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Media and Marketing News Headlines Update on December 09, 2020

World Economic Forum in Singapore

With the year we’ve just had, it would be great to see some cooperation amongst all nations in 2021. The first sign of this could come in May when Singapore hosts the World Economic Forum — the first time the event will be held in Asia. Singapore was chosen over Switzerland because its COVID cases are relatively under control. While still an in-person event, the Singapore Forum will include a virtual element.

World class content

The Forum brings together political, business and cultural leaders to set and shape global, regional and industry agendas. While the global pandemic will lead next year’s event, other topics include the environment, economics, technology, trade and more. There’s a lot of scope for different content topics; check out these long-form articles on ecommerce trends during the pandemic and a history of the world in five types of food. We’re definitely looking forward to being a part of the WEF content fever.

Explaining through video

Some of the WEF subjects are tough to digest, and certainly controversial. From a video perspective though, the group creates short and engaging content that breaks down difficult subjects. Topics range from defining net zero emissions, what the COVID reset means for the world, and business tech advancements.

Content marketing in 2021

With the end of 2020 thankfully in sight, it is time for some 2021 content marketing predictions — although as this year has shown, predictions don’t necessarily hold much weight. Did anyone really foresee the huge growth in webinars coming? So barring any unexpected events, we’ve made some not so bold predictions. Expect visual content, live streaming, podcasts, brand activism, employee activation and AI to be part of 2021’s marketing mix.

Will AI deliver?

Everyone always predicts AI to change things. The truth is, AI will gradually become part of everyday life. Brands are using AI to build stronger customer connections. How does a machine create stronger human connections? JPMorgan Chase is removing bias from its content and leveraging natural language generation that drives between 50% and 250% higher engagement. Meanwhile, Vodafone used AI to predict customer segments and then generated personalised messages that boosted conversions by 40%.

Brand activism and value-driven marketing

After 2020, it’s no surprise that brands want to stand for something and show value as the differentiator from the competition. A study of ASEAN consumers by UOB found half of Singaporean respondents want to shop at local businesses to help them recover from the pandemic. Additionally, 43% of these consumers are spending at businesses that use sustainable practices. This figure rose to 54% across the entire ASEAN region. These sentiments are just one example of areas brands need to focus on.

Ever wondered how you dismantle an oil rig in the North Sea? Shell has created a dramatic mini-doco on the deconstruction which features the world’s largest diamond cutter. #Brent #Shell #Sleipnir #PioneeringSpirit #makethefuture

Ferrari associates the tradition and craftsmanship of its vehicles with the inspiration and creativity behind the recipes of a two Michelin star chef. #LaNuovaDolceVita #Ferrari #FerrariRoma

CoinDogg chose striking animation to explain how content creators can monetise their work in today’s digital and social economy.

CoinDogg Marketing Video from Yans Media on Vimeo.

Here’s a unique animation style to showcase Platform-sh, a cloud based web management platform, and its drag and drop functionality.

Platform-sh from Demo Duck on Vimeo.

Sure, we probably won’t be travelling overseas anytime soon, but when the borders open, remember Canada is pretty nice.

This is Canada Nice from Wonderlust on Vimeo.

What makes a logo a logo is a mysterious process. But what makes a logo an iOS icon? The always-amazing-even-in-the-Figma-era interface design tool Sketch wandered into the brain, the tools, and the processes of their design lead to figuring out how they updated the iconic Sketch diamond for macOS Big Sur. “redesigning an icon that may sit in your Dock (and in front of your eyes) all day, every day is no small task either.”

I found this list of product ‘hype’ pages really interesting. It’s basically a thread of “marketing pages for products that have not launched yet or are in some sort of beta.” Hear me out — imagine if you could do this for your newsroom at creating story level interest and signups (as opposed to news website level signups). ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

What do you call a Covid-bored sports commentator (what’s a commentator to do without sports?) who decides to video-commentate on his pets’ doggish antics, endear himself and them to gigantic social followings, to then score an international book deal that centres on him and said dogs? You call him a media startup, that’s what. I’m waiting for the Netflix series that will surely follow, but it’s this ‘Christmas perfume ad’ that has me laughing hard.

