Uber has been forced to halt trials of its semi-autonomous vehicles in San Francisco. Californian authorities have revoked registration of its 16 cars, making their presence on the roads illegal. Apparently, Uber had not applied for test permits required by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Topical tip: Unless you are managing a substantial brand, it is unlikely that your customers are scattered across numerous social media platforms. In order to make the most of presumably limited resources, consider finding the single channel that is best populated by your ideal prospects and concentrate most of your efforts there.
Social media adverts for food and drink high in fat, salt or sugar and aimed at children are to be banned in the UK from next July. The new rules will apply to all non-broadcast platforms where children make up 25% or more of the audience. The move is a result of recent consultations held by the Advertising Standards Authority and operators such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Google has confirmed that it will build a £1 billion headquarters in London, adjacent to its base near Kings Cross. Chief executive Sundar Pichai was reported in ‘The Guardian’ as saying Google is “committed to the UK and excited to continue investment in our new Kings Cross campus."
Topical tip: Virtual reality should create an experience that is clearly removed from reality, yet as indistinguishable from reality as possible. It has to be a convincing illusion.
Supermarket chain Morrisons is bringing back the Safeway name, 12 years after it disappeared in a £2.9 billion takeover. Safeway will be the brand name for a range of food products that Morrisons plans to sell to independent retailers.
Budget airline easyJet has announced it will set up an operating company in mainland Europe, in case it cannot keep its current, full-access flying arrangements after the UK pulls out of the EU. It’s annual trading figures have been published, showing a 27.8% reduction in profits and 0.4% lower revenue.
Broadcaster Channel 4 has unveiled plans for revitalising the All 4 on-demand platform, expanding into new content areas and making a multi-million pounds investment in original and acquired material. This is to capitalise on the growth of connected TV viewing, typified by Amazon and Netflix. Additionally, it intends to increase the number of All 4 brand-sponsored programmes.
Topical tip: Partnership marketing is earning its position in the overall marketing mix as a profitably engaging and innovative tool. This is where brands are brought together to co-create communications that can have extra effectiveness for their businesses and be more compelling to consumers.
The Economist Group has acquired London-based data design studio Signal Noise to aid the expansion of its content solutions business. Elena Sukacheva, a divisional managing director at the Economist Group, said: “Signal Noise, with its mix of technical and creative talent, will enable us to step up the innovative and disruptive quality of our visual data storytelling."
LESS OF A DEAL
UK supermarkets are continuing to cut in-store promotional deals. According to Kantar Worldpanel, grocery brand managers are reverting to simpler pricing structures, away from promo and multi-buy offers, which are at their lowest for six years.
The 'Daily Telegraph' is dropping its metered paywall in favour of a £2 per week paywall for premium content. This will consist of the work of columnists, exclusive interviews and in-depth features, equivalent to between 15% and 20% of online output. Most general news is to be made free to view.
SEEING AND HEARING
Topical tip: A most important aspect of any webinar is making sure that your audience can see and hear the content: otherwise, it will be a non-starter. Test every webinar element before the event and have a back-up plan ready.
Now, internet service advertisers in the UK must reveal inclusive up-front and monthly costs and not separate out line rentals from other charges. They must give prominence to contract lengths and after-discount pricing. The chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, said: “The effect should be a real positive difference in how consumers understand and engage with ads for broadband."
Speaking at an Internet Advertising Bureau conference, footballer turned sports presenter Gary Lineker said that the BBC’s Premier League show ‘Match of the Day’ could cease to exist if the costs of broadcast rights continue to soar. “Tough times at the BBC and it is an expensive game,” he warned.
Topical tip: Most businesses advertise but few do enough of it to a sufficiently high standard. Adverts can work remarkably well, provided that you quality control the input as well as the output.
Broadcaster ITV plans to cut 120 jobs, spread across all UK departments. The company pointed to “a time of political and economic uncertainty in our key markets."
Campaigns and lobbying group UK Music has released the findings of its annual study of the music industry and related customer behaviour. It found that streaming services grew by almost 50% to £251 million last year, while sales of digital albums were down 12.5% to £175 million. The music industry is worth £4 billion to the UK economy, apparently.
