What Can We Learn from Better Place?

Better Place Server Room

Better Place Server Room

Some of you will remember Better Place, for those who don’t here is a quick recap.
Better Place was a venture-backed international company that developed and marketed battery-charging and battery-switching services for electric vehicles. The majority of its planning and operations were guided from Tel Aviv, Israel, where both its founder Shai Agassi and its chief investors resided. The company raised and spent $850m of investor funds, its peak year was 2012, and it filed for bankruptcy in May 2013.
In July 2013, an attempt to acquire Better Place was made by the Sunrise group that offered $5 million for Better Place’s assets in Israel, and $7 million for its intellectual property, held by Better Place Switzerland. The deal was never concluded. A second deal this time with Success Assets fell through in August of the same year.
In November 2013, the court-appointed receivers decided to sell the remaining assets of Better Place in parts and liquidate the business. Which is where I came in. The Better Place intellectual property was acquired jointly by Terracap Ventures of Canada and Brammo Inc. the two companies formed a joint venture company called ChargePeak. I was appointed project director of ChargePeak, in addition to my responsibilities as marketing director at Brammo.

The ChargePeak Mission
ChargePeak is a joint venture between Brammo and Terracap Ventures that intends to provide a fully-integrated electric vehicle (EV) solution to utilities through an electric vehicle utility platform as a service (EVU PAAS). ChargePeak will leverage their recently acquired Better Place assets to provide this solution.
Critical to the adoption of electric vehicles is the robustness, efficiency, and availability of the supporting infrastructure: charging stations and a grid management system. Because battery charging requires large amounts of electricity, the mass adoption of electric vehicles presents a significant challenge to existing power grids. Better Place validated their solution to this problem in Israel by creating a nation-wide, fully integrated, proprietary network management infrastructure with the capability of effectively managing the power grid.

Next stop Tel Aviv
The acquired IP included all the software systems that had been developed by Better Place. The systems were still running and being used to manage the Better Place charge point network and support the 1000 or so customers in and around Tel Aviv. The iconic battery-swapping stations were all mothballed. The software environment was made up of hundreds of virtual machines running in a third-party data center.
The patents were managed by a Tel Aviv law firm, the ongoing cost of maintaining dozens of global patents is not inconsiderable.
Throughout my time in Israel and Denmark, I met with many ex-employees, contractors, and consultants and had access to the Better Place systems. What follows is my view of what went wrong.

Lack of Choice
There was only one type of vehicle, and it was not popular. Better Place had expected to sign multiple OEM’s but only Renault/Nissan signed up. The vehicle selected was the Renault Fluence ZE – the EV version looked identical to the petrol version. This situation was exasperated when the Israeli importer of Renault cars refused to cooperate, and Better Place had to set up its own import and distribution business.

RENAULT FLUENCE ZE DASH DISPLAY SOURCE: ADRIAN G STEWART

RENAULT FLUENCE ZE DASH DISPLAY SOURCE: ADRIAN G STEWART

RENAULT FLUENCE ZE IN TEL AVIV SOURCE: ADRIAN G STEWART

RENAULT FLUENCE ZE IN TEL AVIV SOURCE: ADRIAN G STEWART

Range
Driving range for the Renault Fluence ZE was 25 percent less than Better Place had anticipated when planning its network, resulting in poorly located battery-switching stations and increased “range anxiety” for drivers. Subsequent versions of the battery pack would improve this but that they also added an element of uncertainty when switching – customers did not know what version (different capacities) of the pack would be installed until it was in their vehicle.

BATTERY-SWITCHING STATION INTERNALS SOURCE: ADRIAN G STEWART

BATTERY-SWITCHING STATION INTERNALS SOURCE: ADRIAN G STEWART

MOTHBALLED BATTERY-SWITCHING STATION TEL AVIV SOURCE: ADRIAN G STEWART

MOTHBALLED BATTERY-SWITCHING STATION TEL AVIV SOURCE: ADRIAN G STEWART

No Financial Advantage
There was no incentive for electric vehicles. In Israel, the majority of ‘C’ class vehicles are leased by companies and provided to employees as company cars – part of your employee benefits package and the cars come with a company card to pay for all your fuel.

Switching Stations
The sophisticated fully automated battery-switching stations cost six times more than Better Place had expected, because the stations worked only with the Fluence ZE It was estimated it would have cost another $1 million to retrofit each station for additional vehicle types. In total there were 21 battery-switching stations when Better Place ceased trading. For legal reasons, Better Place was prevented from locating their battery-switching stations at petrol stations. As a result, the battery-switching stations were located in unattractive low-cost industrial zones.

