Maple Syrup and Honey Producers are Pissed at the FDA

The FDA is in the process of updating nutrition and serving size labeling requirements for packaged foods, a move that is overwhelmingly positive in terms of providing increased transparency for consumers. But one part of these new requirements is causing a huge backlash in the seemingly idyllic circles of maple syrup and honey producers.

According to the FDA’s new rules, nutritional labels on all honey and maple syrup must list the sugars in the product as “added sugars” even though some of the products themselves are entirely naturally produced. This is a huge deal for these natural producers, since the unique selling point of their products is that they are naturally made and do not have any added sugar.

Don’t freak out yet though, the law is not set to go into effect until 2020 and Senator Sanders is totally on it.

Why It’s Hot: A particularly egregious example of applying rules too broadly and without sufficient flexibility. At what point is “helpful to most” not a good enough justification?

Learn More: USA Today | Burlington Free Press

Currency for women only

For the launch of its first womenswear collection, fashion brand Paisley has created a currency that addresses the gender pay gap.

The new FEM notes are worth 21% more than any other currency – a nod to the 21% gender pay gap in Germany. This means that whenever customers use FEM currency, they get 21% more for their money.

The notes have been designed with special security features to avoid misuse and highlight a number of iconic female figures who have helped pave the way for equal gender rights.

Customers can exchange their money for FEM notes by visiting the Paisley flagship store in Hamburg. Paisley is also looking to partner with other companies which want to make FEM currency part of their brand.

Why its hot?
Using a cultural insight they dressed up a run of the mill coupon / discount as a movement

Read more: https://www.femcurrency.com/

 

Neuroscience and the thoughts and minds of dogs

A scientist looking at how dogs think and relate to humans has trained about a dozen dogs to lie inside of fMRI machines and receive different stimuli. The result is a look inside the minds of dogs that indicates that their mental processes might mirror our own in more ways than previously imagined.

 

A dog undergoes training, learning how to rest its head on a pad without moving, so that scientists can scan his brain

A dog undergoes training, learning how to rest its head on a pad without moving, so that scientists can scan his brain. Photo by Helen Berns

As part of their first paper published on the work in 2012, they trained dogs to recognize two different hand signals: one that meant the animal would be given a piece of hot dog imminently, and one that meant no hot dog. As they hypothesized, the first signal triggered elevated activity in an area called the caudate nucleus, which is rich in receptors for dopamine (a neurotransmitter involved in the sensation of pleasure). In humans—and in dogs, the research indicated—caudate activity is related to the desire to have something that causes pleasure, and the satisfaction involved in obtaining it.

Subsequent tests showed that sensing familiar humans through sight and scent triggered similar reward receptors in dogs’ brains, possibly indicating the feeling of emotion similar to human emotion.

A dog in an fMRI, receiving one of the hand signals

A dog in an fMRI, receiving one of the hand signals

Why it’s hot

Pet owners already think of their animal friends as more than simply property, and are more likely to consider them members of the family than in previous generations. If studies like these can show that dogs truly feel emotions similar to humans, it might have implications for public policy and cultural sentiment.

Read more at smithsonianmag.com

Aloha Safely

Hawaiian airlines is gifting their passengers with samples of toxic-free sunscreen in efforts to educate travelers of the harm that other sunscreens have on the coral reefs. A recent study found that oxybenzone and octinoxate, typical elements found in the average sunscreen, result in damaging effects on the reefs. Through the end of April, Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants will be offering passengers free samples of an American-made sunscreen that doesn't harm marine life.

So lather up in Hawaiian Airlines’ eco-formula sunscreen if you’re flying from North American destinations to the islands through the month of April! 

Can you bereef it’s taken this long for something like this to happen? The airline partnered with Raw Elements to produce the sunscreen. To serve even more raw truth, Hawaiian Airlines decided to screen Reefs at Risk, an educational documentary, on all their flights. 

Why it’s hot:

This way people who can’t tan won’t burn. And they’ll hopefully make wiser choices in sunscreen purchases! Happy Hawaii-iing ~~

Source: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/airline-is-protecting-hawaiian-coral-reefs-by-giving-free-non-toxic-sunscreen-to-tourists/

Young Americans are going back home

Parents in the US cannot get rid of their kids. The share of young adults in their late 20s living with their parents is the highest it’s been in 75 years.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 33% of 25-29-year-olds lived with their parents or grandparents in 2016. This is almost three times as many as in 1970.

