A good mix of an overview and retrospective to some former big names like Vignette:
The first of its kind: Braun CoolTec – Luxury News from Luxury Insider – not convinced by this
Public does not trust authenticity of brand messages, study finds | PRWeek – reputation is, as reputation does
Data Broker Giants Hacked by ID Theft Service — Krebs on Security – LexisNexis, Kroll and D&B compromised according to Krebs on Security
HS: Nokia gave false information on Elop’s contract | yle.fi – interesting how definite they are in this assertion
Applied Materials to Buy Tokyo Electron for $9.39 Billion – Bloomberg – interesting consolidation move in the semiconductor industry
Nokia CEO Elop contract details: had big incentive to crash shares | BGR – given that Nokia has listing on both the NYSE and OMX this could get the lawyers out
Things that made my day this week:
My friend Freddy switched me on to this mix which was done as a warm-up to Notting Hill Carnival by Psychemagik.
Electrolux has been publicising its student design competition, the MAB was my favourite
Ylvis’ The Fox did the rounds of the office
My personal favourite is their track from a few years ago Work It:
Seeing that CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is now on Google Street View:
I was talking to colleagues during the week and thought it would be timely answer the question, what does Google moving search click-throughs on to HTTPS mean for PR people?
- We have less data to use as part of a scientific approach to developing messaging. For non-mainland Chinese audiences we are reliant on Google advertising keyword data rather than what has been working driving traffic to their site. For instance, when we think about how we use websites, what might work in a sales situation, may not work when we are looking for information or customer support
- When creating content for websites, there needs to be a greater focus around the quality of the content rather than the classic focus on keyword density. This is a key advantage for PR people over ‘content marketers’ who have focused on creating content that is just good enough. We can still see which posts are the most popular for traffic coming from Google and then look to infer what works by looking at commonalities across the pages: content themes, likely audience intent etc.
- Inability to draw conclusions whether our content has an effect on consumer behavior, which keywords were used to reach the intended website, and the penetration of our messaging in the public lexicon when they search and arrive at the specific site. For example, a campaign to promote the ‘Bold washing powder’ causes a rise in searches for “Bold washing powder” to arrive at the P&G UK website, now we no longer able to draw this conclusion. In essence, it is much harder to prove online behavioural change from offline PR activity
- A move towards increased link building for client’s websites; blogger relations and responding to posts becomes more important, since there is less of a focus on keywords
- Client spend on search advertising is likely to increase as it becomes harder to prove the ROI on tactics used to bolster organic search traffic
US websites should inform EU citizens about NSA surveillance, says report – tear up the data safe harbor agreements, foster European cloud services…
Google buys more buildings in Silicon Valley – SiliconValley.com – enough space for 12-14,000 more people. That’s basically more staff than Yahoo! probably has worldwide
Poor-Man’s Speed: Coming of Age in Wigan’s Anarchic Northern Soul Scene | VICE United Kingdom – The thing I love when I’m dancing is when I see other people. I just feel like we’re all connected. If I wanted to go clubbing… well, the music’s just rubbish and the people, they’re starting fights and that. At a Northern Soul night it’s like a family. – As Larry Heard said house is a feeling….
Measuring the Width of the Wealth Gap – Caixin – interesting economic data on consumer wealth
RunKeeper talks smart watches, iPhone 5s and privacy issues for fitness apps | theguardian.com – “You see the negative [privacy] stuff in the press, and I hope no one goes down that path, but we are a user-focused company, and we’re building this to drive results for users,” he says. “When we ultimately focus on business models, it’ll be about those things that make the user experience better.” – and there is the risk
Creative Train Advertisements in Japan – really interesting ambient advertising work
What Apple won’t tell you: The iPhone 5s is outselling the 5c nearly four-to-one – Quartz – and the best selling 5c is apparently in pink
Cam sex is booming business for porn industry | The Verge – moving from media content model to service provision
Forrester: U.S. Leads In eCommerce Readiness – The U.S. is a full 22 points ahead of the nearest contender, indexing at 73.4 in the Forrester composite readiness index. Several Asian countries come in at a distant second. China at 51.1, Japan at 50.1, South Korea at 46.1. The UK is fifth at 45.0.
