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WPP announces that its wholly-owned marketing communications network, Ogilvy & Mather (Ogilvy), has acquired a majority stake in ARBA, a digital consultancy.

Founded in Hong Kong in 2012, ARBA offers bespoke digital design and software engineering services with a focus on sales acceleration and customer experience. It specializes in digital strategy and has strong expertise in the financial services industry. With a staff strength of more than 40, ARBA clients include FWD, Prudential, Hang Seng Bank and other financial and insurance providers.

ARBA’s revenues were around HKD 17.3 million, with net assets of around HKD 5.8 million for the year ending March 2017.

The acquisition advances Ogilvy’s existing capabilities in digital strategy and creative through the technical and production strengths of ARBA, which include enterprise mobile apps, responsive web and intranet, as well as CRM and predictive analytics.

The investment continues WPP's strategy of focusing on three key areas that differentiate the Group's offering to clients: technology, data and content. WPP's digital assets include companies such as Acceleration (marketing technology consultancy), Cognifide (content management technology), Conexance (data cooperative), Deeplocal (innovation studio founded as a spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University), Marketplace Ignition (Amazon-focused ecommerce), Medialets (mobile ROI measurement), Salmon (e-commerce), The Cocktail (digital consultancy) and Hogarth (digital production technology). WPP also has investments in a number of innovative technology services companies such as Globant and Mutual Mobile, as well as ad technology companies such as AppNexus, Celtra (creative management platform), comScore (data investment management), mySupermarket, Percolate, ScrollMotion and Within Unlimited (VR/AR).

Sunday, 14 January 2018 00:00

The science of igniting brand trust

Institutions that once stood for something are losing face in the wake of new-world phenomena like privacy infringements (e.g. the government’s collection of personal data from some top brands that we’ve trusted with it), as well as major media shifts that have exposed huge cracks in our institutions while simultaneously creating new ones. It’s citizen journalism, for example, that’s been responsible for holding brands accountable for major violations and public slip-ups. But this democratization of information has a dark side—most commonly manifest in the formation of online “echo chambers” and the dissemination of “fake news.”

One of the best times to invest is after a crash. While the erosion of trust carries inevitably negative market consequences, it also represents a rare opportunity for public leaders and brands alike, who understand its mechanics, to invest in new ways of building trust, and with it a sustainable competitive advantage. But how do you forge trust in this epoch of doubt? If we look to science for some answers, we find it all comes back to social connection—the means of which has evolved. These insights will help us understand how trust is cultivated and converted to influence at scale.

The trust-trigger in our brains

Many have studied the strategic advantages of engineering relationships between people and entities, particularly in the digital age. Professor Paul J. Zak, who popularized the field of “neuroeconomics,” has studied the effects of a trigger hormone called oxytocin on human behavior and physiology[1]. Zak and his colleagues have been on the hunt to uncover precisely how oxytocin may be influencing our everyday decisions and actions. According to their findings, oxytocin is part of an adaptive system that allows us to coordinate our behavior in social situations, and is central to the understanding of social relationships[2]. It is also the “social glue” that adheres people and communities, and, as such, the “economic lubricant” that enables us to engage in all sorts of transactions.[3]

In the context of branding and marketing, that last point can explain consumers’ willingness to invest in a brand, an idea, or a product/service. In a series of experiments with Fast Company writer Adam Penenberg, Zak was able to show that stimulating oxytocin levels in subjects actually increases individuals’ generosity towards others, as well as their charity towards organizations (by up to 48 percent, in one experiment)—proving that we’re more willing to actually transact when we’re experiencing a sense of connection. “If we can be induced to give more to a charity, well, it’s not that big a step to being induced to give more to a corporation, or a political party, or even a country,” wrote Penenberg. The implications, he concluded, “are both thrilling and frightening.”

Transmission via social platforms

While oxytocin plays a key role in common experiences of real-world connection—from parent-baby bonding to a casual hug—Zak has shown that social media interactions can also trigger the release of this trust chemical in our brains. In another experiment, 10 minutes of Twitter conversations with both strangers and his students raised Penenberg’s oxytocin levels 13.2 percent (equivalent to those experienced by a groom at a wedding), while lowering the stress hormones cortisol and ACTH by 10.8 percent and 14.9 percent, respectively. Zak explains that the brain can interpret tweeting as if someone is directly interacting with someone else that he or she cares about or has empathy for. E-connection, he asserts, “is processed in the brain like an in-person connection.”[5]. This means big things for brands, for whom social platforms represent a wide-reaching and intimate mechanism for forging and facilitating connections with customers.