Andrew Higginson, chairman of the UK’s Morrisons supermarket chain, reckons that customers’ cynicism towards brands will drive up advertising standards. Customers are “the smartest people on the planet”, he told a recent international conference in the Barbican, London.
Topical tip: Three main forces underpin a majority of advertising budgets at smaller enterprises: evidence of its effectiveness, the threat presented by competitors, and an inbred belief in the benefits of adding value to the brand.
BT is preparing for a brand shift sometime in 2017 that will include its first logo change in 13 years. A trademark application shows ‘BT’ in a simple sans-serif font, within a circle of transitioning colours. If adopted, the logo would be the fourth version since privatisation in 1984.
Unilever is launching a sustainability campaign aimed at showing consumers how its brands are “already building a brighter future” and making a positive impact worldwide. The chief marketing officer claimed: “Brands with a purpose are at the heart of Unilever.” His group’s five biggest ranges are Knorr, Dove, Persil, Lipton and Hellmann’s.
Topical tip: Your Linkedin network is only as valuable as the strength of your connections. When you want to connect with someone new, be sure to personalise the message you send and explain the benefits of being linked.
Apple plans to move 1,400 employees from its eight sites around London to new headquarters in the former Battersea Power Station. The main European office will stay in Cork, Ireland.
Last year, online fraud led to five million UK shoppers needing to cancel their bank cards. That’s according to a new poll by Populus for Comparethemarket.com. Average losses are £475 and only one in every 650 online frauds has resulted in conviction.
NOT A DROP
Heineken has reinforced its commitment to encouraging responsible drinking by using former motor racing star and safety pioneer Sir Jackie Stewart in a powerful new advertising campaign, “When you drive, never drink.” The launch was at the 2016 Italian Grand Prix, spearheading Heineken’s new Formula 1 global partnership.
Media planning and buying mega-agency Carat has reported that the UK advertising spend for 2016 is likely to be up by 5.4% and not the 6.2% forecast earlier. Despite this expected growth slowdown, the UK remains the top advertising investor in Europe and fourth globally.
Topical tip: With marketers seduced by new and innovative channels, established methods can be neglected. Email marketing is still an outperformer when handled skilfully, capable of providing impressive return on investment and a base for positive customer relations.
BITE OF THE APPLE
FC Barcelona, Spain’s champion football club, has opened a store in Park Avenue, New York, to help accelerate its commercial growth, in accordance with the business target of achieving €1 billion turnover within five years. The club already has a series of US sponsorship deals, including with Black & Decker, Gatorade, Gillette and Nike.
LOOK AND FEEL
Alcopop brand WKD, owned by SHS Drinks, has rebranded ahead of its twentieth anniversary, after research showed that a new look and feel would better engage its target audience of 18 to 24-year-olds.
DIGGING FOR GOLD
Discarded mobile phones and other consumer electronics could be the source of the next Olympic medals, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics organisers looking at the possibility of gathering the necessary materials from waste.
Topical tip: Irrespective of quality, web content that is inappropriate or targeted sloppily is unlikely to be seen. Even if noticed it has little chance of prompting action. In this age of search marketing, personalisation is paramount.
The ‘Facebook Offers’ discount and promotions page has been reworked to provide a better mobile experience, at the same time giving it more variety for advertisers and simplifying how users keep track of offers.
The latest independently audited circulation figures for ‘The Spectator’, covering the first six months of 2016, show a rise to an average 76,750 per edition. That is the biggest circulation in the magazine’s 188-year history.
The Chinese government has altered advertising laws in its country to effectively ban the use of superlatives. Brands will risk substantial fines for describing their offerings as ‘best’, ‘highest’, ‘supreme’ or ‘national level’, the latter being a much used Chinese expression.
A SINGLE CONCEPT
Topical tip: Any marketing consultant worth his or her fees will help you to concentrate on a single attribute to represent where and how you want your brand to be positioned.
Supermarket chain Tesco is to introduce its own mobile payment service, PayQwiq, by the end of 2016. Shoppers will be able to connect credit and debit cards to the PayQwiq app and make payments by scanning QR codes displayed on screen.
