January 28, 2010
Posted by thenakedpheasant under Trust
| Tags: #edeltrust
, Trust Barometer
Trust is back but it is fragile this is the top line from the latest Edelman TrustBarometer. Perhaps this recovery was to be expected but more remarkable is the continued rise of the Trust within the technology sector which globally rose from it’s previous chart topping 78% to 79%. This leadership was consistent in local findings with unprecedented ratings in certain markets reaching as high as 93% in the Netherlands and 91% in Italy. Even more notable was that this leadership is now a clear trend over 4 years. I have wondered aloud before about why this should be but there are some clues within the data this year and 3 key points strike me as relevant.
- The Technology Industry’s Products Help US: There is a powerful assumption that technology companies are Trusted because they help make our lives better if not easier. The data in this year’s Barometer shows that it is the quality of products and services that remains the top driver for trust while innovation slipped it remained in list of key reasons that build trust again this commitment to innovation is central to technology company’s mission. I believe this quality imperative also combines with an technology industry commitment to reduce the price of products through innovation. This may well explain why technology is more trusted than healthcare another industry that clearly helps people but has not as systematically delivered price reductions. Imagine if the scale of price reductions delivered in the manufacture of PCs was replicated in the government sector. Better performance for a third of the price within a decade may be the answer to renewing trust in government.
- Technology Is A Stakeholder Model: When I rasied this question of why technology was trusted six months ago a number of comments highlighted the structure of industry as a driver for Trust. Specifically the industry’s need to interact with an ecosystem and take a stakeholder based approach to collaboration from partners to academics and government. This year’s data shows that it exactly this stakeholder approach that is an engine for Trust. The chart below shows that the majority of respondents see trust as deriving from a equal treatment of key stakeholders. Clearly the technology industry has benefited from combining a shareholder approach with a stakeholder approach.
- Technology is a future looking Industry: Technology companies have focused on future looking messages and experience suggests that it is this kind of positive story telling that helps build trust. Furthermore technology has kept an optimistic and youthful image it will be interesting if this image can be survive Californian bankruptcy and government challenges. In the past the key to this success has been the model originating in silicon valley of working with universities, experts and thought leaders to keep predicting and anticipating the future. Again data from the trust survey shows that working with experts, academics and analysts is the key to trustworthiness today.
I believe that the technology industry has essentially got it’s relationships and stakeholder approach right but this should n’t encourage complacency. The rebound in trust is clearly fragile and trust has clearly changed. The elites surveyed are skeptical about whether business really will change and clear that change is needed as shown in the slide below they believe industry will return to it’s old practices. If the technology industry is to maintain it’s trust dividend then it needs to continue to innovate not just with it’s products but with it’s engagement strategy deepening the stakeholder commitment and treating trust as a key driver of future business.
January 27, 2010
"Steve Jobs has announced he is to pursue a career as an artist. His work will be exhibited by Green Park tube""
Did you hear? It seems Apple is planning to launch a shiny new toy. Perhaps an easier question is “have you not heard?” You’d have to have returned from a month-long trek through the hills of Kathmandu to not be aware of this revelation. Every news site is hyping it so much you’d think Apple has conceived a new way of slicing bread. But the thing is – we haven’t heard it from the horse’s mouth yet.
If you’ve been busy finding yourself in Kathmandu you might also have missed our own news – Edelman launched the 2010 Trust Barometer yesterday. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do.
As we trustworthy types do, we were chatting about the research yesterday and Steve Jobs cropped up in conversation. As he does. So to catch you all up – once again Technology is the most trusted industry according to our research. Well done us. And we’ve moved from a shareholder to a stakeholder world where transparency has grown in importance.
The findings also show that it’s no longer all about the CEO. Its lowly people like you and me that people want to hear from (you do, don’t you?). The trust is no longer linked to the job description. (Though as an obsequious aside – it is still worth listening to the likes of Robert Phillips and Richard Edelman. Not only are they interesting to listen to, they also help pay my bills). But you get what I mean, companies have to look beyond the bucks and the board room when asking for a consumer’s trust.
So compare this to Apple. Jobs is the messiah for many, a heroic entrepreneur for our time. But his health issues last year further underlined the important of not putting the whole company’s eggs in a CEO’s basket. Transparency is usually linked to openness in corporate dialogue. Compare this to the Tablet, which is so shrouded in secrecy they’ve probably developed an invisibility cloak especially for it. Following the fanfare of this evening’s press conference I’m sure the Apple spokespeople will return to their imagination lab in the bowels of a volcano somewhere to a chorus of “No Comment”. So in a conventional sense there is very little transparency. However – there will be an awful lot of #iSlate conversations.
