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Learning from the world’s top brands

Google takes top spot away from Apple

This year’s BrandZ report has been released.  The researchers analyse corporate earnings and combine this data with large-scale consumer research in 30 countries.  The findings demonstrate what is important to consumers around the world and what trends are driving – and disrupting – brand growth.   There is much to be learned from how top brands build and maintain relationships with their customers.

  • Google, Apple and IBM take the top three slots in this year’s global top 100.
  • This year’s top European brands include SAP, Deutsche Telekom, Louis Vuitton, and BMW.
  • Brands based in Europe have increased by 19% in value in the last year, up from only a 5% rise last year.

Consumer trends

  • Authenticity – “sometimes the most compelling aspect of a brand is the product itself”
  • Convenience – consumers want to seamlessly combine online with physical – e.g. the growth in click and collect
  • Customisation  and personalisation – self-expression and a focus on ‘the unique’
  • Localisation – ‘local’ implies quality, reliability and attention to detail
  • Seamlessness – brands need to make the transition between physical and virtual invisible
  • Technology – new technologies are both enhancing and disrupting brands. Wearables are converging technology with clothing
  • Trust – consumers expect brands to keep their promises whether implied or explicit.  Banks are continuing to experience the long-term effects of lost trust even as they try to change because of continued revelations of past mis-deeds

How to grow your brand value

The researchers draw lessons from the best performing brands:

  • Forget ‘the customer comes first’ but focus on ‘each customer comes first’.   Forget old archetypes and use data to help you be truly consumer-centric
  • Stand for more than profit – but make sure your brand purpose is relevant to what you do
  • Be ‘meaningfully different’ so that customers can understand your brand and what differentiates you
  •  Be ‘mindfully present’ – use discretion on social media!
  • Stay relevant – respect your heritage but stay up-to-date
  • Be agile – planning is important but so is flexibility

The full report is packed with essays, infographics and data and may be downloaded here.

Chatham House rules! A historical digital archive for the 21st Century

Leading international affairs think-tank has released its digital archive.

Chatham House in London is the home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs which, by bringing together academics, researchers and decision makers, has helped shape and inform policy for almost 100 years. The famous ‘Chatham House Rule’ helps facilitate open and honest communication.

Chatham House Online Archive (1920-2008), published by Gale (part of Cengage Learning) is making over half a million pages available to researchers and students interested in politics, international law, economics and international relations.  The archive features fully searchable documents, transcripts of speeches and audio recordings of world figures including Mahatma Gandhi and Henry Kissinger. The Archive offers “unique insights” into political developments in the 20th century.

The publishers and Chatham House celebrated the launch with a high profile debate on how a deep understanding of the past can inform our understanding of the present and influence decision making.  The speakers (including David Stevenson, Professor of International History at LSE; Anne Deighton, Professor of European International Politics at the University of Oxford); debated whether lessons can be learned from the Cold War (particularly the end of the Cold War) to inform our understanding of the current political upheaval in Ukraine.

The final speaker, Times journalist David Aaronovitch, celebrated the arrival of the digital archive – and digitisation in general.  For him the resources and expertise of Chatham House help journalists get to the heart of the dilemma and are an essential part of the journalist’s toolkit to facilitate understanding of current affairs.

For more information on the Chatham House archive, visit the Gale/Cengage Learning website.

Baby-boomers and Millennials online

Growth in the numbers of people online is being driven by the over-65s.  But the way they use the web is different.

In the UK the number of over 65s (‘baby-boomers’) accessing the internet increased by over 25% in 2013.  The percentage of those over 65 who are going online reached 42% in 2013.  According to Ofcom’s ‘Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014’ the use of tablets by this age group is a key reason for the growth.

The figures show that over 65 year-olds:

  • Spend much less time on average online  (just over nine hours) than16-25 year olds (just over 24 hours)
  • Are less likely to use a range of online services with the majority of them carrying out just two activities (browsing and emailing)
  • Spend less time accessing social media  with only 30% regularly doing so (compared to 68% of other adults)

Meanwhile 16-24 year-olds:

  • Are much more informed about protecting personal information
  • Are more likely to have blocked people
  • Are (according to research by Merchant Warehouse) ‘pulling ahead’ and having higher expectations as consumers

Similar patterns are being reported in the Netherlands.  The over-65s in particular have made great advances in their understanding of the online environment and 86% of the Dutch population can now send emails.