Six major newspaper groups in the UK are running a feasibility study into setting up joint advertising sales. DMG Media, Guardian News & Media, News UK, Northern & Shell, Telegraph Media Group and Trinity Mirror are in talks about the centralisation of data and a sales venture that would cover print, digital and mobile.
STAY IN CONTACT
Topical tip: Although journalists are bombarded by online information channels, they still prefer to rely on personal contacts and press releases for stories and news leads, so stay in regular contact with those serving your business sector.
Barclays Bank is introducing voice validation which it says will remove the need for passwords and security questions during caller-based actions. The system analyses around 100 voice characteristics to recognise each customer who uses telephone banking.
Focusing on revenue over volume, Coca-Cola’s recent strategy of pushing smaller bottles and cans at premium prices has lifted margins for the second quarter of 2016. Quarterly revenue, however, has slipped by 5% to $11.54 billion.
Sir Winston Churchill was a longstanding member of the Institute of Journalists, dating back to the early twentieth century. His membership number was 342. The growth in numerical strength of the now Chartered Institute is underlined by the fact that when Alan Page joined in 1972 his number was 30,012. Nowadays, CIoJ members are drawn from more than 30 countries.
Topical tip: Make it crystal clear what is in it for them, preferably from the outset and in as few words as possible. Then spell out what you want them to do next.
BOOM TO GLOOM
Yahoo, at one time valued at $125 billion, has agreed to sell its core internet business to telecoms giant Verizon for $4.8 billion. Verizon bought the AOL media corporation in 2015.
The National Farmers’ Union is challenging supermarkets over their use of fake farm brand names. It has lodged a formal complaint with trading standards, claiming that British-sounding farm names for produce, often applied to imports, are severely misleading and may be unlawful.
Almost 60% of links shared from media outlets on Twitter are never opened, according to a new study by Microsoft and Columbia University. The research looked at more than 2.8 million links shared from the accounts of major news outlets, including the BBC and Fox News.
ON THE JOB
‘Guardian’ columnist Stephen Moss has dismissed “snooty” criticism of MP Karen Bradley’s inexperience as she takes over at the culture, media and sport ministry. “It’s pointless complaining that (she) doesn’t go to the National Theatre every night and wouldn’t know her Arne from her Elgar,” he said, adding that the requirement is for sound judgement and an ability to learn on the job.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Topical tip: Repeatedly sending emails to those who have never engaged, or no longer engage, with your messages has negative impacts on open and click-to-open rates. It pays to give recipients a way out and to work at keeping your mailing lists clean.
Cancer Research UK has launched a ‘Junk Free TV’ campaign aimed at pressurising the government into banning advertising for calorie-filled, unhealthy foods ahead of the 9pm watershed. The cancer charity described children’s obesity as a growing epidemic.
BBC director general Tony Hall has announced a major management reshuffle. Charlotte Moore adds the new post of director of BBC content to her BBC1 controller function and there are a series of other promotions, but the executive team is being reduced from 16 to 11, in line with Hall’s "simpler BBC" strategy.
Topical tip: In case you are wondering about ‘bots’, also known as internet bots and web robots, they are software applications that run automated tasks, or scripts. They perform online functions that are both simple and structurally repetitive at hugely faster rates than would otherwise be possible.
Publisher Trinity Mirror suffered a 10% decline in print revenue in the first half of 2016, affected by the demise of its ‘New Day’ newspaper, which fell hopelessly short of the 200,000 daily circulation target and was closed after just 10 weeks.
Instagram is piloting updates to its photo sharing network that will let companies prepare dedicated brand pages. Built along similar lines to Facebook pages, these corporate profiles will be categorised by type. It is estimated that Instagram has around 200,000 advertisers.
SKY HIGH PARTNER
Deutsche Post logistics business DHL has become the first advertising partner of Sky Media, with TV campaigns and sponsorships set to roll out across Sky’s UK, Ireland, Austria, Germany and Italy territories. Also included will be use of Sky News, which is said to reach 110 million households worldwide.
