Brands had 6 years to understand how to tell chronological stories in social, thanks to Snapchat. “Stories” are now a mainstream social content vehicle, just like photos, videos and prose.

Facebook hasn’t yet said when this will launch for brands, but we should anticipate it will.

So ignore the Snapchat clone discussion. It’s time to apply that learning on Facebook!

The Instagram community has shown us that it can be fun to share things that disappear after a day, so in the main Facebook app we’re also introducing Facebook Stories, which lets you share multiple photos and videos as part of a visual collection atop News Feed. Your friends can view photos or videos your story for 24 hours, and stories won’t appear on your Timeline or in News Feed unless you post them there, too.

To add to your story, tap on the “Your Story” icon in the Stories bar at the top of News Feed.

 

Source: More Ways to Share with the Facebook Camera | Facebook Newsroom

Good reminder from Dave Knox

While the largest companies were trying to figure out how to use digital as a new advertising tool, a new generation of companies and brands was being started by entrepreneurs that viewed digital as a business model that would give them an advantage versus the scale and budgets of their much larger competitors.

In the old world, brands competed with each other head-on, whether that was trying to win at the First Moment of Truth with the largest share of shelf or creating the television ad with the most buzz during the Super Bowl. In this new high-stakes game of business, startups have decided to throw out the old rules. They are not attacking their competitors head-on.  Instead, they are disregarding the conventional wisdom of industries and in many cases, redefining markets along the way.

In the same way that the majority of today’s Fortune 500 were born in the era of mass media and mass retail, these new rivals have started with digital at the core of their business model.

It is no longer a battle of Goliath vs. Goliath where everyone is playing with the same cards and the same set of rules. Instead, brand leaders need to evolve to thrive in a game of business where the competition is fluid and new players can emerge seemingly overnight.

Source: The New Ways Established Brands Do Battle With Startups – Adweek

I’ve been hearing rumors about this for nearly a year, including multiple off-the-record discussions with people in the know.

Apple will be launching an augmented-reality phone this fall, and AR-glasses (if not this fall, in 2018).

Imagine Google Glass + Microsoft Hololens + Snap Spectacles, at an affordable price point and with functionality within the iOS ecosystem.

At SXSW earlier this month, my friend Robert Scoble told me, “It’s insane we’re at the biggest interactive conference in the world, and nobody is talking about Apple. A year from today, this is all anyone will be talking about.

Brands who aren’t experimenting with AR today will be behind when Apple goes all-in with AR later this year. The time to start is today!

Apple is working on several AR products, including digital spectacles that could connect wirelessly to an iPhone and beam content—movies, maps and more—to the wearer. While the glasses are a ways off, AR features could show up in the iPhone sooner.

Over time, Munster says, AR devices will replace the iPhone. “It’s something they need to do to continue to grow,” he says, “and defend against the shift in how people use hardware.”

Augmented reality is the less known cousin of virtual reality. VR gets more attention because it completely immerses users in an artificial world and has an obvious attraction for gamers. So far, however, headsets like the Oculus and HoloLens are niche rather than mainstream products. Apple believes AR will be an easier sell because it’s less intrusive. Referring to VR headsets, Cook last year said he thought few people will want to be “enclosed in something.”

Source: Apple’s Next Big Thing: Augmented Reality – Bloomberg


For more than 20 years the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival has catalyzed creativity, technology and innovation for thousands of global attendees each March in Austin, Texas.

SXSW was the birthplace of emerging user behaviors like the digital backchannel (Twitter), geolocation wayfinding (Foursquare, now Swarm), group chat (Beluga, now Messenger) and social streaming (Meerkat, now Facebook Live). I’ve attended 11 years, presented four times, and now serve on the SXSW Advisory Board, helping develop programming that ensures our thousands of attendees get an experience that leads up to the conference’s legacy.

Last year, space150 hosted a panel on Deep Web and Dark Social (CBS News coverage of our panel), focusing on the changing habits of users sharing more 1:1 and using chat apps instead of public social networks. A year later, that POV proved to be extremely fortuitious, and “dark social was mentioned in any panel that covered social media in 2017.

This year space150 was again excited to produce a panel focusing on emerging consumer behaviors and technology. This one covered the evolution of consumer engagement through emerging consumer tech products, namely Snap Spectacles.

