Monday, 15 December 2014

2015 predictions: all about more and less!

Like 2014..., 2015 will be the year that everything and nothing changes. It will be a year of contradictions… of opposites:
·        Everything will be the same but nothing will be the same
·        We will be even more closely connected yet less connected at the same time
·        We will become even closer but even more lonely
·        It may even be the year that social media gets exhausted
·        Everything will go faster but slower
·        We will want everything faster but we will want things slower.
That's what I think and that's what some of the top lists on the internet suggest...

Top trends for 2015 will include:

1 The Digital Stuff

Your digital footprint will be your most valuable asset
Customers talk and now they talk more than ever – what others say about you will be more important than what you say (advertising is dying). Natives naturally check out who says what about you and compare it with what you say and how you say it.

More, more, more 
Customers will want/demand/expect more of a 360 degree experience – more of everything… an immersive experience. 4D is better than 3D, etc… we will be expecting smell, taste, sound. Not just products.

Faster, faster, hyper-fast. 
Living in what Mack calls “the age of impatience”, customers expect more, faster and more conveniently than ever before. The consequence of this is that we become more impulsive – the logical extension of going faster.

Shoot ‘n’ Go
Pictures will replace 1,000 words.
Still and moving pictures will become their own currency. Everyone can shoot/edit/publish/distribute their own experiences, friends… in fact, anything that can stand in front of a smartphone will be shot. Everything will become increasingly visual: websites, adverts, communication.

Mobile technology changes everything 
Especially in emerging economies – it gives you access to health care, education, finance. It knows no boundaries. In the first world, nothing will be safe: everything can be (and probably will be) disrupted. Nothing is sacred. There will be an app for everything!

2 The ANTI-DIGITAL STUFF (in a kind of digital way)

Customer is King

The customer experience will become the new competitive battlefield
We will get one step closer to the idea that the customer is king. Companies that offer the basics (courtesy, speed, warmth, friendliness) and provide legendary service will be the winners in the long run.

Revenge of the Luddites
As a reaction to too many people literally living through their smartphone we might find the emergence of smartphone-free zones both socially and at work. It is time to get back to old-fashioned ways of communicating and connecting, like sharing a nice cup of tea or a walk in the countryside.

A Campaign for Real
There will be an increased sensitivity that will seek to differentiate between the authentic and genuine as opposed to the manufactured, synthetic, superficial and fake: food, TV, music, people, etc.

Being Mindful 
As a backlash to the hyper-fast world we now live in there will be a growing interest (probably an obsession) with all things peaceful, quiet and reflective.

As I said, everything and nothing changes. The problem is that the technology will fool us into thinking that we will be happier and more efficient. 

The bankers and the politicians and the media will still be the same.

The importance of love, the family and laughter will still be the same!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

2015 - The Year That Social Media is Exhausted

According to Mashable 2012 was "the year we exhaust social media." Or should it have been 2013!

Well it doesn't seem to have happened in 2014 so maybe in 2015???

I don't think that social media is dead ("deceased, no more" as in Monty Python) but as Mashable say, we are exhausted. Social/digital Exhaustion could become next year's catch phrase.

People finally realise that connecting or following, being followed (as a numbers game) or liking is meaningless unless there some purpose and some result. (See Twitter is For Losers)

I think the light bulb moment happens when you employ people and they appear to be playing on social media (while you are paying them to do so).

Now I don't deny the benefits of being open, pursuing random connections and so on. I love it. BUT we must not confuse activity (=wheel spin?) with business.

I am not the social media guru (see my ironically titled e-book I am not a Social Media Guru) but we have noticed that many of our clients have become fixated with activity and almost irrelevant vanity metrics when they need to get back to basics... 

So reflecting about the state of play... 

On the one hand, we have the social media zealots grabbing at the next new best thing universal antidote. 

On the other hand, we have the incredibly lazy marketing habits of the old school agencies (see Why Marketing is a load of B******s!) simply spending more in a naive attempt to interrupt and buy people's attention. 