However, this understanding of the tools does not necessarily mean that people are equipped to evaluate what they are finding online.  Younger users are less likely than the over 65s to question online sources.

Digital support for the elderly

A report from Nesta describes how social entrepreneurs and digital technologies are being used to provide help and support for the elderly.  Examples include a service linking keen cooks with elderly people who need a hot meal, to an app that helps members of an individual’s ‘care community’ to organise their time and allocate tasks.

Sources: econsultancy; DutchNews; Nesta.org; ITProPortal.

 

The tablet market in Europe

Tablet users will increase by double digits in all EU5 countries in 2014.

Tablets are continuing to take market share away from traditional PCs.  Worldwide shipments of PCs dropped by 9.8% in 2013.

Figures released by eMarketer predict that the number of tablet users in the EU5 countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK) will exceed 100 million by the end of 2014.  Figures are expected to increase to almost 150 million by 2018.

The rate of tablet penetration is increasing across the whole of the EU.  The figures predict an overall penetration rate of 31% by the end of 2014, increasing to 44% by 2018.

Of the EU5 countries, the UK leads the way with a predicted 41% by the end of this year, rising to almost 58% in 2018.  France and Germany will see the highest growth, while growth in Italy and Spain will be slower.

Over in the US, the tablet market is maturing.  According to new figures (again from eMarketer), almost half of the US population will use a tablet device at least once a month in 2014.  Overall growth in tablet devices in the US in 2014 is estimated at 11%.

This growth means that tablet devices are challenging PCs as the major digital video channel. 77% of tablet users will watch video via their devices at least once a month in 2014 and the amount of time spent watching tablets is growing faster than on any other device.  According to eMarketer, based on current trends “it’s an inevitability that in the near future tablets will overtake time spent with video online [via] desktops and laptops.”

Sources: eMarketer; ITProPortal.

Privacy, social media – and lavatories

In the United States advisors to the White House have published their review of internet privacy and are calling for an Internet Privacy Bill of Rights.  Is ‘privacy’ possible in the era of big data and social media?

Twitter is reportedly looking to develop a ‘whisper mode’ that will ensure users can keep their conversations private without having to move to one-to-one direct messaging. This seems to be in addition to Twitter’s much-discussed, but not yet delivered private messaging app (see this article in Endgadget).

Talk of a whisper mode has come too late for one Swedish student.  Her abusive tweet about a lecturer (details of which have not been published) have led to her being suspended for two weeks by her university, which found that her lecture hall tweet was “meant to violate and ridicule” the teacher.

A private pregnancy

Meanwhile in the United States a Professor at Princeton University set about trying to keep her pregnancy a secret from Facebook and social media advertisement algorithms. Apparently, pregnant women are considered a ‘marketing goldmine’ and their data can be worth 15 times as much as other people’s.   Over on ThinkProgress.org she describes how she tried to hide from ‘big data’.  Her activities ranged from asking friends and colleagues not to mention her pregnancy anywhere online to buying baby products with cash to setting up a new Amazon account with an anonymous delivery address.  Not only was attempting to keep her pregnancy a secret difficult, it was expensive (losing loyalty card discounts etc) and extremely time-consuming.  You can read her full interview here – a fascinating story about the reach of big data and the compromises we are all making, every day.

The hoax quantified toilet

This fake story about the installation of ‘intelligent lavatories’ in a Canadian conference centre, raises some interesting issues.  The idea that public facilities could be collating useful public health data is not that far-fetched after all.  In fact, in a real piece of research 70% of respondents would be willing to share their ‘toilet data’ – for lower health care costs!

Bring your own identity

Organisations are seeking a balance between security, privacy and compliance on the one hand and convenience on the other.

