Category: Consumer & FMCG (page 1 of 1)

Introducing Google Assistant, the Surveillance Interface (SI)

google assistant by techcrunch

A new kind of interface has surfaced over the past five years – artificial intelligence (AI) based ‘personal assistants’.

Apple Siri started the ball rolling, swiftly followed by Google Now, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa, and half a dozen others. But it now has a new apogee, a new sector defining moment, a revolution dressed up as evolution. The only thing more alarming than its instrusive, opaque, and society-altering capabilities is the way in which tech pundits have ladled out the accolades, pundits whose worldview appears as limited as a magpie’s regard for shiny things.

Google Now is now Google Assistant, and it comes integrated into Google’s first full-on (i.e. not just a reference design) mobile phone – the Pixel. Read more

CIPR Social Summer on mobile marketing

I'm not a fan of the iPhone, or iPad come to that (more later). But it wasn't until yesterday evening at the CIPR that I learned quite how manic some marketers have become. The following conversation won't be verbatim as I wasn't party to it, but it's a good representation of the story as I heard it last night from those who are having these conversations too regularly:


Marketer: We need an iPhone app?

Mobile marketing expert: Righteo. Why's that?

Marketer: Because they're really cool and cool's where it's at for our target demographic.

Mobile marketing expert: Cool, yes, and who's the target?

Marketer: Teenagers.

Mobile marketing expert: Do you know that iPhone penetration is just 4% in the UK, and that's only 0.5% amongst UK teenagers?

Marketer: Oh :-(


The Social Summer events bring all sorts of people together under one roof for a beer and a chat about specific interesting issues. On conducting a quick straw poll of the super collection of people last night, we had roughly an equal split of Blackberrys, iPhones, Android (mostly HTC) and 'other', making for an unrepresentatively high proportion of smartphones. Read more

PR and Web 3.0… a call to action


Four things struck me in 2009. They are part of a bigger picture that means that public relations practice is about to undergo another change that will be as great this coming decade as it experienced during the last decade...

1. Web 2.0 participation

I dislike the 90:9:1 ratio of passives:occasionals:enthusiasts with respect to the "write" part of readwriteweb. In other words, 90% of people online don't contribute anything, they remain passive consumers. 9% contibute content and interact now and then, and 1% are passionate bloggers, video makers, photo takers, wiki updaters etc. Read more

The increasingly crowded market of Social Web Analytics

In Brian Solis' latest post, Unveiling the New Influencers, he reviews the reasons for listening to the marketplace for clues about how your organisation is doing, how it is perceived, and how the same stakeholders might regard your competition.

If you like his post, then you may like my free ebook on the topic, The Social Web Analytics eBook 2008. Of course I recognise we've reached the first anniversary of the ebook this week (and over 35,000 downloads to date!), and it was time for me to post an update on the list of vendors I'm tracking. And wow is this market exploding.

(Brian lists some of these services in the section of his post titled "Listening + Conversation Management Systems".)

If you are looking to procure such a service, then my ebook will tell you what you might want to look out for, and the list of potential partners below is pretty comprehensive. If you would like my help sourcing the right tool at the right price, then do just get in touch. Being based in London, I cover Western Europe, so for those of you in the US the man you need is Nathan Gilliatt. Read more

We are one. We'd like to look like one, talk like one, act like one.

There is only one HSBC, one Nokia, one Ford, one Leica. That's fact. More important than fact, the customer only sees there being one.

Which is the straight forward unquestionable reason why it upsets anyone at all when we interact with a representative of a company, or have any kind of communication with a company, and the response effectively belies the fragmentation of the organisation, the fact that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing and actually doesn't care.

I put "they" in quotes, because we can learn two almost contradictory things from our use of this pronoun. First off, it indicates that we all recognise in natural language that an organisation is simply a collection of people. Just because the 20th Century bred organisations with tens of thousands of people making up "they", doesn't detract from the fact that it is still just people. Like you and me.

That's why we use "they" as the pronoun for a company more often than not in place of the grammatically correct "it".

Secondly, the "they" also indicates what's known as the reification of an organisation. In other words, we teach ourselves to consider the organisation as an entity in its own right, a thing, a tangible thing that lives and breathes of itself. We have abstracted it away from being the collection of individuals that it actually is. Read more

Tell us about an ad you've come across and loved today

This was the question I posed upfront at the Convergence Conversation I chaired last night. The topic of the conversation – “Advertising and the impact of convergence”, and a topic sufficiently compelling to attract 80 people on a summer’s evening.

Deloitte kindly hosted us, with Jolyon Barker, their Head of TMT, kicking off proceedings, and Knowledge and Research Director Paul Lee presenting an overview of their third “The state of the Media Democracy Survey”. One of the reports main findings is that, following a survey of 2000 Brits, 60% regard their computer to be the premier entertainment device, relegating TV to second place. Not an inconsequential finding for the advertising industry.

Which begged a second question “What is TV?”, and this garnered more responses than my first question of the evening, which went uncomfortably unanswered. How could such a simple question about describing a great ad, particularly when we have hundreds every day to chose from, draw such a blank response? (I've posted here one of a series of ads from Lloyds TSB that I loved because they tell a story rather than simply hit me over the head with a product.) Read more

Blinkx and you won't miss it – myChannel comes a step closer

I've just found out about the Blinkx and Miniweb deal from the Guardian's article "Blinkx moves into telly with new set-top box deal".

Blinkx is the rather astonishing video search engine that emerged from Cambridge University (with some confusing ties to Autonomy), and Miniweb is into "next generation TV" with their platform already powering set-top boxes in over 9 million homes according to their website.

Now you will be able to search through 35 million hours of video from your sofa. Cool, although you might be running dry as you approach your 4,000th birthday, although one would hope some more content will have been indexed by then.

But that's not the point.

Just over four years ago I posted a blog about "myChannel" which described a future without, effectively, any channels as we know them today. Or to put it another way, if there's 7 billion of us on this planet then there are 7 billion channels.  Everyone has their own.

myChannel will be created bespoke based on a customisable combination of four sources... Read more

Conversations start with something interesting to say delivered in an interesting way – Part 3



A yawn is never a good way to start a conversation. As the first two posts in this three-part series pointed out, the way you start the conversation is as important as the content (part 1 and part 2).

I've not tried to be exhaustive in describing some of the multimedia formats you might adopt in starting your conversation, and the posts to date have covered video, animation and a call-to-action microsite. I wanted to finish with an interactive website employing a game to draw visitors in to the key messages; draw them in to thinking about the issues; excite them about propogating the message.

Just needed to find one I really liked.

Fortunately, I was Haymarket Brand Media's guest at the Revolution Awards at the Grosvenor, London, on Friday evening (thanks again for inviting me Matthew), and now I don't need to look any further. Read more

End-to-end marketing: the possibilities of a new Internet protocol

We're just about to go through a complete renumbering of the Internet, and I think some marketing issues and opportunities will emerge along the way.

The way the Internet works today means that just less than 4.3 billion different Internet devices can be addressed uniquely... an address being just that, the unique identifier stating where packets of information are sent from and where they should go. So just as my work address is Building 5, 50 Brook Green, London, W6 7BJ, UK - a unique address at which I'm sure to receive anything you send me - my current IP address at this Boston hotel is

I know that because I just visited and they looked at the server I was connected to, grabbed the address and stuck it on their homepage for me. Try it. Read more