This is the first in a number of posts that are designed to expand upon a post I published in May about eight trends for the future. They appear in the order in which I bite them off, chew them around and verbally masticate as posts on the blog.
I started thinking about the civil rights movement in the U.S.
By the late 1950s the US civil rights movement found that discourse and letters hadn’t moved the needle meaningfully and it took events like Rosa Parkes sit-down protest and the Stonewall riots to move the process forwards towards a more equal rights for all.
If one looks at the process in terms of mechanism, rather than the politics behind it; the Greenham Common Women, the tunnels dug by road protesters like Daniel Hooper (aka Swampy); they are an extension of the tactics used by civil rights movements decades before.
The first digital-powered civil rights protest was the burning of draft cards by young American men from May 1964 onwards. The cards were printed with a font that could be read by an optical card reader connected to a mainframe computer, allowing the processing of draftees more efficient. 46 Americans were subsequently prosecuted for destroying their draft cards.
Analogue interruption of media as a form of protest hasn’t worked that well in general. Whilst pirate radio stations routinely disrupted analogue broadcast transmissions, there weren’t a form of protest media, but generally a form of expression.
Probably the most famous hack was the Max Headroom broadcast interruption in Chicago.
The takeover likely to have been done by transmitting a more powerful microwave signal at the transmitter on the Sears Tower used by local broadcast TV stations. The people behind the Max Headroom takeover have never been caught, though there seems to be a number of people on Reddit who have a good idea who they are based don the some of the discussions you can Google. There were two things with analogue interruption:
- You had to have a good deal of specialist knowledge to do it
- It was quite hard to not get caught, similar media interruptions that occurred earlier by the likes of Captain Midnight (aka John MacDougall) who was busted the previous year whilst protesting at HBO’s unfair charges to satellite dish owners
The roots of computer hacking come from a wide range of sources from the political movement of the Yippies providing guides to phone phreaking (getting the phone network to do things the telephone companies wouldn’t like – giving you free calls etc.) to researchers finding flaws in early mainframe programs in the mid 1960s.
By the 1980s, bulletin board services had started to become popular; mainly because local calls were bundled with the line rental of a phone and so were effectively free in the U.S; allowing a pre-internet digital culture to build up. Bulletin boards also existed in other countries but the relatively high costs in regulated telecoms markets across Europe was a major barrier to take-up.
Computer viruses that were propagated disk-to-disk could extend their reach; particularly as magazine cover disks were often compiled with shareware and freeware originally downloaded from a bulletin board as a service to their readers. Magazines were also paid to distribute trial versions of commercial software and dialers for the likes of CompuServe.
It is interesting to note that the online chat function which drove the adoption of services like CompuServe and AOL whilst mirroring much of the bulletin board function; drew their paradigm from CB radio; with CompuServe’s online chat function being originally branded a ‘CB Simulator’.
Other forms of protest such as flame wars and trolling which came out of the bulletin board culture could be seen as incubators for similar behaviour on Internet platforms from Usenet groups to Facebook pages.
Underlying internet technologies have facilitated a step-change in protest; on the one-hand functions like emailing a politician or an online petition have become increasingly ineffective. ‘Peaceful’ consumer protests against the likes of the UK’s Digital Economy Act were ignored by the politicians and petitions supporting Edward Snowden achieved nothing but provide the authorities with a list of trouble-makers.
Brands that have come under attack on their Facebook pages like Nestle have demonstrated a remarkably thick skin, showing the online people power via social media is often a fallacy.
Consumers were taught by the body-politic that vigorous discourse and petitions don’t work compared to the face-to-face interactions with corporate lobbyists from industry bodies like the BPI, the MPAA or the RIAA.
