Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Shopping the Future

Worldwide retail sales hit $24 trillion last year, not exactly small beer. The massive retail business is switching on technology and is changing so fast that analysis is always chasing reality. That doesn’t it mean it shouldn’t try, and IDC have some useful signposts for retailers in its top 10 predictions for worldwide retail 2017. 

Watchwords are transformation, disruption, integration, expectation and security. Here are five IDC predictions that lift the experiential side where the game will be won:

1. By 2019, digital transformation Investments will triple, drawing funds away from store capital and profoundly changing the retail industry

2. Intelligent assistants will become a must-have app in 2017 and support shoppers' "jobs to be done" in context-aware omnichannel conversations by 2018

3. Retail mobile enablement will triple mobile investments in 2017 and double spending on wireless infrastructure through 2019

4. By 2019, 20% of major retailers will use augmented reality to enrich the product selection experience and convert shoppers to buyers three times faster

5. By 2019, artificial intelligence will change how 25% of merchants, marketers, planners and operators work, improving productivity by 30% and key performance indicators by 10–20%

How technology and emotionality come together with a human touch is the key. Is it convenient and compelling, intimate and inspiring? Retailers need to be irresistible, not robotic, across all four consumer touch points: See it; Search it; Shop it; Share it.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Jonah Lomu Legacy

The global Rugby community came together last Thursday in the Winter Marquee on Finsbury Square in the heart of the City of London. The Legacy Trust set up in NZ to provide for Jonah’s two young sons, had the foresight and courage to put on an event in London, believing that Jonah’s impact on the game transcended one Country and was universal. And they were right.

1000 guests attended the black tie occasion honouring Jonah who tragically passed away a year ago.

Ex England lock Martin Bayfield Mc’d, and was joined by Zinzan Brooke, Justin Marshall, Ali Williams, Anton Oliver, Jonny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson, Schalk Burger, Neil Back, Michael Lynagh and many other Rugby Legends.

I hosted a table for four Lancaster Royal Grammar School students, three teachers and Old Lancashian father and son Brian (ex England Coach) and Tony (ex England video analyst) Ashton. What a night.

Eddie Jones and Dylan Hartley took time off before their game vs Australia and spoke warmly about Jonah; a man who transcended Rugby, as Pelé did soccer, Michael Jordan did basketball, Wayne Gretsky did hockey, Mohammed Ali did boxing, and Tiger Woods did golf.

The evening raised over £250,000 for Jonah’s sons.

Bravo England. Bravo Rugby.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Accentuating Love

12 years on from writing Lovemarks: the Future Beyond Brands, Accenture Interactive – a branch of the global consulting company – has produced The Love Index, following an 18 month study involving 27,000 participants in the US, UK and Brazil.

Their conclusion: Love is a science; and there is a formula – Fun, Relevant, Engaging, Social, Helpful. Spelling FRESH. Cute!

Key findings were:
  • Each industry has its own Love profile. Relevance, for example, is the highest dimension for the auto industry.
  • Disrupters that lead with Helpful, Relevant and Engaging become loved. They cite Tesla and Amazon as examples.
  • Digital companies are most prone to be loved, emphasizing the role of technology in enabling brands to be Helpful and Social. Google and Amazon are cited.
Netflix topped the study’s most loved brand.

Several things about this initiative stand out for me.
  • It’s good to see further validation of the idea I floated into the world in 1999 by way of speeches and in 2004 by way of the Lovemarks book.
  • More significantly is the provenance of the Love Index. Accenture is “is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. With more than 373,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives.”
  • According to Ad Age, the top 3, and 8 of the top-10 ad agencies are consultancies like Deloitte, Accenture, KPMG and PwC. McKinsey is slowly building an agency arm.
  •  Ad industry pundit Avi Dan noted in Forbes that in the last 18 months Accenture acquired 40 marketing firms while within a single week IBM acquired three online ad agencies.
  •  It’s an oft-quoted projection from Gartner that the biggest users of corporate IT will be CMOs. Every one of the trillions of daily consumer transactions in the world adds to the galaxy of data. Highly sophisticated algorithms and data-mining techniques spew out streams of patterns and insights – if only there was time to keep up with the flow.
  • Data is a dangerous path to ride. Look at the Clinton and Trump campaigns. Clinton’s campaign was significantly driven by an algorithm called Ada, informing her messaging, ad placement, where she went and where she didn’t. Big fail. Trump traded heavily on negative emotion (loss, fear) and gut feeling. It was ugly, but effective.
For my workover of the Emotion/Data equation, see the Red Paper I published in 2015 Loyalty Beyond Reason. Love remains a winning idea, more than ever in this VUCA world. As the bumper sticker says, “Love Trumps Hate.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Finders, Minders, Binders and Grinders

In the 1990’s I became very close to Australia’s finest athletes as Castlemaine Perkins in Queensland, one of the Breweries we bought from Alan Bond, sponsored the country’s top teams – the Wallabies, the Kangaroos, and the Cricket team. I was lucky enough to spend a good deal of time with their Captains/Leaders Nick Farr-Jones, Mal Meninga and Allan Border.

I had dinner in Sydney last night with Nick and his wife Angie. Nick’s had a great post rugby career in banking in Paris and Sydney. He started life as a lawyer and was asking a Senior Partner during his rookie days what kind of lawyer he should be? He was told there are four kinds of people… Finders, Minders, Binders, and Grinders. Figure out which you are and surround yourself with the others. Brilliant advice. Which are you?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Death of a Ladies Man

One of my heroes passed away today.

82 years young.

Songwriter. Poet. Dreamer. Artist.

Leonard Cohen.

I first saw him live in the 60’s in London.
I last saw him live in New York City a couple of years ago.
Last month he said he ‘was ready to die’.
“Like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir.
I have tried, in my way, to be Free”.

Thank you Leonard. Hallelujah.

Leonard and my son Ben














Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2.50am. Trumpland. USA.

Time to take the advice from Monty Python’s Eric Idle

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...


Rise Up Ye Radical Optimists

Reasons to be Cheerful (Thanks to Ian Drury)

The American people have spoken and we all need to give it a go.

Given the personality of the man, his lack of ideology, his abject lack of experience, his policy bypass, and his narcissism - this isn’t going to be easy (for me anyway).

But we’ve got to get on the program somehow.

So this morning I’m trying to adjust to the latest example of our increasingly VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world and take a SUPERVUCA (Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy, Astounding) positive view.

So far:
  • Reagan turned into a great President.
  • Hillary was a zero sum, status quo, defensive option.
  • The system needs to change; the people want change; Trump is a change agent. He gets things done.
  • America’s Founding Fathers blessed us with the gift of a Constitution full of checks and balances. Presidential power is far from absolute.
  • Out of crisis usually comes improvement.

That’s all so far!