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Latest news from The Drum

Ben & Jerry’s reveals winners of crowdfunding initiative
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

Ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s has crowned Tom Harris from We Walk the Line and Caroline Angus from GravityLight as the winners of its ‘Join Our Core 2015’ campaign.

The company asked entrepreneurs across Europe to submit their ventures into the competition, which gives winners 20 per cent of their crowdfunding financial target.

Ben & Jerry’s has also pledged to feature their campaigns across its digital and social media channels. 

Both winners will receive business mentoring from the ice cream maker’s parent company Unilever. 

Ed Shepherd, social mission manager at Ben & Jerry’s, said: “We’re excited to announce the winners of our ‘Join Our Core’ campaign and play our part in taking these values-led ventures to the next level. This year we decided to up the ante and created a bigger support package for the winners, with the additional training and an all important crowdfunding element for businesses that reflect our values.”

Join Our Core launched in 2012 in partnership with Ashoka, a network of social entrepreneurs. 

We Walk The Link offers those ‘Not in Education, Employment, or Training’ (NEETs), homeless, and ex-offenders the chance to get back on their feet by setting up as a micro entrepreneur barista. 

GravityLight uses gravity to "create light" for people in developing economies. 

Google files a patent for a doll which will watch – and listen – to you
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

Smart toys are on the way if a patent filed by Google earlier this week is anything to go by.

The tech giant has submitted to the US Patents and Trademark Office a patent for an internet of things-enabled doll capable of controlling nearby media and smart devices.

The dolls would be able pick up on audio and visual cues via a camera and microphone, and could communicate with IoT-enabled home appliances such as thermostats and lighting via bluetooth.

Perhaps most unsettling for users is the fact “the anthropomorphic device may aim its gaze at the source of the social cue… upon reception or a detection of a social cue,” meaning the doll will react and look at sources of noise or movement.

It’s worth noting that just because Google has filed a patent, it does not mean that the firm will be working on the toys in the immediate future – however, it does mean that the Chucky doll is one step closer to a reality.

Images from the patent can be viewed below.

Each unit will be capable of movement, also featuring a camera and microphone.

Hasbro in particular has made inroads in the smart-doll market. Its Wi-Fi-connected ‘Hello Barbie’ can conduct conversations with kids and remember their likes and dislikes.

It has come under fire from parental groups who accused it of recording and analysing “[a] child's intimate conversations with [its] doll”.

Why your Digital Asset Management system needs its own dedicated manager
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

With the rapid proliferation of online channels, mobile experience and social media, marketing is getting tougher all the time. For the marketer, the competition is very much on – not just the conventional head-to-head with business rivals but also in terms of attracting and retaining the consumer’s attention.

That’s why the quality and consistency of content is so crucial. And therein lies the challenge for marketing and brand managers who need to protect their brand and to ensure a unified message across all channels and all markets.

The quantity of content needed to engage with consumers through all these different channels often throws up tricky marketing production and management issues, not least because managing the different types of content for different channels in multiple languages is so complex. No surprise, then, that so many businesses are turning to digital asset management software to help manage this marketing complexity.

Digital asset management, or DAM, centralises marketing materials and assets such as logos, images, brand guidelines and positioning documents. It streamlines processes, increasing team efficiency and dramatically diminishing the risk of error. A DAM system also reduces problems caused by disjointed file management, as well as cutting out the manual search and distribution of marketing assets. Interestingly, Glenster researchers reckon that a marketer working without DAM technology will be spending an average of 35 per cent of his/her time searching for assets.

The human factor

In our experience a digital asset management system is at its most effective and delivers best when driven by a dedicated DAM manager who is focused on the efficient operation and maintenance of the system. 

Most vendors call this person the ‘super admin’ – the person who receives the in-depth training on the system from the vendor and gets to be as proficient as possible in using it. Incidentally, there’s a good article called ‘How to be a DAM Champion’ on the DAM Foundation's website that explains the DAM manager’s role in the procurement process.

Naturally, you’ll want to get the best from digital asset management by appointing the right person to be your DAM manager. Here’s an overview that sets out some of the key attributes of an ideal candidate for the job:

The tech-savvy ‘conductor’

Jeff Bulas puts it well when he says the digital marketer is like an orchestral conductor – with lots of loud noisy instruments to coordinate. It’s the same for the DAM manager at the content hub of the marketing ecosystem. He or she must be capable of coordinating all the brand’s digital assets as a cohesive whole from the management podium. The brand and marketing materials are the orchestral instruments; and the DAM manager’s role is to be the tech-savvy conductor, with a thorough understanding of how and where each digital asset is to be used.