We highlighted our case study in using two of the first pairs to: 1) introduce Spectacles to pro sports for the first time with the Minnesota Wild, and 2) partner with Nike to bring POV trick shot footage through Spectacles to the NBA All-Star game, and more.

Our Chief Innovation Officer, Marc Jensen, and I also attended keynotes and sessions, explored brand activations, and participated in VIP preview events throughout the week.

We have prepared a full presentation on takeaways from the event — specifically covering the future of VR/AR/360, artificial intelligence, innovation labs, and the future of mobile behavior.

If you’re interested in seeing our presentation, hit me up!

spectacles minnesota wild

I’m excited to share our panel at South by Southwest 2017 — Game Changer: Spectacles Come to Sports, telling the story of how we got one of the first pairs of Snapchat Spectacles and partnered with the Minnesota Wild and Sports Illustrated to explore POV storytelling.

On Thanksgiving Eve, the Minnesota Wild became the first pro sports team to incorporate Snapchat Spectacles into their social engagement strategy, ushering in a new era of tech-fueled fan engagement worldwide. But we’ve seen POV video experimentation in social and wearable media before (Google Glass, GoPro), and it can be difficult for marketing leads to weigh the next big thing with approved content strategies and strict league policies. What is a game changer and what’s just a fad? Join digital leads from the Wild, SportTechie and space150 for a conversation about what’s next in sports tech media, stadium experiences, and fan engagement.

We present on Monday, March 13 at 2 p.m. 

IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME ATTENDING SXSW?

In 2014 I curated this extensive First-timer SXSW advice from the Pros post that’s worth checking out if you’re a newbie this year. Lots of good insights there from a host of friends who attend each year. Otherwise, my must-do’s are below…

Greg’s advice for first-time SXSW attendees:

  • Seek out the smartest, weirdest, most disruptive topics and experiences you could not get back home.
  • Do not go to any of your own company or client’s sessions unless you absolutely must. It’s a wasted hour.
  • Do not go to any sessions that are essentially case studies you could read about online.
  • Do not go to any sessions where you yourself could be on the panel.
  • Do not to go any sessions with a movie, television or social media celebrity.
  • If a session sucks, get up and walk out immediately. You picked the crappy session, but you don’t have to sit there for an hour being pissed.
  • Go to everything early, and expect to wait in line.
  • Bring battery backups for your devices.
  • Eat a big breakfast.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Bring a jacket that can tolerate rain.
  • Network like crazy. Don’t hang out with your crew from back home. Meet and befriend creatives, innovators and disrupters.
  • Eat a good dinner each night. Make dinner reservations in advance and invite strangers you meet during the day to hang out and process after the sessions wrap.
  • Spend a day when you get home processing, writing and sharing your takeaways (and formally connecting with the amazing people you met).
  • Lastly, if you aren’t willing to put in the effort for an amazing experience, stay home next year and complain about it on Twitter with everyone else. And maybe rethink your career track.

Want to hang out? Best way to hook up is text — 612-845-1020.

See you in Austin!

I am a futurist, and I am actually pretty good at it, as I am old enough now to know that the things that make me happiest are always surprises. I’ve had a bunch of people work on robots for my entire adult lifetime. I have a robot in my basement, and he is my best pal. I know what he smells like. I am not surprised by him. And I don’t jump up and down for joy because I have a commercial robot in the basement of my lab. It is just reality. What really interests me and surprises me is stuff that’s completely off the wall.

Advanced technology is not always going to seem good the first time, it’s like clouds and silver lining: every silver lining has a cloud. I am a guy in a computerised generation. I know it is not going to be perfect. A tree is not going to grow to the sky. But something else is going to happen.

Source: Automated Amenities | DisegnoDaily

See how, interestingly, if you combine information & function & visual form without story, you get “boring”. Something that looks good but isn’t that interesting.

Similarly, if you combine visuals, information & story without considering functionality and your goal, you get something useless.

Source: What Makes A Good Data Visualization? — Information is Beautiful

We waste so many days waiting for weekend. So many nights wanting morning. Our lust for future comfort is the biggest thief of life.