Charge Points
The charge points cost more than l0 times the original estimate, once installation costs, including multiple visits by technicians were accounted for.

BETTER PLACE CHARGE POINT IN TEL AVIV SOURCE: ADRIAN G STEWART

BETTER PLACE CHARGE POINT IN TEL AVIV SOURCE: ADRIAN G STEWART

REBRANDED AS E-ON IN DENMARK: SOURCE ADRIAN G STEWART

REBRANDED AS E-ON IN DENMARK: SOURCE ADRIAN G STEWART

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In March 2008, Deutsche Bank analysts issued a glowing report on the company stating that its approach could be a “paradigm shift” that caused “massive disruption” to the auto industry, and which had “the potential to eliminate the gasoline engine altogether.” Three months later, the same institution issued a second report, finding “electric vehicles destined for much more growth than is widely perceived”. The same report stated that “improvements in battery technology will allow for increased power, increased electrical propulsion, and bigger gains in fuel economy.”

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

On 26 May 2013, Better Place filed for bankruptcy.

Adrian G Stewart

Adrian G Stewart

 

 

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News Feed v. Stories: Casts Uncertainty Over Facebook’s Future Performance

Facebook’s stock was down almost 20% at the time of posting this article on Thursday at 9am PST. This fall came after the company reported slightly disappointing results for the second quarter and issued a growth warning.

Facebook stock falls in reaction to slowing growth.

FACEBOOK STOCK FALLS IN REACTION TO SLOWING GROWTH.

At first glance, Facebook’s results for the three months ending June 30 weren’t as terrible as the market reaction would suggest. The company reported a record profit of $5.1 billion on $13.2 billion in revenue, both metrics are roughly in line with Wall Street expectations. It was the financial outlook, given by David Wehner, the company’s CFO, that really caused Facebook’s share price to take a dive. Wehner warned that operating margins would worsen over the next several years as expenses are anticipated to grow faster than revenue. He also warned that revenue growthwould slow down significantly in the upcoming quarters.
One of the reasons for the expected slowdown is the adoption of the Stories format, this format isn’t as easily monetized as the News Feed, another metric that could become cause for concern over the long run. Facebook’s user base has almost stopped growing. As the chart illustrates, Facebook added no daily active users in North America and Europe in the past quarter, this has a disproportionate impact because each new user in these regions generates multiple times the revenue a new user in other parts of the world generates.

Facebook user growth falls in its most profitable regions.

FACEBOOK USER GROWTH FALLS IN ITS MOST PROFITABLE REGIONS.

During a conference call with analysts, Facebook CFO David Wehner stated that sales growth may decline as the company prioritizes new formats like Stories and offers users “more choice around privacy.”
Facebook has found success with the three apps by emphasizing Stories, a visual and typically ephemeral format pioneered by Snapchat. But any benefits found there could come at the expense of advertising sales growth.
“The question is will this monetize at the same rate as News Feed,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, said on the conference call. “And we honestly don’t know.”

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Adrian G Stewart

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Building Your Value Proposition

A quality value proposition is clear, easy to understand, and communicates the specific experience a customer can expect. The proposition must explain how the product or brand is different and superior to alternatives which claim to solve the same problem. Defining these criteria will help create an effective foundation for all your marketing efforts.

What is Value?

While the concept behind a value proposition is pretty simple, that doesn’t make coming up with one a straightforward exercise. The chances that you are doing something truly unique are very slim. It’s much more likely that there are many companies doing something comparable to you. The question then becomes how do you stand out in comparison to these other companies?  What are you doing that is relevant to the customer? And what are you doing that is relatively superior to everyone else?

Value Proposition Canvas

One suggestion is to look at the customer experience methodically, and to fill out an exercise similar to this Value Proposition Canvas.

The value proposition is the intersection between what you produce and the reason why people buy it.

  • Identify customer benefits
    Make a list of all benefits you offer to your customers
  • Link benefits to value offering
    Identify what value your products bring to your customer
  • Differentiate and position yourself
    Make it clear who the target customer is, what you offer to them, and how you are different
Value Proposition Canvas

Value Proposition Canvas

Make it clear who the target customer is, what you offer them, and how you are different.

Remember, the only thing that matters is what your prospect thinks. Just because you think it’s a benefit, the prospect may not. Your products and services do not intrinsically have benefits. They have features and functionality. Not everyone will perceive a feature as a benefit. Some will, some won’t. The challenge is finding those prospects with those problems who will perceive what you have as a benefit.

Which leads us into defining the customer persona.

Persona Canvas – a useful tool to help define customer personas

Once you’ve decided which to focus on, write on post-it notes what jobs your customers have to do. Don’t just think about functional jobs-to-be-done. Also come up with social activities and emotional charged activities.