The share of young adults who don’t leave the nest has steadily increased in recent decades, and accelerated after the 2008 financial crisis. Across education levels, race, gender, and region, no group has been immune from the trend.

Pew’s researchers think late twenty-somethings are boomeranging back home because, in contrast to previous generations at this stage of their lives, they are less likely to have a well-paying job and less likely to be married. It turns out that no job and no partner makes living with your parents a lot more appealing.”

From: Quartz

Speak and thou shalt receive


Google has issued its first voice-activated coupon, a $15 offer for Target orders placed via Google Assistant.

Using a Google Home, a phone with Google Assistant built in, or the Google Assistant app (on either Android or iOS), simply say or type, ‘Spring into Target.’ If everything goes as planned, you’ll get a small paragraph informing you about the credit you’ve just received,”

The paragraph reads: “Three cheers for Spring! You’ve unlocked the Spring promo. Save up to $15 on your next order from Target on Google Express. You can order essentials like paper towels, laundry detergent, and trash bags. To try it out, ask me to order something you need from Target.”

Of course, it would be weird if this happened without any hitch. ‘Android Police’ reported potential confusion between “in to” and “into,” requiring a manual edit of the voice entry in some cases.

Why its hot?
Voice enabled things starting to hit adolescence. This coming of age means they are ready to go beyond basic stuff like weather to playing music to finally enabling hardcore retail sales. The possibilities are endless.

Source: MarketingWeek

#DeleteFacebook. But can you?

The growth of a movement to “delete Facebook” is leaving consumers in a pickle. As Vox reports, “the emphasis has largely been on users making up their minds about how to deal with the company on an individual level.However, this emphasis fails to take into account both Facebook’s position in modern society and the stakes involved for anyone who chooses to leave a network that has spent more than a decade trying to make leaving it impossible.”

In short, “delete Facebook” is just not that easy.

Again from Vox:

1) Facebook is technologically embedded within a vast web of interconnected third-party apps and social media platforms

2) For many people, using Facebook regularly is a required part of their job or education

3) Facebook is, for better and worse, a tangible tie holding many people to their communities

 

 

Why it’s hot: While the media and some in the ad industry may be quick to oversimplify and describe the current scandal as a death knell for the platform, there’s more at stake and more to consider than what’s on the surface. This could be particularly vital to keep in mind for healthcare communications, noting the above tweet referencing disease-specific diaspora.

How Women Spend Their Time

The OECD runs time-use surveys, to identify the ways women and men spend their time. It’s no surprise women do way more unpaid work than men, but what is surprising is that countries considered progressive still have significant differences in time spent doing things like chores and taking care of children.

Source: Quartz

“When it comes to time spent on well-being, including eating and drinking, sleeping, and personal care, the gap between the sexes is much smaller. Not surprisingly, French and Italian women and men spend a lot of time on how they look (it shows—they usually look great). French women take top marks for the daily time spent on personal care, with a whopping 113 minutes, compared with 70 minutes for American women.”

Why It’s Hot: 

  • Gathering and analysing this data can help quantify gender inequality issues. Understanding how and where we spend our time can help us find ways to balance the scale.

 

BuzzFeed is Your Non-judgmental Older Sister

In November, BuzzFeed unveiled its BuzzFeed media brands division which is made up of Tasty(food), Nifty (DIY), Bring Me (travel) and Goodful (wellness). This week they have added another millennial focused sub-brand to their roster, As/Is.

As/Is is a positioned to be a non-judgy beauty and style publisher, featuring “content that empowers women rather than tells them who they should be.” 

The timing around the launch couldn’t be any better amid the spotlight of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

“We want to change what the industry looks like and looks at,” says Augusta Falletta, supervising producer for As/Is. “We want people to see themselves in this content and accept themselves in a way that hasn’t been done in the past. If you are a woman who grew up reading antiquated magazines you probably have some thing you need to unpack.”

 

Why it’s too hot to hold, too much to handle:

BuzzFeed’s ultimate goal is to compete with Facebook and Google for ad dollars. Currently, their biggest revenue driver is the Tasty sub-brand which has attracted over 1.4 million unique visitors in January alone. Tasty has evolved from short videos to products now available at Walmart. BuzzFeed is hoping that in the future, As/Is will lead to a line of beauty products.

