Maxus Mouth

An Audience with Jonathan Durden

By Emma Lodge - Account Manager on 28/06/2015
On Friday 25th June, I went to Time Inc.’s HQ at the Blue Finn Building in Southwark to listen to an ‘Inspired Conversation with Jonathan Durden’ – Co-founder of PHD and most recently joint-founder of a new range of intimate men's grooming products Below the Belt Grooming.
 
I have never heard Jonathan speak before so I was really looking forward to it and I wasn’t disappointed. 
 
I came away from the meeting feeling entertained, informed and above all energised and excited to work in this industry.
 
Jonathan spoke candidly about himself and his career. He is a self-proclaimed ego-maniac; accomplished at ruffling feathers and disrupting the status quo, be that at WCRS or on Big Brother!
 
The interview began with the usual questions; “How did you get into the industry?” “Was it planned or by mistake?” “What do you love about the industry?”
 
And like many of us, Jonathan explained that he very much fell into media with his first job actually being in merchant banking before moving on to his first media position selling airtime at Anglia TV. 
 
Again, like most of us, Jonathan says it is the people that make the industry great and he went on to remark that no other industry has such “amazing brains thinking about such trivial things,” to which the room laughed and nodded in agreement.
 
Jonathan then proceeded to talk through the rest of his career journey; he explained how and why he went on to set up PHD and the lessons he learnt from owning his own business – be bold, seize the moment and earn the right to be listened to were the ones that stood out to me.
 
I also took away a few pearls of wisdom that afternoon:
For business partnerships to work you need to buddy up with someone who is completely different to you and you need to be able to constantly swap hats. It will never work if you are too similar. 
And to thrive professionally, you need to always hire people better than you, be open to ideas and embrace your workforce’s ideas but above all give yourself the time and the space to work out what makes you happy.
Category: Media | Comments...

The Art of Persuasion - Social Media has changed the course of Politics

By Rachel Cawley - Maxus Launchpad Graduate on 05/05/2015
A new media meets an old traditional medium 
 
The goal of most media messages is to persuade the audience to believe or do something.  Similarly, the goal of most politicians is to get audiences to believe in their policies and vote. Social media allows politicians to show authenticity and respond in real time to audiences and potential voters worries and opinions. It has become an intrinsic part of modern day politics from viral memes to tweeting about the live debate TV broadcast. 
 
In Britain political paid advertising on television and radio is banned, but it is not on the internet.  Social media creates new political dialogues as it takes the power of political messaging away from the mass media model and places it firmly in the public domain. Social Media helps create multiple levels of trust based relationships and has the ability to influence people’s opinions and behaviours. When used well politicians can achieve social validation and familiarity that in time can turn into acceptance and new voters. 
 
You could be mistaken to think that the public are disinterested in politics, we often hear ‘no point voting’ and ‘all the parties are the same’ jargon, when in fact in 2013 the second most talked about global subject was politics; the first was the election of Pope Francis. Up until mid-March 2015 there have been 21m interactions about politics on social media pages.
 
In the below research I hope to show how the shift of power to new media is effecting a very traditional medium – politics.  I will look at the first social politician, the use of social media during the upcoming General Election and the subsequent implications for the voting public. 
 
The original social media politician
 
Obama was the first politician to use social media as a campaign strategy with its own dedicated team and budget. He addressed the growing presence and power of social media by adopting a ‘use it or lose it’ mentality.  
 
His 2008 election slogan ‘Yes we can’ was strongly backed on Twitter – the simplicity of the slogan allowed it to easily grow on Twitter, audiences had a choice of how to show their support from a hashtag to sharing an image. By 2012 Obama’s social campaign had become more sophisticated than 2008, this was largely due to how much Facebook had developed as a platform with triple the amount of users. Obama responded to this by making the role of social media in his campaign strategy even greater. By 2012 Obama’s digital messages had become localized by adding state by state content, meaning he was able to have personalised conversations with voters from all over America, his policies were no longer general to all Americans but personal to each voter.
 
 
When comparing Obama’s online campaign with Mitt Romney (his main opposition) he had nearly four times as much content and was active on twice of many platforms. There were many more conversations taking place from Obama’s posts. Obama appeared current to voters by being ‘on the pulse’ with his social media reactions such as ‘This seat is taken’ tweet in response to Clint Eastwood’s ‘Invisible Obama’ routine. Ultimately, Obama realised if audiences are sent a message from a Facebook or, Twitter friend encouraging them to attend an event or donate to Obama, they are much more likely to do so than if the request came from an anonymous campaigner. 
 
It was not only Obama who used social media channels to drive support.  During the 2008 and 2012 elections comedian Sarah Silvermans urged young voters to head back South and encourage their grandparents to vote Obama. The campaign was called ‘The Great Schlep’.  Sarah can connect the politically aware youth who regard popular American TV shows as ways to find out about political parties. The campaign acted as a conversation between the youth of America and the traditionalist voters. In the first two weeks of being posted on YouTube the video had been viewed more than seven million times and shared across numerous social sites.
 
 
The Great Schlep was just one way social media was used to drive support and excitement around Obama’s campaign. Sarah’s use of comedy broke down the usual ‘serious’ style of politics and therefore was able to engage with youth voters. Obama won the crucial Florida seat in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.  
 
In summary of Obama’s social success his 2012 victory post is the most liked picture ever on Facebook, people wanted to feel involved and they felt they could do this through their social channels. Obama changed the role of social media within politics, he exemplified how it needs to be an integral part of a political campaign as it humanises the politician. Since Obama’s success we have seen British politicians mimicking his strategy, most obviously when Labour recruited Obama’s ‘digital attack dog’ Matthew McGregor. 
 
 
The knock on effect on British politics 
 
Social media is at the heart of the 2015 general election campaign. The run up to this election has seen Politicians using different strands of social media such as Facebook Question and Answers and Google Hangouts – both pioneered by Obama.
 
Labour and Conservatives are making heavy use of tongue and cheek imagery and video content this style of politics tends to be associated more with America then Britain. The ‘shaming’ of opposing parties shows how British politics has adopted an American Punch and Judy style politics with audiences waiting for the next blow. This further blurs the lines between serious politics and popular entertainment. 
 
 
An example of this would be The Conservatives' poster image of Ed Miliband sitting in Alex Salmond's top pocket, and the Labour video depicting David Cameron arguing with himself over the proposed television debates.  Audiences react well to this anti-establishment media that blurs the line between celebrity gossip and politics. Campaigns like the above address the huge gap between PR lawyers led articles and the reality for the everyday voter. 
 
