Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Info-Currents December '13/January '14 Issue: Ramifications of Wearable Technologies

Emerging Trend: Photo editing apps let users create new stories while enhancing images. Snaps app allows users to add icons to existing photos. Light bomber captures and highlights the long exposure rays around an image.

Implication: App developers are looking to leverage surging consumer interest in image-focused sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr among others. Those who will find ways to partner with brands will increase their reach and enjoy commercial success. 

Actions: Photos are highly sticky pieces of social content. If your audience responds to such visual communication (e.g., moms, young adults, travelers), explore ways to white-label the apps, avoid development cost and drive engagement.

Emerging Trend: Wearable technologies will match personal information with facial recognition (i.e., faces matched with social media profiles).

Implication: To protect privacy and to curb inappropriate behavior, companies and public venues (e.g., movie theatres, museums, restaurants, etc.) will need to devise guidelines on how to use wearable technologies such as Google glasses.

Actions: Get ready to supplement employee and communication guidelines. Make sure the added items do not curb innovative thinking.

Emerging Trend: People will be able to send a ‘touch’ or a ‘tickle’ to their loved ones through wireless bracelets. (Download PSFK’s wearable technologies report here.)

Implication: Working moms will be able to stay connected with their children through the day. Long distance romantic relationships will get support.

Actions: If ‘touch’ is essential to your brand (e.g., skincare, textile), then consider using these devices at events to communicate the value of this sense and connectivity. If moms are an important audience to your brand, explore ways to integrate these technologies to your product line.   

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Info-Currents October-November Issue: Niche Social Collector Sites, Attachable Lenses, Amazon Smartphone

Emerging trend: Digital clipping services such as Art Stack and Stash help users organize information to take actions offline. Art Stack users can connect with fellow art collectors and Stash users benefit from a list of events in their local area suited to their interests.

Implication: Customization is the secret ingredient that creates true engagement out of stacks, stashes (and pins).

Action: Take advantage of posting your branded content on these sites. Sponsor pages, brand-relevant stacks.

Emerging trend: Attachable lenses turn smartphones into formidable cameras. Sony paves the way with DSCQX10 and DSC-QX100.

Implication: Camera makers will want a piece of the smartphone market. With more people relying on their phones to take life event as well as everyday photos, Sony and competitors will shift to accessory development around phone-cameras.

Action: Photography pros may be compelled to enhance their phone cameras and experiment. Creative contests that focus on phones and showcasing smartphone photos map appeal to photography influencers.

Emerging trend: Amazon denies rumors that it’s about to release a free smartphone.

Implication: Smartphone stands for mobile commerce and location-based marketing. Amazon or other tablet makers may want to have as many conduits out there as possible.

Action: Optimize online properties (including social sites) for mobile. Explore options to shift ad dollars from other digital venues to mobile. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Info-Currents August-September Issue: Apple's gesture OS, Social Headphones, Massive Open Online Courses

Emerging trend: Gesture controlled operating systems are coming to Apple. Rumors of Apple acquiring Israeli firm PrimeSense are abound.       

Implication: Apple’s next generation products will work with the snap of a finger and respond to body movements. The new i-Series will offer stiff competition to Microsoft Kinect and Nintendo’s Wii.

Action: Embed your brand in lifestyle and entertainment apps that can help users manage their health, household and free time with such 3D technology.

Emerging trend:  Smart companies are embedding sharing technology into gear. Miami-based Muzik has released headphones with share buttons that allow consumers to send their song choices to their friends on Facebook, Twitter and beyond.  

Implication: Social networking will bleed into everyday devices, bringing a new dimension to location-based marketing.

Action: Create experiences around alternative communication platforms – glasses, bookcases, frames, or windows – where consumers can send messages about their observations. 


Emerging trend: MOOCs – massive open online courses – are generating new revenue streams for traditional education institutions, such as Georgia Tech, University of Texas, University of Virgina, among many others.
Implication: Affordable education will be available to upwardly mobile segments. Online US universities’ student body will be increasingly global.

Action: Training is the new branding. Offer expert content through online education platforms to spend quality time with your target audiences. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Info-Currents July Issue: Online Video Kills VOD, Amazon Gallery, Social TV Buzz

Emerging trend: Budding group of tablet owners choose programming based on social media updates. According to newly released cross-platforms research from Nielsen, 15 percent of tablet owners have watched a TV program upon reading about it in social media. Meanwhile, some 13 percent have made an online purchase related to the program.     

Implication: TV and digital platforms’ relationship can be a two-way stream with effective programming that has digital and social extensions.

Action: Keep a close eye on program-related buzz levels. Those programs that get traction in social media can draw bigger audiences through aptly placed social engagements.

Emerging trend:  On-demand TV services are losing blood to online TV content.

Implication:  As online TV channels extend programs and movies’ lifetime, studios will swap VOD royalties with newfound digital ad dollars.

