Google gives Two Chocolate Fingers to the Norm

posted by techlabs

On Tuesday Google announced that it has decided to change the name of the next version of Android from key lime pie to Kit-Kat. It was a move that brought smiles to the faces of all us here in the H+K tech team, and I expect many more when they found out.

It’s a really interesting idea from both Google and Kit-Kat. In in a deal that we are told will not include any exchange of money, it is a great way for two brands to work together – two brands that wouldn’t otherwise have much reason to be associated. Some may question the point if this is the case, but I think it should just be taken on face value as a fun way to promote the next mobile operating system (OS) from Google.

For those that don’t know, Google always names the latest version of its OS after something sweet, working its way through the alphabet. Previous versions include, cupcake, donut, froyo, gingerbread, honeycomb, ice cream sandwich and the current version jellybean. With Kit-Kat being named as the next version we wonder whether this is now going to be the precedence rather than an anomaly?

If so we could have some interesting names to come, Lion bar? M&Ms? N… hmm, maybe they’ll move from sweets to sports and we will see Android Nike?

Who knows? And really it doesn’t matter what it is called – the main thing for Google is that it keeps innovating and tightening its grip on the number one mobile OS position, which despite this weeks other big news with Microsoft acquiring Nokia’s mobile business, it seems like doing for some time.

At H+K we like the way Google looks to work with a sense of fun and this is a great example. With iO7 due for launch very soon, I bet the world’s Granny Smith growers are kicking themselves for not dropping a line to Cupertino…

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H+K London Behavioural Economics + PR Insight #3 – Norms

posted by Andrew Barratt

This is the third blog post in the series of nine, which follows on from the previous blog post, taking inspiration from the Cabinet Office commissioned report entitled MINDSPACE. Changing or shaping behaviour and inspiring or engaging people is often a perquisite of many of the work we do for clients at H+K. The MINDSPACE report sets out nine of the most robust (non-coercive) influences on our behaviour, which is captured in the simple mnemonic MINDSPACE:

MINDSPACE (Dolan et al., 2010)

+  +  +         #3  Norms         +  +  +

Norms – the power of social norms are such that if your brand sits outside of social convention it can deter consumers. Furthermore if your product is one that defies social norms, goes against it, then your potential consumer base becomes much smaller. Products and marketing have to stand out today in a competitive market place, but not go against social norms to the extent that it alienates the brand and turns away consumers.

However, social norms change over time and place. Often subtly or gradually, but it is for this reason why trends and different cultural appreciation becomes key to successful brand building. Local market PR and advertising activation is important to understand key opinion leaders and how to position a brand strongly in relation to social norms.

The Power of Social Norms

Indeed the subtle social norm differentials can be seen not just culturally and geographically, but also digitally. A random follow on Twitter is seen as great, but a random friend request on Facebook is seen at best somewhat eery. Furthermore, dating apps and websites invite a completely different type of social norm and etiquette to  everyday encounters in a bar. And also a different type of social norm with regard to other social platforms. Two seemingly similar online concepts of video messaging – Skype and chat roulette – but yet the social norms of these two digital spaces are stark. Parental caution is advised for the latter!

Brands also have the power to create social norms. In order to maximise the power of brands, these norms and reputations then need to be maintained. Looking at norms and product innovation – as is evident with countless examples – is a gradually, slowly changing process. A pod of vanilla in Coca Cola. A whiff of aniseed in Pimms.  A sprig of rosemary to Pringles. Adding a hint of coffee flavour to a Kit Kat, or a fifth finger, is something innovative, but not so far removed from the norm that consumers can’t still relate to the original product. Change the product from fingers of chocolate  to ‘toes’ of dried fruit and change the name to ‘Dit Dog’ and consumers don’t get it. Therefore, brands create norms in their marketing strategy – have a break, have a kit kat. Change the Kit Kat too much, and the hard work is undone. The power of the brands social influence can be diluted. Why is the Apple brand family evolving at what seems like a slower rate than mankind! Because actually consumers don’t like sudden change, and too much change can be bad thing for marketing.

New Product Development - Kit Kat Fifth Finger

It is to that end where brand management and brand reputation becomes crucial. To not allow hard work to be undone. To reinforce brand values and defend them when threaten. But also to create social norms and influence culture through branding and marketing. In brand messaging and communications, understanding and responding to the subtle social norm differentials that exist geographically, culturally and digitally are key to effective communication strategy and execution.