In recent elections we have seen an influx of celebrity videos encouraging audiences to vote for a particular party – the use of celebrities creates showbiz politics. Labour first released their Martin Freeman video on Facebook, the video was shared 4,500 times from Labour’s own Facebook page. This directly shows the importance of sharing on Facebook and how it creates more likes for parties as audiences see the video on friends pages and this prompts them to like or follow Labour themselves. This further shows the role of Facebook as an anchor for conversation and reaching more potential voters. 
 
Similarly, newspapers such as The Telegraph and Manchester Evening News have created quizzes to help establish readers political alliances, You can post your results on Facebook – who you are voting for is traditionally very private now audiences are happy to share this information online – as Facebook is a ‘normal’ important part of everyday life, many see their Facebook page as an extension of their personality. Further to this, there has been a surge in apps dedicated to the election such as ElectUK app which is a tool that track politicians trending on twitter and if the tweets are positive or negative.  The downside to Elect UK is it cannot understand sarcasm for instance UKIP receive many tweets that are sarcastic however, this would be read as positive so the amount of positive or negative comments they are receiving would be skewed. 
 
It is not just about Facebook and Twitter
 
Politicians using social media is no longer just about having the most Facebook and Twitter followers, it is about carving their own unique take on social media channels, using what channels work best and becoming the dominant party on said channel.
 
Ed Miliband can struggle with Facebook and Twitter – he is often criticised for not being interesting, each of his posts are scrutinised in case they can be made into a meme. For instance, this can be a standard response for Ed on Twitter.
 
However, Ed became the first mainstream British politician to join Instagram. He has turned to other channels to portray himself as a well-rounded family man by posting photos of his young family. Instagram audiences are on a whole welcoming and positive about his account.  
 
 
Even though Instagram is a niche audience, Ed has 2,500 followers compared to his 380,000 on Twitter and 69,000 like on Facebook but, Instagram is able to reach a new audience. Twitter is seen as a political platform with many followers disagreeing with Ed’s posts while Instagram has a less political feel and a younger audience. On Instagram people want to show off exciting ‘nice’ things that have happened in their day – there is less of a need to criticise as on a whole it is a positive platform. 
 
The downside to Ed’s Instagram takeover is it is much harder to gain followers than on Facebook and Twitter, one reason is users typically search for who they want to follow in comparison to Facebook where you can share a status or, Twitter where retweets are common. However, I think this is changing as Instagram’s explore page is becoming more dominant. More users will be exposed to Ed’s account if people they follow have liked or commented on his pictures. On a whole the people who follow him are potential Labour voters who want to learn more – which is ideal for any politician. 
 
 
The power two?
 
Similarly to the Labour Party, David Cameron and the Conservatives has been looking at ways to maximise their social impact. As of February 2015 The Conservatives had been spending £100k a month on Facebook in order to try boost the Conservative’s image and to dominate the social channel. The full scale of their spending was revealed after the BBC posted a Facebook invoice showing a monthly bill to the Conservative of £122,814 in September 2014. Over the last 12 months the Conservative are estimated to have spent well over £1 million on Facebook alone which dwarfs Labour’s estimated ten thousand each month. The Conservatives vast spend on Facebook shows how important the platform is to them, it is critical to gaining new voters and getting their content in front of people. 
 
Crucially the Conservatives are able to tap into hidden audiences on Facebook – it is no longer just likes but the power of the newsfeed. If a supporter shares a post with their Facebook friends this broadens the audience therefore, gives Conservatives an opportunity to engage with more people which is key in the run up to an election. 
 
The rise of UKIP
 
In the 1951 election Labour and Conservatives won more than 96% of the vote between them. Today the landscape is completely different with Labour and Conservatives expected to struggle to rise above 35% of the vote.  One reason why I think the Labour and Conservative dominance has shifted is social media.
 
 
Nigel Farage and UKIP use social media to engage with audiences and showcase their policies. UKIP is the most talked about party on social media, half those comments are negative but, they still give UKIP the exposure and headlines that they want. Their social content lacks a corporate feel and has more of an everyman feel, so that Farage can connect to people.  
 
Barely a week goes by where UKIP activity on social media is not in the news, often the party are left red faced when a member would ‘unofficially’ tweet a racist slur. In fact this got so bad during 2014 that Farage banned unofficial tweeting and urged party members to stay away from Twitter. This is a great example of the powerful role of social media in politics, MPs understand how one negative tweet can go global in a matter of minutes and completely change audience’s perception of a party. 
 
Electoral polling and social media dominance are still two very different things however, UKIP are using social media as a key building block to growing their party. Despite our own political alliances we have to agree UKIP have established a presence on social media and using all the channels well and to their advantage.
 
The political platform 
 
Politicians tend to favour Twitter over Facebook this is probably because it is quicker and an easier way to get your message out. Before the last election just over 100 MPs were on Twitter now, over four times as many. As of March 2015 the top ten tweeting MPs did not include David Cameron, Ed Miliband or, any of the other ‘top’ MP’s’.  Instead the big users are local campaigners or headline grabbing backbenches – this idea is further explored in the article linked under the image. 
 
 
Twitter has orchestrated an opportunity for ‘smaller MPs’ to have a platform to engage with potential voters, parties are no longer led by just one figure they are now made up of the tweets and posts of many members of the party. 
 
 
As the image portrays with regards to the party leaders – Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon lead the way with average amount of tweets per day and engagement. Labour are replying to 1 in 10 tweets while Conservatives are averaging at a less than impressive 1 in 100. You can see why broadcasting is more appealing to MPs than writing personal replies and taking the time to think up interesting content. Every tweet MPs post runs the risk of being trolled and turned into a meme in a matter of minutes. What MPs need to grasp is Twitter is a conversational platform they need to get involved in the many debates taking place through hashtags like #GE2015 and #Election2015 instead of regurgitating their policies.
 
What does this mean for the voter? 
 
Social media has created a digital democracy - audiences are freed from constraints of the traditional news outlets. Opinions are not only sourced by journalists with political alliances but by the ‘everyman’. 
 
Younger voters – who are not interested by more traditional outlets of politics are given an opportunity to get involved in the conversation. 
 
Social media needs to mix with traditional media such as the TV debates in order to achieve the best conversations such. Politicians need to embrace social media, they cannot stick to the traditional sites such as Facebook and Twitter but, show their flexibility and modernity by looking at new ways to engage with an audience who is inundated with social media channels and subsequent political opinions. 
 