Action: Create new ad spaces and build on box-office success--continue the plotline online and feed fan communities.


Emerging trend: Amazon is to launch an online gallery. The e-retailer has been meeting with large and small galleries.
Implication: Similar to the way it re-shaped the book market, Amazon is likely to offer an alternative to galleries’ stronghold in the art market. A ranking system can give artists new currency to pitch their work.

Action: Seize advertising opportunities on the new platform to reach arts and entertainment oriented mid- to high-income segments.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Info-Currents June Issue: Measuring Pins and Photos, Facebook Hashtags, Soft Science Skills

Emerging trend: Systems that analyze visual social media, such as Curalate, add new dimensions to measuring online behavior. 

Implication: Photos generate significant interaction in social media. The ability to capture words and images will increase the value of online content and highlight those influencers who speak through images.

Action: Not everybody wants to write. When drafting your content marketing strategy, balance verbiage with visual images. Allow your followers to be able to clip and share those images on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and elsewhere.


Emerging trend:  Facebook will mirror Twitter’s power in trending topics by adopting hashtags.

Implication: Facebook will become more useful to those who want to generate awareness on brands and issues. The hashtag streams will expand closed-in friend networks and increase Facebook pages’ search visibility.

Action: Identify words people are most likely to use in reference to your topic. Use these as hashtags consistently across all of your social media platforms.


Emerging trend: As hard technologies (i.e., machine-based) become automated, soft technologies (e.g., social technology, behavioral sciences) gain value as they still rely on human interpretation and creativity.  
Implication: Qualitative analysis skills, humanities education, and the ability to process emotion will be critical to business success.

Action: Supplement hard science curriculum with social sciences and humanities. Watch for executives who can fuse analytical thinking with emotional intelligence and a sharp eye for observations.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Info-Currents May Issue: Innovation Stems from Emerging Markets, TV Cord Cutters on the Rise, Temporary Social Media

Emerging trend: Innovation in technology, communication and other media-related fields will come from abroad. Latest Nielsen research shows that 31 percent of the world’s innovation (e.g., new product development) came from developing markets, up from 25 percent in 2008.

Implication: Silicon Valley will continue to push for increased quota on work visas to draw talent. Meanwhile, multi-nationals will need smart and fast approaches to apply emerging ideas from Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to additional markets. 

Action: Stay abreast of emerging ideas from around the world by following PSFK and Springwise’s global network of idea curators. To answer ‘what’s next’, hold global brainstorms and invest in technologies that connect employees from different regions.


Emerging trend: TV cord-cutters are outpacing the number of TV subscribers. According to Convergence Consulting TV cord-cutters surpassed 1 million people in 2012, while only 31,000 people subscribed to TV in the US.

Implication: TV cord cutters will extend movies’ lifetime by increasing demand for DVDs and digital on-demand viewing.

Action: Build creative, engaging experiences online that accompany the movies and TV series viewers watch on demand.


Emerging trend: Temporary social media – posts that self-destruct after a designated time as in Snapchat -- provide relief to those embarrassed by their past Facebook status updates.
Implication: Vanishing social media posts can reduce the value of digital/mobile content and change content marketing dynamics.

Action: Pay close attention to engagement levels and content shared on temporary social media platforms.  Do people post more frequently and share more freely? What do people choose to post temporarily and what do they save and index? The answers to these questions can provide tips for marketers who need to drive participation in social media programs. 

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Info-Currents April Issue Online: Mobile health tech, maker communities, women pick and choose SM outlets

Emerging trend: Mobile health technologies are poised to be one of the fastest growing markets in the world, projected to be worth $11.8 billion by 2018.

(Source: The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review)

Implication: While US marketers may be limited in engaging broad publics through mobile technologies, high penetration of mobile Internet access in emerging markets present opportunities to connect urban and rural populations with health centers.

Action: Healthcare providers can change attitudes and behaviors in emerging markets with socially beneficial and simple to use mobile apps and information systems.


Emerging trend: Niche and custom products created in limited editions by 3D printers will be preferred to cheaper, mass-produced items. “Maker” communities of artisans are offering consumers alternatives to mall shopping aisles.

Implication: Small businesses offering unique items and solutions will see a surge in their e-commerce activities.

Action: ‘Makers’ can invest in search advertising to break through the online clutter to connect with customers who are seeking customized products. 


Emerging trend: North American women are pairing down their social media usage, focusing on fewer networks. According to the latest research from Weber Shandwick, conducted by KRC Research, four in 10 (38 percent) of North American women have decreased or stopped usage of one or more social networks in the past six months, due to loss of interest (59 percent) or lack of time (35 percent).

Implication: The medium is less important than content, when it comes to attracting and sustaining women’s attention in social media.

Action: When creating social engagement activities for North American women, offer practical solutions that fit into their lifestyle. Do not add to their ‘to-do’ list.



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