Follow me on Twitter @AndrewPCBarratt

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H+K London Behavioural Economics + PR Insight #2 – Incentives

posted by Andrew Barratt
This is the second blog post in the series of nine, which follows on from the previous blog post, taking inspiration from the Cabinet Office commissioned report entitled MINDSPACE. Changing or shaping behaviour and inspiring or engaging people is often a perquisite of many of the work we do for clients at H+K. The MINDSPACE report sets out nine of the most robust (non-coercive) influences on our behaviour, which is captured in the simple mnemonic MINDSPACE:

MINDSPACE (Dolan et al., 2010)

+  +  +         #2  Incentives         +  +  +

Incentives can be a powerful tool in harnessing the power of the public – engaging people and motivating behaviour change. The impact of incentives clearly depends upon factors such as type, magnitude and timing of the incentive. In a competitive economic environment brands are increasingly using incentives to attract consumers and stand out from the competition.

The power of incentive

Brands in the service industry – such as high-street banks, mobile phone network providers – are using incentives and rewards to become more attractive to consumers. However, the behavioural economic insight loss aversion is important in order to understand how best to use incentives in marketing. Loss aversion is used to explain that we dislike losses more than we like gains of the equivalent amount. What this means, for example, is human beings feel the loss of losing  £1 more than we feel the elation of being given £1. Therefore, brands that emphasise the money (or reward) that people will lose out on by not taking an action/purchasing can have a more powerful impact and motivation on people’s behaviour, rather than simply highlighting the amount they could be given if purchasing.

Brands in the fast-moving consumer goods industry consistently have to compete for consumer’s attention. Unilever’s Magnum icecream is an example of a brand currently (April 2013) using incentives as a marketing strategy to drive sales and engage consumers. The incentive Magnum is giving consumers is the chance to win a designer handbag worth £800 every day. However, now understanding loss aversion, if Magnum had framed the incentive in a way that consumers feel that they are losing out if they do not purchase, then this could have a more powerful impact on people’s behaviour to drive sales. Although, the type and magnitude of the incentive of a £800 handbag could be significant enough in itself to demand attention from some consumers. Furthermore, people have a habit of over-weighing small probabilities – for example lotteries – and so consumers may over-weigh the small chance of winning the handbag.

Magnum - win a designer handbag everyday

Another example of using incentives to engage a community is ConAgra Foods. In order to increase engagement on it’s Healthy Choice Facebook Page, users who “liked” the brand received a coupon for 75 cents off their next Healthy Choice purchase. ConAgra then coaxed more consumers to join its Facebook page by dangling a “buy one, get one free” coupon offer. In other words, the coupon’s value grew as more consumers joined the page.

However, a fundamental problem with using incentives, is that once an activity (such as buying a Magnum) is associated with external reward (chance to win a handbag), then individuals are less inclined to participate with the activity in the future without further incentives. Furthermore, and worst still, is if a brand fails to deliver on a reward/incentive – an example would be Red Bull’s VIP trip of a lifetime to the Belgium Grand Prix Competition. Red Bull was censured and criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in February 2013 after sending competition winners on a budget trip across three countries, making them share a bed and then sending them home early after they were barred from entering the race’s VIP enclosure.

Incentives - influencing behaviour and engaging consumers

In summary, incentives can be a useful tool to engage people’s behaviour – and the impact of the incentive depends upon type, magnitude and timing. People have a habit of over-weighing small probabilities, meaning competitions can be effective. Losses loom larger than gains, and so framing incentives to consumers in such a way that they feel the loss if they don’t participate can be a powerful communication and marketing tool. However, if brands become associated with external reward/incentive then consumers can be less inclined to participate in the future without these external rewards/incentives.

Follow @AndrewPCBarratt

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3D Printing: What’s around the corner?

posted by techlabs

3D printing has long been a hot topic in the tech industry, with investors and consumers closely following the evolution of this exciting technology. The prospect of being able to design and print 3D objects or being able to doodle into thin air (something which 3Doodler is fast turning into a reality) has captured the imagination of the general public as well as technological innovators.

3D printing is already a relatively established technology in industrial manufacturing but now we are seeing the technology becoming more readily available to individuals and small businesses.  This begs the question…could 3D printing for the consumer be just around the corner?

There have been some amazing stories in the media recently illustrating how 3D printing technology could have a profound impact on healthcare; take the 3D printer which produced a jaw bone for a transplant patient, or the news that donor organs could soon be printed on demand.

The fashion industry has also followed suit, with Dita Von Teese stepping out last week in the world’s first dress produced with a 3D printer. It seems like almost everything from organs to clothing, and even garden gnomes like these showcased by Makerbot last week at SXSW, is within the realm of possibility.

Excitement around this phenomenon has reached an all-time peak, but tongues are wagging as experts question what such a shift could mean for both intellectual property rights and public safety.