So what does this all mean? Well the Naked Pheasant himself put it nicely when he said that the “trust is with the art not the artist.” The product is the king, not the person. That’s where the consumer trust lies. Mr Pheasant continues “how many times have you seen a friend showing off an iPhone in the pub?” The Boss Bird has a point and attached to the great product is some great conversational marketing – the iStore adverts are a good example. It’s a great approach to promotion and one that is too often ignored: ensure the product is blisteringly brilliant – and the rest will follow. If you build it they will come.
There is one flaw in this approach as far as I can see. What if they mess it up? How loyal is the consumer trust in Apple? Maybe Jobs is just too achingly smart to let this happen and the iSlate/ Tablet/ eReader will meet all of its expectations. Maybe it will revolutionise how consumers absorb content. It might even revive the print industry, to boot. But what if it doesn’t? What if the once glorious conversations and exchanges in the pub turn into “jeez do you remember when Apple had it all then they fucked it up with that big iPhone that turned into a toaster?”
When the conversation is around the art and not the artist, you are only as good as your last painting.
January 25, 2010
Posted by thenakedpheasant under Sustainability
| Tags: BRIC
, Sustainable IT
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I’ve been reading a book I got for Christmas called ‘Home’ by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (the Earth from the Air author). I thought it looked a bit cheesy, but either way it’s got me thinking. Mostly about what we do as Communications/Marketing professionals and what our clients and other brands are aspiring to do in maintaining consumption patterns and reaching new markets – particularly BRIC and developing.
Some of the stats in the book are incredible. It states that Humanity’s footprint currently exceeds the capacity of the planet to regenerate itself and to absorb pollution by about 30% (Global Footprint Network). It adds that if the entire population of the world lived like the USA we would need six planets to meet demand, if everyone mirrored European consumption we would need three planets. You can see the potential for growth and development given that in 2008 only 5% of Africans had access to the internet as opposed to 73% of North Americans (international Telecommunication union). Average energy consumption patterns of individuals in given countries help demonstrate the issue: US 13,088 kWh; South Asia 483, Central Africa 110. What happens if we all mirror the US? That’s a lot of energy.
As ccommunicators in the IT industry why should we care? IT has great potential for good (a mobile phone can change a community and empower them with the tools to do business and make a living) but also harm. Electronics is one of five major sources of hazardous waste containing arsenic, PCB Chemicals, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, Chromium
(Basel Convention 2002). Oh and there is the small matter that the IT industry is responsible for the same level of
greenhouse gas emissions as the aeronautics industry. So what do we mean by Sustainable IT in real terms? Is any of it truly sustainable?
So as communications professionals and marketing people promoting IT goods and services in new markets and driving consumption patterns in the West – what responsibility do we have in the council we give clients? Would we ever consider the agenda of a prospect and decline based on their ethos/record? I’m just not sure an agency would turn business down, we’d just change the messaging. Or should we just not think too much about it? I mean there is a
recession on, people need jobs, countries should be allowed to develop. I’m increasingly finding it hard to not think
about it. Your thoughts?
January 22, 2010
Posted by thenakedpheasant under Uncategorized
| Tags: 3G
, World Cup
Here’s a thought, could this year’s Football World Cup in South Africa be the digital straw that finally breaks the 3G networks back(bone)?
Consider the TV viewing habits of most English blokes (and may ladies as well) come June. For one month of the year, national teams that have previously held no interest whatsoever to an individual will become must-see matches.
17th June Greece versus Nigeria, must see match, 19th June Cameroon versus Denmark, must see match. The World Cup, like perhaps no other sporting tournament on the planet, turns billions of people into sport junkies from the first group game to the final. And this year, football aficionados will be able to watch the games officially – and unofficially – over 3G and wireless networks.
Anyone living in London with an iPhone under an 02 contract is already experiencing daily connectivity issues as the network struggles to cope. The somewhat embarrassing admission by Ronan Dunne, head of 02, over the poor coverage being down to unexpected demand for data services (for a phone that is sold on its Internet capabilities? Go figure that one out) is not only somewhat of an own goal but also perhaps a precursor for things to come.
