Blockchain Disruption

It seems to me that as time goes on technology becomes better and better at imitating the physical world.

Think of any computer screen or device; originally we were restricted to mouse-pointers to “click” a “button” on a screen and navigate a world of “pages.” Nowadays we need only our hands and a mobile phone device to access and surf the Internet.

A non-physical world built by humans will inevitably bear characteristics of physical objects. This physical trait of the digital world makes it easy for anyone to use modern devices, from the youngest of our kind to the oldest.

However, everything in the digital world is copyable and seemingly unlimited, so how in this regard can data and information become more like real objects?

The answer, is blockchain technology.

Blockchain refers to a system of data exchange that operates using a chain of records, or “blocks,” that are unalterable once they are posted. Given that the information is unalterable and posted on a digital ledger, data exchanged using this system become “mutually exclusive” in their ownership.

This mutually exclusive feature is something that makes it easy for societies to enforce property rights. You cannot use my hammer whilst I use it, nor can you listen to my vinyl record while it sits in my house. Through the Internet however, music and other intellectual productions lost their trait of ownership-linked consumption, and became subject to the whim and demands of online pirates.

My old iPod full of 20,000 songs is testament to this fact.

Now with the advent of blockchain technology, digital information gains a physical trait, exemplified most aptly by the advent of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is merely one use for blockchain technology we have created so far, as Richard Bush from Adage observes. 

Blockchain, in my view, will create a gradual but major power shift in a vast number of industries. The concept of the sharing economy alone is a great example of how varied and creative we humans can be with our technology and system of exchange.

I may be approaching this idea quite obliquely, but after reading this article on Adage.com I was reminded once again just how “disruptive” technology can be. Blockchain, as Bush suggests, may be the next disruption we have to deal with, this time in a cooperative way.

What are your thoughts? What kind of impact could this unique system of exchange have on your industry, or those markets you most engage with?

Also please have a read of Richard Bush’s article in Adage.com,as it was the inspiration for these thoughts expressed herein.

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Ad-blocking Reborn

To many internet users, ad-blockers are wondrous tools that are essential to creating a comfortable online experience. By simply downloading and activating an add-on to your browser, all the unwanted, intrusive advertisements, that tarnish the reputation of online-advertising, disappear like magic.

With simple knowledge of how pay-per click advertising and other forms of digital advertising work, it’s easy to see why ad-blockers can be a problem for the revenue streams of ad hosts. Unfortunately, this means that the income of producers whose work you enjoy is also damaged. Your favorite Youtuber, blog or online magazine will lose money all for the sake of removing ads from your online explorations.

A quick fix for this, you may say, is to turn off the ad-blocker for those sites you wish to support. I for one find this fix to be flawed in principal, and too simple a method for resolving such a complex issue.

In essence, ad-blockers decrease the quality and quantity of data available to websites. By blocking all ads and toggling them on for certain websites, such advertisement creators have less data to use as a means for improving their displays. Clearly a more holistic approach is required.

Despite all of this, however, our behavior as ad-blocker users has resulted in insights that may lead to a solution so save the online advertising industry; the answer, ironically, is more ad-blockers.

Introducing, the Coalition for Better Ads.

https://www.betterads.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/coalition-for-better-ads-logo.png

Source: https://www.betterads.org/

Essentially, leading companies in online media and advertising formed the Coalition in a pledge to work towards improving the quality of online advertising. By adhering to the Coalition’s guidelines, members are collectively improving the experience of internet users by ensuring their advertisements meet certain standards; such standards include non-usage of auto-play advertisements or large sticky ads, the rest of which can be viewed on the Coalition’s website.

The genius fix that will save the advertising industry is therefore to have companies like Google and other web-browser producers create a built in ad-blocker that enforces the guidelines of the Coalition; the end result is bad ads disappear, good ads (or those exempt by the guidelines) remain.

The Coalition’s guidelines are informed by research into user’s experiences. Therefore, this new ad-blocker will target only those advertisement which users deem to be annoying and intrusive, creating a better experience by cleaning up the internet and leaving only the good bits behind.

Indeed, this is an interesting approach to resolving the dilemma of ad-blockers and their impact on advertisement revenue, yet there still remains question as to just how effective the proposed idea will be. What are your thoughts?

For more detail, I recommend reading an article where I discovered this topic on Wired dot com.