However, the power of social stimulae should not be taken for granted: trust doesn’t manifest from a faceless tweet, it must be earned. The oxytocin-responses that Zak studied result from an actual social interaction—whether digital or analog. As Dave Hawley, Vice President of Marketing and Sales Development at SocialChorus, wrote in an interview with the American Marketing Association:

“The challenging part for marketers is to make that social media connection into a human connection, and not an automated or derisive connection,”

He writes about the related reward response—dopamine spikes— that we experience when sharing content, in expectation of a like, share, or repost. “The connection doesn’t happen because the brand wants you to say something nice about them or validate their point of view,” he explained. “It’s actually about validating the audience’s point of view. The goal should be for a brand to validate a person’s point of view about the brand or something related to the brand.”

Converting trust to influence, at scale

Just as social platforms enhance a brand’s ability to connect to people, they amplify people’s ability to influence one another. As such platforms grow, in both scope and purpose, so too has the practice of “influence” marketing. Penenberg’s early predictions support this trend:

“The speed with which social media can affect a company’s ‘trust factor’ may lead to a new focus on what Richard Laermer, CEO of RLM Public Relations in New York and author of several books on viral marketing, calls ‘horizontal growth’.”

The guiding principle behind horizontal growth is that happy customers can sell your brand to others better than you ever could. Rather than using social media as a forum for self-promotion, brands that hand the stage over to their customers and facilitate connections between people will win out, as those individuals advocate across their networks on their behalf. Building those connections relies on equipping people with powerful forms of storytelling, open forums, and real-time engagement. This is where key concepts like transparency and a brand’s “purpose” come in: your purpose can be something that people rally around to start or expand a social dialogue. The more that transparency and purpose guide your conversations and actions, the deeper the connection with people who share similar values, thus building trust, and generating horizontal growth through a network of trustworthy advocates. This new balance of power can be very positive and powerful for those who embrace customers as a key component of their marketing mix—and potentially destructive and embarrassing for those who don’t.

Why now

In today’s climate of reigning cynicism toward public leaders and institutions, brand trust plays a critical role in the procurement of new customers and the conversion of existing ones into believers, loyalists, and evangelists. “There will be a time when marketers need to understand the basic concepts of neuroscience,” Hawley predicted.

“They need to understand a little bit more about how the emotions of the human mind work, and how they can align their messages around it.”

Hawley speaks of a future that’s already here—but it’s about more than messaging, it’s about behavior. That means putting your customers at the heart of your marketing plan, and doing your due diligence to understand and keep pace with how they think. These brands will earn trust, win hearts and minds, increase share of wallet, and mobilize a crowd-in-waiting of like-minded individuals who will defend and promote the brand’s interests across their own interpersonal circles of social influence.






Sunday, 14 January 2018 00:00

Send a Live Video in Direct

You can now send live videos to friends in Direct. With a single tap of the Direct icon, you can send your own live video — or a live video you’re watching — to a friend or a group of friends to encourage them to join in the fun.

When you’re live, just tap the Direct icon at the bottom of the screen and send your live video to friends. You’ll also have this option when going live with a friend. Once sent, the recipient will see your live video in their Direct inbox. Friends can only view your video if you’re currently live. If your live video is over, your friend will see a message saying the video has ended.

If you prefer, you can disable the option to send your live videos in Direct in your stories settings. And if you have a private account, only your followers can view your live video.

As a viewer, you can send a live video to a friend in Direct the same way. While watching a live video, tap the Direct icon at the bottom of the screen and choose who you want to send it to.

Today’s change makes it easy to invite people to watch your live videos and send exciting live videos you’re viewing to your friends in real time. To learn more, visit the Instagram Help Center.

This update is available as part of Instagram version 26 available for iOS in the Apple App Store and for Android in Google Play.



Sunday, 14 January 2018 00:00

POV: CES 2018


The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has taken place in Las Vegas this week, drawing the world’s leading consumer technology brands all showing off their latest and greatest inventions.