Effective Identity and Access Management (IAM) is becoming increasingly important for organisations.  Not only are they seeking to manage the access rights of increasingly mobile employees but they are opening up applications to external users, including partners and consumers.  All this is being done in the context of the growth of social media and cloud services.

In a report for CA, Quocirca explores the current state of Identity and Access Management and why it is business priority for so many.

The age of bring-your-own-identity (BYOID)

For consumers social media is already emerging as a key source of identity – e.g. logging in with Facebook to access Spotify accounts. The report suggests that this will grow in more ‘conservative’ business areas including government and online banking.  Along with these changes, the emergence of the concept of Bring your own identity (BYOID) means that employees will be taking their identities with them from one job to another.

Meanwhile, for organisations opening up access to external users, the key driver is to enable direct transactions with customers and partners, with a view to increasing customer satisfaction and enabling innovation.

Geographic trends

  • Organisations in the Nordic and Benelux regions more likely to be opening up their applications  to consumers
  • Nordics lead the way with use of social media for identifying and communicating with potential customers
  • Benelux, Israeli, Nordic and UK based organisations  were the most likely to recognise the power of IAM to open up new revenue streams
  • French and Italians were focused on new business processes

The full report can be downloaded from CA Technologies.

Corporate information services in 2014

“The game is changing”

Business Information Review’s annual Survey is now in its 24th year.  The author, Allan Foster, conducts in-depth and confidential interviews with senior information managers running corporate information services in a range of industry sectors to develop a detailed view of how these information services are resourced, managed and financed.

The survey covers budgets, staff levels, outsourcing, vendor relationships, deepening the partnership with the business, the impact of mobile technology, contribution to knowledge management and more.  The overwhelming impression is of experienced information managers who are ambitious for their organisations and who recognise the challenges they are facing.

Key findings

  • Content budgets are stable – only 15% of respondents are experiencing significant reductions (5% or more)
  • Great majority of respondents interested – or have an early involvement – in big data and data analytics initiatives.
  • Major potential new role in curating big data and analytics
  • Global operations for many services, with varying central control and a mix of organisational models
  • Pressures on staff headcount – 35% lose posts; other posts filled by temporary or fixed term contracts
  • A commitment to outsourcing by some 50% of respondents, some very mature arrangements, with a shifting balance of responsibilities between onshore and offshore staff
  • Whether to embed information staff in business units is still a big decision point for managers
  • Technical, analytics and personal skills development needs of IS staff is widely recognised
  • Many positive developments in knowledge sharing, social media, the use of stories and growing use of enterprise-wide collaborative systems
  • Relationships with information vendors and managing local access to data products still a high priority

For Foster, the key issue for information managers is to find a way to exploit existing competencies and develop new skillsets to help their organisations to make better decisions.  “If this territory is moving information management away from the conventional exploitation of external information and the piecemeal processing of internal data then that’s where we need to be”.

SAGE is offering free online access to its information science journals in April 2014.

Sharing, collaboration and getting it wrong

There’s nothing like a headline telling you you’ve got it wrong to make you read on. 

An article on Time.com written by a data analytics expert tells us ‘What [we] think [we] know about the Web is wrong’ – or at least when it comes to measuring ‘clicks’.  Actually most of us already know there is a massive difference between what people share and what they have actually read, or what people click and what they read.  For information professionals, who act as curators for many audiences, clicking and sharing appropriately (or “delving deep into multiple pots of data and information*” is a critical skill.

The article shares some interesting statistics:

  • 55% of those who click on a link spend 15 seconds or less reviewing the screen (lesson – grab your visitors quickly)
  • Content sharers are a small percentage of content visitors – one tweet per 100 visitors/readers

…and is worth reading for longer than 15 seconds.

On SocialMediaToday, another headline suggests we’ve got social media ‘all wrong’.  It’s a brief overview of how social media supports search engine optimisation and reminds us that customers don’t owe brands anything “They don’t have to share your content, they don’t have to interact with posts and they certainly don’t have to suggest your page to other people.”