Ikea has put on a twist on customer research

In November 2017, IKEA created an innovative survey about co-living spaces. This study explores what the future of co-living will look like in 2030 when there are 1.2 billion more people on the planet with 70% living in urban areas with limited spaces and resources. IKEA’s future living research lab Space10 launched One Shared House 2030 developed by interaction designer Irene Pereya of Anton & Irene. This is an interactive take on customer research.

  • It’s an experiment: there’s an intentional pioneering spirit in the survey
  • Empathetic for its subjects: the research was inspired by a documentary Pereyra did about her own co-living experience from when she was a child; giving authenticity to the survey and creating a deep sense of empathy
  • Beauty: the research is visually beautiful with bold geometric shapes and intense colors; it’s inviting and makes you want to participate
  • Playful: the research is positioned as playful research that is designed more like an app vs. survey with music and pop-up windows
  • Setting it in the future: the survey doesn’t act you to imagine the future – it sets the whole survey in the future; it tells you it’s 2030 and the world is more crowded – allowing people to get into the right mindset

Now, the results are in! More than 7,000 people from 147 countries answered the survey. People of all ages, and are in any life situation from all countries on average:

  • Would prefer couples, single women and single men in their community
  • Are happier with access to multiple homes they could easily move between
  • Prefer members to share equal ownership of the house
  • Only want the common areas to come furnished and furnish their own space themselves
  • Want house members from different walks of life
  • Think the two biggest pros of living with others is having more ways to socialize and splitting costs and getting more bang for your buck
  • Most are interested in living in shared houses between 4 and 10 people

Why it’s hot?

The Survey: is engineered as a digital experience. Everything from the empathetic positioning to the sonic // visual design pulls you in. IKEA demonstrates that CX is something that should trickle across all aspects of your business – even market research.

The Results: show that no co-living company has really figured out the right balance between an economically feasible scale and a scale that favors human connections. It shows that there is still ripe opportunity to re-think the co-living space.

Sources:

  • https://www.inc.com/ayse-birsel/think-customer-research-is-boring-here-is-how-ikea-made-it-fun-utterly-inviting.html
  • https://www.fastcodesign.com/90161409/what-todays co-living-spaces-get-wrong
  • http://onesharedhouse.com/

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Since 2014, when the “right to be forgotten” was court ordered by the European Union, there have been 650K requests to Google to remove certain websites from its search results. This week, Google released a research paper that outlines the types of requests that were submitted.

Most of the requests were to remove five or fewer URLs from its search results. In all, Google says it received requests to remove more than 2.43 million URLs since the end of May 2014, and it has removed about 43 percent of them.

In May 2014 the Court of Justice of the European Union ordered Google and other search engines operating in the area to allow individuals to ask the sites to delist specific search results tied to a person’s name if the information is “inadequate, irrelevant or excessive”.

Some stats:

  • 89% of requests came from private individuals.
  • Social media sites, directories, news articles and government pages make up the bulk of links being requested for removal.
  • A little more than half of requests came from France, Germany and the UK

The underlying information on a third-party website is not deleted in this instance, but it becomes much more difficult to find if it no longer appears in Google’s search results. The underlying information on a third-party website is not deleted in this instance, but it becomes much more difficult to find if it no longer appears in Google’s search results.

How do they decide whether to delete or not:

“Determining whether content is in the public interest is complex and may mean considering many diverse factors, including—but not limited to—whether the content relates to the requester’s professional life, a past crime, political office, position in public life, or whether the content is self-authored content, consists of government documents, or is journalistic in nature.”

Why it’s hot: 

  • In the end, the responsibility to determine what’s in the public interest is placed on a private company, a burden, but also a huge responsibility.

Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/28/589411543/google-received-650-000-right-to-be-forgotten-requests-since-2014

Stick a straw in it

Strawbees, created by a Swedish start-up, is spreading STEAM one straw at a time. Pushing aside the standardization of the classroom, Strawbees emphasizes play and curiousity, encourages learning by making, and promotes experimenting and asking questions. They believe that learning is best when we have fun together!

Why it’s hot:
Their digital programming is an open-ended system that’s built on C language making it easy for beginners to learn but also allows advanced users to have fun as well. By using straws and strawbees (connectors). Their system is fully web-based instead of on an app making it work almost everywhere!

source: https://learning.strawbees.com/

World’s first baby marathon

Babies can cover a distance of more than 3 kilometers per day, according to research by New York University. Taking this data, babycare brand Huggies decided to host a Baby Marathon to raise awareness of its products in South Africa.