Adrian G Stewart

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How to Turn Good Content into a Great News Story.

As we all read or listen to the news we have all developed an ideal of what a good news story looks like.

How then to take a product launch for example and make it news worthy? Well if you are Sir Richard Branson you may decide to abseil down the side of a building in a business suit. But if you aren’t Sir Richard you are going to need some creativity. Here are a few ideas.

Why Today?

Launching your story on a memorable day is a good example of building a story around the content. There are literally hundreds of awareness days. For example, June 21st is not only my birthday and usually the summer solstice, it is also World Music Day, International Day of Yoga and the International Day of Purpose. You can find an exhaustive list here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_awareness_days

Not only are there awareness days there are weeks, months, years and even decades. Some are regional, some are national, and some are international.

By choosing a relevant awareness day for your product launch you can create a sense of urgency to your story this time element is important to journalists. Journalists are always looking for content that is relevant to their readers. There are even annual events like CES which are basically virtually dedicated to new product launches and introductions. You can read more about how to thrive at CES here. 

CES 2019

CES – the go to event for high tech product launches.

Human Interest

People are interested in people. This is at the heart of celebrity endorsement and the explosive growth of “influencers” and “opinion leaders” on social media.

Taking your product and illustrating how a typical customer might use it – how they would integrate it into their lives and what it might say about them is vital. You may call them case studies or simply customer stories it doesn’t really matter. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth ten thousand. It doesn’t have to be a big budget production – most people will be watching on a five-inch screen while waiting for the train home.

Expert Opinion

Gurus, specialists, and experts are all have opinions that can be added to your content on your content. A supportive quote from and industry guru plus a picture of the said guru will go a a long way to build the story. Journalists with trade journals may well just run stories and quotations verbatim. Journalists at larger news organizations will want to talk with the source. Firstly, to verify its accurate and secondly to try and extract some unique comment. Make sure anyone you introduce to the media is media savvy and knows the difference between talking on the record and off the record. If in doubt don’t.

Organizations are putting vast amounts of effort into creating content that can used in blogs, websites, brochures and email campaigns. With a little creativity and some effort that content can be crafted into a story that will pique the interest of a journalist. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can always contact a company like OOKII Company who will do it for you.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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External Marketing Firms Offer the Best of Both Worlds

Successful marketing is vital for corporate success. Managing the marketing process in today’s digital world  is complex and fraught with difficulties. Which is why large organizations increasingly turn to outside marketing firms for help.

As McKinsey describes it; The teams that deliver these marketing services need to function as an interconnected ‘ecosystem.’ An early decision is figuring out what to handle internally and what to outsource to an external partner. Core competencies such as strategy are best handled by the brand, while execution functions and experimenting with new media or channels can be handled by external partners.

McKinsey & Company

Why do well known brands work with firms like, OOKII Company, to help stimulate their marketing process? There are a number of reasons – here are some of the main ones.

  • Discrete project-based work– such as a new product introduction.
  • Specialism beats one size fits all – outside partners can tap into a wealth of specialists and manage those efforts.
  • Guerrilla not gorilla – external firms can often cut through the all too familiar bureaucracy that limits larger organizations.
  • It’s not just about more horsepower – Large organizations can sometimes find it hard to see the wood for the trees. The top talent in an external firm  brings new ideas and approaches.
  • Who dares wins – outside partners are unhampered by the internal politics of a larger company.

The need for discrete project-based work

More brands are moving marketing work in-house. To some extent this is because companies want to respond quickly to execute on digital advertising campaigns, such as content marketing and social media channels. (see previous post on PESO).

This shift has created more opportunity for small firms to pitch and win well defined, one-off projects, and when done well, to then leverage this initial project into follow on work. To do this successfully you need to have expertise in scoping projects and then managing those projects to a successful conclusion. Systems such as TSheets will enable you to track actual hours against budget and report out in detail to the company you are working with when it comes to invoicing time.

Specialism beats one size fits all

When working on projects marketers will want to hire the very best – and by the best we mean agencies that have specific experience that relates to the project under discussion. Companies who retail leather sofas using consumer finance will ideally want to find a partner who has prior experience of exactly that.  This is partly because there isn’t time to onboard a new agency and get the team up to speed for a one off discrete project.  And partly because it de-risks the project, improving the chance of success.

External firms need to be crystal clear about what differentiates them, this differentiation will be supported by appropriate credentials (case studies & white papers) and team members who have in depth expertise in the sector.