The strategic thinker

The DAM manager is charged with making sure that content, people and technology all work together productively – and that requires strategic capability. Strategy is also at the heart of keeping the system running smoothly and scaling it in line with company growth, as well as strategic maintenance of the digital asset management site. The DAM manager has to know when particular assets are set to expire, in addition to overseeing or approving uploaded assets, setting up permission groups and approving new users.

He or she must also have a comprehensive picture of the company’s marketing strategy in order to keep the DAM platform up and functioning for all users, while meeting the company’s changing business needs and managing the integration of the system with other marketing platforms.

The good communicator

The DAM manager is the natural point of contact between the system vendor and its users. He or she must be able to communicate with the vendor, whether for specific support, sourcing additional modules or integrating the platform with other marketing software. And of course he/she must have the skills to deliver effective system training for the end users.

The analytical type

Analytical skills are key. The DAM manager will have to monitor and analyse the usage and other reports in the system as well as understanding how to analyse and measure the ROI. It’s also part of the job to look at the system and the users to ensure that the business is getting as much out of the system it possibly can.

With a DAM manager in position with those attributes, there’s no doubt that digital asset management system will start to perform at its optimum efficiency. To learn more about the benefits of a digital asset management system, get in touch with us at Brandworkz.

Abigayle Norman is content marketing manager at Brandworkz.

Uber’s self-driving car spotted in Pittsburgh
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

The first sighting of Uber’s driverless car research has been made in Pittsburgh in the form of a tech-laden motor frequenting residential streets.

The ride-hailing app has been scouring the roads of Pittsburgh with an autonomous vehicle, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.

The publication spotted a modified Ford, laden with rotating rooftop cameras and lasers, emblazoned with ‘Uber Advanced Technologies Center’ on the side, mapping Pittsburgh with the rooftop-mounted Lidar scanner.

The motor likely hails from Uber’s newly launched research labs for self-driving cars in the area, which operates in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

An Uber spokesperson told the publication: "This vehicle is part of our early research efforts regarding mapping, safety and autonomy systems.”

This follows news emerging earlier this year that Uber is looking to heavily invest in driverless car technology, pitting it against Google - and potentially Apple - in the up-and-coming industry.

Digital trading: Why invisible ads aren’t so bad
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

John Wanamaker, a merchant in the early 20th century: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Over a hundred years later into the 21st century advertisers are still saying the same thing. 

Viewability is currently a hot topic amongst advertisers, some of whom are becoming increasingly concerned that they are paying for online display ads that are not actually seen. When do we hear about TV ads not being watched, or how about radio ads not being heard? Or even newspaper ads when the page is not turned?

Now we know each medium shares the same problem, with the vast amount of served impressions going unseen and labelled as wasted. Digital advertising is being held to a higher standard than any other advertising medium. It is without question that digital advertising measurements are leading the way with the support of the MRC and 3MS. With such phenomenal achievements in our industry it baffles me why I keep on hearing talk of such poor viewability statistics. Before we know it, ad tech companies will share the frustrations of John McEnroe, saying, 'You can’t be serious, that ad was in!'

Although I’m supportive of all industry bodies striving to implement industry standard acceptance levels, I would also like to challenge them. The IAB has set a target of 70 per cent for viewable impressions. While the digital media industry is well on its way to achieving this goal, there are still significant obstacles that we need to overcome. For example, non-measured impressions should not be counted as non-viewable. The technology required to fully measure all served viewable impressions just isn’t there yet. To meet the threshold set by the IAB is optimistic for ATDs, ad networks and even direct publishers at this time. Recently, I attended a meeting where a global publisher highlighted they have 6bn ad impressions per month to sell but could not answer how much of their inventory is viewable. Why not?

Let’s not fall into the trap of believing that non-viewable ads are completely wasted. Even if some banner ads are invisible to the human eye, these ads still help audience based targeting companies (like Audience2Media) to capture data points from the ad calls to our servers logging important information about the websites visited to enhance behavioural advertising. The end result is delivering targeted ads to anonymous users online based on their web traversal data driving high brand engagement. Consequently, the advertiser receives a positive ROI.

