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the future is uncertain October 12, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in Economy, Knowledge Peers, Morgan cars, social business, social media.
1 comment so far

Last week I attended the Knowledge Peers Exchange 2012. Some of you may remember I presented to a select group of members a while back (just over a year ago having checked – yikes!) on social business so this was my chance to sit back and learn some things. Here’s some stuff and things I found interesting:

Challenges for business heading into 2020

We’re working against a backdrop of constant change, where knowledge/information workers make up over 80% of the salaried workforce.

Where IT/enterprise driven choices have created silos that are damaging business agility.

Where Europe is an ageing population and the emerging BRIC economies are flush with youth.

Where the US and European debt situations will take greater than 10 years to resolve.

Where the continued demand for energy will result in a supply gap.

Where greater consumerisation and socially savvy employees place business at a junction. Do they enable these new employees or do they hinder them with their current working practices?

The business of 2020 will need to:

  • Adapt to a changing world.
  • Understand the market evolution and composition (particularly emerging economies and SE Asia)
  • Exploit and harness the collective knowledge of the information wrorkers
  • Understand and balance the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data.
  • Deliver value-add.
  • Invent and innovate.

Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) is un-managed

57.1% of FTE’s globally use their own devices to access work data. This is not skewed to any geography (although Asia/BRIC is higher) or vertical.

Only 11.9% have a managed BYOD policy or guidelines leading to an opportunity where over 70% of BYOD are unmanaged. While clearly this is a consultancy opportunity, it also shows just how mobile has infiltrated our every day lives so seamlessly that we think nothing of accessing data on on our SmartPhones. Clearly the younger, agile businesses that are not held back by swathes of servers and IT rules will be ahead of the game here. While the panel talked about the security elements, a lot must come down to common sense too. As well as who owns, maintains and replaces the device if it is “personal” but being routinely used – and therefore an essential too – for business use. All this was wrapped under a banner of “Enterprise Mobility Management” which sounds very consultancy and clearly an opportunity to make money. Where’s my CV?

Morgan Cars

You can never repeat the past but you can be inspired by it

The quote is from the Cartier Chairman but one which Charles Morgan has adopted to explain his car company. Considering I work with one of world’s leading automotive groups in Fiat, I found Charles’ discussion incredibly interesting. How does a small player compete against global giants? The answer is not easily. Not when a typical safety testing programme sets you back £10 million. It would essentially be impossible if it weren’t for alliances. Morgan partner with BMW for engines, for example, and would not consider building their own engines because, as TVR experienced, it’s the way to ruin. But why would BMW be interested in a small, British car brand? Because German’s love British car brands. Remember they bought Rover. Charles said they do it because 1) they love it and 2) they learn something by placing their engines in smaller, lighter and more agile automobiles. Their leading engineer even screamed in delight on a race track that “I can hear my engine!!!”. Which given the excellent sound proofing and refinement in a BMW is something they’ve clearly missed. Morgan lets the engineers be petrol heads again.

Another key part of the Morgan business model is exporting. They make 1,500 cars a year and over 70% are exported. Nice that a British marque is appreciated abroad but sad too that we buy so much homogenous automotive design now that we don’t appreciate our own iconic marques as much. I loved Charles’ observation that modern cars are pretty much an extension of your living room; a car should excite you and put a smile on your face.

Image

Which is why they’re investing in social media. Not only does it cut across the stuffy old Morgan image that some may have but allows them to express that desire of driving excitement.

This is a nice video of Morgan.

Social Enterprise

The key theme here was that there’s still a lot of fear about moving to a more social business and adopting the cloud. What if? Why? Some examples included swapping email for social collaboration tools and just getting more noise back. The answer is (scroll back through previous posts on this) about context. Email is bad when used poorly. The same goes with any social platform. But they have the advantage of control, filtering and collaboration.

The link between social, mobile and the cloud is still unclear but companies like Salesforce.com are stealing a march with their offerings here.

The UK economy outlook

Barry Nesbitt, the Chief Economist of Santander UK, gave us an overview of the current and future state of the economy. There is no magic wand. The recession started in 2008 and the conditions are still challenging. It’s the longest recession we’ve faced where by this stage we haven’t got back to the levels of GDP output pre-recession.

