Talk to Your Shopping: Voice Activated Shopping with Demandware

The Amazon Echo is one of the first voice activated smart home hubs. Through an Al personality called Alexa it can manage connected smart home devices, sync with calendars and entertainment content, and tell jokes. We set out to see if we could integrate Alexa with Demandware to deliver voice activated home shopping. You can […]

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What Makes An API Great For Advertisers?

An application programming interface – or API – is what allows different databases, software programs, and applications to communicate with each other effectively.

They allow sites like Kayak.com to aggregate travel deals from around the web, Yelp to populate a map sourced from Google, and your favorite food brands to pull Pinterest recipes onto their website. Each is built to render and communicate specific types of information between two or more different systems.

In the process of ad creation and ad serving, an API takes a call from an ad server, translates the request for whatever ad content is available in a data warehouse, and then expresses it back within the parameters needed to render the ad experience properly.

How the API is built will determine what types of content and creative can be displayed, how quickly it renders, how stable features behave, and much more. The more complex the

Conversation LAB teams up with Megan Power

Agency Conversation LAB has teamed up with consumer columnist, Megan Power (formerly of Power Report in the Sunday Times fame).

Power recently started her own customer-journey and brand-management consultancy. In future, it will collaborate with Conversation LAB (Megan is the sister of Conversation LAB co-founder and managing director, Kevin Power), adding Conversation LAB’s full digital service offering to her clients.

Says Megan: “I believe my six years of exclusively listening to and resolving consumer complaints across various industries, corporates and brands, [have] given me unique insights into what consumers want from the customer journey.

Digital offers brands an unprecedented opportunity to bring integrity, honesty, and transparency back into business. It’s also a great way for brands to share news-you-can-use content with consumers to make their lives easier. Incredibly, it’s a chance many still miss.”

Megan’s suite of offerings will also be offered to Conversation LAB’s clients and prospective clients.

Conversation LAB wins at Assegai Integrated Marketing Awards

Digitally-led creative agency Conversation LAB has won 14 awards at the Assegai Integrated Marketing Awards.

Conversation LAB has added 30 new awards to their trophy cabinet in 2016 across The Global MMA Smarties, The New Generation Social and Digital Media Awards and now the Assegai Awards.

Conversation LAB won one gold, six silver, six bronze and a leader across a range of their clients, Environ (Gold), Varsity College (two silvers and a bronze), Unilever’s Sunlight (Silver and two bronze), Soft Bev’s Coo-ee (two silvers) and Godrej SA’s Inecto (3 bronze and a leader).

The Assegai Awards, known for their focus on results and strategy, were inaugurated in 1998 and have grown from strength to strength. The event in Rivonia, Johannesburg attracted over 500 well-known guests from all the top agencies and brands in South Africa.

Kevin Power, managing director of Conversation LAB, says, “It’s been a great year –

Livity and Dyson announce winners of Rethinkers challenge

Three weeks ago, we launched our Rethinkers campaign for Dyson to help the brand source the brightest global minds.

The activity featured a series of seriously hard online challenges, which participants had to solve online in order to be in with a chance to visit Dyson’s top secret tech lab and meet CEO Max Conze, and ultimately be in with a chance to work at Dyson. Check out our launch film here which contains the first clue.

We launched the campaign with a slightly off-the-wall strategy, by planting the first challenge on Reddit.

Our strategy paid off. The campaign took off around the world with thousands of participants getting their teeth into the challenges on Reddit and publications like The Telegraph and Wired covering the activity.

Results so far include: 40+ major publications covering the activity (view a selection of the coverage here); 150% increase in

What is a strategic brand proposition?

Strategic brand proposition

The Entrepreneur website defines a brand as “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” Whilst this is of course true, this only tells half the brand story – the visual or creative part. To us, a strategic brand proposition is just as important. It defines the culture and personality of a business, congruent with its vision and values. It is the expression of its virtues and views in the way it delivers work for its customers. It must fit in with the overall marketing strategy and business plan.

Strategic brand proposition

A strategic brand proposition – for a product, service or business – is vital. The creative elements provides a recognisable name/logo, but the strategic side drives a profound conceptual understanding of the essence of the company’s (or product’s or service’s) character. It can help to promote and clarify positioning and personality, and provides a mechanism to identify the values that create meaning and resonance, to enable a business to stand out from the crowd. A poor brand identity can make a company’s marketing efforts more or less impotent – the good news is that the opposite also applies. Consider also the psychology of self-esteem at work. A proper brand will genuinely value the importance of its people. It can make employees feel proud to represent a business, and offer an attractive incentive for talented people to join – and to stay.

Corporate branding

Firstly, it’s a misconception that powerful or clever corporate branding is the sole province of large corporations. Smaller businesses and SMEs can reap huge benefits from employing sound, well-considered branding practices – it is a huge point of difference that I all-too-often overlooked. It’s about far more than a logo or name – that is just one bit of the branding process. It defines your vision, your mission, your ethics and morals, and represents the true character and personality of the business – as well as its potential destiny.