A great media product should solve a real problem that’s relevant to actual people. What problem is Nick Cho’s TikTok solving? Apparently over 1.4 million people want a wholesome Korean dad.

And this is why you should build a media product that is useful, relevant, and valuable enough to pay for. Why are mass market media brands price-dumping? Wired magazine is available for US$5 — for print AND digital. Cool thread ahead. “Mass-market publications are price dumping because they actually have low value for the individual. They lack a more personalized focus. That’s why they have so much trouble getting people to pay them a higher price. Don’t be like that. Find your niche.”

The ever-sparkly Substack’s latest community product is a silent writing hour. How it works is that you get on an hour-long Zoom call with a bunch of people (“Camera on or off is up to you.”), they play some chill music (“to help you get into a creative flow”), and it’s up to you to interact with your co-silent writers or not. Such a beautiful idea. They’re introducing more time zones soon. The only requirement apart from the tech? You need to have a Substack. Obvs.

Slack just got Goliathised. Microsoft ate Slack’s lunch; Salesforce ate Slack. Game on. ICYMI, Slack just sold to Salesforce for over US$27 billion. Before it launched in 2014, work comms happened on disgusting email threads that said things like “See my comments in RED thx”. And weird things called Lotus Notes that we shouldn’t talk about ever again. Slack the email-killer promised this amazing “command console” that seemed to be the mother of all integrated API beasts. It said we wouldn’t need as much email, and they were right. I mean, they even bought up and shut down Astro, my favorite email app of all time. But Slack wasn’t able to grow beyond 12 million users, and when Microsoft bundled the still-somewhat-janky Teams into the rest of its juggernaut suite, it went from 0 to 115 million users — just like that. It’s all about the distribution. “The only advantage Microsoft has is distribution, and so now they’ve neutralized the advantage that Microsoft has had.” The newly-beefed up Slack-powered Salesforce is now all set to do battle with Microsoft for the hearts and GIFs of the work team. Consolidation won.

Did an unacknowledged intern design Spotify Wrapped? The insanely shareable data-viz-as-a-service analysis of your annual listening habits is all over the social stories, and it’s beautiful and insightful and says so much about you. (Maybe too much — I’m not sharing mine because it’s possible I’m embarrassed about how much Gomez and Grimes I listen to.) Anyway, Wrapped has been around since 2016 as a microsite and an email link. But an artist named Jewel Ham invented its current in-app video story format in her three-month design internship at Spotify last year. She Tweeted about it: “i really invented the spotify wrapped story concept as an intern project in 2019 and they havent looked back since LMAO”. Spotify’s response: “While ideas generated during Spotify’s internship program have on occasion informed campaigns and products, based on our internal review, that is not the case here with Spotify Wrapped. It’s unfortunate that things have been characterized otherwise.” Hmmm.

Are social media platforms the same?

“Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.” Oscar Wilde probably wasn’t referring to social media when he penned the quote, but it fits! For the major social platforms, providing a unique selling point isn’t key to success; imitation appears to be. No matter your platform of choice, “news feeds, disappearing posts, private messaging, and live broadcasting features” are all part of the experience.

The transformation of Twitter

Maybe it’s because all the social media platforms want to capture the same user base — everybody. Earlier this year, Twitter introduced Fleets, which is basically Stories. Why? They found some people weren’t tweeting because they felt it was too public. The company also added Carousel ads to give marketers more options.

Snapchat changes direction

On the flip-side is Snapchat. Its original intent was private sharing amongst friends but with the release of Spotlight — a public discovery page for Snaps — it has become a space to discover content too. Spotlight’s functionality is also pretty similar to TikTok. From a content creation perspective, it makes it easy to repurpose content over every platform. But is content like this less effective when it’s less unique?

