational tone of Open Happiness. Because of Coke's dominance, this could be the beginning of a trend for marketers.
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- Three measures of leadership success: the measure of now, looking forward, a look back toward lasting value.
- Do you know the difference between strategy and planning? In short, strategy is a directional framework, while planning is a set of tactics with a budget. The longer version from the Harvard Business Review is much more informative.
- Don't be afraid to write, revise, edit, write and revise more. Hemingway gave some of the greatest advice on this, as well as a reading list for aspiring writers.
- As a classics major, we were drawn to this piece on why everyone should study classical culture. Aside from being inspired by the less-than-usual sources, it also helps with strategic thinking, as you begin to see the interconnectedness of ideas. And it makes you more interesting to talk to.
- As the East Coast of the United States continues to dig out from the blizzard, it's a good time to consider comfort food: go behind the scenes at the Marshmallow Fluff factory, where they make the essential ingredient of the Fluffernutter.
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I advise brands and agencies to help them improve their communications and digital acumen. Please get in touch if you'd like to put my experience and digital smarts to work on a project, to consult with your group, or to address an audience at your next corporate or industry event.