Sources : 
1. http://www.journalism.org/2012/08/15/how-presidential-candidates-use-web-and-social-media/
2. Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgHHX9R4Qtk
3 .Facebook - Barackobama
4. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/mar/09/tory-election-poster-ed-miliband-pocket-snp-alex-salmond
5. Twitter – ed_miliband
6. Instagram - @ed_miliband
7. Instagram - @ed_miliband
8. Facebook – UK Independence Party 
9. http://mhpccom.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/corporate-affairs/files/2015/03/An-opportunity-lost_how-MPs-are-missing-the-point-of-social-media.pdf
10. http://mhpccom.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/corporate-affairs/files/2015/03/An-opportunity-lost_how-MPs-are-missing-the-point-of-social-media.pdf
 
 

Mumsnet research - Motherhood: It’s Not A Job

By Emily Rich - Insights Director on 01/05/2015
The Summary
 
“Nobody becomes a mother so that she can learn how to produce the ultimate tuna pasta bake”.  And with this statement Justine Roberts, co-founder of Mumsnet summarised the theme of their 2015 Mumstock conference. Mums, instead of thinking of Motherhood as a job which they must learn to excel at, really just want to have fun!
 
 
This truth was uncovered by a piece of bespoke research, conducted on Mumsnet’s behalf by Saatchi and Saatchi, which initially identified eight defined roles involved in parenting – Carer, Safehouse, Partner in Crime, Friend, Hero, Coach, Fan and Rule-breaker. Mums were then asked which roles they thought were most important, with which they spent the most time and, crucially, which ones they wanted to spend more time on.
 
The research found that Mums spent the majority of their time in traditional roles such as Carer and Coach. But whilst these roles were not surprisingly seen as importantl, it wasn’t where Mums wanted to be spending more time. The roles with the largest gaps between reality and desire were those such as Hero, Partner in Crime and Rule Breaker. The very roles which advertisers often land squarely at Dads’ feet. 
 
Richard Huntington, the chief strategy officer of Saatchi & Saatchi who co-ran the study said: “Advertisers are still stuck in the rut of seeing mums in the role of cook, cleaner and nurse, while Dad has fun playing outside and getting messy with his kids.”   
 
And this is a missed opportunity for advertisers. Indeed 58% of Mums agreed that ‘marketers treat motherhood as an activity filled with things I have to do, instead of a meaningful relationship with my kids.’  Understanding this chasm between what Mums want and what the majority of media messages are providing is the key, and if we can find a way of helping Mums fulfil the roles they desire that’s a big step towards engaging with them in a meaningful way. So perhaps instead of telling them a myriad ways to get a cleaner house or how to perform tasks more efficiently we can use our campaigns to help them be the hero,  the rebel, to have fun and be the Mum they so desperately want to be. 
 
The Detail
 
At last year’s conference Mumsnet research revealed that only 1 in 5 Mums could relate to representations of Motherhood in advertising. This year kicked off with a reminder about the 5 common myths brands fall into depicting:
 
1. Motherhood does not define a person:  Mums are individuals like everyone else
 
2. Mothers are not desperately seeking perfection  – products don’t make perfect mums and being ‘practically perfect in every way’ is not a goal anyway
 
3. Mums are prudes – they’re not and they want to be entertained as much as anyone else. Edgy humour can be appropriate, see Maxus’ Fiat campaign Motherhood for a good example here.
 
4. Dads are sideshows – parents are a unit and Dad’s are increasingly taking a bigger role in parenting. Don’t ignore them or fall into the trap of making dads look bad to make mums look good. 
 
5. Motherhood is unrelenting drudgery – not true, it’s a lot of fun!
 
This year’s focus aimed to move this on to help understand the roles Mums currently play in the parenting sphere and, more importantly, what roles they want to play more of.  An important truth highlighted within this was that, yes Mums spend a lot of time on tasks whether that’s grocery shopping, cleaning the house or cooking meals for the kids, but one thing is clear – they don’t see Motherhood as a job. 
 
An example of a brand perhaps missing the mark with this recently was Interflora’s Salary for Mums app released on Mother’s Day - http://www.interflora.co.uk/content/mum-salary-calculator/ . The app allowed women to work out what they would ‘earn’ if they got paid a salary for being a Mum. 
 
 
Unfortunately this approach only serves to reinforce the stereotype of Motherhood as drudgery and, whilst maybe passing a couple of minutes of her time, do anything to engage her with what she believes being a Mum is about. 
 
“Brands are completely unaware of what parenting is really about – it’s about love” – survey respondent
 
The research ultimately showed that Motherhood is more about ‘being than doing.’  Using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative work, and also involving the Mumsnet community, it identified 8 emotional ‘being’ roles that mums’ fulfil and then looked at these based on importance and time Mums felt they spent in them.
 
The Roles
 
1. Carer: being there and in the moment
This is all about being in tune with what children need day-to-day, making them feel protected, cared for and loved - not to mention being there for a hug when they need it.
 
• 98% of mums perceived this as very important
• 34% said this was their full-time role. 
 
MNers said: “When they’re sad or feeling a little bit down, all you want to do is hug them and take the pain away from them; or if someone is mean to them, all you want to do is hold them tight and hope that you can help them.”
 
2. Safehouse: being there, no matter what
 
Safehouse means being one phone call away, the person your children call out for, and providing a safety net for them to turn to, no matter what happens.
 
•98% perceived this as very important
•9% of their total time was spent in this role
 
MNers said: “This is one of the most important roles I feel, as all children need to feel they have a safe place to go and someone who will always look out for them no matter what happens.”
 
3. Coach: being there even when you aren’t 
 
As a Coach, you’re an adviser to your children, guiding and cajoling them so that they are ultimately able to live independent lives.
 
• 96% perceived this as very important
• 20% of their total time was spent in this role
 
MNers said: “It’s very important my kids understand the value of money. I am trying to teach my oldest about how to manage their personal finances. They have to work hard to earn it and know how to save it. I want them to know that before they go off in the real world.”
 
4. Fan: enjoying the mark children make
 
Fans are the person a child wants front-row and centre for all their performances – whether it’s a school play, football match, the telling of a joke, or talking about their day at school.
 
• 94% perceived this as very important
• 4% of their total time was  spent in this role
 
MNers said: “It’s about listening to them sing you a private concert, being at their dance recitals, watching them laugh at Frozen for the 100th time.”
 
5. Partner in crime: getting your hands dirty
 
In this role, mums have time to play with their children; making each other laugh and just having fun.
 
•91% perceived this as very important
• 8% of their total time was spent in this role
 
MNers said: “Kids won’t remember how clean the floors were - but they will remember how much fun they had.”
 
