December 16, 2016 / by James Whatley">James Whatley / 5things / No Comments

Five things on Friday #207

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 16th, 2016.

Hello, lovely.

There’s a lot to get through this week (and this first thing is MASSIVE) so let’s not dilly-dally.

Onwards!

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1. KEY DIGITAL TRENDS FOR 2017

If you’ve missed the myriad posts on all social channels, the Ogilvy Key Digital Trends for 2017 is OUT NOW. Penned by Marshall Manson and I, this is our yearly take on what we expect to see more of in the digital marketing year ahead.

Now that the standard – read it, share it around, and let us know what you think of it – part is out of the way, I thought I’d use this part of THINGS to talk a little bit about this year’s trends and the process we went through to get them nailed.

I don’t know about Marshall but this year’s seemed more difficult than ever before. A large part of that was down to workload – Marshall is CEO of one of the agencies in Ogilvy Group now and I’ve never known the man to be busier. I also got a promotion this year and, combine that with impending paternity leave (I say ‘impending’ – I’m on it right now, and yes, that’s exactly why this week’s edition is both a) on time and b) longer than recent weeks) meant we were both cramming like crazy to get things done.

But the other reason why, I felt at least, that this year was difficult was that a number of the trends themselves seemed so obvious. Here are the trends themselves, by title alone:

  1. The Chatbot Goldrush
  2. The Abdication of Ethical Marketing
  3. A Video First World
  4. Twitter Retrench
  5. Facebook Proprietary Metrics Problem

Highlighting particularly items 1 and 3, it will be nigh on impossible to find a trends presentation this year that does not mention either Chatbots of Video as a ‘trend’ to watch for 2017.

‘Video’ has been a growing trend over the past three years (I presented a working version of this presentation at Futurebook a couple of weeks ago and I made the point then, as I’ve started to make any time I present a trends outline of any kind: trends don’t just switch and change as the years come and go. It doesn’t get to New Year’s Eve and trends greet each other at the door: ‘Oh, hello! Goodbye!’ – it simply doesn’t work that way) and it still rumbles on.

In the case of  Chatbots, they’re everywhere at the moment. Already a multi-million dollar market (with specialist teams popping up all over the place – ahem) and everyone and her brother writing think pieces called ‘The Rise of Chatbots’, you can’t move for Chatbots being the next big thing in 2017.

For a yearly trend document that has an ambition to be a) being industry-leading, b) genuinely insightful, and c) unique from its competitor set – (oh, and traditionally only really covers three main trends) this was a problem.

So what did we do?

First, we agreed that we’d go higher than our usual three trends. Two of them are blindingly obvious and you’ll be able to read about them anywhere. Yes, our approach will be different however we’ll need something else to get people past the cover (I like odd numbers, so I wanted five).

Second, we knew we had the data.For bots, we’ve been developing a Chatbot offering since the summer. This work, combined with the frankly fantastic access we have to the global insights from around the Ogilvy (and the WPP) network, helped us underpin our thinking with the very latest usage numbers, client mindset, and consumer data.

When it came to video, it was a bit different. This trend had run and run (2015: The Video Royale, 2016: The Video Evolution) – what were we going to say that was different? We’d seen the start of the big battle, and we’d seen the platform evolve their offering – and because we had been tracking this one since the start, we were able to offer an informed POV on where it was going. Two key things stood out: the battle for LIVE and the collapse of traditional video formats. Telling the story around these two key points meant we were able to revisit the video trend once more, without fear of repeating ourselves.

Third and finally, we had to have faith in our approach. Every year we always ensure that each trend is made up of three parts: Background (or Drivers), Definition (outlining what the trend actually is and means), and actionable next steps (trends are great but what you, the reader, supposed to do with the information given). By producing the document in this way, we knew that whatever we did, the strategic rigour behind the approach would keep us honest.

I think we did an alright job. I’d love to hear what you think.

Read the Trends, and let me know?

 

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2. PATTI SMITH WRITES

In case you missed it, Patti Smith was in the news last week for seemingly stumbling or forgetting the words at the Nobel Prize ceremony honouring the Laureate for Literature, Bob Dylan.

