Snatching Defeat

Imagine you’re having a drink with a friend and a stranger walks up:

Stranger: “Thanks for your order. You’ll be notified when we ship along with a tracking number”
You: “Sorry?”
Stranger: “Your order for that stuff. You know.”
You: “Erm. Yeah I think so. But who are you again?”
Stranger: “I’m Dave although you ordered from Gary.”
You: “Dave??”
Stranger: “Yeah. Gary is actually me. I was wearing a disguise and pretended to be Gary. But for delivery and stuff like that, I’m Dave.”
You: “I remember Gary – he seemed ok – but you’re telling me I actually gave my money to you?”
Stranger: “Yup.”
You: “But that’s really confusing..”
Stranger: “Yeah I suppose..but it suits me and the way I do my accounts.”
You: “Oh.”

That’s how your customers feel when they order online.

If they’ve entrusted their credit card details to Gary, then they really don’t want find out he wasn’t who he said he was.

The context here is everything.  Customers are trusting you and you need to reward their trust.

Presenting your brand as trustworthy, reliable and reassuring is worthless if that doesn’t continue throughout the process.

I recently ordered a new bed online from company ‘A’.  They had a real, bricks and mortar store in Wales, a decent enough company ‘A’ branded website yet their deliveries were handled by a 3rd party (company ‘C’)

No big deal but it became one when company ‘C’ confirmed my order from an entirely different company – Company ‘B’ – the trading arm it seems.

With me so far?

Not only that but they had ordered the bed from yet another company – the manufacturer. Company ‘D’

One order and four different company names involved in my email trail.

I ended up having to coordinate the delivery myself.

It didn’t need to be that way.  As far as I was concerned I was dealing with Company A.  The other 3 were not my problem.

All communication from Company ‘A’, delivery by Company ‘A’, receipt from Company ‘A’ – all that activity under the waterline should have stayed right there.

It’s something the very best retailers understand.

Trust is hard won and easily lost so don’t let your internal processes destroy it.




We Are Now ‘Uber’s Children.’ Here’s What it Means for Your Business

We want what we want now. And we’re used to getting it. We are Uber’s children–we’ve been trained to have everything on our terms, and have it instantly, for free, thanks to the ride-sharing company.

The phrase Uber’s Children (coined by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden of London marketing agency eatbigfish) sums up the unreasonable expectations consumers now hold. We have such demanding expectations across every category we visit. And these expectations don’t dip between categories; if we see something is possible in one category, we don’t understand why we can’t get it somewhere else. So in this era of ever-stretching unreasonableness, what can we expect next? And how can we get ready for the future? Unreasonableness can show up in many forms: cheaper, quicker, more personalized and more streamlined. And here’s how it’s transforming some key industries.

Read the full article here…

The Myth of the Millennial Entrepreneur

“Millennials are on track to be the least entrepreneurial generation in recent history,” John Lettieri, the co­-founder of the Economic Innovation Group, testified last week before the U.S. Senate. The share of people under 30 who own a business has fallen by 65 percent since the 1980s and is now at a quarter-century low, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Federal Reserve data.

Read the full article here…

Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017

Today, a digital stethoscope has the ability to record and store heartbeat and respiratory sounds. Tomorrow, the stethoscope could function as an “intelligent thing” by collecting a massive amount of such data, relating the data to diagnostic and treatment information, and building an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered doctor assistance app to provide the physician with diagnostic support in real-time. AI and machine learning increasingly will be embedded into everyday things such as appliances, speakers and hospital equipment. This phenomenon is closely aligned with the emergence of conversational systems, the expansion of the IoT into a digital mesh and the trend toward digital twins.

Read the full article here…

This is why you’re addicted to your phone

In 2015, Max Stossel, 28, had an awakening. He was a successful social media strategist working with major multinational companies.

But that same year, he says, “I realised that some of the work I was doing wasn’t actually in people’s best interests.”

Nile Rodgers and The Guitar That Wouldn’t Play: Is Your Team Out of Tune?

Nile Rodgers is one of those people you’d just like to thank: for Chic and Sister Sledge; for combining uptown style with downtown rhythms; for swooning strings and relentless ‘chucking’ guitar patterns; for ‘High Society,’ ‘My Forbidden Lover’ and ‘Get Lucky’; for the renaissance of Diana Ross; for the pause in ‘I Want Your Love’; for the chassis to ‘Rapper’s Delight’; for getting ‘lost in music, caught in a trap, no turning back’; for sheer rapture on the dance floor; for the ‘Good Times.’

Read the full article here…

User behaviour

Websites and apps are designed for compulsion, even addiction. Should the net be regulated like drugs or casinos?

When I go online, I feel like one of B F Skinner’s white Carneaux pigeons. Those pigeons spent the pivotal hours of their lives in boxes, obsessively pecking small pieces of Plexiglas. In doing so, they helped Skinner, a psychology researcher at Harvard, map certain behavioural principles that apply, with eerie precision, to the design of 21st‑century digital experiences.

Read the full article here…

Will the future be more parks and less parking?

You have just finished breakfast when your phone pings, confirming that your driverless car has arrived. Five minutes later you are on the way to work, travelling in a convoy of robo-vehicles. Even at 70 miles per hour, your car stays only a few feet behind the one in front; it will react to an emergency many times faster than you could. You pay little attention to the other vehicles in any case, since you are reading. But at one point you glance over at the lane reserved for old-fashioned cars driven by humans. As usual, it is hardly moving. Mugginses, you think.