2013 is predicted to show some growth but before you get excited, it’s small.

But they key theme was one of uncertainty. As the chart below shows, the economists have a huge range of expectations for the coming years for both GDP and inflation. It could be OK (although the growth is still small) or it could not be. Trouble is, the uncertainty causes subdued expectations. And with inflation still higher than our earnings, none of us are spending any money because we’re uncertain. There is a subdued outlook in the services industry and construction and manufacturing which traditionally drives GDP output.

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So, heads down.

the networked business of the future September 15, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, brand experience, digital, Knowledge Peers, social business, social media, technology.
9 comments

Last night I presented at the Knowledge Peers event: Technology – transforming growing businesses at the Design Council, Covent Garden, London. A lot of good presentations and discussions with a genuinely interested and intelligent audience asking some probing questions about cloud, social business and the changes required. And then I came on. I was the entertainment; the only one in jeans as far as I could tell. Certainly the only one in trainers.

I think the title is quite misleading. My bit was about how technology has changed companies, the problems they face and the benefits of becoming a more social business internally and externally. It picks up on themes from a couple of previous posts on social business if you fancy checking that out.

So up I popped and did my thing. And it was all going so well. New content, on form, enjoying it and then unfortunately the technology in the Design Council had a spaz. A big one. The keyboard wouldn’t work, the mouse wouldn’t work and any attempt to run slide show resulted in it all just blitzing through the slides and ending up on slide sorter. The irony of the session prior to me involving the shift towards employees bringing their own IT equipment into the workplace was not lost on me. (An ironic) thanks, Design Council. So I managed to convey the key messages (I hope) and promised to share the slides with the funny, sweary videos in them. They’re up there. Also because the technology spazzed, here’s the script. I went off script last night, a lot I think, as I usually do. I don’t normally write a script either so this is a rare collector’s item. But this is what I was meant to say.

THE NETWORKED BUSINESS OF THE FUTURE

Knowledge Peers event, 14 September 2011 @ Design Council, London

<intro>

I’d like to share a part of a speech given by Ben Hammersley, the editor of Wired, gave to the IAAC this week – the Government’s talking shop for lots of things including cyber security. It’s a brilliant read. Probably better than the next 10 minutes with me, in truth. But then again, he hasn’t got the videos I’ve got so stay with me. The thrust of Ben’s speech was similar to the themes we’ve explored tonight; how technology is rapidly changing our world and the line that stands out for me is this…

“The Internet is the dominant platform for life in the 21st Century… it is the central platform for business, culture and personal relationships.”

It is. Not soon, not in a few years but now.

But in business, we’re slow to catch up. And I’ll share why this is happening and what needs to change internally and externally.

<slide>

Some of you may be thinking exactly this. I know a lot of clients I have spoken too in the last few years have also experienced this horror too. Some put their heads in the sand; some jump headlong. Most just haven’t seen it coming.

<slide>

We live in 2011. We are in the information age. But we act as if we’re in the industrial age. Factory mentality rules. Process this, refine that, get a repeatable outcome every single time. No exceptions. Except in our economy, that doesn’t happen. We don’t live in a 9-5 economy. Example: Facebook traffic peaks at weekends and evenings. How many brand managers are actively looking after their brand beyond Monday to Friday 9-5? We live in lumpy times. Not repeatable. Our workload is up and down. So we compensate for lumpiness with meetings. Because downtime is a sin. But where some detest this, others embrace it. Google allow developers 20% of their working week to develop projects. This is where Gmail, Google Plus and other game-changing technologies have come from. Not sat in endless meetings or churning through a gazillion poor uses of email that are a time sink.

<slide>

But here’s the thing. We fear change. Because change means different. It’s hard. And the change needed is immense because it spans the entire organisation, not just adding Facebook and ticking the social media box in the comms list. We need to change across the enterprise. Change from jealously guarding our knowledge stocks and eking out ever decreasing profits from them. To become more open, collaborative and sharing.

<Slide>

Because the silo model organisation inhibits growth. Of course you can’t break down all the barriers. That would cause chaos. Or an ad agency as we tend to see it. No, you need to become more porous. Demilitarize the silos. Fundamentally sharing the data reserves. But harnessing it and mining it for actionable insights. Not just pretty charts. And it can work.

