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- The 2017 ranking of the world's most reputable companies is out, from the Reputation Institute. The most important driver of corporate reputation by far is perception of quality, followed by have a positive influence on society, behave ethically, and be fair in the way it does business. And in case you were wondering, the top 5 companies are: Rolex, LEGO, The Walt Disney Company, Canon, and Google.
- Small businesses in the U.S. are moving more of their budget to digital, including mobile, social, video and search. According to the January 2017 study by Thrive Analytics, 40% of U.S. SMBs said they plan to increase spending on digital media.
- Some key things to know about digital video: (1) digital video continues to outperform display ads; (2) U.S. digital video viewership will continue to grow through 2021; (3) social and messaging platforms want video ad dollars.
- Digital advertising spending is projected to rise 16% in 2017 to $83 billion. Of particular note: Facebook's is increasing by 32% and Google's is increasing by 15%, with Twitter dropping by 4.7%. The duopoly tightens.
- Viacom, Turner and Fox have joined forces to launch OpenAP, a web interface where marketers can crunch data from various sources for television ad targeting on all three companies’ networks. The TV giants understand that they need to offer something to compete with the precision offered in the digital space.
- A discussion that emerged from SXSW: while there is much attention being paid to gender and racial diversity in tech, what about age discrimination? The unspoken rule of younger = better needs addressing, as the tech business is about more than just coding.
- Discors has developed a low-priced subscription of curated news from across a number of publications. For $4.99 a month, subscribers get a limited selection of stories from The New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times, and more. They’re the latest trying to unlock the space between $0 and a full subscription.
- New research reveals a surprising level of distrust from women. More than 80% of women claim to distrust the news media, citing “inadequate fact checking” and “political bias” as the primary causes. And brand marketing didn’t fare much better—when asked about their trust in advertising, the response was similarly distrustful: 80% of women say they don’t trust ads.
- Gini Dietrich defends the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model as an example for practitioners to follow for an integrated communications model.
- Digital transformation isn't easy (it's one of the services Brain+Trust Partners offers). It's more than digital marketing - it spans the business.
- Mitch Joel outlines some of the challenges associated with tackling digital transformation.
- Ultimately, digital transformation sits with the CEO, and McKinsey outlines seven decisions that that matter in digital transformation.
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TWITTER / PERISCOPE / VINE
- Twitter is joining the NewFronts, replacing Yahoo. The social network has placed an emphasis on live streaming video deals over the last year, and it plans to showcase those efforts, as well as some original content offerings, during the presentation.
- Next week, Twitter will open up its API—the application-programming interface that allows outside services to connect to the network—so that publishers can push streaming video into Twitter whenever they wish.
- Setting aside what you know, when you consider Twitter's statistics as a media entity, it's pretty impressive. Maybe it's worth another look.
- Twitter's comeback may be heralded by the cool activations at SXSW.
Analytics geeks, rejoice! Brands and agencies using Twitter’s Gnip application-programming interfaces finally have access to data on likes via the Decahose, the social network’s stream that provides a 10 percent random sample of its full real-time Firehose.
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP
- Facebook continues to push itself into public policy and civic engagement with its new Town Hall feature will help you find your local, state and federal government representatives.
- The Boston Globe says Facebook Messenger offers the easiest and cheapest way to send news notifications to mobile devices, sees 80% open rate in one week.
- The German government threatened millions of dollars in fines against Facebook and Twitter, who it says are not doing enough to curb hate speech on their platforms.
- Facebook's mysterious hardware group at Building 8 is hard at work on a few projects. One product involves cameras and augmented reality, another may involve a drone, and a big retail push complete with warehouse operations, different retail experiences, and a “global contact center footprint."
SNAP / SNAPCHAT
- Marketers aren't seeing much of a return for their spending on Snapchat.
Which may partially explain why the 2017 advertising revenue forecast for Snapchat has been trimmed by $30 million, as well as due to higher than expected revenue sharing with its partners.
- Snap hired Donna Ogier, who used to work on Apple News' media team to head up Snapchat's Discover section.
- Vice Media signed expanded deal with Snap, under which it will produce shows exclusively for Snapchat, including an eight-episode dating series.
GOOGLE / ALPHABET
- Google has responded to a growing number of brands suspending their advertising from its services after finding their ads were appearing next to inappropriate and extremist content, saying "we can do better."
- Gmail users will now be able to stream video directly from the email attachments, rather than having to download them first. Who's sending videos as attachments?
- Well, it's official: after the Verizon deal closes, Marissa Mayer will not be the CEO of the new entity, Altaba. If she leaves early or is terminated for cause, she'll still walk away with a $23 million severance package, including $25,000 in healthcare coverage. Because evidently she won't be able to afford healthcare on that paltry salary.
- Marissa A. Mayer, Will You Please Go Now!
MICROSOFT / LINKEDIN
- Evidently, one of the major reasons that Microsoft acquired LinkedIn was its secret weapon: Reid Hoffman.
Collaborative / Autonomous / AI
- The executive at the center of the Alphabet-Uber lawsuit who is accused of stealing proprietary information and taking it with him to Uber, evidently had a longer relationship with Uber than previously thought. Alphabet laid out a detailed timeline of Anthony Levandowski’s relationship with Uber executives, including CEO Travis Kalanick. According to Alphabet, that relationship dates back to the summer of 2015, approximately six months before Levandowski even left Alphabet. This is high stakes, as Google and Uber duke it out for autonomous supremacy.