Four babies, nicknamed Thunder Pants, Hurricane Thando, Racin’ Grays and Danger Boy, were tasked with roaming 21km around their homes. Their progress was recorded over seven days using custom-made fitness trackers.

Huggies covered the race in four online episodes. With a fake sports commentator narrating the action, the videos highlight the effectiveness of Huggies diapers as if they were sports gear. Viewers could find out more about the products, as well as the babies and their training regimes, on a dedicated microsite

The Baby Marathon resulted in a 28.9% increase in Huggies’ diaper sales. The campaign trended within 10 mins of launch for 9 hours and attracted 8.4 million views.

Why it’s hot?
Brings the sportswear performance psychology to baby products.
By showing babies as athletes, it breaks away from the usual diaper efficacy claims.

Source: Huggies, South Africa

Diesel vs. Deisel

Diesel opened a pop-up with a twist. The shop, called Deisel, was situated on New York’s Canal Street – a location famous for its knock-off stores that sell replicas of designer products at cheap prices.

The Deisel pop-up sold a range of hats, t-shirts, jumpers and denim pieces, all branded with the knock-off logo. Prices ranged from $10 to $200: much lower than similar products found in standard Diesel stores.

But what looked like a fake pop-up was a stunt by the brand, supporting its latest campaign, Go with the Flaw. New Yorkers who ended up buying from the Deisel pop-up got their hands on real, limited-edition pieces at knock-off prices.

Why its hot?
If you can’t beat them, join them. 
The counterfeit industry was worth $460bn in 2016, according to the International Trademark Association. The fake goods culture has become so prominent that fashion brands have started referencing it in their collections and marketing activations. In 2016, luxury streetwear brand Vetements launched an ‘Official Fake’ collection and sold it in a garage space in the outskirts of Seoul. Elsewhere, luxury fashion darling Gucci became Guccy for its 2018 spring/summer resort collection – again, a nod to the rise of knock-off culture

Reply to customer reviews to drive better ratings

Overview: There’s been an upward trend in brand managers responding to customer reviews–both good and bad ones–for the last few years, particularly in the hospitality industry. Roughly one-third of all reviews receive a response, and nearly half of all hotels respond to reviews. Two professors set out to learn if by responding to reviews, customers would leave better ratings.

Methodology: The research team looked at tens of thousands of hotel reviews and responses from TripAdvisor, which uses a review scale from 1 (terrible) to 5 (excellent). The vast majority of brands only respond to reviews on TripAdvisor, leaving Expedia reviews alone. The research team looked at Expedia as the control group and TripAdvisor as the variable group in an effort to establish a causal link between responses and improved ratings.

Results: They found that when hotels start responding they receive 12% more reviews and their ratings increase, on average, by 0.12 stars. While these gains may seem modest, TripAdvisor rounds average ratings to the nearest half star: A hotel with a rating of 4.26 stars will be rounded up to a 4.5, while a hotel with 4.24 stars will be rounded down to a 4. Therefore, even small changes can have a significant impact on consumers’ perceptions. They also found that when customers see management responds to reviews, they’re less likely to leave lengthy negative reviews.

Implications: Respond to customer reviews. We’re operating in the Age of the Customer, and they expect their comments–particularly the negative ones–to receive attention. While responses can clearly help decrease negative comments and increase brand ratings, reviews also give us a wealth of information about moments that matter, pain points, etc. that exist in customers’ journeys.

Further Reading: https://hbr.org/2018/02/study-replying-to-customer-reviews-results-in-better-ratings

Haitors Step Aside

Haitors step aside, #LoveHaiti is here to showcase the beauty that is their S*** Hole country! Creative director Fabien Dodard felt the need to respond to the “s*** hole countries” statement made by the current President. Haiti ended up receiving a lot of press after the President singled them out, infuriating many and even causing an uprising of the Haitian community where they banded together and started sharing their experiences of their country. Dodard started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money so that these ads can hopefully run in Washington D.C. With a goal of $40,000 Parkour studio hopes to get these ads out there for the President to see.

