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WHY BRAND PURPOSE IS THE ULTIMATE DISRUPTIVE FORCE

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As SXSW gets going, it’s worth remembering that disruptive brands need to be prepared to take a side, says Jason Foo.

Uber: has been found wanting when it comes to purpose

As the “Futurati” descend on Austin this week for SXSW and discuss the disruptions of the future, it’s worth reminding ourselves that the market advantages gained by organisations from these “disruptions” are only temporary.

Disruption is not a new concept, either. It has always been the engine of change and progress – having taken us from living in caves, to being able to create fire, to then inventing the wheel.

What has changed is that it has never been easier, faster or cheaper to usher in new waves of it: Technological advancement is accelerating exponentially, supported by our burgeoning application of artificial intelligence.

All this will be on show at SXSW, although this year – partly as a result of the political situation – social impact, civic activism and brand purpose provide a key thread of the agenda.

Take New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s opening keynote focusing on gender bias in advertising; Tinder discussing its partnership with LGBTQ advocacy group, GLAAD; and Refinery29 talking cyberbullying with pop star Kesha. It seems brands are waking up to the fact that, if you rely on technology alone as the basis for advantage, your disruptive impact will be only temporary. Just as surely, you will be disrupted by the next waves of progress.

Indeed, some of the most famous and current ‘disruptors’, such as Uber and Deliveroo, might have found that they successfully used technology to shake-up their sectors, but they have been found wanting when it came to purpose beyond profit. Treatment of staff, assault and car accidents have tarnished Uber, while Deliveroo has found itself in the spotlight for questionable employment techniques.

Fortunately, by embracing ‘purpose’, brands can insulate themselves against some of the wider forces at play – and many at SXSW have recognised this and are addressing it in their sessions: “Advertising for Good, What is it good for?”; “AI for Good: Unleashing the potential for everyone”; “Build a culture of Good: Unleash results”; “Design Sprints for Social Good” – the list goes on.

Brand purpose, this most powerful form of disruption has been borne, to a large extent, from the crisis of trust and engagement with brands, with organisations and with governments. Commentators have spoken of widespread feelings of disaffection and alienation and vast swathes of society are looking for new ways to be heard, represented and served.

These people are also voting with their wallets. Brands need to take heed, or pay the consequences.

The answer to this is actually very simple and costs very little: demonstrate that you are trustworthy and build a meaningful connection with consumers based upon things you mutually care about.

Tesco has clocked on to this, signalling its desire to build consumer trust by focusing on ‘purpose’ – with its chief executive Dave Lewis saying that this is “what anyone in the UK should expect from a business”.

The brand has just launched a press and social campaign about its commitment to tackle food waste and has said that it will ensure that no food fit for human consumption will be wasted by its UK operations by the end of this year.

According to data from Lewis’s former employer, Unilever, 33% of adults would buy a product from a brand because they believe it is doing social or environmental good.

And Unilever itself has put purpose at the heart of its business. It is no coincidence it is the eighth most-applied to organisation on LinkedIn and attracts the best talent.

What’s more, the recent attempted takeover of Unilever by Kraft Heinz was a fascinating assertion of the role of purpose in insulating the organisation from an unwelcome or “disrupting” takeover. While Kraft Heinz and its backers could see the opportunity to strip costs out of Unilever – and make it more purely profit focused – Unilever’s board and shareholders were of the view that it contributes more than that.

Unilever’s triple-bottom-line commitment of people, planet, profit is driving the growth of the company: its sustainable living brands grew 30% faster than the rest of Unilever’s business in 2015.

Newer companies than this august institution should learn from this. It’s clear that brands that nail their relationships to the cultural good are used more, advocated for more, preferred more and even forgiven more than those that don’t.

It’s not just about creating a product but about building a movement: Among staff, shareholders and customers.

Disruptive brands need to be prepared take a side and be as pioneering in their purpose as they are in their business model. Through this they can create a business people will not only notice, but may come to love. This is a message that attendees at SXSW will hear time and again over this coming week. Now that’s disruptive.

source: http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/why-brand-purpose-ultimate-disruptive-force/1427109?_lrsc=0e85ede2-ee19-4db6-a60b-cf035bb5acf4&utm_source=Elevate&utm_medium=referral#t4hgg1KYCT1kVagQ.99

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Innovations

HERE’S WHAT GOOGLE MAPS LOOKS LIKE RUNNING ON APPLE CARPLAY

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With iOS 12, Apple is giving third-party apps more flexibility and new capabilities within CarPlay. As an example, for the first time, you can use other apps besides Apple Maps as your preferred navigation software for Apple’s in-car platform. With that change now possible, Google Maps and Waze are both planning to support CarPlay and have begun beta testing.