6. Rule breaker: not always being the disciplinarian
 
The Rule Breaker is great fun for a child to be around - spontaneously breaking the rules and ripping up the day-to-day routine.
• 65% perceived this as very important
• 1% of their total time was spent in this role
 
MNers said: “Yesterday I let him draw on walls in the playroom – we are repainting next week so I figured why not? He couldn’t believe I was letting him do it; he thought it was so fun. He was laughing the whole time!”
 
7. Friend: being on the inside
 
As the Friend, mums interact with their children as an equal, a mate - someone they can tell their secrets to.
 
• 93% perceived this as very important
• 9% of their total time was spent in this role
 
MNers said: “I hope at the end of it all, when she’s all grown up, she wants to be my friend.”
 
8. Hero: being who you want your child to be
 
And the final role is The Hero - being a child’s role model, the one they look up to, and the person they are inspired by.
 
• 98% perceived this as very important
• 15% of their total time was spent in this role
 
MNers said: “It’s so important, even when they see me mess up. They need to learn from my mistakes, and find out what is right and wrong.”
 
Source: Saatchi and Saatchi/ Mumsnet
 
How much time is actually spent in roles (left) and how much time mums  desire to spend in roles (right)  Source: Saatchi and Saatchi/ Mumsnet
 
Interestingly almost all roles were seen as of equal importance. And, perhaps, unsurprisingly roles such as Carer and Coach were where Mums spent the majority of their time.  However, these were not the areas they wanted to spend any more time in,  this was reserved for those roles that they felt were important but currently neglected, such as Hero, Partner in Crime and Rule Breaker. 
 
Mum’s felt they spent only 15% of their time in the role of Hero, a role that is about inspiring children by being who you want them to be, however, this was a space that 70% of Mums want to spend more time in. The disparity for the ‘fun’ roles of Partner in Crime and Rule Breaker was even greater with Mums saying they spend only 8% and 1% in these roles respectively – but 74% and 60% want to be spending far more time here. Mums were also clear here that this was not just about entertaining kids and giving them fun things to do but really connecting with her children in reciprocal fun activities. 
 
“It’s just lovely watching us laugh hysterically at our silliness and messing around, and I think those are our best and valuable moments. Going back to basics, just enjoying ourselves doing silly stuff’ – survey respondent
 
Maxus POV
 
“I wish I could spend more time having fun, to be someone a child can let their hair down with and be themselves, no matter how silly.” – Survey Respondent
 
Mums’ lives can be frantic and with work and parenting responsibilities they often feel there’s not enough time to fit it all in. This means they can feel they’re missing out on the more inspiring, spontaneous and fun aspects of parenting epitomised by roles such as Rule Breaker, Hero and Partner in Crime.  Frustratingly for Mums these are often exactly the roles that brands/marketeers place the Dad in. 
 
Last year Mumsnet highlighted how only 20% of the top 50 brands target mothers in these emotionally defined roles with almost all showing mum solely as the Carer. This leaves a huge space for brands to explore. If we can create campaigns that help Mum be who she wants to be then we can create greater connections. This means making a move away from positioning Mum’s role as  functional to instead helping her embrace and enjoy the other aspects of parenting she desires to play a bigger part in.  Help her become more of a Hero – a role model who is encouraging, successful and confident in inspiring her children. And crucially also help her embrace the more fun aspects of Parenthood - being silly, breaking the rules and becoming a true Partner in Crime alongside Dad.
 
Saatchi & Saatchi conducted quantitative research through a nationally representative survey of 1,022 mums in the UK (responses gathered in December 2014). They also conducted two Mumsnet panel surveys consisting of more than 1,800 parents. For the purpose of the research findings, mums are defined as women with children under the age of 16.
 
 
 
Category: Media | Comments...

SXSW - Key Themes & Insights

on 20/04/2015
Category: Media | Comments...

Time Inc Inspired Conversations: God of planning

By Rachel Cawley - Maxus Launchpad Graduate on 09/04/2015

 

This morning Rachel attended Time Inc's Inspired Conversations session : God of planning.  Hosted by Paul Feldwick.  Below she gives us a short snyopsis on what she learned at the session: 

Paul spent 30 years in advertising in roles such as head of planning at BMP and is the author of several books on advertising theories. The session focused on his most recent book "The Anatomy of Humbug - how to think differently about advertising". During the session Paul discussed frustrations of how many theories of advertising there are. He took us through his six main theories as to how advertising works and showed how they are restrictive and contradictory but can also be flexible, creative and effective. 
 
Theory One: Advertising as salesmanship
Paul questioned if the reason behind all advertising is just to sell – it doesn’t matter if it is remembered or has a message, you just need to have the brand in front of the consumer. This theory harks back to the golden days of advertising where a Bovril sign would be painted on the side of houses – simply to get the attention of the consumer.
 
Theory Two: Advertising as seduction
Advertising needs to seduce it’s consumer. Therefore, brands needs to be conscious and adaptive. Paul argues this area of advertising is becoming more associated with research but, that it doesn’t need to be. It is based on human sensitivity and driven by non-verbal emotional associations. 
 
Theory Three: Saliences 
This is the theory of back to basics - getting the brand in front of the consumer. Paul explained we just need to look at the most successful IPA campaigns as they all gained campaign fame prior to winning.
 
Theory Four: Social Connections
With this theory Paul highlighted the importance to entertain consumers, communication is no longer just about consumption of content but forms the basis of how people converse and maintain relationships
 
Theory Five: The Spin (Public Relations)
This is the power of pictures and emotions not text and theories. The product must appear to be desirable without the prod of a salesman. 
 
Theory Six: Showmanship 
Paul concluded that advertising might not be an art or science but in fact showmanship. This theory would make the most sense when looking at the popularity of singing ponies, a man doing the splits between two Lorries and singing cats. 
 
Paul finished his session by stressing there is not a clear way of classifying ads, advertising campaigns do not fall into one of these theories but can fit into multiple.
 
In summary, we should consider all theories but we would understand advertising better if we start by accepting that we will never fully understand it. 

Invisible Media - Stuart Butler at Advertising Week Europe 2015

By Abbie Baisden - Global Content Manager on 09/04/2015

 

At this year’s Advertising Week Europe, Stuart Butler – EMEA Head of Planning at Maxus, led a panel of some of the biggest names in media, discussing the premise of ‘Invisible Media’.

Joined by Dave Coplin (Microsoft), Anna Watkins (Guardian Labs) and Peter Cory (Google), the panel considered the possibilities of the future of media and technology, and the effect ‘Invisible Media’ would have on different stakeholders throughout the industry. You can still view the complete panel on the Advertising Week Europe Website, or take a look at some of the key points discussed below.