Why it’s hot:
It’s in no way affiliated with the Haitian government or its tourism agency, it’s purely done by the people for its people (you can’t be Haitian on that, it’s too beautiful). They’ve also created a website in case people search the ads and want to learn more about Haiti (https://www.lovehaiti.ht/). 

Source: AdWeek

Your Leaning Tower of Pisa pics: not as hilarious as you think they are

Think your Instagram travel photos are as unique as your quirky sense of humor? Think again.

“Using public Instagram accounts and hashtags, filmmaker Oliver Kmia was able to assemble this entertaining compilation of unoriginal travel photos.”

Why it’s Hot

It’s an interesting crowdsourcing exercise for sure. It goes to show that we can find macro trends anywhere if we try hard enough.

What you cannot see is more interesting than what you can see

Skittles will not be airing its Super Bowl spot during the game this year. Instead, the film will be revealed to one selected fan whose reaction will be livestreamed on facebook.

In a mock TV broadcast video, a presenter reveals that the lucky fan is California-based teenager Marcos Menendez. The brand will release four teaser videos in the run up to the event to encourage speculation about the film, but has no plans to release the final ad to the public.

Why its hot?
Reaction videos meet Cialdini’s scarcity principle, which explains one of the most fundamental theories about human behavior: people will always want what they can’t have.
And, I think in today’s world which is addicted to sharing content, its pretty ballsy to show it to just one person and broadcast just the reaction not the content.

Not all corporate training videos are boring as hell

Wendy’s created some training videos in the 80’s but instead of using the same boring HR training talking head style that everyone else was using, they decided to have some fun with it.

These are truly spectacular time capsules of the 1980’s. Yes, millennials, this is how we lived life every single day.

Why It’s Hot
These videos give us some insight into the corporate culture that has resulted in the current social media sass machine that we see today.

Mastercard Demystified Millennials

Millennials seem to be the toughest demographic to crack, as they’re viewed as narcissistic, entitled, superficial, and several more descriptive adjectives. So Mastercard Australia made it their mission to understand what millennials really wanted from their new debit rewards program. The “Millennials Demystified” experiment was conducted by researchers at the University of South Wales and the purpose was simple, to find out what millennials really desire. Participants of the study were given 2 choices in which they had to choose which one they desired the most, the catch was that their neurological impulses let the researchers know exactly what they truly desired out of the two choices. The results? Simple. Millennials are human after all and they want to do more good than harm the world, contrary to what seems to be common belief.

Why it’s hot:
Turns out millennials aren’t soulless zombies that want to watch the world burn.

Mastercard AU

tl;dr officially graduates to nm;dr…

Everything you think you know about content consumption on the internet is true.

Notre Dame researchers recently found that 73% of Redditors who volunteered for their study didn’t actually click through to links they upvoted, 84% clicked on content in less than 50% of their pageloads, and 94% did so in less than 40% of their pageloads.

Why it’s hot:

As people, it’s not. We’ve become a headline society.

As we all know, “fake news” is now a legitimate cultural phenomenon, and the lack of investigation and questioning the accuracy or legitimacy of content, opinions, ratings, even social media accounts means manipulative powers that can and have been misused by those with nefarious objectives.

But as marketers, before we make any ad, digital experience, tweet, product, or even business decision, the headline test has never been more important.

A good exercise is to write the positive headlines you hope to see as a result of what you’re thinking of doing, and the potential negative ones. Look at both, then decide the fate and/or form of your effort.

[ieee.org]

On a much lighter note, as a bonus, Google’s Santa Tracker experience is now live with Santa’s Village. Leading up to the holidays, it’s offering “access to games, a learning experience about holiday traditions around the world, and a Code Lab teaching kids basic coding skills” and an advent calendar unlocking a new game or experience each day between now and Christmas.

Irresistible Pointless pre-roll ads

Ikea in Sweden ran deliberately dull pre-roll ads, which were between four and nine minutes long, on YouTube. The average view time of the ads was three minutes, despite the option to skip appearing after five seconds. Also, the agency also states that 39% of viewers watched the ads to completion.

The humorous spots provide viewers with a window into typical Swedish households where people are getting on with their mundane lives. In one four-and-a-half-minute spot, a young boy washes dishes and repeatedly tells viewers to skip the ad because there’s nothing interesting to see.

In another spot, this one almost nine-minutes long, a young couple is showing kissing on a sofa until one of the pair gets freaked out by the thought of pervert viewers spying on her, and we’re left to watch her boyfriend fall asleep on the couch.