Details and Implications

As always, there was almost too much to take in – AR, VR, AI, Blockchain, Roll up TVs, Nano technology and much, much more. Here were a few of the highlights:

Alexa Vs Google - The omnipresence of Google at CES is a marked change from previous years and the focus – Google Assistant – is a statement of intent. The entire city was draped in the words ‘Hello Google’. Digital ads, human signage, the branded monorail, the huge slide and ball pit (well it is Google) all focused on making it clear that Google Assistant is the future of voice, not Alexa. Googlers in branded jumpsuits could be found at every booth where there was a Google Assistant integration, so as you walked the show floor you had a clear visual indication of the extent to which Google Assistant is being integrated into future home, health, auto and entertainment tech. Alexa integrations were also huge in number, but much less obvious. The battle for the control of our homes, cars and lives through voice is well and truly under way.

China - Almost a third of the exhibitors at CES this year were Chinese companies - 1,300 of the 4,500 companies according to the Consumer Technology Association - and 500 companies had the word ‘Shenzhen’ in their name (that’s a tenth of all exhibitors). Well known Chinese companies like Baidu, Huawei and Alibaba were of course in town but were joined by new players such as electric car company Byton. At every turn you came across another Chinese company, some riding the wave of existing technology trends and others innovating into new areas. CES has always been primarily a tech show that was US focused, this year it felt more like a Chinese export show.

Beginning of the End of the Phone? - In isolation, the technology on the show floor is amazing and some products will go on to be huge successes. Combined, it’s just possible that they could change our lives. Wireless earphones / buds were all around – including those with built in AI to help with simultaneous translation. The Mars earbuds (from Korean company Naver) will automatically translate English, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, French, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian. They do this using an AI called Clova (owned by Naver parent company Line). Add voice control, phone calling and a host of other services and it’s a really smart product. Pairing these with one of the host of smart glasses at the show – all also with built in voice control and AI using Alexa, Google Assistant etc. and many also with HUDs (Heads Up Displays) built in for viewing content – and you could be getting closer to a future without the need to have a phone in your pocket, especially if you also add in a smart watch (there were hundreds). That body-based ecosystem can do pretty much everything you use your phone for today, barring watching content on a screen.


The show is growing – both in terms of visitor numbers (circa 180,000) and global reach (exhibitors came from over 150 countries). It may not be the place where you will see the latest digital innovation, but walking its floor you will understand the way the tech winds are blowing and where you should be able to take advantage. Expect the voice war to be long and loud and don’t rule out a big Chinese player getting in on the ecosystem war.

Source: Mindshare World

Recently, multiple instances have come to light about top private hospitals fleecing the patients. From overcharging for treatments to referring expensive medicines, many private healthcare facilities have come under the scanner. While the government is taking actions to discourage such malpractices, its vision of corruption free healthcare system is proving to be difficult. News18 India, through its sting operation, has exposed the deceitful practice of earning from medical insurance as well.

News18 India conducted a sting operation targeting private hospitals in NCR like Rama Hospital, Sonipat and Amrapali Hospital, Noida to name a few. The channel’s undercover team of reporters created a storyline of how their wrestler son, who has a medical insurance of 10 lakh rupees, was badly injured and treated in another hospital. While they incurred an expense of Rs. 50,000, they were not able to claim the money through insurance. With this narrative, the team went to various hospitals where the doctors and the management revealed how they can help them claim their money through various nefarious means.

News18 India’s team caught on camera many people talking about how the patients can get their mediclaim from the insurance companies and make money out of it. The doctors will admit the patient for 10 days on papers and will submit expensive bill to the insurance company. The doctors also revealed how they can also include fake diseases and injuries in the insurance claim to make it more realistic. The hospital authorities on camera that the money earned from the claim will then be divided between the patient, the doctors and the mediators.

Though people might think that these fraudulent practices do not affect their health but they forget that they will have to bear the cost of increased premiums if the insurance companies incur losses. Through Operation Lifeline, News18 India’s team reveals how rampant corrupt practices such as these are bound to have negative consequences for the common man. New policies and laws can be made but the ground reality is a far cry from completely solving the corruption issue.


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