“Media isn’t only interactive, it’s intelligent, it’s even clever enough to outperform us”

Advancements in technology mean that media can now predict our behaviours based on past activities, and adapt itself accordingly. However, all tech evolves to make our lives easier, so if tech and media continue to become more intuitive, they may also become invisible, eradicating our need to even attend to it. As we become acclimatised to new technologies, we start to forget it’s even there.

How will our interaction with media change?

  • Physically – Less present 

Voice interaction on a mobile phone has already started to make the keyboard function redundant, and we begin to view the QWERTY keyboard set up in the same way that we used to look at typewriters. 

Virtual reality is already becoming the norm - "We need stop fixating on screens and see that the consumeris about to step through the looking glass."

Tech is already moving beyond the wearable and towards 'embedded' such as the MC10 Biostamp.

  • Functionally – Less interaction required 

"The end of the internet as we know it" -  Eric Schmidt

The prediction is that the web will become so pervasive it will disappear, like electricity. We will become so accustomed to all devices being able to communicate with each other and to anticipate the information we want to be shown, that we will no longer be aware of it around us.

Media and technology can read data and provide solutions quickly and without human interruption. Increasingly tech will be able to understand our needs and motivations, such as the Biostamp, which reads a patient’s vital signs and alters their medical dosage accordingly. 

Artificial intelligence is being developed that is replicating human decision making and values, such as Bina48 or the iCub, and we are already looking beyond digital to quantum computing offer tech far more sophistacted abilities to 'think'.

  • Culturally – Less opportunity for mass messaging

As media becomes more adapted to individual needs and interests, it will become more difficult for advertisers to push a message out to a diverse audience. Catch-up TV and online streaming services have moved us from a nation of 60 million viewers watching one of five TV channels, to 60 million audiences of one person, watching what they like, when they like.

Stuart believes that the internet has returned us to a more human form of communication.

The internet has brought us back to more traditional story-based methods of communicating, preceding the advent of ‘broadcast messaging' and the printed press, which was a bit of an anomaly in human communication.

Beyond that, consumers can even bypass the corporation, and with it brands. Consumers can connect to fund, develop, manufacture, market and distribute products and services themselves.

What does this mean for the media industry?

 

“Technology is becoming us because it’s built to serve us” according to Stuart. We should celebrate new ways to get closer to the consumer and new, more powerful communication strategies.

The panel discussed Ada Lovelace. Credited with creating the first algorithm designed to be carried out with a machine, Ada’s work directly contradicted what her father, Lord Byron was fighting for. Whilst Byron defended the Luddite’s and their plight to destroy the machines that were putting them out of work, his daughter was helping to create one of the most significant advancements in automated technology in history.

Ada saw technology as a ‘collaborative tool’, a means of making work more efficient, freeing up time to work on other things that need a human input, and this arguably is how we should address the increasing automation of media.

If we allow technology to work on the more administrative side of what a media agency does (data analysis and recommendations), we will have more time to work on what makes each individual agency great, the creative solutions that keep engaging audiences because they surprise them.

Giving the audience what they need, not just what they want

If consumers are now only engaging with exactly what they want to see, how can media outlets and brands hope to get in front of new audiences?

Well, our panel believe that there will still be room for an authoritative voice in the world of invisible media, we won’t lose common cultural experiences (for example, every British teenager watching Grange Hill at the same time because there simply was no other option) but the way that we engage with these experiences will be different.

“It’s the themes that will align us”. Brands and news providers can still decide the message they want to put across, but they must adapt the way it is presented in order to engage different audiences.

“No longer a purveyor of a single message for the masses, it has become a vehicle for rumour”

And with storytelling, and re-telling, comes misinformation.

During the London riots, for a full two hours, it was a widely known fact that there was a tiger on the streets. The story spread like wildfire across social media, and was circulated alongside a heavily doctored image of a large tabby cat.

Although social media does pave the way for ‘open journalism’, we will always need some news outlets for content curation and to add authority and reason to the stories that are being spread across the web. A trusted source that can provide facts in a sea of opinions.

It is here, Anna Watkins insists, that true journalism will always exist.

The end of the controlled corporate brand?

The democratization of information across the internet has put the power of a brands image in the hands of the consumer. We don’t live in a world where brands can control their message anymore, only encourage it, and the best way to do this is to be authentic (a strong theme throughout the entire conference).

Consumers are becoming more aware of the brands they bring into their homes, and increasingly companies are having to demonstrate the core values behind their products and display the human side of their business. People don’t react to brands, they react to people, and no amount of technology will change that.

The good news is, there will continue to be a need for media agencies. The challenging news (optimistically put) is that they will undergo some pretty big changes.

As programmatic buying becomes evermore popular, media agencies will need to be there to step in, use the high quality data we are collecting extremely intelligently, but to add a human touch in order to offer a creative solution.

In reality, what may look to a machine as ‘a bit risky’ may actually be a huge opportunity for a brand to reach a new audience, and it’s down to our media planners to be able to spot them.

Category: Media | Comments...

MAXUS MOUTH : Mobilegeddon

By Malik Roberts - Maxus Launchpad Graduate on 09/04/2015
 
I’d like to start this post off by saying that rotating around Maxus has been a blast. I’m both quite sad that it’s coming to an end, and very excited about getting stuck into the interview process and pitches that are waiting for us in our last weeks of the scheme. 
 
I’ve just finished my SEO rotation, which I have to admit, was one that I was very much looking forward to. I learned a lot working with the SEO guys, but my major take away was that ranking in Google is really complicated, (no wonder I can’t get my blog on the first page)! 
I thought Google would be taking a break from tinkering with their algorithm after introducing the ‘Hummingbird’ update… I was wrong. Word on the web (and in fact, from Google), is that they’re going to be launching a brand new update which will be targeted towards ‘mobile-friendly’ sites. The update will start rolling out on April 21st, and will be ranking pages (that’s right, pages instead of sites), on a real time basis. There is some ambiguity as to what ‘real time’ actually means, but the general consensus is that when Google crawls your pages they will immediately be labelled as mobile-friendly (or not), and be affected by the change in algorithm. As I mentioned before, the algorithm is run on a page-by-page basis. So if you have 10 web pages on your site and 5 of them are mobile-friendly and 5 are not, then only the pages that are mobile-friendly will benefit.
 
Zineb Ait Bahajji (from the webmaster trends team), is quoted as saying that the upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm will impact more sites than their panda or penguin algorithms. I did some snooping and it’s believed that around 50% of mobile searches are done via mobile, so it would make sense that this new update would make waves! 
 