Joshua Glenn on contentedness and lust for future comfort

 

The NYT Innovation Report in 2014 was so raw and smart and poignant I literally took my clients brand names and swapped them with “NYT” and walked clients through the analysis as if it was their own digital/content strategy assessment.

Today, the NYT released its latest version of that report, and although it’s less dire and impactful than the 2014 report, it remains an important read for us students of storytelling, media and how humans get their news.

Key quotes from the Poynter summary:

  • The New York Times will dedicate $5 million to coverage of the Trump administration’s effect on the world.
  • A dozen new visual-first journalists are coming aboard. By the middle of the year, each major news desk will be paired with a deputy editor that has a “full range of creative skills” to promote non-traditional storytelling.
  • Major stories will be tackled by thematic teams — departments be damned.
  • Create (another) innovation team: “We can’t pursue every idea; but we must pursue some of them. Every corner of the newsroom has ideas for what those should be, but they don’t have enough places to pitch them. We will form a new team to solicit those big ideas, and bring the best of them to life. We believe this team can help foster a culture of innovation and experimentation across the newsroom, and can encourage journalists to think beyond their current beat.”

Read the 2017 report here.

(cross-posted from the space150 blog)

We recently attended CES 2017 in Las Vegas. This year, our annual pilgrimage to tech’s biggest showcase underscored a lot of what we’ve been exploring at space150 in 2016, including voice-enabled devices and VR, but in many instances set the stage for new exploration in 2017. From a new definition of sensory perception to diverging definition for the future of mobility. One thing was clear – 2017 will be exciting.

Below, please find trends we’re watching in 2017 and beyond following CES:

Assistance Through Assistants

While a decade ago, cameras and photos were the function that drove tech, today, microphones are the new cameras. More and more, on-demand, voice-enabled is becoming mainstream. Amazon and their Alexa won CES, and they didn’t even have a formal presence.

While this may mean some very useless and rudimentary experimentation with voice assistants in the short-term, we also saw some gems. Whirlpool, for example, announced appliances that respond to your voice (via Alexa), as did Ford. GE also rolled out voice-enabled appliances. The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly practical and affordable, and no where are voice assistants more logical than when built into these systems. I think about my kids who have an expectation for touch screens – but this lays out a future that is much more on-demand. Imagine your child’s first word is “Alexa” or “Ok, Google”.

There was also a lot of buzz about the over complication of consumer devices by making them IoT-capable. Does a hairbrush or clothes iron need an app? Not today (although those products also launched at CES 2017). But the more data we have and greater connectivity of our lives, the more possibility advertisers have to truly understand how consumers act, use products and understand messages. Today, I can ask Alexa in my kitchen to start my car or how much gas is left, and that would have seemed ridiculous five years ago. Now you can turn on and check the status of your iron, coffee pot and crock pot the same way.

What does this mean for brands? As agencies and marketers, we need to help brands think through how screenless and voice-controlled interfaces so that we can add value to the consumer. What is your consumer’s experience with your brand using solely their voice, and how can you provide value day-to-day for them by connecting your existing apps, databases and your knowledge of them? At space150, we launched an Alexa Skill in December, and we’re still learning from that as we build these for clients — interaction design, tonality and more. 

Adding New Senses to Experience Design, UX and Products

On that note – and in addition to Voice, at CES we saw a significant amount of innovations in audio, gestures and haptics. More and more we saw the idea of going beyond the touchscreen to actually bringing feeling to our digital lives. This isn’t smell-o-vision. These are screens and air gestures we can genuinely feel as if they are physical objects.

We saw haptic (touch) technology coming to  shoes, shirts, dashboards, TVs and touchscreens. One of the more interesting demos we saw was Tanvas, which wants to add the ability to feel texture on a touchscreen with a new haptic feedback technology rooted in ultrasonics. Imagine a world where a haptic forcefield could keep your fingers away from hot surfaces such as an oven. That was a demo, and it was impressive (assuming you can keep bacon grease out of the tiny speakers). We also saw VR shoe demos designed to give the wearer the feeling of rough or wet texture. It’s early for this technology, but it’s certainly an area we’ll be monitoring. 

For brands, this mean that we need to start thinking about senses beyond sight and designing for touch. Textures, gestures and feelings will dramatically change how we think about user experiences and how our customers interact with our content, apps and products. 