Topical tip: Mobile advertising makes up four-fifths of Twitter’s advertising revenue. If you’re trying to drive visitors to your website but it is not optimised for mobiles, it would be better to exclude those devices when setting up your campaign parameters.
RESPECT THE WATER
Britain’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has launched a drowning prevention campaign called ‘Respect the Water’. An RNLI senior manager said: “The sea is powerful and unpredictable. Over 160 lives are lost around our coast each year and many could have been prevented by people taking care."
ITN has won a £35 million, four-year extension to its contract to produce Channel 5 news. It generates 70% of its £120 million revenues from supplying news programmes to ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
Topical tip: A key part of every marketing campaign is the setting of goals and objectives. If you are not working towards a target you cannot assess the value of your activities. Therefore, know what you want, right from the start, making sure that others who are involved know as well.
The World Federation of Advertisers, which represents marketers at brands with around 90% or worldwide spending, has proposed a global advertising watchdog to regulate internet adverts and address the growth of ad blockers. It recommends that all parties in the advertising chain should form a coalition to carry out such regulation.
MORE FROM M&S
Steve Rowe, Marks & Spencer chief executive, has announced a five-point plan to reverse declines in clothing and homeware sales. He said it will become a data driven organisation, cherishing the hitherto neglected ‘Mrs M&S’. The plan will centre on improving quality, streamlining the range, ensuring availability, stabilising prices and upping the experience.
DOUBLE THE TROUBLE
The number of digital adverts investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority so far this year has been more than double that of television campaigns.
GIVING IT AWAY
Topical tip: You have a wide choice of websites that can promote your freebies or competitions. Most are offered without charge, although you may be encouraged to pay, in order to increase visibility. Also, there are many blogs dedicated to promoting free stuff, or you could opt for social platform advertising. It’s never been easier to give it away.
Microsoft has announced that the last of its 1,350 staff at the mobile department bought from Nokia will be released, together with around 500 in other parts of the business. The 2014 purchase from Nokia had brought 25,000 extra staff on to the payroll.
According to a recent UK-based report by Deloitte Mobile Consumer, nearly 50% of us check our smartphones almost 50 times per day and reach for those phones within minutes of waking up.
The proposed sale of Yahoo could net as much as $5 billion less than previously forecast, according to the ‘Wall Street Journal’. Yahoo’s core business suffered an 18% drop in revenue during the first quarter of 2016.
West Ham United will pay around £4 million to the London Legacy Development Corporation out of income received for any naming rights deal for its new football stadium. The Hammers have agreed an annual £2.5 million rent for use of the 60,000 capacity former Olympic facility.
Topical tip: Don’t state the obvious in your marketing communications. Your business warrants more. Your customers deserve better. Get rid of the banality and stand out from the crowd, helping readers to see that you are appealingly different.
Chancellor George Osborne has told owners of local newspapers that their business rates will be reduced, with effect from next April. He added that discussions have started with the BBC to see if part of its licence fee can be used to protect local media.
Online retailer Amazon has posted a $513 million profit for the first quarter of 2016, boosted by a 28% sales increase. Sales of Kindle readers and Fire tablets, subscriptions to the Prime listening and viewing service and take-up of Cloud rental space have been described by Amazon’s chief executive as “bumper”.
NAME THAT BANK
A year after Royal Bank of Scotland introduced a new corporate identity, the strategy is being discarded. Instead, RBS branding will be axed altogether in England and Wales in favour of ‘Williams & Glyn’ and switched to the full name in Scotland.
Topical tip: One way or another, radio touches the lives of so many people, so often. Radio advertising is a relatively inexpensive way of reaching and influencing people. It can be used to create moods or images that otherwise might be impossible to afford. But seek professional help.
Twitter has reported that 90% of its video watching is done on mobile devices and that, on average, posts containing video content are retweeted six times more than those without.
Waitrose is following examples set by main rivals with the launch of a premium own brand food range which will bring together its three existing premium groups. Called Waitrose 1, it will house around 500 products, increasing to upwards of double that number.