Given that we are still far from being able to accurately measure viewability, we need to start thinking of ways to improve viewability on our own. There are many reasons why some ads may not be viewable, from the format of the website to the design of the ad creative itself. Some ads have slow load times, some may appear outside a viewable browser window, fake publisher traffic from ad exchanges, and some are only viewable if you scroll down the webpage. Each of these points should be tackled individually and with haste. Admittedly, waste in digital advertising is an issue, albeit a lot less severe in comparison to TV, radio and print. Put simply, I believe it can be improved immediately if media is sold, purchased and applied effectively.

Furthermore, I believe the MRC should toughen its selection and accreditation process in order to maintain and improve the current standards. I fear that an over populated market of measurement companies applying their own calculations and algorithms may potentially create larger discrepancies on advertising viewability statistics.

Today, we can all agree that it is not possible to start charging purely on viewable impressions. The discussion on viewability is debatable from all aspects, but I believe brand marketers understand the primary goal is to deliver a positive ROI back to the advertiser on each of their campaigns. With this in mind, allow me to make it simple. There are two types of advertising, visible and invisible, both having a role to play in digital. The subject matter of viewability needs to expand to the technical side, not just the commercial.

Tony Laskar is founder and chief executive of Audience2Media

Tunepics chief Justin Cooke: The Apple Watch will add another sensory element to social media
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

Tunepics chief Justin Cooke is readying for the day when Apple Watch will allow people to physically feel another’s emotions when they share content via social media 

Tunepics – which launched last year – is the first solo-project from Cooke, who was previously Burberry’s digital creative and the chief marketer at Topshop.

It is described as a "multi-sensory social network" and allows users to post an image with a soundtrack and can also choose a colour from an "emotion wheel". Combined, the picture, song and colour aim to reflect the way someone feels at any given moment.

Cooke called the release of the Apple Watch a “game-changer” and said that “there is something beautiful coming” as the company opens up all of the SDKs in the product to developers.

“You could send me a Tunepic and I see that you’re crying and I get a raindrop feeling on my wrist," he mused. "There’s a whole load of stuff that will come and the first iteration is always this is the idea, we want to bring you on board, learn the behaviour, and then we’ll improve it based on your feedback." 

Cooke went on to say the power of the Apple Watch is that it has never intended to replace a normal watch, which is built with beautiful, classic design in mind.

“What’s powerful is that [Apple] can change the watch on your wrist overnight through software,” he said.

The Apple Watch has been quickly embraced by the industry, with brands such as Amazon, Starbucks, Pandora, Uber and Twitter already tailoring their software to meet the needs of the product.  

Five ways Apple Music could beat Spotify (and everyone else too)
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

Bruce Sterling once said "those that live by disruption, die by disruption". No one is immune. Apple has laid waste to many industries, especially the music business. In turn it has seen its downloads empire eroded by challenger Spotify.

As a brand that continually reinvents itself, we know Apple's retaliation strike is coming soon, maybe even at WWDC. Here's how it could make Apple Music a winner in the war.

1. Make it integrated

Apple’s success is due to functional integration. It makes systems, not just services. Being native in iOS and OSX means a potential audience of epic proportions.

Seamlessly working with iTunes, Radio, and PodCasts would increase convenience for many. Evolving Garageband to give musicians a way to produce and distribute in one platform could be another. Factor in CarPlay, Apple TV and HomeKit and you’ve got a classic walled-garden play.

2. Make it matter

We know Apple is going to charge a subscription fee. That’s going to erode the audience size. But what if it used a part of its war-chest to subsidise the service for, say, three months? Just long enough for us to habituate on it, unlike Beats' laughable two-week trial. Or what if it offered better family plans than Spotify? 

Apple’s notorious 30 per cent cut has earned it few musical allies. Musicians hate Spotify’s pari-mutuel model too. What if Apple paid-per-play instead? And reported it to musicians in a way that was transparent, easy-to-understand and fair? 

3. Make it better

Sound quality is a debated concept but what if Apple had a better standard? 320k + surround sound could move more hardware product and differentiate it from Spotify. We've been listening to stereo for too long. Can Cupertino create what's next? 

Think of the potential to use Siri as a Shazam-style search. Sing lyrics or hum a melody to find the song you want. All within the core Apple Music app. Siri could automatically create playlists on the fly based on your context, mood, etc. That could be a powerful way to challenge Spotify's just announced "Now" functionality.

