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Dark data keeps companies guessing

The new State of Dark Data Report reveals that, well, we don’t know very much about dark data. That’s why it’s named as such. While it is recognized that heaps of information are now being amassed by companies, the problem is that since it is collected in different ways, used for different purposes, and ends up in different places, it remains uncorrelated and unanalyzed. The survey of views from executives from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, China, Japan, and Australia explains why, as is, dark data remains only theoretically useful.

 

The report estimates that dark data represents over 55% of the totality of all information. The figure uses various metrics to attempt to account for the array of systems, protocols, people and IT devices used to collect data. Three-quarters of the executives asked agree that the institutions that collect and make use of the greatest amount of data will have heightened advantages that cannot be compensated for by way of other advantages. Data is king.

 

We’re trying; really, we are

 

More than half of the companies claiming to be “data-driven” in one way or another admitted that this phrase is more aspirational than a statement of actuality. On a related note, even in the early stages before artificial intelligence have really been established, 4 out of 5 industry professionals have expressed confidence that humans will remain central to AI applications. However, over 90% of respondents from companies said they are willing to develop and apply a new understanding of data. Only just over half are enthusiastic about having to do so. The only country where significant enthusiasm was generated on the topic, and which was seen as most advanced in understanding dark data’s potential, was China.

 

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And the innovators are…

Boston Consulting Group recently released its report “The Most Innovative Companies 2019: The Rise of AI, Platforms, and Ecosystems”. The companies at the top shifted slightly, and, ironically, are also those sometimes known for losing their knack for creative intentions.

 

Innovation means IT

 

The #1 position has been taken by Google, having replaced Apple at the top. The former #1 and new #3 has been in the news lately not so much for innovation and carrying on in the outside-the-box spirit of its late founder, Steve Jobs, but for a future focusing on streaming original series for fans of the brand. Apple has also been on the defensive in terms of sales of smartphones and other gadgets, with competition stiffening with the up-and-coming Huawei. The top 10 positions on the list of innovative companies were dominated by tech firms, which gives a good indication of how IT provides need to be on the ball and changing all the time, lest market shares and the advantages of leadership slip away. Just ask Nokia.

 

A Google will rise

 

Even the new #1, the world’s most famous search engine, will not impress everyone with taking over the top slot, as this can be seen as the inevitable position of a behemoth controller and provider of information that insists on getting its way. The king of SEO will be seen as innovative by size and influence alone, no matter what effects this may have on daily life, for good or otherwise. Amazon, an online good provider making bold plans for a whole new bricks-and-mortar shopping experience, placed second. Notable at #4 is bundling giant Microsoft, also no stranger of bullying competitors and customers with offers they can’t refuse.

 

Another fly higher

 

Meanwhile in other barometers of success, another firm worth mentioning is Singapore Airlines, which has long been the world’s most awarded airline. The carrier credits its successful campaigns and popularity with travelers by taking the approach that localization is hardly synonymous with translation, and that nuanced, contextual understanding of and respect for local audiences is essential in forging the right connections. The company’s latest tagline, ‘Making Every Journey Personal’ says it all about what happens when you live up to your own PR.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Content marketing that matters

For digital marketers, content is more than sum of its parts and SEO, of course. It’s also linked to integration. Ideally, good content spans departments, picking up the best contributions overall. Some marketing experts suggest interdepartmental teams meet regularly to get all the right verticals working in the best ways, cross-pollinating in ways that enhance the ability of any business or organization to share its key messages with others.

 

Content that virtually self-disseminates

 

With attractive campaigns and messaging that takes into account the main objectives of key experts and stakeholders, the content created and posted and shared companies and spread by influencers will resonate more naturally and be in a better position to achieve success.

 

Content as stories told well

 

This blurs the lines between news articles and videos and advertisements in ways that can more easily be capitalized on, when storytelling devices and keywords are synched in ways that add up to better, more memorable customer experiences. Indeed, the fullest interaction with buyers now involves feedback from and interaction with in ways richer than envisioned just a couple of years ago, now that social media application is becoming more sophisticated among digital marketers. And big data facilitates sharing of what customers want and value in terms of interest and bottom-line spending.