Unfortunately it’s not a beta test most of us can join, so you’ll have to wait for the proper release before you can use either of these in your own vehicle through CarPlay. But some early screenshots posted by 9to5Mac provide a good preview of how Google Maps and Waze will look once that happens.

Both apps are already available on Android Auto, so the developers behind each app are well familiar with the basics of optimizing their navigation for an in-car display: make the icons big, text readable, and directions… well, accurate. Apple Maps continues to get better and better, but G Maps and Waze each have their own strengths.

Google Maps utilizes Google’s own traffic and mapping data, which you might trust a bit more than Apple’s — even now. It also syncs up with your saved places. And Waze is pretty unrivaled when it comes to warning you about accidents or, for those who go heavy on the gas pedal, nearby police. Google Maps still looks like a Google app while following CarPlay’s UI guidelines.

There’s no official word on exactly when the CarPlay versions of Google Maps and Waze will widely roll out to users. But with iOS 12 widely launching on Monday — you can already install it now, remember — hopefully it won’t be long before this beta graduates to a full update.

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MOST OF AI’S BUSINESS USES WILL BE IN TWO AREAS

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While overall adoption of artificial intelligence remains low among businesses (about 20% upon our last study), senior executives know that AI isn’t just hype. Organizations across sectors are looking closely at the technology to see what it can do for their business. As they should—we estimate that 40% of all the potential value that can created by analytics today comes from the AI techniques that fall under the umbrella “deep learning,” (which utilize multiple layers of artificial neural networks, so-called because their structure and function are loosely inspired by that of the human brain). In total, we estimate deep learning could account for between $3.5 trillion and $5.8 trillion in annual value.

However, many business leaders are still not exactly sure where they should apply AI to reap the biggest rewards. After all, embedding AI across the business requires significant investment in talent and upgrades to the tech stack as well as sweeping change initiatives to ensure AI drives meaningful value, whether it be through powering better decision-making or enhancing consumer-facing applications.

Through an in-depth examination of more than 400 actual AI use cases across 19 industries and nine business functions, we’ve discovered an old adage proves most useful in answering the question of where to put AI to work, and that is: “Follow the money.”

The business areas that traditionally provide the most value to companies tend to be the areas where AI can have the biggest impact. In retail organizations, for example, marketing and sales has often provided significant value. Our research shows that using AI on customer data to personalize promotions can lead to a 1-2% increase in incremental sales for brick-and-mortar retailers alone. In advanced manufacturing, by contrast, operations often drive the most value. Here, AI can enable forecasting based on underlying causal drivers of demand rather than prior outcomes, improving forecasting accuracy by 10-20%. This translates into a potential 5% reduction in inventory costs and revenue increases of 2-3%.

While applications of AI cover a full range of functional areas, it is in fact in these two cross-cutting ones—supply-chain management/manufacturing and marketing and sales—where we believe AI can have the biggest impact, at least for now, in several industries. Combined, we estimate that these use cases make up more than two-thirds of the entire AI opportunity. AI can create $1.4-$2.6 trillion of value in marketing and sales across the world’s businesses and $1.2-$2 trillion in supply chain management and manufacturing (some of the value accrues to companies while some is captured by customers). In manufacturing, the greatest value from AI can be created by using it for predictive maintenance (about $0.5-$0.7 trillion across the world’s businesses). AI’s ability to process massive amounts of data including audio and video means it can quickly identify anomalies to prevent breakdowns, whether that be an odd sound in an aircraft engine or a malfunction on an assembly line detected by a sensor.

Another way business leaders can home in on where to apply AI is to simply look at the functions that are already taking advantage of traditional analytics techniques. We found that the greatest potential for AI to create value is in use cases where neural network techniques could either provide higher performance than established analytical techniques or generate additional insights and applications. This is true for 69% of the AI use cases identified in our study. In only 16% of use cases did we find a “greenfield” AI solution that was applicable where other analytics methods would not be effective. (While the number of use cases for deep learning will likely increase rapidly as algorithms become more versatile and the type and volume of data needed to make them viable become more available, the percentage of greenfield deep learning use cases might not increase significantly because more established machine learning techniques also have room to become better and more ubiquitous.)