New Apple hire Zane Lowe is going to be every bit as critical to this effort as Jimmy Iovine, Dre or Reznor. Beats' best features — Just For You, Expert Essentials and curated playlists — are all going to get a lot better. Lowe’s cache means the indie crowd found on Bandcamp and SoundCloud could follow.

4. Make it social

Social integration on Spotify (and all the other services) is terrible. They all suffer from YASN (yet another social network) syndrome. You have to rebuild too much from scratch.

Apple has access to your contacts, Facebook and Twitter thanks to native sharing on iOS. Imagine a 'Twitch'-like ability to just drop in and listen along with your friend. The one that has the hippest taste in music? Think of it as 'This is My Jam' in real-time, all the time. A streaming mixtape made for you from the people that know you best.

You could do the same with musicians and experts – with the added bonus of seeing exclusive, early release or behind-the-scenes content. Artists could eschew the 'secret album' trend and just release tracks when they're ready. We might finally see 'the Serial effect' for music.   

5. Make it live

Regardless of all the above, it’s still not enough to make money. The real money in music is in live.

Apple could alert fans to concerts based on their playlists, favourites or owned music. They could let you know friends wanted to go too. Top that off with an ability to buy via Apple Pay and we’re off to the races with a 30 per cent cut of ticket sales. Toss in merchandise and you’ve got untapped revenue streams Spotify would love.

In conclusion

Apple doesn’t have the potential to disrupt just Spotify but every related service. Shazam, Ponyo, Soundtracking, This is My Jam, Songkick, Tidal, SoundCloud, Bandcamp et al could all suffer if it manages to close the gap between customers’ expectations and the services and experience they receive. Every last one of those apps is at risk of deletion from your home screen.

Daniel Harvey is experience design director at SapientNitro

Nottinghamshire Police enlists Twitter to track down wanted man by sharing his Tinder pics
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

Nottinghamshire Police has shared pictures from a wanted man’s Tinder account on Twitter in a bid to help track him down.

The police force is taking to social media to find Henry Spencer who is wanted in connection with a gross bodily harm offence.

However, instead of a traditional wanted poster, the force has found and repurposed images from Spencer’s Tinder dating account in a bid to question him over an incident of GBH inflicted on a woman on 16 November, last year.

The 28-year-old allegedly set up the Tinder account under a false name and is suspected to be in the Doncaster area.

Earlier this week a dating profile also came back to bite a homophobic preacher.

An LGBT publication found and exposed Reverend Matthew Makela's Grindr account which he was using to meet up with other gay men while condeming homosexuality in church and on social media.

Promposals and how brands are using Snapchat and ephemeral content to reach teens
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

It's promposal season and brands are joining the fun. For those unfamiliar with the act of promposing, simply put "it is the act of asking someone to go to the prom with you." Teens have been lavishly asking their dates to the prom for decades but the Snapchat generation has taken the act to an entire new level that's causing major brands to pay attention and participate.

Yesterday, I moderated a Shorty Awards panel (the ceremony I produce) on Snapchat and ephemeral content at at ad:tech in San Francisco. MTV's VP of Digital Strategy and Fan Engagement Jack Daley, Taco Bell's VP of Digital and On-Demand Tressie Lieberman, Sour Patch Kids (a Mondelēz brand) Senior Associate Brand Manager Lauren Fleischer and HUGE Head of Social Joe McCaffrey discussed how important Snapchat has become to reach younger audiences and the ways their brands are using the platform and other ephemeral social networks like Periscope. Here are the highlights and best practices they shared.

Engaging teens on Snapchat during promposal season:

Last month, Vanity Fair recently described promposals as "the fastest-growing form of public affection." Both Sour Patch Kids, the yummy candy that's popular among teens and MTV who reaches a young audience created genius ways to participate in the fun.

Fleischer told the audience that Sour Patch Kids will soon host their very own prom after finishing a competition where they asked teens to submit their promposals on Snapchat and social media. The winners and submissions are currently featured on their Tumblr.

Fleischer said their prom was also supported by creative on TV showing once again how strong the relationship between the older mass medium and the newer fragmented social channels are.

Daley described MTV's Promposal Mania, launched last month across their Snapchat, Perisocope, linear channel and more. 

In honor of the newest of prom rituals, MTV is launching “Promposal Mania,” a two-day celebration of prom across all MTV platforms beginning Monday, April 20. On Monday, teen sensation Austin Mahone will be live in studio at MTV’s Times Square headquarters to accept one lucky viewer’s promposal. On Tuesday, April 21st, Fifth Harmony will orchestrate an unforgettable live promposal for one Harmonizer and their proposed date.