 

Content that keeps giving

 

A key component of content marketing today takes into account how buyers want more interesting stories, and generated from fellow end users, or through less overt advertising, and more of an entertaining but informative approach. For example, a car manufacturers will help customers stay up to date on the latest restaurants, travel hotspots and other destinations within reach by automobile. For public relations professionals, semi-promotional articles and soft sells that don’t explicitly promote products create ever-widening circles of sells friends and contacts whose products and services are more directly talked up in these articles, and who will remember you next time.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Who’s your CSR czar?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been with us for around a quarter century now, but is rooted in philanthropic concepts as old as time, which go to the heart of what society could or should be based on. The tendency to want to be seen as doing good and being fair-minded has long been a concern to leaders of businesses, nations and other institutions. Not least of which since it helps justify their continuing to retain power and influence, for – at least in their minds – the greater good.

 

The authority to help out

 

While CSR is still seen as secondary to the overriding purposes of many firms, it easily aligns with their overarching mission statements, which describe companies’ ideal societal impacts, beyond profits. At a minimum, companies facilitate the betterment of the lives of employees and their dependents. Meanwhile, governments tend to see themselves as providers or at least enablers of the SR part of CSR. But as big data comes about, transparency increases and bottom lines and product origins become more traceable, CSR in a wider sense of ethics increasingly affects not just local environments, but carbon footprints felt globally.

 

The Gen Z factor

 

People with little to know knowledge of the last millennium or life before smartphones are now coming of age, shopping online, and expressing tendencies to spend their money on companies they see as taking stands on issues and sourcing products and services in ethical, sustainable and documentable ways. Several multinationals like Netflix, Google and IBM have reached out to young consumers who have expressed interest in supporting companies aligned with their progressive, modern values. Many brands are shifting to move away from certain segments of the public and more overtly marketing and positioning themselves to take better advantage of new demographic realties.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Brilliant content! But is it effective?

Communications professionals are losing confidence in their own messaging. Less than 10 percent of digital marketers view their own content as effective, according to a new study. In order for clients’ aspirations to be realized, a more efficient delivery on key goals is desperately needed. But given the disruptive uncertainties in terms of what actual audiences are and what they want, confidence in the tracking and effectiveness of the messages reaching them is likely to remain low.

 

How influential are today’s influencers?

 

Although PR industry professionals, companies and customers all see the value of content marketing, and all the more in the age of digital information, the problem is making and tracking effective messaging.

 

Even in an era where big data is beginning to yield a stunning array of numbers, much remains a mystery. How successful was that clever campaign in driving a company’s impressive profits? What’s the correlation between lower ROI and another campaign from another company that looked cool but is still ultimately hard to track? Would profits have been even lower without that campaign’s messaging, or did it in fact drive profits? Marketers simply cannot clearly differentiate successful campaigns from less effective digital messaging, and rely too much on circumstantial evidence like customer perceptions. The percentage of marketers lacking confidence in the effectiveness of their content has nearly doubled from around one third just two years ago to nearly two thirds today.

 

From e-disruption to a world of innovation

 

As always though, opportunity knocks. To the integrated online marketing teams that can track and broadcast the effectiveness of their messages in reaching the right audiences and delivering desired results, great long-term rewards await.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Great PR potential in an Internet minute

Big data number crunchers have come through with an impressive snapshot of Internet life, rendered almost comprehendible by slicing and serving the online world up in one-minute slices. And it’s still a lot to digest. Digital marketers, take pause and consider what’s happening on a world gone online, and the potential for messages placed with the right audiences.

 

Billions and billions – messages, photos, and more screen moments

 

Just a few transactions shy of $100,000 spent across online shopping platforms. More than a million Tinder swipes. Googling over 3.8 million times for searches of all kinds. That’s what’s happening on the Internet every 60 seconds, on average. And that’s just for starters. The numbers are difficult to make sense of in there enormousness. Trends are towards even more Internet activity compared to last year, although there are some slower patches.

 

The websites we’ve welcomed into our lives

 

Netflix is on a tear, growing from 266,000 Netflix hours watched last year on average in a minute if you added them all up, to 694,000 this year. The number of emails sent every minute, while huge, only nudged upwards, from last year’s 187 million emails a minute to 188 million this year. Long-time video provider YouTube is experiencing slow growth as well, trickling up from 4.3 million viewers every minute last year to 4.5 million served in 2019. Meanwhile, the Great Snap Letdown of 2018 led to a decline of one-three million uses on the formerly rising application, who were displeased with a redesign that lacked mass appeal. It’s an online numbers game of great proportion, and the stakes are growing by the minute.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Keeping it real in a digital age

 

Digital marketers, you have your work cut out for you.