From this lack of effectiveness came the modern digital interruption. Denial of service attacks have been happening for years as a prank or financial shake down but first came into their own as a form of political protest with the use of the low orbital ion cannon (LOIC) program by members of Anonymous to attack sites related to the Church of Scientology and the RIAA. Whilst this form of protest is illegal in many countries, it is seen by those who use it as a form of civil disobedience; similar to overloading a switchboard with protest calls or a picket line.
People involved are jailed and since Anonymous, like democracy is as much an idea as an organisation; the attacks continue.
Website blackouts by authoritative brands themselves have proven to be much more effective. On January 12, 2012, Wikipedia, Reddit, Flickr and a host of other large sites were effective in overturning the RIPA and SOPA pieces of proposed legislation in the US.
On their effectiveness MPAA chief executive Chris Dodd was quoted in the Los Angeles Times:
“It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and who use their services,” Dodd said in a statement. “It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today.”
- Closing down social presence to deny digital interrupters an attack platform
- Being conversant with techniques to help harden non-social online presence
- Management consultancy to bring about business process change as part of making an organisation a social one
- Opening up dialogue with determined detractors
Irish cookery teacher terrified into handing over website name to Lady Gaga | Irish Business | IrishCentral – the smart thing would have come to an agreement with the cookery teacher and agree to licence the name to her for cookery blogging purposes only. Instead they’ve risked a social media shit-storm for a box-ticking exercise. In this day and age, that’s an act of gross negligence and incompetence by whoever signed off on this.
Lexington: The American Dream, RIP? | The Economist – the cyberpunk novels like Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy were right
Supermarkets in Africa: The grocers’ great trek | The Economist – partly because South Africa is turning into a basket case, and partly because of commodity market driven growth in other African countries
Nokia’s Last Great Deal: Zero to $7.2 Billion – WSJ.com – interesting article on the next chapter for Nokia as an infrastructure business
Netlabels : Free Music : Free Audio : Download & Streaming : Internet Archive – surprisingly good electronica in amongst this lot
Google Glass Not Expected To Reach Europe For Years – voice recognition a barrier to rapid expansion
Offline reading with the NewsBlur iOS app – NewsBlur – great performance tweaks
JWT put together some research into the changing roles of men in society. From a marketing point-of-view there are a number of things happening:
- There are opportunities for brands that change the way that they market to male audiences to better mirror their viewpoints. In brutal terms there are insecurities that they can be tapped into
- From a social point-of-view there are policies and assumptions driving the current landscape that if they aren’t addressed will be dangerous
The Irish Independent ran the story of Ate My Heart Inc.; a company owned and controlled by popstar Lady Gaga who
‘demanded I roll over and hand over my ladyaga.ie domain name and trademark’
This action was taken against an Irish-based cookery blogger. This surprised me for a number of reasons:
- The two brands and domains whilst similar couldn’t be mistaken for each other, giving the Ate My Heart legal team a relatively weak positon if it ever went to court
- You would have a harder time differentiating the Lady Gaga brand from the many social accounts run by dedicated Lady Gaga fans
- Lady Gaga and her management seem to be exceptionally savvy about the use and abuse of social media; and its power hence the LittleMonsters.com community that they run
It also reminded me of IT@Cork / O’Reilly Publications debacle that broke out over the use of web 2.0 in 2006. IT@Cork was a small local group interested in business technology who decided to host a session on web 2.0. They invited Tim O’Reilly along to speak alongside other representatives from web 2.0 firms. They were legalled by CMP who run the Web 2.0 Expo and Web 2.0 Conference with a cease and desist letter.
The subsequent online firestorm caused Tim O’Reilly to come back off holiday and broker a smarter solution.
Ate My Heart could have reduced their risk and had a win-win situation like O’Reilly eventually opted for, but instead went all in on a relatively weak legal position, hoping presumably that the blogger would buckle rather than publishing their letter online and calling them out, but they chose not to.
I guess the implicit message to Irish Lady Gaga fans were that they didn’t matter all that much. From a PR perspective, something to keep an eye on in case clients take a similar gung-ho approach to reputation management through litigation; not everyone will be as lucky as Lady Gaga was on this occasion.