Firstly from a copyright perspective, there has been concern that ability to share and print digital files will make Intellectual Property regulation almost impossible.  There are worries about the implications in terms of the repercussions for businesses; what impact could 3D printing have on the economy if we can print off products on demand?

Moreover, in the face of the recent US gun crime debate, concerns have been raised that one day it could be possible for people to download files for weapons. CNET reported that Alice Taylor, CEO of Makie Labs doesn’t believe the dangers are imminent.  She said “I feel like it’s going to be easier for at least a decade to go and buy a gun off the shelf…I think this is a problem of the future, but it’s a long way away.”

The general consensus on 3D printing seems to be – as with many technology innovations – although there are risks and challenges, the pros outweigh the cons.  The move of 3D printing to a more consumer market could help to empower entrepreneurship, innovation and creative thinking and there could be huge potential health benefits. Although there are certainly substantial flaws which need to be ironed out and regulations which will need to be introduced, we’ve already got our thinking caps on in the office as to what we’d like to try our hand at printing!

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An Apple a Day

posted by an apple a day

A few weeks ago, this blog talked about how the rise of healthcare apps may have been cemented by the news that Apple were creating lists of the best apps for healthcare professionals. Now, the NHS has launched their own library of apps to help people manage their health. There are already around 70 apps in the library, which have been reviewed to ensure they are clinically safe and relevant to people in the UK. This process involves checking that all apps submitted comply with data protection laws and with trusted sources of information, such as NHS Choices, which are both minimum requirements. Apps that meet these minimum requirements will then be reviewed to see whether they could potentially cause harm to a person’s health or condition, and a clinical assurance team made up of doctors, nurses and safety specialists, will potentially work with app developers to make sure an app adheres to the required safety standards.

Of course, the NHS library could become a sort of stamp of approval for health apps in the UK, although with 70 apps already featured and seemingly minimal entry requirements, it will be interesting to see how they ensure people are being directed to the most useful and relevant apps for them. One consideration is that the scale of apps included could become overwhelming, while the quality and effectiveness of an app in itself will not necessarily be guaranteed provided it is not unsafe. The website does state that the review process will be updated and improved over time though, and this is still an important development for the industry.

In a similar vein, this post on The Health Care Blog by Leslie Kernisan, who practices in geriatrics, provides some excellent insight into how and why health apps should, if at all, be prescribed. Kernisan suggests that while many digital health enthusiasts expect that apps will become routinely used tools in healthcare, clinicians need be more thoughtful when recommending apps, basing their recommendation on medical rather than marketing considerations.

The article is an absolute must-read for people with an interest in digital within the health industry. It is really interesting to see someone take a step back from all the noise there is about apps and provide some genuine insight. Although the post focuses on the attitudes of healthcare professionals, there’s a lesson in there for communications professionals and the industry too. While it might be tempting to develop an app or some other creative digital tool every time you are handed a brief, it is worth taking a step back and assessing how appropriate and valuable this will actually be on a case-by-case basis.

Finally, it is worth reading this from the social media team at Intouch Solutions. On March 7, Facebook announced a major redesign to its News Feed and this article looks specifically at the implications the design change will have on pharma Facebook pages. If you or a client you work with community manage any pharma Facebook pages this is absolutely essential reading.

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The Changing ‘Face’ of Marketing to Men

posted by B+G PReen

When the retail behemoth John Lewis revealed the new face of its mensware range earlier this year it was to media cries of “gingery tramp” and the slightly kinder “hobo chic.”  The explanation for this was simple.  They had veered away from the usual androgynous beauty with hairless torso, creamy pre-pubescent skin and cut glass cheek bones in favour of Johnny Harrington a former kitchen fitter from Milton Keynes.  With his wild titian locks and rugged appearance he looks more biblical than model but John Lewis say Johnny appeals to its hard-working ordinary customer.  His laid back cavalier chic is the kind of attainable that might convince your man to abandon his dog chewed trainers and try on a pair of calfskin loafers.  His impressive facial hair hints at similarly impressive testosterone levels – here is a man not to shy away in the face of a salmon pink chino so why should you?  So whilst the jury is out on Johnny, John Lewis’s tactic of placing the average guy at the center of its marketing to men is becoming increasingly common. 