Company vision

Firstly, identify where you sit in the market. Engage in a brutally honest analysis, and look carefully at your strengths and weakness, your opportunities and threats, and what challenges you face from both inside and outside the business. This is essential to enable you to position your brand in the marketplace. Then, bearing this in mind, consider your ‘vision statement’. This represents the future ambition of your company – where you want it to go, how you want it to grow. And it should be aspirational – why think small when you can think big?! Think about where you want to be in one, three and five years’ time – a statement is ideally required for the short, medium and long term ambition of your business. Better to underachieve a huge goal than to overachieve a small one…

Corporate values

Corporate values are often also misunderstood. A value is a word or phrase which helps to sum up the character and personality of a brand. Why is this important? It is the values which drives the type of plan one is going to put into place to achieve your vision. It is the values which will help to guide the way in which a mission statement is generated. It is the values which guide the social conscience of a business, product or service. For example, we all know of some companies that operate in a way that most of us would consider derisory – those selling PPI insurance, for example. Double glazing companies used to have a poor name, but most have got better now. These companies have values which most of us would not approve and would not wish to be associated with. We should look to companies which we admire to find values which inspire us and which we should emulate – because these values are what you expect from your staff, who are the ambassadors for your brand – which means you need to employ people who have the same values as your business. So you need to also make sure that the way you behave as a business is congruent with the values you wish to be associated with as an organisation. Customers will never forgive you for failing to deliver the values you claim as your own – especially in the world of social media, where everyone has the opportunity to easily express an opinion, and bad PR can spread like a wild fire.

Virtues and views

Views and virtues are statements about the philosophy of a business, and are of a moral and ethical nature. They can to provide your company with a brand position that will be significantly more attractive to customers than the rest of the marketplace. The views and virtues of a business are like those of a manifesto of a political party. Looking at your market place, and considering your values and vision, what do you stand for as a business that sets you apart from the competition? You can also deploy your views & virtues as a customer charter. This helps to develop and govern the way in which you wish to express the behaviour of the brand as a promise to the outside world. It’s a kind of ‘code of practice’ that the brand sticks to, thereby offering a qualitative benchmark and moral ground on which to work. And don’t just stop there – take a look internally too, and create an employee charter that embraces the ways in which the business treats its most important commodity – its people. If you successfully integrate a staff and customer charter into your business, you will be astonished the impact this will have on your business.

Mission statement

Once you have these elements in place – and not before – you can then create a mission statement– which serves to shape what you need to do at a top line level to meet your vision, and the way in which you wish to achieve it, as guided by your values, views and virtues. Think about the challenges you’ll face, and identify the strategies you’re going to need to put in place to overcome them. Keep in mind the need to achieve milestones along the way to achieving short, medium and long term vision goals. Most companies don’t understand how to set a proper mission statement, and this is mostly because they don’t understand how it fits into the essential essence of the brand. A bad mission statement is worthless. A good one is priceless.

Consistent brand identity

Then you have a brand. It represents everything you want about your product or service, and speaks directly to your customers and to your staff – who are your primary stakeholders (this will drip down to secondary and tertiary stakeholders). It’s aspirational, noble, and visionary – yet accessible. And now you need to develop all the elements you need in place to make your brand come alive. Every item of sales and marketing communication you create must deliver a consistent brand identity. Bring your brand plan in line with your business plan and your marketing plan, and ensure that all staff are aware of what these are and what strategies are in place to deliver them all. A brand is many different people, united in one vision. Guide that vision and make sure it is always in focus. A brand breathes life into a business; it is the heartbeat of a company. It is far, far more than just being a quirky name or a funky logo.

Corporate branding strategy

We hope that this article has provided you with some useful tips when it comes to developing a corporate branding strategy for your business, and that you now have a better idea of the steps you need to take. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Stephen Brown, our head of strategy and planning, at stephen.brown@abacusmarketing.co.uk or by calling 020 7795 8175. We would of course be happy to discuss your requirements in more detail on the phone or by email, or meet up for a free two-hour consultation at a venue of your choice.

The post What is a strategic brand proposition? appeared first on Abacus Marketing.

Young people have been Trumped again, but disruption is around the corner

According to an analysis of exit polls by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, one of the key reasons that underpinned Donald Trump’s presidential victory was the lack of youth engagement.

Historically, young people have been an integral part of any Democrat victory, particularly in Barack Obama’s success over the past eight years. However, this election represented one of the lowest youth turnouts in recent years, and it had a huge impact on Hillary’s downfall. Simultaneously, we also witnessed a significant increase in young people turning to independent candidates, particularly Gary Johnson.

Rather than getting into the politics of each candidate, I think the key outtake here is that, once again, young people felt incredibly disillusioned during a major political decision. This is something that will be all too familiar to British readers, after 75% of people under 25 voted ‘Remain’ during European Union membership

Educating for an uncertain future

Left: Mat Heinl Right: Derek Yates

This is a guest post from Derek Yates, Programme Leader of Graphic Arts at Winchester School of Art

Moving Brands CEO Mat Heinl joined author and educator, Derek Yates to deliver a keynote presentation at the bi-annual conference of the Graphic Design Educators Network at Cardiff Metropolitan University in South Wales. The theme of the conference was Exploring Territories. Derek and Mat discussed the benefits of open ended, prototype driven enquiry and why embracing failure could be the real key to survival for today’s creative graduates. This is an expansion of an interview featured in Derek’s book ‘Communication Design Insights from the Creative Industries.’

The presentation kicked off with a screening of Play, a short film that explores Moving Brands’ approach to research, development and problem solving. After the film, Derek and Mat discussed how the company makes space for an expansive and exploratory approach outside