Shooting a car commercial

Cars make for great content. Exquisitely designed machines handling tight corners on scenic winding roads. Then there are the close ups of the interiors and the latest gadgets on the dashboard. We’ve been lucky enough to create videos for Porsche and McLaren. While the final cut always looks impressive, producing it is never easy. While we had our issues, at least the vehicle didn’t lose its roof while driving.

Car commercials during lockdown

Car videos and content are meant to push the feeling of freedom, especially when it comes to the open road. Unfortunately, the idea of being able to go anywhere is a bit difficult to sell when everyone is forced into lockdown. This hasn’t stopped the big automobile brands from advertising though. Parking is now the major selling point.

Data changing the car commercial

While car commercials usually sell an image or experience, most consumers buy cars for more mundane reasons. They need something to transport the family or dart around the city, or something heavy duty for work. Amazon is proposing using its customer data to show you commercials for the car you need — down to the exact model on your local dealership’s lot — while you watch a streaming service.

Christmas sentimentality is upon, and to be fair, after this year some are welcoming it. Using Pixar-esque animation, Erste Group focuses on helping a senior adjust to a new phase in life while John Lewis & Partners is all about kindness. #believeinlove #believeinchristmas #believeinyourself #EdgarsChristmas

LEGO is also jumping on the Christmas bandwagon but with a Star Wars twist — two designers demonstrate how to give the Millennium Falcon an Xmas facelift. #LEGO

To remind shoppers to wear masks, Kensington Market created a vintage public service announcement, real life footage with trippy animation.

Kensington Market from Polyester Studio on Vimeo.

The World Science Festival uses animation to explain the concept of antimatter. To be honest, I’m still confused but it does look fantastic.

What is Antimatter? from Eoin Duffy on Vimeo.

Baidu showcases the Durobot — a contactless robot delivery service powered by AI. Can’t wait for the flying version.

What is Antimatter? from Eoin Duffy on Vimeo.

Tiktok wants to know if 60 seconds is too short. It’s reportedly testing 3-minute videos now. Might be a better number for advertisers.

Reddit disclosed its daily active user number for the first time. October’s DAU was 52 million — up 44% from a year ago.

Remember MDIF’s list of recommendations on how to transform your newsroom in this pandemic year? They’ve updated that list. Some notable (and important) tips:

  • If you receive grants, be strategic and use them to address business challenges. Focus on projects with clear paths to revenue generation or cost management.
  • Don’t always play a defensive game. Remember, even a bad market provides room for innovation.
  • If you’ve had a surge in the audience, understanding why and how they got there will help you create a strategy to retain them.

If you’re in the live news business, how do you pivot to an audience that’s streaming at home? Check your data. “What our research has shown in general is that prime time, especially during Covid, starts at 10 a.m.”

Lonely Planet has been sold — again. Red Ventures, which owns CNET and The Points Guy, is the new owner (and its third). Skift estimates the price at $50 million, which one banker described as a “pretty distressed sale”.

Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy podcast producer Wondery. The deal values Wondery at over $300 million. This is Amazon’s attempt to catch up with Spotify and Apple. Definitely not the media extinction year that some people were predicting.

The Stories-fication of apps continues. Now Spotify too may be getting one. Can’t wait to have Stories in my calculator app one day (said no one ever).

YouTube upgraded Premieres, their thing that allows you to put on a live pre-recorded show, but with audience participation. Anyway, new features include trailers, themes and live stream “pre-shows” for your scheduled event.

Everyone is trying to figure out how to build hybrid events. Yet-another-Zoom-call doesn’t quite cut it. Here are some ideas.

Strange but true: Google Maps is getting its own newsfeed. It’s kinda like Facebook, but these are largely posts from businesses. And it even has a Like button.

Obscure, ambient Japanese music from the 80s is surfacing, thanks to algo-driven discoverability. There’s now a subgenre for this: YouTubecore.