Data

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dIvGaJZ8Cc

This is worth a watch -especially from about half way through (Declaration of interest- Lars leads the team in which i work at Google -known as The Zoo).

Lars explains what the Zoo is,what work it does and (most interestingly) introduces some of the cool stuff that we are going to see in Gaming and Filmmaking making soon. These give a glimpse what’s going to be possible and applied in other ways – such as in retail, services innovation and “brand experiences” in general

(Innovation in gaming tends flow down and out and become more mainstream in marketing communications over time)

I will do a number of posts over the next month of examples of how tech is making live experience better – easier and more pleasurable- right now. It helps explain why brands need to build creative technologists and data analysts into the way they seek to improve ” the service experience”

Age and social class are no longer a reliable way to predict to beliefs and buying habits. Identities and tastes are fluid. In truth they may always have been but now the anonymity/freedom of city life means now we feel more liberated to express who really are.People from conservative cultures like China and India hanker to live in a place where they can re-invent themselves- unconstrained by family expectations.(this describes several colleagues)

Below are some telling stats and quotes that illustrate that behaviour is now the only true measure of personal of taste- which of course plays right into the hands of the likes of Google that capture “signals of intent” in search data -rather than age and class.

(Full disclosure-I am a Google consultant)

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For brands:

For brands that want to be in touch with the zeitgeist it is open season for playing with identity – expect more transsexuals in ads and celebration of different life choices-divorcees, lesbian parents etc etc. But this will have its season and quite quickly look dated

Perhaps a better long term strategy is to make no assumptions at all about who your buyer will be – it is no accident that some of the most “in touch” brands are “everybody” brands like Uniqlo and Apple. They are not targeted at a demographic but rather they embrace and celebrate everyone from Grannies to hipsters and everything in between

Pundits say that anyone who claims to know what the digital revolution will bring is engaged in a confidence trick. My experience of publishing books and articles about digital futures suggests four things

-We can’t predict a decade ahead with any confidence

-A technology trend that is against the grain of human nature will most likely fail

-We do i think know what the shape of communications will be for the next three or four years.

-Futurology may be closer to fiction that sober analysis: but it will never go out of fashion as we can’t help wondering about the future

I have just published this slice of futurology in Market Leader. It contains five lessons learnt from my last attempt 10 years ago as well as nine predictions for the future. It is called The Surprise Generating Machine – a line stolen from Professor John Naughton.

Do add your predictions.

44-47 Julian Saunders 2nd proof

This slide from a quantitive survey by Ipsos Mori came via slideshare

The full presentation is worth a read – it’s an easy read
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This is a worry – as most politicians will seek to trade on these perceptions rather that take a stand for the truth. They have learnt to go with the grain of beliefs rather than fight them, like the good brand marketers they have all become.

Interesting fact is that the one question we do get about right (across the world) is the one about our life expectancy, which might tell us something about narcissism and/or our eternal pre-occupation with our own mortality.

Other interesting fact is that Italy comes out first as the most ignorant nation and we don’t too badly-just ignorant.

Now that Facebook and Twitter are public companies they are of course hungry for a bigger slice of the advertising pie. But-and it is a big but- they did not fundamentally start out as commercial spaces so they are have to innovate and come up with new advertising formats like “native ads” and “Likes” to get revenue to satisfy their shareholders. Thats ok- if they create formats with real value then they deserve a bigger slice.

Unfortunately these things can be “gamed”

The web – lovely and fascinating though it is – also a place for hucksters and scammers or , if you look at the so-called dark web , much worse. It is a world of link farms and low paid workers sitting behind screens and generating bullshit interest in brands (and other entities looking for business or audience) in return for a few pence.

I don’t blame Facebook. They don’t control the behaviour of others. Nobody can control the scammers.

But this short film explains some of the perils of this and in particular lifts the lid on how likes can be hyped to the point of being meaningless

BTW- it is worth adding that this is an age old problem of new advertising formats which can take a while before they become credible/respectable. In the early days of the poster industry there was a lot of “misreporting”

( to put it at its least libellous). I remember meeting “poster guys” in the Dog and Duck in soho and feeling that there was something a bit dodgy going on.  This was the 1980s I stress – all very above board now.

 

Much hype in the media about how the things we own (cars,beds,fridges,boilers,mobiles,wearable devices yet too be invented) are going to make our lives better. The revolutionary nature of the change becomes apparent when you examine what the benefits to people might be at market by market level.

Easier – because things automatically happen -such as your car booking its own service.

Safer-because devices – think of a home water detection device- can automatically report a problem. Or a car that spots that the car two in front has suddenly braked

Cheaper – because devices may identify waste or overuse and help you make economies or even reward good behaviour with cheaper prices. Think of a device in your car that monitors your driving speeds and the amount of driving you do and gives you a personal insurance price.

Healthier -devices on our bodies or in our beds can monitor your training regime or spot an remerging problem such as elevated heart beat or blood pressure

Sounds good – the fact that a) You can identify big easy to understand benefits and b) the technology is cheap and getting cheaper suggest this is a revolution. Like most revolutions it will happen slower than you think. The mobile revolution – much trailed over the last decade- is only just upon us. As Niel Amstrong once said ” We expect too much change in a year and too little change in a decade”.

We are getting used to the idea of devices automatically responding to our behaviour from using apps and the Internet more generally. We know that google serves up ads that reflect what we are searching for.Sites use cookies and mostly we don’t disable them  Our behaviour is being monitored we know that. Internet use and app use soften’s us up for “the internet of things”

So what can go wrong? Plenty 

Strip away the devices and ask what does this really mean?  – it means

lots of devices reporting on your behaviour. Are you happy with that ? well yes if it prevents a flood in my home or prevents a heart attack, but no if some big brother insurance company penalises me  for driving at 80 in 70 mile a hour road – many of use do that on a motorway.

lots of data on your behaviour being delivered to organisations that you hope will use it in a way that is in your interests rather than theirs. The benefits above are appealing but not if what you end up believing is that the data is mainly being used to sell you things you don really need.

Then there is infrastructure and technology. The much promised electric car revolution is stalled/ very slow because of a lack of recharging points and batteries that won’t take you long distance.

The internet of things will be plagued with this – software that does not talk to other software for example.

Expect many conferences on the internet of things over the coming decade. Expect the hype to run ahead of the reality. But in a decade expect industrial design to be very different. Chips with everything- and i don’t mean the fried sort.