 

 

 

Alien: Covenant – More than just trailers

The most common method of advertising a new movie is of course the film trailer.

For 20th Century Studios, Ridley Scott and his legendary franchise of Alien films, a simple movie trailer is not enough.

Film trailers are sometimes misleading, over revealing, or sensationalist, leading to disappointment when movie-goers’ expectations are not met at the big screen. Ultimately, to enrich the experience of the film, advertisers must establish curiosity and wonder through the small screens first, something done time and time again by the Alien franchise.

The latest addition to the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant, is being advertised to customers using a high quality Integrated Marketing Communications campaign; the current campaign is a great example of viral, video and content marketing.

Currently, Alien: Covenant’s official film and teaser trailers have attracted just short of 30 million views on Youtube. Supporting these two trailers, 20th Century Fox has also released an official prologue, a short clip which details events leading up to the new film, including two main characters of the prequel, Prometheus (2012). 

This is where the marketing campaign gets interesting. Going beyond just a simple movie trailer, Alien: Covenant is being supported by multiple forms of content marketing produced by the studio, which adds to the the film in the lead up to its release.

Following in the footsteps of its prequel, Alien: Covenant has matched Prometheus’ viral marketing video titled Meet David with its own content marketing project titled Meet Walter.

Source: Youtube (click here to view)

Meet David was basically a poignant, quirky and engaging video which added to the background of the world within the story of Prometheus, before the film had been released.

Using the same concept, a new video (above) has been released featuring the same actor, introducing the audience to another character, this time, however, supported by an interactive website linked in the video.

This interactive website further complements the trailers and Meet Walter video by allowing visitors to uncover small but valuable details about the film’s story, encouraging them to share their self generated content once having completed a series of questions. (I think it would be important to note here that the website is optimized well for both desktop and mobile phone usage).

Furthering the success of this campaign, all of these supporting videos and interactive websites have resulted in a large number of videos produced by fans, speculating as to the hidden messages each piece of media contains. Such fan produced videos polish this campaign off to include both brand owned and earned media content. (source: Forrester Research on Earned, Owned and Paid Media)

This campaign is full of ingenious marketing tactics which all complement and feedback to each other, ramping up audience’s excitement in anticipation for the film’s release.

Clearly, Alien: Covenant is a telling example of how digital marketing communications can be utilised to break free from traditional methods of advertising; as digital marketers, it is up to us to find new and inventive ways of advertising products and services, rather than following the standard set by tradition.

WeChat, the Miracle Marketing App

At the beginning of my university studies, I was introduced to a mobile phone application that has grown to become one of the most powerful marketing tools the world has seen today.

After studying a semester of Mandarin and befriending a number of Chinese students, I found that almost none of my new friends used Facebook; even if they did have a Facebook profile, their page was mostly dormant, inactive. To practice our language skills and keep in touch, we used WeChat.

https://lh3.ggpht.com/zC5Q4atR1JytzagSPIPAg-z4uItJGsTVjZHvf9nSeGdwrwnuPPW_OqMk6FAI3DJvzQ=w300

Source link: click here (Google play download page)

At first, WeChat looked to be a simple messaging application, like WhatsApp; thusly I have often referred to WeChat as a Chinese version of WhatsApp. Since downloading the application however, it has grown to become much more than a simple messaging substitute.

Today, WeChat is what we may refer to as a super-app. Once you explore the various features of WeChat, you’ll find that it can be used in so many ways that it competes not only with WhatsApp, but also with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Paypal…the list is still growing.

In my current feed of WeChat, friends post images to showcase their day, make a comments on their friends weekend adventure, advertise a clubbing event in Hong Kong, offer a discount on health supplements, and even advertise property for rent and sale. User-generated content on WeChat feeds cover the same content as the biggest players in Western social media do, including both social and business networking.

As a result of the diverse range of content that can be created and shared through WeChat, there are ample opportunities for companies in data collection and market research.

Take six minutes to watch this video by the New York Times to see exactly how ubiquitous and integrated in the lives of Chinese citizens this application really is.

Source: New York Time article

As per the video, before WeChat does take a hold of the broader international market, it surely must create an appeal that guarantees the privacy of its users and their personal information.

Can WeChat make the move to the rest of the world? The image presented in this video to me is breathtaking; technology seamlessly integrates with our lives and enhances our ability to stay connected with friends, all the while acting as a platform to connect buyers and suppliers in various markets.