There is good news for anyone who’s feeling a little anxious about these changes. You’re able to check right now to see if Google thinks your site is mobile-friendly. Some pages have started popping up with a little ‘Mobile-friendly’ label next to them which, (you guessed it!), let’s you know that these pages will be a joy to browse with your mobile device. 
 
Malik is one of our Maxus Launchpad Graduates

Maxus at AdWeek Europe

By Various on 08/04/2015
 
Many Maxus employees were lucky enough to attend the plethora of sessions taking place at AdWeek. We were inspired by the speakers and looked towards our own ways of working to identify gaps and opportunities to improve. Our PACE ethos was never far from our minds with many of us identifying pace values during the talks such as staying focused, the importance of collaboration and relevancy.  
 
The changing landscape was a recurring topic with speakers discussing how we adapt to the changes and the growing power of the consumer. Further to this, sessions focused on ‘back to basics’ – understanding who we are as an industry and what we do alongside understanding people, their needs and wants; and ideating with discretion accordingly. This leads onto thoughts that planning needs to be better (more ambitious) faster (less pedantic and nebulous) and stronger (more effective). 
 
To learn more about Maxus’ insights into AdWeek please read the below summaries by the people who went to the sessions.
 

Nile Rodgers in Conversation with Spotify –Tony Dean


It was a privilege to attend this session and hear the disco legend talk through his life as a one man musical creative powerhouse. From humble beginnings being born under Queensboro Bridge to his 13 year old mother, through to international stardom and multi-platinum selling records – this fella has seen and done it all. 

 
Although I’m pretty confident Maxus didn’t draw inspiration for our PACE values from Mr Rodgers, during the session, it became quickly apparent that he has demonstrated these behaviours throughout his life and by doing so has become one of the most successful and respected figures in musical history. Let me expand….
 
Passionate – It was clear from his grin when he picked up his guitar at the beginning of the session and started riffing out a snippet of ‘We are Family’ on his beloved ‘Hitmaker’ Fender Stratocaster that he has the same level of passion for his art form as a 62 year old man that he did playing in Luther Vandross backing band as a fresh faced twenty something. “I hate silence” - the only negative he could muster when asked about his likes/dislikes. This guy lives for music no doubt.
 
Agile – When Rodgers broke onto the scene with Chic in the 70s, disco was BIG in every way (flares, hair, lights) however the early 80s saw a disco backlash and Chic was no more. This could have been the end of his career however he picked himself up and massively leaned into change to forge a reputation as a producer extraordinaire during the 80s. David Bowie’s ‘Let’s dance’, Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ and Daft Punk’s monster hit ‘Get Lucky’ to name but a few of his works. Disco, funk, R&B, rock, pop and dance – there aren’t many more flexible in the business.   
 
Collaborative – As aforementioned, his collaborations have shown how some of the most successful outcomes come from teamwork. Nile Rodgers trying to do ‘Like a Virgin’ – nope. Nile Rodgers for Madonna however and you have a 25 million selling worldwide hit. One of the things that really came across during his interview was that as long as he was making great work, he was happy – who with, what style or who gets the credit was irrelevant. Great work is great work. 
 
Entrepreneurial – "All our songs start with the chorus - which is very non-traditional”. Chic knew that that they needed to do something different to stand out from the crowd when breaking through on US radio for the first time so Rodgers and co. took the gamble by landing a big chorus from the off and hoping the listener would be hooked from then on. It worked. 
Rather than learn anything new as such, this session highlighted to me that whether you are disco legend or a media planner, the PACE values apply. If you stay focused, positive and excel in each behaviour you are in with a good chance of creating industry leading work, whether that be for the disco halls of 1970s New York or the clients of Maxus.
 

Digital Marketing Game Changers hosted by Amobee – Alex Smith 

 
The discussion focused on technological growth and dominance in the media industry, with the panel debating the challenges and opportunities for emerging providers when taking on the behemoths Google and Facebook.  To put this into context they set the scene explaining that currently 70-80% of all tech spend will end up going through either Google or Facebook this year, the silver lining however was that they identified the ones to watch in Rubicon, Oracle and Adobe amongst others.
 
The panel did however identify three risks with the new players taking on Google and Facebook:
 
1. The upfront investment involved in competing on the same scale
2. The risks involved in stitching together tech stacks
3. Client willingness to hand over 1st party data
 
They also talked about in this changing landscape how the user is becoming ever wiser to the fact that publishers are mining their usage data for commercial gain, and predict that this will begin to change the way publishers adapt their business models.  It was mentioned that an ever increasing amount of publishers and tech vendors are beginning to flip the marketing model on its head, creating a value exchange for sharing data/ receiving ads.
 

Women in Media and Sports - What rules are left to be broken? – Rachel Cawley 


This week I was lucky enough to attend Advertising Week Europe.  The week is dedicated to showcasing the industry’s best and brightest thought leaders alongside well known figures from popular culture such as Nile Rodgers, Rio Ferdinand and Katie Price.

Clare talked about the importance of women backing one another and working together to improve the position of women within advertising and sport. Clare was joined by Poorna Bell, Global Lifestyle Editor of The Huffington Post UK, Tracey de Groose, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network, Ruth Holdaway, CEO of Women's Sports and Fitness Foundation and Casey Stoney, Captain of GB Football Olympic 2012. The panel debated the challenges women in media and sport face and what the two can learn from each other.
 
Watching Clare it was clear to understand why she is such a popular presenter, she captured her audience’s attention by talking passionately about women’s limitation within sport alongside her own experiences and her desire to create sport equality.
 
The session was inspired by the #thisgirlcan UK campaign featuring real women. The campaign gives women the confidence to exercise and believe it is okay to sweat and go beetroot red because the results are you feel better and look better! The panel discussed the advantages for brands to invest in women’s sport - they are currently very cheap to sponsor and give a unique brand message as male sport stars are overused by brands, and this can cause the legitimacy of the relationship between the brand and the sportsmen to be questioned.
 
The key learning from the session was that women in sport lack support. Firstly, the low pay of professional women athletes especially when compared to average male athlete’s wage. Casey Stoney has a part time job to support her football career. Secondly, young impressionable girls who are body conscious and ashamed to exercise in public, this can be changed by campaigns that celebrate the beauty of women and exercise. Thirdly, there needs to be a greater understanding of the many roles for women in sport from commentating, accounting, lawyers to advertising. In advertising we can help support these three key areas by providing the investment and information through brand sponsorship and awareness.
 