Read the full article here…

How the powers of persuasion have changed in the digital age

Persuasion in marketing was once simply about attracting the customer to make a purchase. But in the digital age, says Code Computerlove design director Tom Bradley, persuasion is a far more subtle and important art…

Read full article here…

What Smart Cities of the Future Will Look Like

With plenty of incentives for cities to embrace the tech future, here are the trends in the emerging social and digital arena.

The emergence of Internet of Things technology is driving the development of smart cities in many booming metropolitan areas around the world. The visions that planners have for these cities are bold—from autonomous buses and free Wi-Fi throughout Barcelona to LED streetlights in Los Angeles that have sensors to monitor their conditions.

Read the full article here…

Products to Service

I talk a lot to clients (and also in my book of-course) about what the shift from product orientation to experience really means. As software eats the world an ever increasing number of products are becoming services – even those that you might think are relatively distant from digital disruption like the unbundling of Procter & Gamble’s product portfolio by a host of digitally-enabled startups.


Read the full article here…

Freeing Technology From the Pace of Bureaucracy

Machines and software can improve how well our democracy works for its citizens—but only with human-guided efforts.

Technology can be powerful, but it isn’t inherently good or bad. Just as a hammer isn’t inherently good or bad; what matters is how it’s used. Are we using the tool to build or to destroy?

Read the full article here…

People, brands and technology

‘People don’t do what they believe in, they do what’s convenient, then they repent’.

Bob Dylan – ‘Brownsville Girl’

The vast amount of information we’re exposed to in our daily lives dictates that most of the decisions we make are sub-conscious. We’re hard wired to automatically choose the path of least resistance. And then post-rationalise, or repent.

The new generation of technology driven companies intimately understand our craving for convenience and have developed products and services that have changed our expectations.

They’re providing us with better, faster and cheaper experiences that have created a new expectation normal. And there’s no going back.

We’ve become programmed to want more and do less.

These tech brands, like Uber, Deliveroo and PayPal understand that people with busy lives are motivated by convenience, and have leveraged their technology to provide it.

But, as Uber in particular are currently discovering, a brand must stand for more than just convenience. Increasingly people want to know what a brands long-term goals are, and what positive impact they are making in the world.

Rapidly developing technology is enabling businesses to give people new choices. But it’s their brand that determines whether people choose them or their competitors.

The truth is, that ever-smarter smart phones and cleverer apps won’t succeed if they don’t motivate people. And understanding what motivates people is essential when designing and building products, interfaces and experiences that fly.

The blunt logic of the algorithm doesn’t necessarily reflect the irrational nature of human choice. Technology may have changed our expectations, but there’s one thing that hasn’t changed at all. Us.

Our needs, our desires, our motivations are the same as they’ve always been; it’s just that technology now fulfils those needs in different ways.

So in a world that is obsessed with digital transformation the answer is not simply technology at all costs. Building successful products and services that really engage requires a deep understanding of human motivation, a clear brand proposition that communicates benefit and simplifies decision-making, and delivery through technology that provides the convenience we crave.

‘Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet’.
Bob Dylan

The Fleetlights Initiative

Direct Line has developed a fascinating prototype idea called the Fleetlights Initiative.  It uses drone technology to bring light to rural communities who suffer much higher pedestrian road casualties during winter months.  A great example of complete BRAVE thinking – a really bold, compelling idea using available technology, it’s relevant to significant numbers of people in rural areas who are at risk, helps reposition Direct Line as a fixer of problems rather than just insurance, it’s about as visible as it’s possible to be and the app makes it a breeze to use.  Not only that but video is beautifully produced.  Hats off to the team behind it all.

Watch the video here.

For the Journey

Considering a purchase, researching our options, choosing a brand, listening to other users feedback and making the eventual purchase is what marketers call the customer journey.

But all we’re really interested in is the destination.

Making the path to eventual purchase as simple and efficient as possible. Eliminating any unnecessary steps or friction points along the way. Getting to the destination with dizzying pace and without hesitation or distraction.

One Amazon click and practically anything can be delivered next day. We can ask Alexa to order our shopping or simply push a button for pizza.

We expect things faster and faster and without compromise or trade off. We have to get to our destination… and fast. It’s the tyranny of now.

Now I’m not suggesting we should halt the path of progress or disregard annoyances or blockages in processes. But maybe we should stop for a minute and consider the journey, because serendipity often lives in the journey.

Taking a wrong turn. Bumping into an old friend. Discovering something new or mind blowing.

Maybe getting everything now isn’t the answer. Maybe making the journey more enjoyable, or productive, or interesting is.

HS2 is costing £56 billion to get us from London to Manchester 50 minutes quicker, that’s a whopping £80 million per km.

Maybe if the current trains ran on time, were comfortable with free Wi-Fi and decent coffee that 50 minutes wouldn’t be so much of an issue. And quite frankly, it wouldn’t cost anywhere near as much.

One of the great recent innovations on the London Underground are the LED displays telling us how many minutes the next train will be. Waiting six minutes is not the issue, not knowing how long you may be waiting is.

We all know what life’s eventual destination is, so maybe it’s worth thinking about the journey a little more.