Johnston Press has announced that it will sell, close or cut costs at almost 60 of its regional newspapers. Its latest full year trading update showed that revenue overall had fallen by 6.8% and print advertising income had slumped by 11.9%.
Topical tip: On websites and in print, words such as ‘hundreds’ and ‘thousands’ always sound like exaggeration, so use specific numbers wherever possible in order to increase credibility.
Britain’s culture minister Ed Vaizey has described broadband advertising regulations as a ‘complete and utter joke’. He has maintained that providers such as BT, Sky and Virgin Media are allowed to claim top connection speeds which may be available to no more than 10% of customers.
Threats by Scottish independence supporters to boycott popular Tunnock’s marshmallow and chocolate biscuits after the phrase “Great British Tea Cake” was added to packaging have failed miserably. The confectioner has seen demand rise by more than 10% since the action and claims a full order book.
TO THE POINT
Topical tip: Advertising outdoors should always be straightforward and to the point. Ideally, the design will be built around a short but memorable headline, a compelling graphic or photo, together with business name, logo and a single contact point. This is instant, visual storytelling.
PUT YOUR SHIRT ON IT
The value of Premier League shirt sponsorships has increased by nearly £70 million this season to £260 million, far more than any other football league in Europe. The biggest growth has come from betting industry investments. Figures have been provided by sports adviser Repucom.
Bourbon drinks brand Jim Beam has undergone its first ever global packaging redesign, aimed at providing a more premium look. The new bottle has a bolder structure and its launch will be supported with in-store promotions in all main markets.
CATCHING A BUS
Mobility proximity company Proxama and freeware web browser Google Chrome have co-operated to provide a new London transport updates service. Called MyStop, it delivers real-time bus location updates to iPhone and Android devices.
WORTH THE MONEY?
Topical tip: Paying for social media content and search marketing can be a way to avoid being sunk as soon as you’ve started, but only if your posts are sufficiently interesting and useful.
The Chartered Institute of Journalists has warned that the latest plans for the structure of governance at the BBC risks turning it into “The British Government Broadcasting Corporation.” The Institute recommends a controlling body for the BBC that has no government appointees, but represents licence payers’ interests apolitically and impartially.
Latest figures for desktop search engine market share, published by Net Applications, put Google way out in front. According to the stats, Google enjoys 67.73%, ahead of Bing at 15.67%, Baidu 7.76% and Yahoo 7.11%. On mobiles and tablets Google has a whopping 94.11% share.
Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office has published results of a YouGov study into attitudes to data security breaches. Among the findings are that 20% would stop using a company after hearing about a breach and 57% would consider such action.
FOCUS & VISIBILITY
Topical tip: For best results it can pay to focus on just two or three social sites and then be creatively active. But maintain visibility on all search engines.
WHEN SMALL IS BIG
Social platform Facebook is carrying advertisements for around three million brands and says the vast majority are small businesses. This has prompted Facebook to launch a new production tool which it claims will make it easy for owners of smaller firms to create videos for use online.
British horseracing is to benefit from a change to its income claimed from bookmakers, the Government has announced. From April 2017 the sport will be supported by funds from online betting, including transactions through offshore firms, as well as shop-based transactions.
BACK IT UP
Topical tip: Fill your press release with facts, not opinions, to support the relevance of the announcement. Back up any claims with proof. Quantify your argument, thereby making it compelling. And keep to the point: a single page is best.
PepsiCo has produced around 70 emojis to use on its cans, bottles and cups. They will be adopted in a summer push to win over soft-drinks consumers by talking to them in this modern day shorthand language.
NO MORE DICK
Apple has extended letter spacing in the word CLICK within the tagline for its El Capitan desktop operating system. Apparently, some people thought it said ‘There’s more to love with every dick.'
ABC OF CAPITALISATION
Google’s parent company Alphabet has become the largest company in the world by capitalisation, valued at £370 billion, according to the London School of Marketing. Second and third respectively are Apple (£360 billion) and Microsoft (£290 billion). World number one in terms of revenue is Walmart with £335 billion of sales.