What we do know...

What I do know is that there is:
- just too much noise and it is turning off a lot of people
- just too much "me-too" follower behaviour (buyers and sellers)
- not enough common sense engagement and connection
- a brilliant system (fast, quick, vast, cheap) to reach out and find and explore and share with others.
- tons of opportunity if you can just navigate your way through it all
- not enough time to do it all so a need for clear guidelines, prioritisation and time management!!!

But all of the above is obvious!!!

Or is Social Media just a red herring?

To be honest, I am starting to feel that the problem is actually not so much about Social Media and is more about about THE MESSAGE. Your message. (The channel/platform debate may actually be a red herring.):
- What exactly are you saying that is interesting? 
- Is it compelling? 
- Is it worthy of attention? 
- Is it clear and helping other to understand what you do? 
- And how can you help?

All the talk is about how you communicate and what works . (Maybe that's simpler than dealing with the basic "Why should people bother to buy from you?" question!) 

But if the message is broken (and let's be honest, most are) then you are simply wasting your time.

See 2012 - The Year That Social Media Became Exhausted

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Humans Need Not Apply

Humans Need Not Apply is a 2014 short internet documentary film, directed, produced, written, and edited by CGP Grey. 

The film focuses on the future of the integration of automation into economics, as well as the worldwide workforce. Grey released the film online through YouTube.

This video is really thought-provoking about the future of work, Not for future generations but for the younger generation. it asks some tough questions. It is compelling viewing.

Bruce Kasanoff of Forbes commented that the video was "sobering," and "suggests, in a convincing fashion, that many human jobs will disappear over the coming years, because automation will do them faster, better, and cheaper."

Will our jobs disappear?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Great British Entrepreneur's Handbook 2015

Delighted that I am a featured contributor in the brand new Great British Entrepreneur's Handbook 2015 - It is currently available as a print edition (£12.99) or on Kindle (free) from Amazon.

My chapter is entitled "The Changing Needs of Those in the Middle". It seems to have ruffled a few feathers!!! It starts:

The business development needs of small and large businesses seem to be catered for by coaches and big-ticket consultancies respectively. However, the market is failing to satisfy the needs of the directors of medium-sized businesses. 
This is a failure in terms of 
1) not giving clients what they really want and need, and 
2) missing opportunities to deliver consultancy that adds true value to the businesses of clients. 

What’s available to help the growing business is limited and inappropriate for the real needs of the client. Recent surveys and reports confirm that consulting firms and the business support industry as a whole are failing to deliver what growing entrepreneurial businesses really need...

Here is the blurb for the book:
The Great British Entrepreneur's Handbook 2015 shares the secrets of experienced entrepreneurs on everything from how to tell your business' story compellingly to the secrets of growing a business to the next level. With wit and wisdom, the personalities behind some of the leading firms and bestselling business books of today guide budding entrepreneurs through all the highs and lows of what it takes to be a business success.

Check out  the brand new Great British Entrepreneur's Handbook 2015 - It is currently available as a print edition (£12.99) on Kindle (free) from Amazon.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Simon Sinek: Start With Why

I implore that you watch the video above. Then the brief notes below will make sense.
According to Sinek, the fundamental difference between the "Apples" of the world and everyone else is that they start with "why." 
Sinek has developed what he calls the "Golden Circle," 
  1. Why - the core belief of the business. It's why the business exists.
  2. How - how the business fulfills that core belief.
  3. What - what the company does to fulfill that core belief.
Sinek found that most companies do their marketing backwards. They start with their "what" and then move to "how" they do it. 

See more at startwithwhy

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Metro recognises our fave brands: Madecasse and Bighams

Always delighted to see our favourite brands in the news.

Yesterday we saw not one but two of our fave businesses side by side in the London Metro.

Well done to the Metro for recognising truly great independently-run businesses. Businesses that I am proud to be associated with.