 

L’Oreal were one of the first to ditch pretty boy Matthew Fox in favour of the more grizzly Hugh Laurie in an effort to attract the man who fears his masculinity may be threatened by the presence of an anti-age eye gel in his bathroom cabinet. And this year the trend continues with Unilever using the Super Bowl, fertile territory to reach hordes of males, to launch its new Dove men + Care real man campaign.  The Dove brand already known for its Real Beauty campaign which featured posters of ordinary women in their underwear is now doing the same for ordinary guys.  According to Matt Close, marketing director for home and personal care at Unilever UK, three-quarters of men find it difficult to identify with the men they see in advertising and feel stereotyped and misrepresented with only 3 per cent strongly agreeing that they are realistically portrayed.  Cue a bevvy of white van men posing salaciously on billboards near you?  Probably not but expect to see someone a bit more like your husband, boyfriend or brother flogging moisturiser in the future. 

And if all this championing of the average guy wasn’t enough internet hosting site Go Daddy took it to the logical extreme with the very antithesis of the model man, the guy you never thought would grace your TV screens….the ugly guy.  Go Daddy caused an online storm earlier this year with its use of the bespectacled Jesse Heiman in its now famous Super Bowl ad who with his Afro and unhealthy BMI is hardly your usual poster boy.  Jesse was seen sharing a bit too much saliva with blonde beauty Bar Refaeli and overnight has become a cult hero for thousands of guys around the globe.  The former film extra known for his “ugly looks” now has the title of World’s Greatest extra and a rapidly growing twitter following.

 However, despite this proliferation of ordinary guys in marketing to men, the shift has actually been a relatively slow one.  Pop culture has been embracing the everyman for years with the likes of comedian James Corden championing the average man and Ed Sheeran proving that it is ok to be ginger and proud (if you can sing so well even Taylor Swift wants a piece of you).  And it seems that now brands are beginning to mirror this trend. 

No longer does the brand poster boy have to be beautiful to flog us stuff, today’s male consumer it seems likes to think brand ‘faces’ could be one of their mates down the pub or even better just like them!   It’s official the everyman is no longer just on the rise, he has risen…

By Daisy Sheppard

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Happy International Women’s Day from the H+K tech team

posted by techlabs

Today is International Women’s Day. As a primarily female team, we like to think we’re flying the flag for women in technology. Leaving Grant, Alex and Nick behind (just for today, sorry) we’d like to celebrate all the great women who inspire us.
Disappointed as we were to discover that International Women’s Day doesn’t entitle us to a day off work, we are still keen to embrace ‘girl power’ from a wires and cables rather than union jack dress perspective.

First on our list is Kathryn Parson, co-founder of Decoded and proof that working with computers and having fantastic hair is in fact possible. She describes herself as an ‘entrepenette’ and is certainly giving the men of silicon roundabout a run for their money. The Decoded course ‘Code in a Day’ promises to teach just that, and represents an ambition to make the world of technology accessible to everyone. Plus, you can tell they’re forward-thinking because the website URL ends in ‘.co’
www.decoded.co

Belinda Parmer is our next female tech figure, and founder of Lady Geek, a campaigning agency dedicated to changing the way tech and gaming companies speak to women. Sick of the ‘let’s do a pink version’ approach, Lady Geek is promoting a change in attitudes and urging the education sector to encourage more girls to study ICT at A Level and beyond.
www.ladygeek.com

Next up is Rhianna (no, not that one). Rhianna Pratchett is the daughter of much-loved author Terry Pratchett, and is also a talented writer, but in a very different field to her father. You may have   seen her cropping up in the press recently, promoting the new Tomb Raider game. Rhianna is responsible for scriptwriting the game, along with many others, and is proving that playing video games isn’t just for boys. In fact, 42% of gamers are female. Duh.

Inspirational women don’t have to be real, which is why our next celebrated woman in tech is She-Ra: Princess of Power. We’re pretty sure her Sword had some kind of electrical current in it, which she used along with her inexplicable physical strength to overcome all manner of threats, making her our childhood hero.

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An Apple a Day

posted by an apple a day

On Rare Disease Day last week, a new online community was launched for patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) on the existing patient website, RareConnect. RareConnect is led by the non-governmental, patient driven, rare disease organisation EURORDIS, and makes information available via patient advocacy groups from a variety of countries. RareConnect also provides a forum style platform for patients to meet and interact, allowing users to share individual experiences about how IPF has affected them, creating a sense of community between users. The website even has a translation service for all of its posts, making information available in five different languages and allowing its reach to be truly global.

Rare Disease Day also saw the announcement of Boheringer Ingelheim (BI) working with the online patient community Patient’s Like Me to enhance the website’s IPF community. Patients Like Me is a similar type of platform to RareConnect, but the main differences are that it has not been set up by patient advocates and is not just for rare diseases. With BI’s involvement, it looks like the IPF community now have online spaces on the platform where they can meet others with similar diseases, also allowing patients to input their health info and track their diseases. Although these communities have been around for a few years now, the involvement of patient advocacy groups and pharmaceutical companies to help strengthen these sites is new, developing the pages to be more patient focussed and giving them more of a ‘community feel’. 

