“I love advertising because I love lying…
I just want to enjoy the commercial….
We know the product is going to stink. We know that because we live in the world, and we know that everything stinks. We all believe, ‘Hey, maybe this one won’t stink.’
We are a hopeful species. Stupid but hopeful.
But we’re happy in that moment between the commercial and the purchase.
And I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-won earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy.”
–Jerry Seinfeld, 55th Clio Awards
Is disruption a myth? Is it a nice to have, a thing you’re supposed to do, or is it an innovative business driver? The Atlantic’s Justin Fox posits the question given the lack of significant market-changing technological leaps.
I tend to believe people are more entrepreneurial than ever, but are focusing that spirit within existing channels (namely online, in creating blogs/boards/etc, and through apps) or ways that can’t be directly measured (like the “innovative” way I fixed my rotting bathroom floor instead of calling a professional craftsman).
For brands and companies today, the bar shouldn’t be set as high as electricity and internal-combustion engines, as Fox notes below. Rather, I think self-disruption and diversification should be the cornerstone of every company looking to compete, grow and truly impact the world.
Key quotes from the piece:
But it’s also possible that a decades long accretion of regulation has come to weigh on new-business formation and growth; that for all the tales of Silicon Valley swashbuckling, most Americans have become more cautious and less entrepreneurial; or that—and this argument springs straight from Christensen’s keyboard—the pressures of the financial market and a preoccupation with corporate financial metrics have left most businesses “afraid to pursue what they see as risky innovations” and focused instead on cutting costs.
Still, some companies are pursuing risky innovations and disrupting established industries. Business publications are full of stories about them: Google and Uber and Amazon and Salesforce and Workday and many more. They just haven’t had a measurable impact on the overall economy yet. One group of economists says to give it a few years— the adoption of new technologies has always affected productivity in fits and starts, and the rise of smartphones and cloud computing and Big Data will show up in the numbers eventually. The other view is that today’s technological innovations pale in significance beside electricity and the internal combustion engine—they’ll have some positive impact, but growth will be slower than it used to be.
What these arguments share is the conviction that, however sick many of us may be of hearing about it, disruptive innovation is something we need more of, not less. We, in this case, means some abstract collection of current and future humans—not people with jobs that are about to get disrupted out of existence. The uneven dispersal of rewards from technological change is always a problem, and may be especially fraught this time around. But uneven progress still seems better than no progress at all.
So many good quotes about the current state of brand publishing, brand journalism, native advertising and content marketing here from FT. A must-read…
The invasion of corporate news: The lines between journalism and PR are rapidly becoming blurred as business interests bypass traditional media to get their message across
“People these days don’t care as much about where the story comes from as long as it tells them something,” says Tomas Kellner, a Columbia Journalism School-trained former Forbes journalist who now edits GE Reports.
General Electric’s online news site has evolved from a list of press releases to a virtual magazine using animated gifs, professional photography, videos and infographics (“all the different points of entry we used at Forbes”, Kellner notes) which features tales of innovation, science and technology from around the giant industrial group. Many are engaging and informative, and some – such as a feature on a Japanese indoor lettuce farm powered by 17,500 GE LED lights – get as many as 500,000 readers.
The Wall Street Journal’s newsroom is not involved in sponsored content but its commercial team tells advertisers it can “deploy sophisticated storytelling techniques in order to help brands create content-driven connections with audiences”. For some reporters and editors, this is tantamount to media being complicit in its own displacement. Yet few readers have protested.
For PR Week’s Barrett, this point is at the heart of the debate over whether “brand journalism” counts as journalism. “Is it news? At the end of the day, the consumer decides,” he says.
As trust in business has fallen, the appeal of telling stories that humanise companies has grown. The history of advertorials shows that brands have long wanted their advertisements to look like news, but as the subjects of news increasingly want to decide what counts as news, and as they get ever more skilled at doing so, they are posing a challenge to journalism’s traditional storytellers.
Appropriately, the challenge may have been summed up best by the words of their new digital competitor at GE: “Our content has to be as good as theirs, if not better.”
Definitely read the whole piece: The invasion of corporate news – FT.com.
“While technology provides headwinds, it also provides great opportunities to see past them and say, ‘OK, I can get on the other side of this and use it to my advantage.'”
Digital Music News has a great analysis of the emerging CPG crisis driven by the fact that many millenials are content without a car, home or status products.
Rather, new Harris survey data shows this audience group would rather spend their expendable income on “experiences.”
Specifically, 82 percent of the participants in the survey indicated they had attended a live event in the past year, and 72 percent said they would increase their spending on experiences in the coming year.
Big implications here.
When designers create a personalized news app, they aren’t just designing software. They are creating a platform that participates in constructing an idea of news. An app can give you exactly the type of stories you’re interested in soccer and marmots only, please or it can suggest and display stories that it suspects you should be reading. You can, if you want, design a personal service with a preference for positive news that also avoids negative terms, something which NPR reported Google was doing in its “experimental newsroom” during the World Cup.
A decision like this is significant, with wide-ranging and unanticipated effects, but it’s the latest moment in a long history of value driven news decisions. Newspaper publishers in the colonial United States were in a similar situation: “None of the early papers reached out to collect news; they printed what came to them.” Selection decisions gradually became norms of news production; they created expectations and responsibilities for journalists and publishers. Likewise, app designers are currently making choices that are reshaping our experience of everyday news reading.
Star Tribune: What would it take for you to buy a smartwatch?
Local tech enthusiasts discussed that at a Mobile Twin Cities group gathering the evening before Apple’s big announcement. In a room with 20 tech savvy people, only a couple had purchased one of the existing smartwatches on the market. (Here’s a nice side-by-side comparison of Apple Watch and some of its competitors.)
What made them hesitate? Price. Concerns about battery life and the hassle of charging. Durability. Doubts that a smartwatch can do that much more than a smartphone already does.
Nevermind that a large chunk of the population ditched their watches in favor of using smartphones to keep track of time. There’s this idea (in the tech community, anyway) that the watch is where it’s at.
Greg Swan, senior vice president for digital strategy at Weber Shandwick, pointed out that the smartwatch has been a cultural touchstone for decades. Dick Tracy, James Bond, the Jetsons, Penny from the Inspector Gadget cartoons. They all had smartwatches.
“We have this amazing dream and this cultural vision of what we expect watches to do,” said Swan, who started the discussion with a presentation, “Smartwatches: Past, Present and Future.“
After watching the Apple announcement, Swan put it this way: “The ability for consumers to pay for goods and services via phone or watch isn’t new, but with today’s Apple Pay announcement, it’s no longer niche.