VR Entering the Age of Inside-Out Enlightenment

Every single major brand (auto/electronics/home/IoT/drone/photography/etc) had some type of VR, 360º or AR experience in their booth this year to tell their story to attendees using immersive media. Most of the experiences were rudimentary and focused more on using VR/AR technology to build a line at the booth versus telling an amazing story using this new medium. But that wasn’t the story worth telling this year.

The biggest VR product launches worth noting at CES 2017 were: 1) Wireless VR coming thanks to new HTC Vive options, and 2) Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Power Rangers Demo, which shows the true future of inside-out VR — powered by your phone, not a helmet hooked to a powerful computer. Think Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream except it’s six degrees of freedom. This is truly walk-around VR, not 360º video or just up/down/left/right controls.

This is the future of VR/AR — wireless experiences powered by your phone, and we caught a glimpse this year. And although it’s early days, the future of these experiences will be mobile. But the technology is going to take time to get there, from hardware to software to the developer kits that make them run. Marketers should focus on how to tell stories people care about with this new tech as part of their toolboxes. Inside-out, mobile VR is only going to grow, but the only way to be ready for the future is to understand where we’re at today.

Autonomous Cars are on a Mainstream Collision Course

One of the more interesting anecdotes we heard at CES this year was from Shelly Palmer, who advises companies like Verizon on innovation. He relayed a story about Ford CEO Alan Mullaly at CES in 2012 who said at that time that, due to risk and regulations and insurance and human nature, we would never see autonomous cars in our lifetime. But here we are five years later and CES was aflame with autonomous, self-driving and assisted driving innovation.

This year, every major automaker was showing off self-driving templates, sensors, and technology that envision a much different future than what Mr. Mullaly claimed in 2012. In fact, Ford has now announced production of a fully autonomous ride-sharing fleet by 2021. The competition fierce with each company taking a different path. However, what was clear is that driving as we know it now looks much much different in the future. It will change very drastically in the coming years, and every single car company at the show (including Honda, their first year) was showing off their take on this emerging tech.

For brands, we are at the beginning of a post-ownership and post-human-driver age, and that’s worth noting. Volkswagen painted a picture (via VR demo) of all the free time consumers will have in their vehicles when they don’t have to concentrate on driving. This means brands will have new moments to capture a consumer’s attention and new considerations for when, where and how we can engage them with a brand message during this downtime. It also means smart brands are going to starting thinking about this tech ecosystem early to be prepared.

Robots Are Real

One of our least favorite “trends” this year was the continued infatuation with anthropomorphic robots — or robots that look and act like humans.

The media coverage coming out of the show seemed fixated on some examples of robots that walk like us, play chess like us, follow us around and read to our kids. In our opinion these are a distraction from some of the more innovative ways that AI and computer-assistance are really positioned to improve our lives. Because, the robots — machines capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer — are already here. They’re in our pockets, our cars, our homes and workplaces.

We’re seeing less desire year-over-year for C3PO-style, Rosie The Robot-style tech, and believe brands should instead be laser focused on creating intelligent systems that tie to the cloud and improve our lives.

How Brands Told Stories in Unique Ways at CES 2017

Finally, we saw some tremendous brand storytelling that tapped into emerging tech at this year’s show. Specifically, we would call out a few brands:

  • American Express (client) used CES as an opportunity to unveil an Escape Room for visitors with branded clues.
  • Meanwhile Intel used AR/Hololens tech to showcase storytelling with “invisible” technology.
  • Finally, leveraging the upcoming Power Rangers movie, Qualcomm used CES to create buzz for its new inside-out VR tracking, using a Power Rangers helmet.

Check out our video run-down below. We shot the whole thing using Snapchat Spectacles for that POV feeling. Based on the trajectory of the trends we saw, we expect 2018 to be an even more innovative year for CES. 

What’s Next?

Join space150 for Excited for Change: 2017 Trends for the Modern Marketer in Minneapolis on January 8th. Our VP of Brand Innovation, Greg Swan, will be leading this MIMA panel with leaders from Land O’Lakes Inc., Thomson Reuters, Fjorge and Regis for a forward-looking discussion on 2017 trends, what’s next, and how to avoid fad fatigue in 2017.

Tickets available here.