If you missed it, it is an incredible watch, so you should do that.

However, that is not why I am writing.

I am writing because Patti Smith has been too. Published just a couple of days ago, Smith has written about her experience at the Nobel Ceremony – her feelings, the anxiety – and the thoughts that she has had since.

Moving reading – and my favourite thing this week.

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3. IN PRAISE OF MAHERSHALA ALI

Little White Lies writes:

“This year alone Mahershala Ali has lent his considerable talents to a staggering eight projects across film and television, including the Oscar-tipped Moonlight, the upcoming biographical drama Hidden Figures, the fourth season of House of Cards and Marvel’s hit Netflix show Luke Cage. If you weren’t already familiar with his supreme acting ability, you should be by now.”

A great read re: a great actor.

Check it.

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4. FITBIT BOUGHT PEBBLE

As regular readers will know, I am (was?) a complete Pebble convert (see my own personal user diary posts here). I had the original Pebble, I bought the Pebble Time Steel, I went to the Pebble party at SXSWi two years back, and regularly wear the Pebble Pajamas I picked up while I was there (yeah, I’m that guy). In short: I am (was?) a fan.

So much was my commitment that when it came to ponying up the cash for the next Kickstarter project (I was after the Pebble Time 2), I was first in line. But then bad things started happening. Pebble had lay offs, and then shipping dates started to move… without update.

Finally, the news came: Pebble had been bought, by Fitbit.

Which, on paper, you’d think: ‘Awesome! Fitness trackers and smartwatches go together, I can see that. This is a great deal!’ – alas, while the former is very much the case, the latter – for Kickstarter backers at least – was not true. Pebble Time 2 will never see the light of day and the tens of thousands of people that pre-ordered/back the watch, will get refunds.

Turns out this was a fire-sale. Pebble was going down.

Which is both sad and rubbish.

That said, what I can’t get my head around is why the existing orders won’t be finished.

Look at it this way: Pebble users and fans are huge loyalists. You’ve got a super-engaged fanbase and yet, upon buying the company they love, you make the decision to not ship any more product. I don’t get it.

You’d think, given this installed base of users (and super fans), it would’ve perhaps been prudent to have fulfilled those remaining orders and then perhaps roll out Fitbit-related software/app updates thereafter.

This would’ve both engendered the brand to Pebble users and brought those users on the journey of transitioning when it would, of course, have be shuttered.

I’m sure a lot of this will come out in the wash however killing a brand is one thing, killing the fanbase with it (and creating staunch detractors in the process) is another thing entirely.

There have been updates since but the comments from the community do not bode well.

Sad times

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5. BIG UP THE GVRA

Aka, the Global Virtual Reality Association!

Made up of pretty all the main VR players in the world, the newly established GVRA is a non-profit coalition setup to help establish standards for VR development, globally.

As they put it themselves:

The goal of the Global Virtual Reality Association is to promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally. The association’s members will develop and share best practices, conduct research, and bring the international VR community together as the technology progresses. The group will also serve as a resource for consumers, policymakers, and industry interested in VR.

This is very good news.

History is littered with technology revolutions that couldn’t quite land because the standards were all wrong or simply took far too long to align. The face that this is being addressed now means that our kids’ VR experiences are going to be ACE.

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Bonuses this week are as follows

  • Our Bots things is getting good coverage (which is nice)
  • For reasons that I shan’t go into, this made me laugh a lot this week
  • Somehow, I managed to make the list of the top 25 most influential people in the UK digital industry – aka ‘The Digerati’ – (somewhere between the MD of Twitter and the GM of Snapchat, would you believe). This is partially driven by readers of The Drum and curated thereafter by award judges as well as The Drum’s editorial team. Thanks, you guys. I try not to pay attention to these things too much (in fear of believing my own hype and completely disappearing up my own backside) however I’ve been told that this is a very big deal and I should be more appreciative and acknowledge it properly. Consider me chuffed
  • My President was Black
  • A subversive work of art, you say?

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And that’s me, I’m spent.

See you next time?

Whatley out x

 

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