All the ads also feature occasional flashes of product information about the furniture used in the scenes. They fit within Ikea’s Where Life Happens positioning.

Results: The average view time of the ads was three minutes, despite the option to skip appearing after five seconds. 39% of viewers watched the ads to completion.

Why its hot:
-We are attracted to rejection
-So boring that its mesmerizing
-Where most brands pray that the audience stays longer, Ikea wins attention by doing the exact opposite.

Source: Adweek

Lifetime label




Mimica Touch, is a food label that decays at the same rate as food. The Mimica label is filled with gelatine, which decomposes in the same way as packaged foods. The gel is calibrated to each product line using shelf-life testing data, and it also takes into account the temperature at which it is stored.

When new, the label is smooth. But as time goes by and the gel decomposes, it becomes bumpy to touch, signalling that the food is no longer safe to eat.

The Mimica Touch was developed with visually impaired people in mind. It is also easy to assemble, so that manufacturers can make the label – which consists of a plastic tray, gel and a lid – on site.

Why its hot?
90% of Americans prematurely threw away food because they misinterpreted sell-by and use-by labels as indicators that food had gone rotten and become unsafe. 

Source: Mimica Lab

The Crazy German Theater With a 19-Mile-Long Stage

The Bewegtes Land is a project that started recently in Germany. Passengers traveling by train through Germany’s Saale Valley will have an unexpected treat, as the train route was transformed into a long stage for performance art.

The acting is performed by 400 residents (and volunteers) along the 19-mile train route. The vignettes showed various situations from “running” bushes to a shark emerging from a lake right beside a canoer. The goal of the project is to amuse passengers and, at the same time bring people from these small communities together.

The project was created by Jörn Hintzer and Jacob Hüfner, media artists, and professors at the Bauhaus University Weimar.

Why it’s hot:
They managed to create a new and creative media and a narrative fully designed for it.

$weet $weet Money

A combination of India’s lack of digital payment adoption and shop owners never having enough change to give back to customers after a purchase has resulted in a very unique cultural practice: giving candy as change to consumers, instead of coins. Though it may sound sweet (eh? eh?), this leaves customers feeling scammed and shop owners feeling annoyed.

Taking note of this mutual pain point Paytm, a digital payment app, created its own brand of candy. These could still be given as change to consumers, but with a twist – the candy wrappers could be redeemed as real money with the download of their app by inputting the promo codes on the inside of the candy wrappers.

Though Paytm didn’t monetize (the candies were given to shop owners for free) they massively reduced their acquisition costs from $ 0.92 to $.18) with over 1M people downloading their app.

Why It’s Hot:

  • The campaign stemmed from a real culture insight/pain point and the brand sat in the middle of the solution
  • Really smart way of turning an everyday object into a medium (the wrappers)
  • Leveraged an old behavior (cash economy) to transition people to a new one (digital payment)

Spotify for Artists

Spotify For Artists is an app launching this week that gives musicians and their managers mobile access to super-detailed analytics about their music and the people listening to it.

The Spotify For Artists app takes some of the most useful insights about an artist’s music—which songs are most popular, how many streams they’re getting over all, where those listeners live, and which playlists are helping win over new fans—and boils them down into digestible graphical charts. It’s a bit like Google Analytics for rappers, electronic DJs, and pop stars.

This isn’t the first time Spotify has made this kind of data available. Spotify For Artists is a product that first launched on the web in April, after a private beta period. First, Spotify opened it up to all artists (the first big, on-demand streaming app of its kind to do so). Now it’s letting them access it on their phones.

The app also gives artists some control over their presence on Spotify, allowing them to do things like update their bios, post playlists, and select the “artist’s pick” track that Spotify lets them display on their profiles.

Spotify For Artists is part of a broader effort to build more artist-facing tools and ’empower’ them. The company also started a program called Fans First, which uses data to detect the most obsessive listeners of a given artist and target them with special offers like pre-sale concert tickets or exclusive merchandise. The company has also been working harder to strengthen its relationships within the music industry and among artists, in part by hiring former Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter.

Why it’s hot: This is yet another way in which Spotify is leveraging their data in an interesting and unexpected way. It is great to see them making it readily available for artists who can benefit from knowing more about their core users. Additionally, making it available on a mobile app vs. just desktop (as they launched in April) makes this an even more accessible and useful tool to the music industry.