If he thinks things are bad now, just wait until tens of thousands of iPhone owners start piling into streamed TV services and football apps when the games are on. Read the story here http://tinyurl.com/ydwonsh
Don’t worry, I can hear you say, Wi-Fi will help take demand off the 3G network. Well yes it will, until pubs and clubs get smart about people putting a massive load on their networks. I don’t know about other iPhone owners but even with a full Wi-Fi signal I struggle to get the subscription Sky Sports service to run on Virgin Trains or BT Hotspots, probably because the network is discriminating against these types of services.
And with the likes of www.tvcatchup.com which can stream live TV from a multitude of free-to-air stations in the UK over a 3G network (and Wi-Fi as well), it’s not hard to see how networks could soon become swamped.
After all, while the preference will always be to switch to a Wi-Fi connection, there will still be plenty of iPhone and other smartphone owners – in parks walking their dog, doing the shopping with their partner, at the zoo with their kids – who’ll have one eye on the monkeys and the other eye on how the three lions are getting on against the USA.
My bet is that come 11th June when the hosts South Africa kick off against Mexico in the inaugural game of the 2010 competition, data networks will start to creak.
When England take the field a day later against the yanks, they could come to a standstill.
January 15, 2010
Either side of Christmas there has been a fair amount of debate about the future of the enterprise software market, particularly whether the big players such as Oracle and SAP are going to start feeling the heat from the software-as-a-service (SaaS)/cloud computing folks. Given the economic conditions and the hefty maintenance fees that many customers have been asked to pay it quite rightly led some commentators to suggest customers have a right to demand more.
SAP has been ‘victim’ of some sabre rattling in Europe as it has just announced that it is backing down on changes to its support license structure – a result of pressure being exerted by many commentators. Frankly, though, I’d rather see that as a good example of an enterprise IT vendor getting the need for dialogue with customers. In fact Dennis Howlett suggests that SAP wants to be the ‘voice of the customer.’ So rather than criticise SAP I say well done!
Rip and Replace Frenzy?
Elsewhere there has been debate about the financial performance of SAP and Oracle with some analysis suggesting the Oracle’s numbers before Christmas told a disturbing story about its reliance on support revenues for its profitability. As I’ve said before Oracle does say its higher maintenance fees are critical to future investment in product/services R&D, but given the financial belt tightening of the last year many customers don’t have the luxury of sustaining such expenditure. (A fact borne out by the growth of the likes of Rimini Street and other third party support vendors, who are seeing more and more customers turning away to them for maintenance contracts)
So does that mean we are about to see dramatic changes in the IT industry? On its home turf Computerwoche dared to raise the question whether SAP could remain independent, while the hotly debated Sapience conference saw the SaaS vendors making very bold statements about their competitiveness against the ‘traditional’ enterprise IT companies. In this more balanced piece Jon Reed did say there are merits to the SaaS model and that SAP needs to be careful, particularly with some of its older customer base refusing to upgrade, but that we are not going to see a dramatic ‘rip and replace’ frenzy.
Integration Rather Than Software to Decide SaaS Success
I tend to agree both from a practical and technical perspective. Practicalities – for instance – IBM AS/400 was around long before I started and is still around today. Ultimately it will always be up to customers to decide which products they use and they would be crazy to throw away long-standing investments. In December Ray Wang also offered advice to companies considering a shift to SaaS, listing 10 recommendations, the most important of which – for me – was a technical one about integration. We have already learnt the lesson the hard way with existing enterprise IT platforms, that unless applications are integrated companies fail to extract their full value.
Certainly, in some areas such as customer relationship management (CRM) and salesforce automation it has been possible to establish a beachhead quite quickly, because these systems can be quite distinct from core IT infrastructures. However, to convince major organisations to switch their critical applications such as financial administration to the SaaS or Cloud model, vendors must demonstrate they can integrate disparate systems to ensure a transparent picture for the customer. That means combining business intelligence with performance management with accounts payable and other core finance applications. That is no easy task and requires a depth of expertise that I don’t think I’ve seen from the SaaS gang.
Who do you Trust?
I guess they would suggest implementation partners ensure the business processes run smoothly together, but if I were a major bank who would I see as having the expertise to implement properly? If the CIO had to guarantee the trading floor had real-time data that linked seamlessly with the back-office finance applications so would the CIO trust a SaaS vendor?
For me that’s the big question. Security is an easy FUD argument against SaaS/Cloud, but integrating business processes is the major area where SaaS vendors will need to convince.
So does that mean the ‘traditional’ big guns can breathe easy? No.