Tracking patients’ health data in apps and online is a trend we have seen increasingly and now, patient data tracking company, Qualcomm, and patient information site, WebMD, have forged a partnership to track patient data and make information searched for on WebMD, more relevant for the user. Qualcomm partner with a large range of medical devices, such as blood pressure and blood glucose monitors that are connected to the internet and have a cloud based platform, which stores and tracks the health data from these devices. The idea behind partnering with WebMD, is that rather than receiving generic information when searching, you can receive information that is relevant to you. The idea is not new, and we have seen Google collect search information to make searches more relevant, but this is one of the first ways we’ve seen the potential for this style of tailored information for patients in the healthcare setting. The partnership is still early in its development, but it will be very important to see how this develops, and if this style of searching for patient information catches on in the future.

Last week, a study was released in the American Journal of Medical Quality, looking at the correlation between hospital Facebook likes and the quality of the hospital. Not only were the hospitals that had the higher number of Facebook likes more likely to be recommended by patients, it was also positively correlated with the mortality rate, meaning that based on this study, the more likes a hospital had, the better it was. This study shows the importance of having a strong and engaging Facebook presence as well as demonstrating that patients increasingly want more information from hospitals to make a more informed decision about where they seek treatment.

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Flavours, Travel Trends and Recruits – another week of diverse work at H+K

The Food + Drink team have been working hard on the EMEA-wide ‘Bursting With Flavour’ campaign across UK, Italy, France, Spain and Germany. The activity launches new flavours and marks the brands first foray into interactive video with a series of films showing one brave Pringles® fan going up against the new flavours in a series of humorous challenges. To support local media outreach in each market, the team created 100 Personalised Pringles Packs and seeded these to key consumer and online media in each market. To view the videos, visit https://www.facebook.com/Pringles

Another busy one for our Army team as fourteen new Army recruits from North Wales swore an oath of allegiance to the Queen as part of their official entry into a career with the British Army on Tuesday. The Attestation ceremony took place at the British Army Careers Office on Glynne Road in Bangor, and included a traditional parade of the new recruits in front of their proud friends and family.  Having successfully completed their oaths of allegiance, each candidate received his or her Attestation certificate which marked the final completion of their recruiting process and welcomed them as new members of the British Army.

Recruiting remains one of the Army’s highest priorities. The Army offers a wide variety of careers for both Soldiers and Officers, in the Regular and Territorial Army, with over 200 different roles available and recruits 15,000 people to the Army each year.

And hot off the press, our Retail + Leisure team today held an event which launched the IHG Trends Report, compiled by The Futures Company. The report looks at specific trends and how they are going to affect travel over the next 10 years. The report is called “The new kinship economy: from travel experiences to travel relationships” and identifies travel groups including ‘new global explorers’ – travellers from high-growth countries such as China and India.  The debate was hosted by Simon Calder and the panellists included Richard Solomans IHG CEO, Sarah King from The Futures Company and Dr Miguel Moital of Bournemouth University.

The event took place at the Intercontinental Westminster Hotel and was attended by a range of media across travel, trade and lifestyle press. Stakeholders also attended including Visit England, ABTA, WTTC and Tourism Alliance.

Finally, a shout out to our Financial + Professional services GE Capital team for their simply fantastic piece of coverage in the FT’s special mid-market report this week. This is entirely the product of tenacity from the team that managed to convert a piece with no less than FIVE really positive mentions for GE Capital and the Leading From the Middle research.

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Grand Cafes

posted by Food Bites

Last month saw the much anticipated opening of Balthazar in Covent Garden and whilst the Food Bites blog has not been lucky enough to eat there yet, we already feel as if we will love it. Owned by Keith McNally and bearing the same name as his highly successful restaurant in NYC.

Balthazar, Covent Garden

Balthazar, Covent Garden. Image via http://bit.ly/ZMnivK

The menu features everything you would expect from a traditional French Brasserie and the décor of bright leather banquettes, mirrors and high ceilings helps to create to the buzzy, informal atmosphere that makes this type of restaurant a pleasurable experience.

Balthazar has big boots to fill in the form of the other leading grand cafes The Woslely, The Delaunay and Brasserie Zedel but we have high hopes for this newcomer and if the reviews are anything to go by, the hype definitely matches the reality.

The Woslely

The Woslely. Image via http://bit.ly/13HOAo1

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