Collaboration goes mainstream in the sharing economy

Regular readers of this blog may remember a New York Times Insight report about the ‘psychology of sharing’.  A new report has looked at ‘sharers’ in Canada, the UK and US and has organised those participating in the sharing economy into three types:

  • Neo-Sharers are those who have used sharing services such as Etsy**, Kickstarter or Airbnb at least once in the past year
  • Re-Sharers – are those who are already using well-established services (eBay etc) but are not yet ‘Neos’
  • Non-Sharers are those with intentions to use sharing services in the next year

Neo- and re-sharers constitute about 40% of the US and Canadian populations and about 50% of the UK population.

Sharers are more likely to be affluent, young and are much more likely to discover services via word of mouth, social networks or blogs than from ‘traditional’ marketing.

*Andy Tattersall writing about overload filters.

** We featured ‘the Etsy economy’ here.

 

 

Book publishing – some recent innovations

Book publishers experimenting with new models; books fighting binge drinking in Italy

Netflix models

An article on Wired.com looks at a new online fiction service called Rooster in which a book publisher adopts a magazine model to make itself more like Netflix!  The service uses a subscription based model that sends content to iPhones and iPads.  The daily chunks of content should take about 15 minutes to read and will deliver two books’ worth of content over a month.  Similarly, Waterstones in the UK has announced Read Petite – a ‘rich reading experience for time-poor readers’.

Another innovation learning from the Netflix model is Epic!  This app aims to encourage children to read by offering rewards for completing chapters or starting ‘reading marathons’.  For a monthly subscription, children have access to a library of over 2000 titles and can rate the books they have read.  The app also allows parents to monitor their children’s reading habits.

Book buying and book borrowing and struggling readers

The latest Pew report shows the link between highly engaged library users and book buying.  The report shows that ‘Library Lovers’ – the heaviest users of libraries and about 10% of the US population – are also frequent buyers of books, despite many of them experiencing a drop in income.

The UK Charity Quick Reads found that reading e-books can be particularly helpful for adults who may be struggling with their reading while 48% say e-readers  have encouraged them to read more.

Binge drinking – books to the rescue!

Sadly Neknominate, the social media drinking game, has spread around the world. In Italy a literary alternative to the game has been developed.  ‘Booknomination’ follows similar rules but instead of drinking, the nominated person must read a passage from a book over a webcam.  The initiative is on Facebook on the hashtag #booknomination.

Sources: Springwise; DigitalBookWorld; TheLocal; Pew Research Center; Publishing Perspectives; Wired.

Reputation – the major academic currency

Times Higher Education has released World Reputation Rankings 2014.

Institutional ranking is a major consideration for academics when moving jobs, for students deciding where to study and for potential partners and collaborators. The published rankings are based on over 10,000 responses from 133 countries.

US universities reign supreme

American universities take the top three slots – and take 46 of the top 100.  Harvard remains in first place, with MIT second.  Stanford University has moved into third, jumping ahead of Oxford and Cambridge Universities.  However, US State universities are slipping slightly after suffering budget cuts.

UK – cause for concern?

The UK holds ten of the top 100 places – up from nine last year but the survey suggests there is a growing gap between what it calls the London-Oxford-Cambridge triangle and the rest of the country.

Major Asian institutions make progress

Japan is the region’s best performer, with five in the top 100.  Korea’s Seoul National University has jumped from 41st to 26th.

The story in Europe

  • Two of Sweden’s institutions fell out of the top 100 leaving it with only one (Karolinska)
  • France also lost two universities from the top 100, leaving it with two (Université Paris-Sorbonne and Université Pierre et Marie Curie)
  • Germany is faring much better – it comes third after the US and UK with six universities in the top 100
  • Other European countries featuring in the top 100 are:
    • The Netherlands (Delft University of Technology ranks 42nd).  University of Amsterdam; Leiden University and Utrecht also appear in the top 100
    • Switzerland (ETH Zurich ranks 16th; Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne ranks 49th)
    • Belgium – Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

New survey open

Thomson Reuters has launched its fifth annual Academic Reputation Survey. The survey informs two key indicators of the 13 used to create the annual Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which will be released later this year.