Music : Make or Break ? AdVolve – The Revolution of Music in Advertising – Stephanie Marks

 
Given how emotive music can be in advertising it was really interesting to understand the process that agencies and clients take when finding the right music for the right film.  This was the main topic of conversation so Julz Baldwin actually had most to talk about – I didn’t even realise that creative agencies had specialists in this field.  Her view is that 9 times out of 10 the music is left to the very last minute, it’s a bolt on and there’s often no budget left.  Think about the John Lewis ads, how successful would they have been without a beautiful soundtrack to go with it?  I would guess that the team at John Lewis know this and probably approach their process slightly differently.  Budget is critical; it determines what you can afford – you want a hit from the charts, or a classic track, its hundreds of thousands of pounds, and therefore you need to plan for it.  And the cardinal sin?  When clients ask you to get something made cheaper ‘which just sounds a bit like Beyoncé….’  Music requires creativity too and clients need to realise its importance in the process of making great advertising.
 
What if you’re an artist, how can you benefit from this world?  Clement Marfo who performed ‘Champion’ fell on his feet when his track was used around the Olympics, it became a bit of a theme for the Games and was used in hundreds of montages.  He certainly found his fame this way and monetised his property further than just record sales, however this was more by opportunity than design.
 
Alex Joseph had a different experience, he worked with film makers where the sound is treated just as highly as the script or the set or the actors involved.  His job sounded really interesting and thinking about sound and the difference it can make to a piece of footage was incredible – I think as a punter you take this for granted and don’t really realise what planning and debate has gone into this.
 
Miles Lewis was probably the least creative (sorry Miles), but he was able to add data to the argument; knowing how many times Shazam is used to identify tracks in modern culture and advertising and how much more important the sound is becoming as advertisers use Shazam as a mechanic to interact with consumers.
 
Was it a good session?  I think it could have been better.  Each of the people on the panel were experts in difference aspects of music and I don’t think we got to explore as much we would have liked about each of their areas of expertise – possibly as a result of the chair who could have been better prepared.  It was a small venue with not many people there and when Clement Marfo performed his track at the end and asked for audience participation, I wasn’t the coolest in the crowd and it made me a little uncomfortable….  
 

Print will still thrive in the new age of news – Alex Grieves 

 
In the world of the always-on news cycle, citizen journalism and social media reign, does traditional print news still have a role? The short answer is ‘yes’. In a panel discussion around ‘the new age of news’, representatives from the Times, the Mirror and the Wall Street Journal discuss how news is taking new dynamic forms to better cater to fragmented and increasingly complex audiences. While social media is increasingly where stories ‘break’ and digital platforms are where commentators swiftly react to stories, it is still print where the news is carefully curated and reflected upon. To key audiences loyal, it is crucial for news organisations to understand how different channels engage their different audiences and how this evolves over the course of a day as well. A publisher, social and emerging platform strategy are all crucial for new organisations as they diversify when, where and how they disseminate stories each day.
 

Adland in 2020: Break down process, foster creativity, get things done – Alex Grieves 

 

A few highlights from some of the best industry thinkers on what we need to remember to progress the ad industry:
 
1. Never forget our work at its core. It’s what we’re here to deliver on (Robert Senior, Saatchi & Saatchi)
 
2. Collaboration is key – it’s about being greater, together (Tracy De Groose, Dentsu)
 
3. Creativity is about survival, about destroying processes and egos and never letting the past be an excuse for not being better in the present (Nils Leonard, Grey London)
 
4. Planning needs to be better (more ambitious), faster (less pedantic and nebulous) and stronger (more effective) (Andy Nairn, Lucky Generals)
 
5. Embrace tension; out of it comes something really great (Ringan Ledwidge, Rattling Stick)
Invisible media – Alex Grieves 
 
In his fascinating talk on ‘invisible media’ – media and technology that silently and seamlessly fits into our lives without any evidence of its existence – our very own Stuart Butler made important points about media in 2015 in beyond.
 
1. The Internet has brought us back to more ancient forms of storytelling: Rumours, gossip, watercooler murmurs – the Internet, and social media in particular, provides us with the modern platforms to continue some of the most traditional methods of communication.
 
2.Our obsession with new tech/channels has taken us farther away from the consumer: In our efforts to provide ‘high tech’ solutions, ‘media firsts’ or create something ‘innovative’, we often forget that we are trying to create better experiences for people than they had before. Human, not smart, tech will win.
 
3. Perhaps we move away from 'big ideas' to ways of behaving in diff contexts: In the age of fragmented experiences, agility is key. Brands’ ability to adapt to consumer contexts and deliver something interesting, meaningful and relevant will be more important than ‘big ideas’ that fail to flex with the people who are meant to buy into them.
 
In the era of hype around the latest technologies, Stuart’s points are on point as to how we remember to create better human experiences founded on timeless human truths – and how media can help us do this better.
 

Jimmy Carr and Rory Sutherland – Christina Sorensen 

 

I saw the Rory Sutherland and Jimmy Carr talk hosted by Ogilvy. The talk was about the role of humour in advertising today. Jimmy’s perspective was that brands don’t utilise humour enough these days in the fear of offending people. He’s view was that advertisers should be less scared and worry less about the actual impact the ads have on people .One point I thought was very interesting is that it’s often middle to upper class people that get offended on behalf of the ‘lower’ classes subject to the joke – something Carr sees as very patronising behaviour. 
 
One of their ideas was to utilise comedians more when writing advertising copy. Sutherland and Carr did however agree that there might be limitations to this as ads often needs to appeal to an international market, and that humour tends to vary a lot between nations.
 

Is Razor Fish Right? That Advertising is as effective as a part of Value Exchange – Erin Hughes

 
The discussion was based on using advertising as a way to entice consumers to unlock content. The bulk of the discussion focused on the positive and negative examples of how this should be conducted especially in a world where consumers so actively try to avoid averts by Skipping a pre Roll or clicking out of a pop up advert in an Mobile App. 
 
Unlocking content through advertising was considered to be based upon the value exchange model, for example the consumer is rewarded for watching or engaging with an advert. For example, Scrabble offered free Wi-Fi was offered once the user solved the puzzle (which was considered a positive & creative way of using this)
 
Alex Hughson, Media Director @ MC & Saatchi mentioned that in order to make this successful for the advertiser- this needed to be thought out properly in order to achieve the marketing objectives. There also needs to be emphasis on the value element for the target consumer and a way to boost brand recognition and not something that will be a nuisance 
Overall the discussion concluded with the importance of relevancy, value, and brand representation for the reward of unlocking content
 

From the newsroom to the boot room – Tobi Akinkugbe

 

The Daily Mail invited their sports writers to deliver a unique talk on how their insight helps to add an exclusive edge to the content that they produce. On stage was former Liverpool & Arsenal stalwarts Jamie Carragher & Martin Keown, they were joined by World cup winning Rugby coach, Sir Clive Woodward. I found the talk extremely intriguing, not just because I’m a massive football fan, I was also interested to see why the Daily Mail had invested in ex pro’s to write for them. Carragher, Keown & Woodward were able to share anecdotes of their individual experiences in sport with the Mail team. 
 