- Uber is losing another executive: Uber's president Jeff Jones has quit, saying his “beliefs and approach to leadership” were inconsistent with what he saw at Uber. Oops.
- Say goodbye to Hailo: the London-based taxi-hailing app is merging and rebranding as mytaxi, partially owned by Daimler and accessible across Europe.
- Electric car sales were up 68% in the U.S. in February, with Tesla leading the way.
- Uber's self-driving cars aren't ready to be called such. According to recent data, the cars only travelled an average of 0.8 miles before requiring human intervention. Fully autonomous vehicles all over the roads by the end of 2017? You're more likely to win your NCAA bracket this year.
- Having missed mobile almost completely, Intel's purchase of Mobileye for $15 billion is an attempt to leapfrog to the next waves for semiconductors: self-driving cars, drones, VR/AR and deep learning.
- Why this makes sense: from Stratechery, the Smiling Curve knows all.
- Nvidia has announced a new partnership with Bosch to sell its Drive PX 2 driver-assist platform to automakers. In effect, the deal gives Nvidia a go-to-market strategy for its self-driving hardware and software platform.
- In addition, Nvidia is partnering with PACCAR, one of the world's largest manufacturers of transport trucks, on autonomous truck technology.
- Are driverless cars a utopia, or a dystopia? The Driverless Future Exhibition at the London Transport Musemm has a look.
- A sampling of 10 delivery drones that are coming to your house, via Jeremiah Owyang.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE / BOTS / BLOCKCHAIN
- Voice command may not be the next big thing. Why? Because we don't think that way.
- A great survey of the way AI is upending the law (and lawyers). The next thing we do, let's kill all the lawyerbots.
- Amazon is bringing Alexa to the iPhone inside of the Amazon app. I can't wait for Siri and Alexa to get into a smack-talking contest.
Virtual Reality / Audio
- A VR experience at SXSW gave viewers an immersive look into farms and factories with the goal of eliminating cruel conditions for animals.
- AR technologies will be instrumental in closing the skill gap that is responsible for the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers. The technology will allow more workers to do high-skill jobs and improve their performance in this work. (Disclosure: GE is a Brain+Trust client)
- James Altucher doubled his podcast listenership nearly overnight and now has tips on how to improve the likelihood of people listening to your show.
- Pandora's on-demand music service has finally arrived. It is taking on Spotify with sleek design and data science muscle. But can it compete this late in the game?
- Serial's first spinoff podcast, S-Town, will launch with all episodes at once on March 28. Get ready to binge-listen.
- Program of the Week: We're in a generous mood this week, so we'll give you 12 podcasts that will you a better leader. Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts.
- And don't forget to subscribe to our show via email or on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spreaker or SoundCloud.
Content / Customer Experience / Influencer Marketing
- Influencer marketing continues to be a hot topic, but rather than focusing on big names or big followings, perhaps it's time to consider the rise of the micro influencer.
- Here we have U.S. companies with the best and worst customer experience rating. Supermarkets continue to lead the way in customer experience, while health plans are again among the worst-rated, according to the 7th annual customer experience ratings from the Temkin Group.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- The U.S. Justice Department charged four men with hacking some 500 million Yahoo Mail accounts. Evidently they were hired by Russian officials.
- A number of Twitter users' accounts were compromised last week. Don't let it happen to you — take these steps to protect your Twitter account.
- Apple hired an iPhone security expert who writes "privacy is sacred." He provided technical assistance to the company during the FBI's queries of Apple amid the San Bernardino shooting last year.
- Facial recognition technology is developing quickly. And there are reasons to be concerned about your privacy, according to Mike Elgan.
- Standard Innovation reached a $3 million class-action settlement after its vibrators were shown to collect and transmit ‘highly sensitive’ data.
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- Inbound marketing and sales software provider HubSpot, and video cloud-based solution provider Brightcove, recently announced a partnership that will help customers derive more targeted video analytics.
- Parkopedia is a data powerhouse, and it's selling its services to everyone from Garmin to OnStar, and Audi China to Apple.
Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- The New Yorker has published "The I.O.U.," F. Scott Fitzgerald's spoof on the cravenness of the publishing industry. The story was written in 1920, when Fitzgerald was 23 and had just published “This Side of Paradise." Just five years before, while he was struggling to make a living in advertising in New York, Fitzgerald had received 122 rejection slips for stories.
- Jimmy Breslin died over the weekend. He was sent to cover the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, and found an angle that eluded other reporters. Breslin’s story about Clifton Pollard, the man who dug the president’s grave is still one of the most talked about stories in journalism history, even used in J-school courses as a prime example of enterprise reporting.
- If you eschew the use of the Oxford comma, you might want to think again. An Oxford comma changed the outcome of a Maine labor law dispute. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation matter.
- The Gorgeous Typeface that Drove Men Mad and Sparked a 100-Year Mystery is a fascinating tale about the Dove font, its invention, and why it disappeared. It's also one of the stories in the newly-released Printer's Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History by J.P. Romney and Rebecca Romney.
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Upcoming Brain+Trust Speaking Engagements
- Speaking at Social Media Marketing World 2017 in San Diego, March 22-24, 2017. (Scott)
- Keynote at Texas Society of Association Executives Tech Talks, March 30, 2017. (Tim)
- Keynote at Ragan's PR and Media Relations Summit in New York, April 5-7, 2017. (Christopher)
- Keynote at the CEO Communications Summit at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business in Montreal, June 13-14, 2017. (Scott)
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Top photo credit: Mike Mozart (Flickr)