Guerrilla not gorilla

Large external partners inevitably have more processes, approvals and generally more internal inertia than smaller agencies. Companies already have to navigate their own bureaucratic systems and approvals want to partner with more nimble partners.  Big brands with big vision work with OOKII Company because we share their perspective and values, not their size. It’s a change not unlike the agile development process that swept through the software industry.

  • Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools
  • Working solutions over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a rigid plan

It’s not just about more horsepower.

Companies want more than just foot soldiers when they engage with smaller marketing firms. They want to work alongside experienced principals who can add to their corporate perspective and bring new and innovative insights to customer comprehension. Once the strategy is defined             it shouldn’t be delegated to less experienced staffers to delivery.

Who dares wins.

Increasingly, the best and most talented marketing professionals are setting up their own firms. Larger companies enjoy working with this high level talent, talent that is often just not accessible in larger agencies that have been absorbed into a holding company model. This external talent is unhampered (for the most part) by the internal politics on the client organisation. They are often willing to take risks that the in house team would be averse to taking.

Conclusion

The traditional notion of managing a single media agency with one or two creative agencies of record seems like a relic from ancient marketing history. Today’s world features multiple channels and capabilities, all of which need to be closely coordinated to be effective.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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GDPR Compliance Becomes Mandatory on May 25th. Are You Ready?

If you have customers in the European Union then you need to be fully aware of GDPR and prepared for its introduction later this year.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25, 2018, all companies including international firms—doing business with individuals located in EU member nation territory must comply with the law’s far-reaching provisions.

Companies are not exempt from the GDPR just because they don’t have offices in the EU region or don’t process data in an EU member state: Failure to prepare for the regulation could have serious consequences to a company’s bottom line – businesses will face staggering fines from the regulators of up to 4 per cent of global annual turnover or €20m ($23.75m), whichever is greater. Together with the associated negative impact on customer relationships and brand reputation.

The GDPR regulation becomes enforceable from 25 May 2018 after a two-year transition period and, unlike an EU directive, it does not require national governments to pass any enabling legislation, and is thus directly binding and applicable. Brexit wont exempt UK companies, the new regulations will be integrated into UK law after Brexit, in a new data protection bill.

The volume of data that is being collected and stored every year is astronomic and growing. IDC forecasts that by 2025 the Global Datasphere will reach 163 trillion gigabytes, ten times more than in 2016.

IDC Data Age 2025 study April 2017

IDC Data Age 2025 study April 2017

What will change for US companies who have customers in the EU?

Under GDPR, companies will have to document all the “personal data” they store, so they can either hand it over or delete it on request. There has been much discussion about what “personal” means, but GDPR will tighten the criteria:

Social media and other consumer-facing technology businesses say new consent rules will be extremely difficult to implement. Under GDPR, companies will no longer be allowed to hide behind what the EU calls “silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity”, for the most part companies remain reluctant to alarm their users with warnings about data use.

The GDPR aims to protect individuals and their personal data through unified, modernized standards, and a set of meaningful rights for individuals. Some of the key GDPR obligations include:

  • Condition for consent, mandating that organizations obtain explicit consent to gather information from individuals (known as data subjects) – and be able to prove that they have done so. Consent is limited to specific purposes, and data subjects have the right to withdraw consent at any time.
  • Right to access and obtain data, allowing data subjects to request access to information held about them, and to learn how their personal data is accessed, the purpose of the access, where it is being accessed, what categories of data are being accessed and who has access.
  • Right to erasure, giving data subjects the right to request the deletion of personal data if they do not wish to allow its use.
  • Right to rectification and objection to profiling, granting data subjects the right to request corrections in personal data if it is inaccurate and allowing them to object to profiling that may result in discrimination against them.

Next Steps

If you haven’t already done so, your organisation needs to conduct a GDPR readiness assessment. A quick Google search will reveal a good number of organizations willing to help you with that, from IBM down to your local IT consulting firm.

If that sounds like jumping in at the deep end, Microsoft offers a GDPR Assessment via a quick, online self-evaluation tool (26 questions) available at no cost, to help your organization review its overall level of readiness to comply with the GDPR. Link to online assessment.

Brand reputation and customer relationships. Engage with your PR and marketing comms. agency to develop a communications program designed to reassure customers, employees, suppliers and investors that you are addressing GDPR. Silence might imply ignorance of GDPR and as you now know the financial consequences to an organization of ignorance could be disastrous even fatal. An effective communications program will help ensure that dark GDPR thoughts and the associated risk aren’t entering into the minds of your stakeholders.