Archived from blog posts I wrote for PR Week
Things that made my day this week.
I was bowled over by Chipotle’s assault on Big Food with its game Scarecrow and supporting film on YouTube. It’s like as if Pixar decided to become food activists.
The Irish language is something that Irish people have a love/hate relationship with. Along with Gaelic sports it bound the identity of the country together prior to, and after independence. On the other half, it isn’t easy to learn and not really that useful. In addition, the teaching materials and methods are pretty boring. An Irish language college and its teachers got pupils together to perform a translated version of Avicii’s Wake Me Up, bringing the language to life.
The video has been watched more than 2 million times in the space of a month; that’s roughly eight times more views than people who actually speak Irish.
Thanks to my friend Andy Woolnough, I came across Professor Elemental. It’s like as if Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen met the Juice Crew uptown.
I rediscovered Irdial’s Conet Project this week, I need to check if I still have the original CDs in my crates at my parents house:
Finally Mendeley; a tool that helped me through college assignments and book chapters has had an upgrade to become even more powerful, more information on the Elsevier Connect blog.
The typical American family makes less than it did in 1989 – This isn’t a lost decade for economic gains for Americans. It is a lost generation.
Quitting Facebook: What’s Behind The New Trend To Leave Social Networks? Eurasia Review – Reasons for quitting Facebook were mainly privacy concerns (48.3 percent), followed by a general dissatisfaction with Facebook (13.5 percent), negative aspects of online friends (12.6 percent), and the feeling of getting addicted to Facebook (6.0 percent; other/unspecific, 19.6 percent).
BBC News – Mobile phone emergency alert system to be tested in UK – interesting implicit message of we know who and where you are
Yahoo hires Google’s Technical Lead for Android’s Open Source Project — Tech News and Analysis – the hire will bring outsized kudos to Yahoo! engineering teams as much as anything else
Schneier on Security: Surreptitiously Tampering with Computer Chips – that’s Intel’s business screwed in China
The Decline of Great Industrial Cities – Euromonitor International – interesting data, will this be mirrored by suburbanisation in China and other emerging markets?
Google and Samsung soar into list of top 10 Linux contributors | Ars Technica – Microsoft and Yahoo! seem to have dropped right off
Bump Mobile Contact Sharing App Acquired By Google, Will Stay Alive For Now | TechCrunch – interesting move, kill a competitor to NFC?
Jolla’s Sailfish OS gains Android compatibility, making it an easier sell for manufacturers — Tech News and Analysis – expect homebrew ports as well
Audi’s Diesel V10 SUV Supercar Somehow Gets 30 MPG | Wired.com – its like the car of my childhood dreams has been built by Audi
The Feynman Lectures on Physics Website – great reading material
Hilton Worldwide Files for an IPO – Euromonitor International – interesting analysis of their business
Cloud Phones Threaten iPhone Android – Business Insider – standard app versus web argument. The question is whether it will open up the market to a multiplicity of smartphone OS’ or just a few winners
Microsoft Nokia merger: Android Lumia had been built | BGR – of course they would, you have development teams doing all kinds of things like this, but it doesn’t mean that Nokia was ready to capitalise on it
NSA Spies on International Bank Transactions – SPIEGEL ONLINE – not terribly surprised
Selling to China’s digital divas: Microsoft – Campaign Asia – 18-34 year old women in China own on average just under 5 digital devices, the most popular being a smartphone
Chaos Reborn: Kowloon Walled City Rebuilt as Arcade | WebUrbanist – this is so cool
CannyVision – The most forward-thinking Apple yet – interesting speculative analysis
How significant is Apple’s deal with Docomo? 66% of ex-Docomo users left to buy an iPhone – The Next Web – potentially cut churn by 66%?
Twitter makes IPO plans official: files confidential S-1, but expected value is about $14B — Tech News and Analysis – that this is a confidential filing means the company’s annual revenue is less than $1 billion. Usually when companies announce plans to go public, they have to file an S-1, the securities filing that companies use to provide details about their planned initial public offerings. Under the JOBS act of 2012, however, companies with less than $1 billion in revenue can file confidentially.