Multi-buy promotions will be dropped by supermarket chain Sainsbury’s later this year in favour of pushing lower regular prices. A spokesperson said: “We have listened to our customers who told us that multi-buy offers don’t meet their shopping needs, are often confusing and create logistical challenges in terms of storage and waste."
Topical tip: Using social media does not mean ignoring more traditional public relations methods. The best way to maximise brand exposure is to combine your social media efforts with a more conventional PR programme.
BY THE BILLION
New rankings by website traffic data specialist SimilarWeb concentrate on the UK’s top 10 publishers by combined page views across desktop and mobile devices. For 2015, the statistics show the BBC way ahead, with almost 19 billion views. MSN came second at around 25% of the BBC’s figure, followed by DMG Media. The top 10 collectively have 65% market share.
Fashion magazine ‘Vogue’, due to celebrate 100 years in the UK this September, is carrying 275 pages of advertising in its forthcoming March issue, more than ever before. Monthly combined print and digital circulation is a little over 200.000: the leader in its sector.
HAVE YOU HEARD?
Topical tip: The best way to avoid rumours among employees is to share the latest information with them in good time. News, good and bad, can travel quickly, so be ready to deal with external queries as soon as you have told the staff.
McDonald’s Japan is mixing two popular foodstuffs, fried potatoes and chocolate, to introduce a new product called the McChoco Potato. Fries can be drizzled with either dark or milk chocolate at a cost of 330 yen, a little under £2.
Manchester football giants United and City have been named in the top five of Europe’s most valuable clubs, both worth over £2 billion, after a new study by the London School of Marketing. Heading the list is Real Madrid, with an estimated value of £2.07 billion, just ahead of Manchester United.
Wesfarmers, the new owner of UK retail chain Homebase, has said it will invest nearly £250 million in the brand, transforming it into Bunnings and placing emphasis on the DIY market. Poor sales led to 27 Homebase stores being closed last year but it still has 265 outlets. Wesfarmers’ Bunnings Warehouse is the household hardware market leader in Australia.
IT'S A FACT
Topical tip: Plentiful, relevant facts rather than adjectives and adverbs are the core ingredients of any publishable press release. Generally, being subjective should not form part of the exercise.
As Ryanair tries to reposition itself as a more premium service, passenger cabins are going to be refurbished. Current bright yellow themes will be replaced by more subdued shades and there will be new graphics. Flight attendants have been shown new toned-down uniforms.
The Home Office should be wearing a dunce's cap after misspelling the word 'language' in a press release announcing that family-route immigrants will have to pass a basic English test.
Topical tip: Understand the language of social media so that when you are ready to roll out your own stories you will have developed a tone that reflects the qualities of your brand and makes sense to your audience.
NBC Sports, handling support advertising for its broadcast coverage of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, has predicted that sales will exceed the $1 billion generated in London four years ago.
JOURNO JOB LOSSES
In an attempt to save £1 million, Newsquest has announced that up to 30 more journalists will lose their jobs at Glasgow’s Herald and Times newspapers. It will be the fourth time in little over a year that Newsquest has reduced editorial staff numbers.
EXPLORE NO MORE
Twenty years after its introduction by Microsoft, web browser Internet Explorer is being assigned to history. Microsoft has ceased development and is about to withdraw user support, as it concentrates on the recently released Edge software.
DON'T BE ALONE
Topical tip: Avoid running an exhibition stand by yourself, if at all possible. Take a colleague, or persuade a friend to help. If the latter, spend pre-exhibition time with him or her to cover company and product familiarity, sales procedures and how you expect to be represented overall.
Samsung’s chief executive has announced that growth in the first quarter of 2016 is likely to be disappointing because of strong competition and rising development costs. The warning is in the wake of a difficult 2015 for the South Korean corporation.
IT'S ABOUT US
The BBC’s director general Lord Hall has written to senior politicians inviting comment ahead of an internal review of news and current affairs coverage. Changes are expected to reflect planned devolution in England and meet demands from Scotland and Wales.
Under-pressure Volkswagen intends to present what it calls a ’Strategy 2025’ by the middle of this year, outlining how it will become more open, cooperative and tolerant to mistakes. The transition is expected to be channelled through a leaner, less centralised management structure.