Tag Archives: karen boswell blog

Click to Predict

Last year eCommerce saw a rise in click to collect behaviour, pop up millennial hubs, drone deliveries, shoppable store fronts and mobile payment systems like Apple Pay leapfrog forwards. So what does this year hold?

Here are three things I think will start to take off:

  1. sCommerce: 2015 saw all of the major social players roll out their version of the ‘buy now’ button in order to bring shopping to the masses acting on impulse in social media around the world. The trend is set to spike into this year as the tracking of associated likes and comments enable brands to quickly grasp and react to what consumers want.
  2. Pre-cognitive commerce: Is the art of knowing what consumers want before they know they want it. In a connected world where immediate gratification is an increasing expectation, brands will need to be reactive more quickly, not to what shoppers ask for, but to what they may ask for next. 
  3. Truth-based purchasing: Technology has provided a level of connectivity that means brands will not be able to hide anything about their products in the future. Clothes will communicate with washing machines as to how they need to be washed, food will talk to fridges about when they’re going out of date, the national grid will talk to homes about when they are switching to ‘bad’ energy. The margin for creative license in communicating brand truths has narrowed further and will continue to do so.

I wonder who will get it right…

Keep-Your-Heels-Head-and-Standards-High-Coco-Chanel-Poster-Textual-Art-A89P389P1824

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In the beginning

We simply had our imaginations.

Then Thomas T Goldsmith Jr and Estle Ray Mann came along with the first interactive game, the ‘Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device’, developed in 1947, renowned for their simulation skills and not their wordsmithing, you’ll be glad to know.

Soon after, we saw a burst of simple interactive programs such as; ‘Mouse in the Maze’, ‘Bertie the Brain’ and Alan Turing’s ‘Chess’ capable of computing two way problems but not complex algorithms. This was shortly followed by ‘Spacewar’ in 1962; a two-player game where you try and destroy each other’s starship… arguably the first true video game, it took around 200 hours to code and was done by some students at MIT.

Where am I going with this?

Well, if we fast forward through the Odyssey’s and the varying intergalactic games to the Atari release of ‘Adventure’ in 1980 where we saw text adventure visualised, albeit crudely, in a plethora of dragons, monsters and sword slaying, through to the help of RAM and better joysticks into the world of Sega Dreamcast and NES where imaginary friends like Sonic and the Super Mario Bros helped us through the 90’s and into today, you’ll see my ramblings are leading to a pertinent question…

In a world where we now have technology that scans brain activity to read our minds, technology that creates worlds that don’t exist and technology that maps us to our surrounding climate, how long before we live in our imaginations, in a virtually real world.

Or, what if I’m already living in it and the world we think we live in is actually virtually imagined.

Wait, what…?Living inside my head

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Does your Ad Add?

Because if it doesn’t, then it’s just pollution.

Brands broadcasting their message online; from TV ads whacked on YouTube to tiny irritating banner messages (that are frankly a bit like an annoying buzzy mosquito), have been the advertising stance for too long.

Before you ask, yes, I hate banners. (Oh c’mon, when did you last click on one??).

Give me a brand genuinely willing to listen to their consumer, rather than trying to out shout their competition in a vanity exercise, any day of the year.

It’s refreshing when you finally get to ‘engage’ with someone in their moment of need online and help address that ‘Oh Crap, I just need to cook something quick, scrummy, yet healthy for the kids’ moment, or the ‘Bugger, my skin is rivalling a prune this morning’ moment… or the ‘What the hell is twerking??’ moment (yep, I’m in Google’s annual report for this one).

Taking that first step to move beyond an arbitrary KPI that doesn’t prove a thing, to owning a moment that lasts beyond the search result is the single bravest decision any brand can make.

So as a brand, are you ready? Not sure? Then simply ask yourself; as an individual, if you were a brand, what would you want people to say about you if you weren’t around to broadcast yourself?

The power of impression influences the conversation. Conversation is a two way thing. Oh, and it often happens ‘offline’.

Add, don’t Ad.

Think consumer first.

A Cool Add

This is a cool Add

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Content meets Commerce

I was presenting to the CEO of a leading global brand a couple of weeks ago, and was once again starkly reminded of just how divided so many businesses are from the advances in today’s (and tomorrow’s) technology.

One moment we were talking about the fact they still don’t have a cross platform infrastructure allowing them to take content to wherever their consumers are, and the next we were talking about closing the gap and speeding ahead with a technology solution based around Artificial Intelligence. A conversation which leaped around the room; rest assured the irony was not lost on me.

Sat at the table were two generations in ages, yet about six in technological terms.

The fact still remains though, that beyond theory and strategy, businesses across the world are still divided by their operational set up; one half mainly serving commerce and the other, marketing to consumers, and it is in this divide that nearly every client I speak to, struggles to truly step ahead. With one team tracking sales and demand, the other tracking website visits and consumer comments, it’s not surprising really.

To succeed as a brand and truly deliver a holistic experience touching every point of the digital journey a consumer goes on, can no longer be about great content on one side, and a commerce platform on the other… brands must provide the glue in the middle.

I believe this ‘glue’ lies within three key initiatives:

  1. Board members steering the middle management teams
  2. The commerce and marketing sides of the business coming together to provide a service that meets in the middle
  3. Content that differentiates and adds value

I also believe the biggest failure of brands being able to do this, stems from a lack of collaborative belief and belief in collaboration.

In other news, these guys produce super cool content… and this is a cool picture.

Cool Content

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PULS v Samsung Gear S

I’m not sure that ‘next generation’ of wearables is the right phrase for this as we’ve seen a constant stream of evolution in this area recently, but the two that I’m stuck between are Will.i.am’s ‘PULS’ and the Samsung Gear S.

The PULS can be partnered with a jacket that powers it, a backpack to play your beats and shoes that prompt you not to chomp on too many doughnuts (it measures your weight and has a built in pedometer). It also comes with an O2 sim in the UK, which is where it starts to cross into Gear S territory for me…

The Gear S is one of the reasons I’m holding back from getting the iPhone 6, that’s a big (bendy) phone going on right there, not a good look stuck in the pocket of my skinny jeans… whereas the Gear S is just as sleek as Will.i.am’s fashion led creation, also able to put me off doughnuts and seemingly comes with better connectivity through 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth, with the simple touchscreen interface and good ol’ QWERTY keyboard making life simpler still.

Maybe if Will.i.am can stream his amazing tunes as a service that would swing it…

will.iam.s' new smartwatch

Samsung Gear-S

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speccy 6 eyes

So the long awaited 3D TV is on the horizon with anticipated launch dates any time soon (samsung have a 10 day count down on their site as of today)

So what’s the hype all about? The first reviews are in and according to critics the idea is relatively positive and this is really the biggest thing since high definition. Park the flat picture, there’s an incredible depth to the image that sucks you into the drama making you feel a part of it, if you’ve seen Avatar you’ll have an idea of what the effects will be like (although developers are promising that this will be easier on the eye so you won’t get the headache that comes with it – bonus).

You’re looking at around £2-3k for something along the lines of a 50 inch Panasonic TC – P50VT20 but that comes with just one pair of active shutter glasses so everyone else gets the 2D version (unless you fork out an extra £100-£150 for each extra anticipated guest).

The main drawback at the moment is there’s very little 3D content available. Some TV’s will be accompanied by a smart 3D processor, able to take 2D content and convert it to 3D. This doesn’t deliver the clarity that you experience watching a 3D Blu-ray movie but it will mean you can take a step towards the 3D experience, unfortunately though most current experiences will be run from a demo disc… soooo how long until they’re a living room essential?

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