@ twitter: We’ve confidentially submitted … – why use a press release when this will do
China approves new iPhone for all its networks – Rethink Wireless – an engineering feat certainly and potentially better for roaming, but don’t hold your breath for a China Mobile deal. China Mobile has more to gain by holding out for longer
Edelman Trust Barometer – The Emerging Markets Supplement – I’ll dig into this and there maybe a post with more detail here later
I had a late evening in the office so decided to stay up late and follow the Apple event where they unveiled the Apple iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. Here are my thoughts from the launch permeated through a couple of days thoughts.
Evolution rather than revolution
The Apple share price declined 5 per cent by the end of trading after the announcement as Wall Street hadn’t been blown away by the new products. The expectation of continuous revolution is unrealistic, innovation is lumpy. The relative low-key approach should have been a clear sign; Apple held the event on campus rather than the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Secondly if one looks at the launch of the Samsung Galaxy 4 one could see the lull in innovation.
Unfortunately consumers didn’t get the message here is a couple of sentiment curves I took a picture of during the first 24 hours after the launch:
They may not be buying iPhones, but they are interested them
What Apple doesn’t have in market share it more than makes up for in terms of defining the direction of the smartphone industry.
It’s about experience
The smartphone industry seems to be marketed on speeds and feeds, from Apple going to VLIW (very long instruction word) processor architecture or MediaTek and Samsung going to eight-core processors. It is getting progressively harder to compare devices on paper even with the same operating system.
Where the performance does show out is in the experience. Xiaomi have done a lot of work in terms of not only redesigning their fork of Android but also optimising the code to run faster on the hardware they select. Which is the reason why they can sell a decent handset at a lower price point. This increases the disruptive nature of their direct to consumer model.
There are a number of aspects to that answer, the big part is that one is not sure which is the the most relevant:
- OSX has been 64 bit since 2006, there is the opportunity for more underlying code share. Knowing Apple, I would expect this to result in a leaner OSX rather than a bloated iOS. Expect to see speculation of Apple equivalents of the Microsoft Surface tablets, and then promptly discount them. People like to keep their hands on the keyboards too much.
- Reducing processor cycles by taking in more data per cycle and reducing power consumption. This only works if applications are designed to work wtih 64-bit, there is likely to be some work required on applications to make them work.
- Addressing a lot of memory is something that made 3D popular in the desktop computing world, allowing for more programmes and information to be held in RAM for quicker access but there is no indication of what this will be used for.
The M7 co-processor
The M7 co-processor has been heralded as a way to do indoor mapping, or a boon for the quantified self. All very fine utopian visions: data is collected, what happens to it after that is both a work of wonder and of the darkest imaginations as the Edward Snowden affair has demonstrated. What I find more interesting is that Apple opted for a discrete component rather than putting this on the die of the A7. It would have probably made more sense, given Apple’s focus on computing power per Watt since Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in 2005. It’s not like it couldn’t have multi-core sleep mode.
Was it because:
- They didn’t have time to architect it into the processor?
- They didn’t want to telegraph what they were doing to Samsung? (It’s interesting that Samsung said straight away that they were dong a 64-bit processor next year, especially as they fabricate Apple’s chips)
- They want to use the M7 in non-A7-powered products?
The 5c is about the supply chain
Probably the most debated aspect of the phone line-up is the iPhone 5C industrial design, specifically the steel reinforced polycarbonate chassis. Moving the iPhone 5 down the Apple food chain would mean lots more milling machines churning out even cheaper phones and would be likely to act as a bottle-neck for Apple trying to get significant numbers of the iPhone 5s out into the marketplace.
The mistake that pundits made was the association of plastic as a cheap material. If it is done well with the right blend, the right tooling and the right design plastic isn’t a cheap material but a great material. In modern parlance it has been associated with disposable throwaway products, but it’s like thinking of wood as a cheap material because we associated it with tooth-picks.