Impact of Conway’s Law and Enterprise IT as a Utility
The reality is that we’re moving to the Cloud/service driven IT model. It will fulfil Nicholas Carr’s view of IT as a utility. At the moment it is driven by economic necessity, but while the SaaS vendors have their chance I am confident they are going to be working hard to get further and further inside the corporate firewall, stripping out the older proprietary systems.
Where does that leave Oracle and SAP? I once had it described to me as moving a world of ‘provices’ and ‘serducts’ rather than products and services. In this excellent overview of the challenges for the enterprise vendors Pete Swabey references Conway’s Law, which reads: “Organisations which design systems…are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organisations.”
If we follow the model that software will become a commodity and accept the impact of Conway’s law there are going to be a few clear priorities for vendors:
1) Customer service reputation: historically never a strong suit for enterprise IT vendors, but surely they are going to have to engage more aggressively with customers and be prepared for frank, sometimes awkward dialogue. How far that dialogue should go is the key challenge. If you follow the engagement model to its furthest reaches then surely vendors will involve customers more in agreeing product roadmaps, but that could be a massive, complex headache, which sees profits disappear, much to the consternation of shareholders.
2) Brand: if you agree that service rather than product will become the priority, that means that the focus on brand identity will have to increase and change. The US technology companies are all fairly sophisticated in protecting their brands, but I’m not sure many of them recognise it as critical to their customer/employee engagement. For example, I don’t really remember either Oracle or SAP trumpeting the capabilities of the Consulting and Support teams much beyond the odd press release. Surely, highlighting the services and expertise of these teams should become even more important than product. And that is not just about tangibles, it is also about the intangibles that customers associate with a brand. For example, would an enterprise IT vendor have the courage to publicise a software implementation that went wrong (and the turn around process), as a positive example of commitment to customers? Today no, but in the future (in the right context) a brave vendor should surely be willing to demonstrate how willing it is to through the kitchen sink at a problem? Creating that kind of mythology enhances loyalty.
3) People: And if the tangibles and intangibles become ever more important in this service driven model, then obviously people are of paramount importance. A cliché, sure, but again enterprise IT vendors have not always covered themselves in glory when it comes to interaction with their staff. Having worked for an enterprise software vendor (Oracle) and loved it, I know how exciting it can be to work in this sector. However, across the industry the approach to employee communications – more importantly engagement – is frankly patchy. And if you treat staff like mushrooms, then the obvious happens…
So neither a bloody or a velvet revolution, but it would be interesting to be in the boardrooms of SAP and Oracle to hear what they’re saying about the future.
January 12, 2010
*sings* All you need is *clap clap* Polaroid Gaga, Polaroid Goo Goo, Polaroid Ga Ga
Lady Gaga – arguably the female musician of 2009 in the UK (certainly if album and singles sales are anything to go by) – has teamed up with Polaroid. In a move that goes beyond celebrity endorsement, this “deal” has been positioned as a true partnership with Lady Gaga taking on the role of creative director for specialist projects.
I’d say this is a bold, and quite possibly a very good move (let’s see whether the Lady Gaga brand is sustainable through 2010) for Polaroid. Polaroid, a brand that was synonymous with the youthful side of photography – fun, instant shots – really lost its way through the naughties – failing to recognise the importance of digital before it was too late. But, it’s back – with new products that stay true to the values of Polaroid (instant printing) and this partnership could further help to raise the brands profile with the demographic that it had previously lost (the young).
For Lady Gaga, this deal shows the strength of the brand of celebrity. The fact that she had already established a design element – “Haus of Gaga” – to the Gaga brand I find is staggering in such a short space of time. But the partnership also demonstrates that how, in the age of public engagement, it’s more important to go beyond mere association with celebrity deals, but to demonstrate to the consumers that the celebrity is truly engaged with the project/brand. Thus the appointment of Lady Gaga as a Creative Director rather than then more traditional “face of” can be seen as a good move. By demonstrating that Lady Gaga has had a pivotal role in the products design/creation will surely have a greater appeal to her fan base ensuring that more of her brand juice rubs off on Polaroid.
Let’s see how it pans out – and also see how many other musicians created design houses in 2010.
January 11, 2010
If you had to work away from home during Saint Valentine’s Day, how would you use technology to make it up to your partner?
Over the next few weeks, Edelman’s European Technology Practice is embarking on a mission to explore one of the biggest questions currently facing the world of commerce and enterprise.
With clients and colleagues confronted by increasing pressures and workloads, the challenge of managing a stable ‘work-life’ balance has never been more acute. So we’re running a survey. Log on now and make your voice heard.
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