<examples on screen>

<slide>

And it’s a similar story for marketing to people. The external environment.

Look at this timeline and look how long TV has been there. It’s now a process. Honed and toned. Familiar, trusted and yes, still effective. But with recent developments, it can be bigger, better, more effective.

And then technology came along and we hid away because we fear change. But even old things that we thought were dying have been given a new lease of life. Take outdoor. Eyeballs were the thing. But nobody looks up any more. We’re praying to the blackberry. But give them a reason to look up

 <McDonald’s Sweden interactive billboard>

<Slide>

For years marketing has been like a scene from Ghostbusters.

Bear with me here.

Don’t cross the streams! Why?

Dr. Egon Spengler: There’s something very important I forgot to tell you.
Dr. Peter Venkman: What?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Don’t cross the streams.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, “bad”?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That’s bad.

<source: IMBD.com>

So don’t cross the streams. It’s bad. And the marketing MIX became silos. Oh the irony.

We carefully trap our consumer in our stream of high impact telly, grapple him with press and outdoor, and opt him in to an email programme that will bludgeon him to death with messages until he finally buys our product. And now he’s in our box, we’ll maintain our CRM programme to keep him loyal. Process. We love that stuff in marketing world.

Here’s the thing though; technology changes, people don’t. They like to disrupt. To change. To do new things. And new things don’t have a history of past performance so we don’t know what will happen.

We fear change.

This is why brands have been slow to embrace technology.

All the while our consumers are doing interesting things without us. They love mixing the steams, messing with things. Our precious brand being messed with is hard to take. But it can be brilliant.

<Backstreet Boys weird manga>

Embrace change.

<slide>

Which is why brands are behind the curve on mobile. It’s perhaps the most exciting thing to happen in marketing yet it’s being largely ignored.

Mobile devices were predicted to outsell PC shipments in 2015. This already happened in the last quarter of this year.

The opportunity for brands in simultaneous viewing is huge.

It becomes more communal, enriching and adds excitement.

Just hop on Twitter or Facebook on a Saturday night when X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing are on. I don’t have a video of Anne Widdicombe. I don’t want to make you all ill.

<slide>

Mobile represents as big a shift as TV did. Because you always have it with you. 35% of women under 30 check their Facebook news feed BEFORE they get up.

It’s exciting because we know your location, the context (contextual ads based on mobile search terms have 6x greater impact than banner ads on the web), it is real-time. And if you can combine the data you have unleashed form silos, imagine how powerful that is?

But let’s not get too carried away, there are things it cannot do.

<David Lynch on the iPhone>

<slide>

Contrary to popular belief, TV is not dead. It’s evolving. We spend more time watching TV than anything else. Still. We do it in different ways. Technology has improved our telly entertainment. But it also means we need to be smarter. Run of network will get fast-forwarded – some 70% of ads are fast forwarded on PVRs which is no surprise when we’re time and place-shifting our viewing. Appointment to view TV gets saturated and expensive. You need to think and behave differently to light the fires a great TV ad can start. If a Yoghurt brand can think differently, you can too. Yeo Valley wanted to change perceptions of being an organic brand and decided TV was they to go for the first time and took over the entire ad break in X-Factor last year with something quite different.

<Yeo Valley Rapping Farmers>

Different thinking, different behaviour. Great ad. Did it work?

In the 12 weeks to December 25 2010, the brand experienced a 14.9% year-on-year sales uplift, outperforming the total yogurt market by two-and-a-half times. Total downloads of the song from the ad on iTunes has exceeded 27,000 copies.

<source: UTalk Marketing>

The brand amplification and extension is social channels is still growing today.

<slide>

Be brave, have budget and cross your streams. Activate your brand, embrace your community and let go.

I’ll leave you with this great example of Lego. It’s not by Lego. But technology and fan passion makes this a great ad for Lego.

< Lego, Death Star Canteen>

You stay classy, San Diego.

(I didn’t say that.)

And here’s a follow up video from the event with me yakking on for a bit from 2min 45ish and again from 6m 50ish.

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