Daley said the results on Snapchat have been outstanding. "Forty to fifty percent of our followers on Snapchat view our Story each day." 

Lieberman described how Taco Bell recently started using Periscope for making announcements that just a few years ago might have only made it in a corporate press release. This included announcing a free giveaway on Cinco de Mayo.

Expirementing with Periscope, the latest shiny new social network:

Daley told the audience that there's a "temptation to go for the bright shiny object," but "bright shiny objects lose that shine if you're not successful with metrics you've set up."

MTV is still experimenting with Periscope and is making an effort to do things that are fun, sincere and don't require a lot of production. Daley said MTV's community managers recently played a game of "would you rather" on the MTV Persicope. He talked about the challenges with live content and the importantce of trying to make sure that you're not Periscoping where there will be long and often awkward silences in between the big moments.

Why Snapchat is the perfect platform for brands to find their most passionaite fans.

"There's no discover section," Lieberman reminded the audience about Snapchat. "You actually need to go into the app search for 'tacobell' and manually add us as a friend." This proactive social media engagement has led Taco Bell to continue to grow their precence on Snapchat. The food chain was extremely early to the platform. 

The people behind brand Snapchatting:

All the panelists talked about how amazing the community managers and content creators managing the brands' Snapchats are. Lieberman said that the two creators behind Taco Bell's Snapchat are extremely close with the community and that the community knows who they are. 

One of the biggest brand Snapchat successes to date:

McCaffrey talked about the Snapchat work they did with Audi during the Superbowl in 2014 and then later with ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars. The success they had during the Superbowl set an important example for many more brands who have now since joined Snapchat.

The campaign received 100,000 total views on Snapchat and generated 2,400 mentions on Twitter, reaching a total of 37 million social impressions. Thirty percent of all Audi Super Bowl conversation stemmed from Snapchat. The team manually added 9,600 followers to the Audi Snapchat account over 48 hours, reaching a total of 10,500 followers, pushing Snapchat's ability to keep up with the volume of user growth.

When asked if it was difficult to convince Audi to get on Snapchat early on McCaffrey said that, "Audi is built on being innovative and brave so it didn't take a lot to convince them."

The metrics behind Snapchat and what brands want from the platform in the future:

Snapchat is still in its metrics infancy. For a brand, you can see how many people viewed your Story, how many times your content was screen shotted and how many followers you have. Beyond that there's not much.

"I'm still manually inputting the numbers into a spreadsheet," Lieberman described. While the panelists agreed that those metrics were very helpful they're definitely hoping Snapchat builds out more metrics and analytics for them to judge the success and enable more investment in what they do on the platform. 

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Brand of the Day: Boy Scouts of America
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

Today we feature the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). After years of scandals involving the club turning away adults from volunteering on the basis of homosexuality, the club’s president, Robert M. Gates called for an end to the ban on gay adult leaders.

 

1) What is BSA?

The Boy Scouts of America is a federally chartered corporation and one of the most popular youth organizations in the country. It boasts almost three million youth members, and about a million adult volunteers. Under the program, young boys are taught everything from outdoor adventure to character building.

2) The History of BSA

The BSA was founded in 1910 by W.D. Boyce. At the time, its mission statement was "to teach [boys] patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values.” The group’s first sponsor was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often referred to as the Mormon Church. By the end of 2014, the group had become one of the nation’s largest charities, boasting a revenue of $1.2bn.

3) Scout’s Honor

Scout’s must say an oath with their membership, and follow a specific law. The oath states: "On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” The law required members to be “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent."

4) Treatment of gay males

Strong references to morals and values in the scout’s code has caused trouble for the group. Since its founding in 1910, secular definitions of good morals have changed, though some argue the group’s allowances haven’t.

In 2013, 60 per cent of Boy Scout leaders voted that they could turn members away based on their sexual orientations or preferences. This ruling added to the group’s long-standing ban on gay adult volunteers.

5) Looking forward

Gates’ proposition to lift the ban doesn’t mean that any changes have been made officially. Leaders from across the country will have to vote first.

Gates doesn’t believe that gay volunteers should be allowed because it’s the right thing to do. Rather, he believes that if the ban continues, it could lead to a court case that would rule to lift all discrimination. “We must deal with the world as it is,” he said, “not as we might wish it to be.”

 

There has been no official word on when BSA will vote to lift the ban.