Source: FastCo

Ticket please. But I’m the ticket

Swedish train operator SJ Railways is equipping passengers with chips as an alternative to paper tickets. The system comprises a NFC (near-field communication) microchip and a smartphone app.

Each passenger is given a membership number, which is stored in his or her chip and monitored via the app. Once implanted, conductors can simply use their device to scan people’s hands and validate their journey.

The company started by trialling the tech with 100 of its loyalty programme members and reports that 3,000 travellers are now using the microchip system.

The innovation follows the news that Swedish co-working space company Epicenter gives members the option to use a chip implant rather than a plastic card to access its premises. ‘Some of SJ’s business passengers at Epicenter contacted us and asked about the possibility of using the microchip for the train journey.

Why its hot?
From screen to skin. So, let the bio-hacking begin:
According to World Economic Forum, implantable mobile phones will on the market by 2023. These devices will potentially be able to accurately track a person’s health, while also allowing them to communicate thoughts through signals. While this might seem far-fetched, SJ Railways’ chip system is an example of how brands could tap into the emerging human augmentation market in a way that is more acceptable to the public.

Source: Contagious

Diverse Buying Committees Require Personalized Approaches

Millennials are taking their seats among Generation X and Baby Boomers at the buying table, making navigating the already complicated buying environment even harder, thanks to their different preferences.

According to a SnapApp and Heinz Marketing survey  in late June 2017, to understand and identify the generational differences, and impact of those differences, on the B2B sales process and buyer’s journey, the report looks at the differences between the rising Millennial buyer, their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts, and how B2B marketing and sales strategies can address the gaps between them.

 The key findings included:  

For Millennials:

A noninvasive approach is key to gaining any traction within this cohort, which avoids sales at all costs:

  • Emphasize the relevance to the Millennial buyer and their issues specifically.
  • A company must win the trust of those that the Millennial buyer trusts.
  • Best pieces of content include: blog posts, infographics, videos, ungated eBooks. No whitepapers.

For Generation X,

Marketing and sales should reach out early in the buying process:

  • Highlight product details and benefits for the whole team vs. individuals.
  • Use data, analytics, and other measurable statistics in your conversations.
  • Best pieces of content include: webinars, charts/graphs, brochures.

For Baby Boomers

Early engagement goes a long way with this generation:

  • Lead with how your product benefits the members of their teams, rather than individuals.
  • Use data and analytics to clearly show the value of the product.
  • Best pieces of content include: webinars, charts/graphs, interactive eBooks.

Why It’s Hot: B2B marketers still take a fairly standard and universal approach to marketing and media, which aligns well w/the behaviors and interests of Gen X and Baby Boomer buyers; i.e., white papers, lead gen and immediate sales outreach, as well as focus on benefits for the team as a whole. This approach is a huge turnoff to Millennials, who not only are joining buying committees, but are often initiating and spearheading them!

 

Ikea acquires TaskRabbit

Both Ikea and TaskRabbit have confirmed that the Swedish retailer has acquired the gig-economy startup in a deal on Thursday. According to recode:

TaskRabbit had already struck a pilot partnership with Ikea around furniture assembly in the United Kingdom and also had marketed its workers’ ability to put together Ikea items in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The heads of TaskRabbit and Ikea Group: Stacy Brown-Philpot (left) and Jesper Brodin

The heads of TaskRabbit and Ikea Group: Stacy Brown-Philpot (left) and Jesper Brodin

Why it’s hot

Ikea has already shown that it wants to get serious about digital innovation with the launch of it’s Ikea Place AR app. TaskRabbit’s firm ties to Silicon Valley – with its CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot, a former Google exec and a board member at HP Inc. – will mark a larger step into tech space for Ikea.

Learn more: https://www.recode.net/2017/9/28/16377528/ikea-acquisition-taskrabbit-shopping-home-contract-labor

Dubai is building a mock Martian city


United Arab Emirates has announced that it’s building a 1.9 million square feet simulated Mars settlement. It will be called Mars Science City and will serve as home to interconnected domes housing various laboratories simulating the planet’s terrain. The team building the structure plans to use advanced 3D printing techniques and heat and radiation insulation to mimic the harsh environment of our neighbor.

Why it’s hot?
New start-up movement: The city will have labs to develop technologies that can provide future Martian colonies with food, water and energy.

Source: Engadget