We don’t want to come across as naïve cheerleaders. Even as we see economic potential in the use of AI techniques, we recognize the tangible obstacles and limitations to implementing AI.  Obtaining data sets that are sufficiently large and comprehensive enough to feed the voracious appetite that deep learning has for training data is a major challenge. So, too, is addressing the mounting concerns around the use of such data, including security, privacy, and the potential for passing human biases onto AI algorithms. In some sectors, such as health care and insurance, companies must also find ways to make the results explainable to regulators in human terms: why did the machine come up with this answer? The good news is that the technologies themselves are advancing and starting to address some of these limitations.

Beyond these limitations, there are the arguably more difficult organizational challenges companies face as they adopt AI. Mastering the technology requires new levels of expertise, and process can become a major impediment to successful adoption. Companies will have to develop robust data maintenance and governance processes, and focus on both the “first mile”—how to acquire data and organize data efforts—and the far more difficult “last mile,” how to integrate the output of AI models into work flows, ranging from those of clinical trial managers and sales force managers to procurement officers.

While businesses must remain vigilant and responsible as they deploy AI, the scale and beneficial impact of the technology on businesses, consumers, and society make pursuing AI opportunities worth a thorough investigation. The pursuit isn’t a simple prospect but it can be initiated by evoking a simple concept: follow the money.

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Innovations

FONTS TO FIT YOUR AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY DESIGNS

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Setting text in augmented and virtual reality presents new design challenges that are dramatically different from practically any other existing medium. Steve Matteson, Creative Type Director at Monotype, has selected fonts that are both highly legible and represent multiple genres, offering reliable choices for AR/VR games, apps or user interfaces.

Avenir

The word Avenir means ‘future’ in French and hints that the typeface owes some of its interpretation to Futura. But unlike Futura, Avenir is not purely geometric; it has vertical strokes that are thicker than the horizontals, an “o” that is not a perfect circle, and shortened ascenders. Avenir represents the most legible of designs within the geometric sans serif genre. The challenges posed by fully geometric typefaces are reduced in Avenir, putting the emphasis on legible shapes, open forms and ample letter spacing. Avenir would work well for extended text in AR/VR or lend modern flair to interfaces for home appliances or IoT.

Daytona™

The Daytona typeface family grew out of Jim Wasco’s desire to design a readable typeface for video and on-screen use. Because of its exceptional legibility, it’s also an ideal choice for digital user interfaces and a wide range of print applications. Daytona softens an otherwise modern engineered style, with rounded forms lending an air of informality. This makes it the perfect font for a children’s AR/VR game or app. Originally designed for navigation and wayfinding, the font would also work well for heads-up displays. Daytona can offer the user a friendlier appearance – even in a potentially intimidating futuristic VR experience.

Slate™

The Slate typeface melds superb functionality and aesthetic elegance into a remarkable communications tool. Slate is the work of Rod McDonald, an award-winning typeface designer and lettering artist. At one point in his forty-year career, McDonald participated in a typeface legibility and readability research project conducted by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind during which he learned the design traits that maximize character legibility and text readability. Slate offers a comfortable reading experience even in challenging technical environments like AR or VR. Slate’s contemporary flair would work well in an app interface, experiential walkthroughs or AR app filters.

Halesworth™

Designing a virtual experience that needs to evoke a historical or academic theme? Halesworth is a Venetian Old Style book typeface designed by Carl Crossgrove, crafted specifically for comfortable reading on screen. Halesworth preserves the beautiful, generous proportions of the Venetian genre and optimizes the details for best performance, making it an excellent choice for long-form text in a VR environment. The typeface has reduced contrast in hairline strokes, generously open counters, ample curves and sturdy serifs. Halesworth has an elegant, antique flavor but can be read comfortably on screen at any angle making it ideal for AR/VR.

Akko™

Need to design a UI for the future? Look no further than the Akko typeface. Akko’s contemporary and open design aids in reading from severe angles that can be found in VR situations. Akko was designed with very open counters and a tall x-height following market research indicating the need for a new sans serif with a “tech” look. The resulting letters are characterized by their simplicity and compactness and can be employed to save space within a layout. Akko’s tech-forward appearance combined with its space-saving qualities also make it a reliable choice for futuristic AR/VR games or experiences.

Helvetica eText™

Helvetica™ is the ubiquitous flagship of the Swiss Grotesque genre. The ‘e-text’ adaptation reduces hindrances to legibility commonly found in the style by offering advanced font hinting, expanded characters and modified line thickness and x-height to optimize legibility across smartphones, tablets or e-readers. Helvetica eText aids the reader while delivering style, and is particularly well suited to anything on a grid, for example to display scores or health metrics in games or for virtual eCommerce experiences.

Get the fonts

Get Avenir, Daytona, and thousands of other fonts in Mosaic, Monotype’s Enterprise font solution.

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