Transition - Each of them spoke about the adaption that has to be made when making the transition - ‘you’re not just a football person, you’re a media person now’ so the thinking has to be a little bit different. Barriers from previously orchestrated rivalries were formed due to affiliations as players had been let down, allowing the Mail to benefit from collective hindsight that would never have been shared previously. 
 
Challenges - Another interesting theme was to hear how difficult it was for them to be critical of ex colleagues. Keown, in particular, spoke of his affectionate relationship with Wenger ‘like father & son’ he described. He also mentioned that the respect he had for Wenger meant that he still called him ‘boss’. So whilst part of the job is too offer uncensored opinion on the game, a big factor is also trying not to burn bridges as these are used to gain deeper access into what happens behind the scenes. 
 
Insight  - The ex-pros turned sports writers are able to offer unrivalled insight into the game as they’ve actually experienced iconic moments in sporting history. For example, Koewn spoke about what it was like to be a part of the ‘invincibles’ and what ingredients made them such a special side, or Clive Woodward who could talk about how he steered a team to a world cup winning title – was interesting to hear that he had quite a few clash of personalities in the dressing room to manage. Carragher also re-lived moments of the memorable night in Istanbul where Liverpool recorded one of the most famous come backs in Champions league history – being able to share  what exactly was said in the dressing room at half time to inspire such an incredible come back.
 
 
Category: Media | Comments...

MAXUS MOUTH : Apple Watch

By Rachel Cawley - Maxus Launchpad Graduate on 08/04/2015
 
After months of whispers and rumours about features, prices and usability the Apple Watch will be available to touch from Friday and to buy from later this month.  
 
Ever since Apple announced their plans to launch an Apple Watch the loyal super Apple fans have been waiting with baited breath.   We have been told the main difference between an iPhone and Apple Watch is the effort involved with interacting with it – it is supposedly much easier and time efficient. – Early reporters who have had access to pre-release versions have talked about an adoption curve where suddenly the ‘point’ of the Apple Watch suddenly drops into place.
 
 
As to be expected with any Apple product there are many more features than the rival smart watches. The custom version of iOS presents your apps in small circle - this is aesthetically pleasing and shows Apple’s flexibility in changing features to work well with the new product. The screen is touch screen but you’ll be predominantly using the Digital Crown which is built into the Watch’s winder. The Digital Crown is a modern take on the traditional watch winder and functions in a similar way. Turning the Digital Crown lets you scroll through messages, zoom in and out on Apple maps and other features. In true Apple fashion there is a range of watch faces to choose from and each one can be further customised. Apps have been updated to cater for the Apple Watch, messages for example let you quick reply to texts and iMessage will automatically create answers taken from the content of the messages themselves (must say I’m quite sceptical of features like this) If you are feeling particularly expressional digital touch means you can also reply with a hand drawn message, sketch is used to draw something quickly, and your friend can see you drawing from their end.
 
 
So far the smartwatch has failed to go mainstream, it could be argued that this was a very risky move for Apple as sales aren’t guaranteed with a niche product which is very different from a phone where you can get a contract and pay for it on a monthly basis. Despite this critics have confidence in the smart watch and think Apple are likely to become the market leader in smartwatch technology. 
 
The price is always the key question when it comes to Apple products. Apple released three versions of the watch: Sport, Watch and Watch Edition.  Prices range from £299 to a staggering £13,500 in case you are partial to an 18 carat rose gold case watch……will it sell? It feels inevitable? Will it change the game? Not sure….in the way e-readers have not destroyed books, and tablets have not destroyed laptops; it feels like maybe the future relies less in dominance but in fitting alongside other comparable formats…..but it is sure to be on a few peoples Christmas list this year.
Category: Media | Comments...

SXSW - Uber: Thinking Differently

By Jen Smith, Head of Strategy & Planning on 23/03/2015
 
When Uber launched in the UK last year the London Black Cab community went on strike, such was the anger at the threat to their business model.
 
But what was a largely average talk by Malcolm Gladwell at SXSW, he did manage to raise a few interesting points about our perception of this controversial of companies.
 
What if, Malcolm proposed, Uber had not launched as a direct competitor to taxi services but instead had launched as a revolutionary solution to drink driving?
 
Drink driving in the USA is a huge problem – more people have been killed as a result of drinking and driving than have been killed from partaking in any US involved war!
What is interesting about Uber is that early results have suggested that it could be having a huge impact on the number of drink driving offences committed in the USA; there is more than a whiff of Rory Sutherland approach to behavioural economics in this alternative view of companies and services.  By focusing on the enablement – make it easy, change behaviour not attitude; it will be interesting to see if in future years the attitude towards drinking and driving also starts to change.
 
The conversation on the stage then turned to what other impacts this single organisation could be having on other industries; for example town planning.  In all cities residential developers are required when building new houses to also make sure that the development site is built with adequate parking facilities.  This is a huge cost to developers where every square foot is necessary to accommodate demand and profit.  What if developers saw Uber as a great opportunity to re-think how they build inner city housing?  In the same way new developments are now being built with life-style services (such as a gym and concierge) included, the opportunity exists for developers to work with Uber to offer residents free transport services, and in exchange they are not required to give up prime footage for parking spaces.
 
Finally of course in a country such as the USA where car manufacturing is such an important part of their economy, the inevitable question is how will Uber impact upon this?  If less people drive how will it impact on the number of jobs available within this sector?  
 
As a relatively new user of the Uber service it seemed to me that the growth of Uber as a source of income offers a greater flexibility to the new generations.  Getting in an Uber in Austin I met retired women, and students alike; who all talked to me about how they love the ability to pick up work as an Uber driver as-and-when it suits them, the automatic payment system meant they didn’t have to worry about carrying cash, and they determined totally their own hours.
 
There have been a lot of conversations in the media recently about the impact Uber could have on logistics and delivery businesses, but I think it is most interesting to think how it also has the potential to impact some of our social issues; particularly thinking about our aging community and how as a technologically backed organisation it can help solve a practical problem of reducing the need for our older residents to drive, but also how it can have a social impact in our communities by bringing real people within the same community together.  
Maybe if we think differently about this and other businesses we could see potential for impact in limitless opportunities.
Category: Media | Comments...

 
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