 

Consumers find the content generated by companies, less interesting, less authentic and less impactful on their purchasing decisions than advice given by fellow buyers, according to a new report by Stackla, a marketing platform that focuses on and user-generated content. The report, which says that 86% of consumers place a premium on authenticity, indicates vast differences between consumers and marketers.

 

Information being shared on products should ideally focuses on personalized experiences with brands, say nearly 7 out of 10 customers surveyed for the major report. But while 92% of marketers think their brands are providing the personalized content that buyers prefer, less than half of the customers themselves agree with this. Not surprisingly, customers are also over twice as likely to find customer-to-customer shared content interesting, compared to brand-created content.

 

Tell me a story, and keep it personal

 

The Stakla report also says that customers are turning to first-hand accounts on social media platforms for advice from fellow experiencers, shoppers, travelers and other buyers of various services and products. Nearly 90% of respondents would post about a positive travel experience, while 85% and 65% would do the same about a similar encounter with a restaurant or health/beauty product, respectively.

 

The chasm-like consumer-company disconnect is compounded by how consumers are 2.4 times as likely to think customer-created content is most authentic, while companies are 2.1 times as likely to think that brands are better at generating the most authentic content. The study indicates that nearly 80% of buyers say user-generated content affects their decisions whether to buy something. Compare that to with a paltry 8% who said the same thing about influencer-created content. That doesn’t sound very influential, actually.

 

Digital marketers, you have your work cut out for you.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Offline by nature in a world linked up

A significant chunk of big data is going unrecorded and marketing information untapped, while at the same time lifestyle preferences are pushed aside: China is less than a decade away from having a population in which a full quarter of the population will be over 60 years of age, according to demographic trends.

 

Sorry, there’s an app for that too

 

While the country continues its relentless pace of digitalization on all fronts, some seniors are balking at the perceived need to electronically attend to an increasing amount of tasks that just a few years ago were done almost exclusively in traditional ways. While day-to-day shopping and other needs have been simplified by electronic payment schemes in ways that developed countries have not implemented on so wide a scale, the catch-up is greater for elders caught on the old-school side of the digital divide. Banking, hailing taxis, booking tickets and accommodation when travelling, and ordering in restaurants are all examples of transactions now conducted easily and smoothly online for younger Chinese, and making functioning autonomously a significant challenge for seniors.

 

The Uninfluenced

 

Compounding the trend is the population’s skewing towards an ageing society, with many fewer couples opting for the economic investments required to raise a second child, even after the dramatic scaling back of the one-child policy.

 

And while information aplenty on all levels is being amassed on the habits and trends of younger buyers, elder Chinese stand having less known about what they are looking for, and providing information on the adaptations that might make meaningful differences in their lives, if known about.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

 

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Four of the social media trends that PR need to understand

Video is now essential

Scroll down your social feeds and you will probably see the sheer number and variety of videos posted or shared on there. It’s simply the most attractive, exciting and engaging form of media you can post. A lot of people worry that they can’t produce a video due to the prohibitive cost in terms of meeting high production value standards, but it’s really not necessary; the camera on a typical cellphone now has reached such a level that it is entirely adequate for shooting quick IG and FB posts. Just make sure the content is relevant, or if not, then at least make it funny.

 

What is the ‘90/10’ content rule?

The mix ratio here refers to the proportion split for your content in terms of balancing pushy, sales-y promotional stuff versus interesting, educating, helpful or consumer-useful (valuable) content. The 90/10 rule is heavily covered in social media marketing circles, but most companies seem to be unable to stick to it. Give up on the hard sell for a bit, and just offer people something they will like, rather than posting a call-to-action twice a day (this is fatiguing, and will result in lost followers).

 

Keep it brief

All captions should be short and creatively relay information. Infographics are a great workaround if you have detailed content that is too wordy to fit into the “140 characters, six seconds rule.”

Remember, constant consumption of social media for many hours every day makes people retarded, and in the words of Ron Burgundy, that is a scientific fact; so marketers must now work within the context of appealing to people’s considerably shortened attention spans.

 

Capture attention

Just as in real life, there are several ways to win the attention or affection of passers-by (or scrollers-by, in the digital domain). You can use handsome aesthetics, charm, wit, comedy, meaningful expression or deeply profound meaning; you can post topical thoughts on a recent news item; you could even use controversy to gather some onlookers. There is no particular preferred approach, so use everything at your deployment to develop a well-rounded content mix.

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