Resources:

  • The full regulation. It’s 88 pages long and has 99 articles.
  • The ICO’s guide to GDPR is essential for both consumers and those working within businesses.
  • EU GDPR is the Union’s official website for the regulation. It details all you need to know and has a handy countdown clock for when GDPR will come into force.
  • The EU’s Article 29 data protection group is publishing guidelines on data breach notifications, transparency, and subject access requests.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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OOKII Company Explains How to Survive and Thrive at CES 2018

Each year OOKII Company helps both new and established high tech companies generate outstanding media coverage for their products and brand at CES. This year we decided to share with you the challenges of CES and some of OOKII Company’s tried and tested strategies for a successful CES.

‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat!’

CES IS BIG (2017 stats.)

4,000+ exhibiting companies and over 2.6 million sq. ft. of exhibitor space.

CES MEDIA COVERAGE

Almost 60,000 media mentions and more than 69 billion potential media impressions in January alone.

OVERALL ATTENDANCE

Industry Attendees          109,498

Exhibitor Personnel         67,321

Media                        7,460               

 

Deciding to attend and booking a booth at CES is but the first small step. The biggest challenge still remains – and that is getting your product in front of the right people.

1 – Defining Your Message and Media Audience

You will need to craft a story that breaks through the CES media clutter. Unless you are planning to unveil a functioning cold fusion reactor, you are going to need to invest a significant amount of time deciding exactly how to get that media attention. Start by thinking about it from the journalist’s perspective, most journalists receive hundreds of unsolicited new pitches every day, and even more during CES week. While we all like to believe what we have created is truly unique, so do all the other CES exhibitors. You will need to craft a truly compelling story that resonates with the media audience you’re looking to engage with. This is very useful, because if you think about it, not all 7,460 journalists are going to be interested in your product, so figure out who would be interested and focus on those.

At the same time consider the audiences those media journalists and influencers are looking to reach and engage with. Explore the various use cases that end-customers can imagine for your product. How do they see your product integrating into their daily lives? Once you truly understand that part of the puzzle you can have a more meaningful conversation with a journalist about your product and how it relates to his/her readership.

Ensure all press messaging and assets are locked down by Thanksgiving, once the holiday is over journalists begin to think about CES. Which means your press messaging and photo/video assets need to ready before then, because you now have other things to focus on.

A glimpse of the organized chaos that is CES

A glimpse of the organized chaos that is CES

2 – Setting up Media Meetings

As you can imagine CES is extremely busy and noisy, asking journalists to drop in at your booth during the show is of limited value to you. As well as a booth on the exhibition floor you will also need a private meeting room, close to or even on the exhibition floor. This is where you will be scheduling your media meetings. In this quiet controlled environment, the journalist can give you and your product his/her undivided attention and together you can have a meaningful conversation. Trust us, the journalist will welcome the opportunity to sit down and re-hydrate

while watching a demo and asking questions. Journalists don’t become respected by copy pasting press releases. This meeting is where journalists ask questions and start to formulate what their angle will be with their readerships/followers. You and your team can help facilitate that by providing the journalists with they need; images, video clips, quotations, samples, demonstrations, case studies and access to your senior management at the show.

This process should start as soon as the CES media list is released in November. If you wait until December, you will be behind the pack and it will be hard to get slots in the journalists CES schedule. Don’t be too rigid, journalists often prefer to offer a window of time rather than a specific time.

Remember those other 3,999 exhibitors are now your competitors for media mind share. Journalists will appreciate you reaching out ahead of the show because the show is too big for them to see everything they want. The earlier you can get a product on a journalist’s dance card the better.

Whoever calls journalists needs to be thoroughly briefed about the product, this is one of those rare occasions where promising to get back with an answer probably isn’t going to cut it. Be fully prepared and use the call as an opportunity to earn the journalists confidence, by demonstrating that you know your product, and understand their needs.

One of the things you will be offering journalists is “one on one” access to your senior executives. You may be dealing with multiple executives attending the show each with different schedules of availability for media interviews. One person needs to own this scheduling task as a priority, because it will change during the show. Log all media and key meetings in one schedule, make the schedule accessible to everyone who will be attending the show.

Pre-Show media Events

These events are where you’ll meet the bulk of media attendees.

3 – At the Booth

Product demos need to be choreographed and rehearsed. Booth staff need to be prepared for journalists or camera crews to “drop-in” this usually means you will need a minimum of two spokespeople available on your booth at all times. Articulate and well-presented they must be capable of representing the brand/product on camera. It’s vital that your spokespeople have had media training and command in-depth knowledge about the product. Broadcast media opportunities can happen on the fly at CES, so make sure everyone on your booth knows who the chosen spokespeople are and where they are at all times.

For any high-tech or more complex products, make sure you have a product engineer or technical expert at the booth available to answer in-depth questions. Take the time to role play questions before the show this may reveal topics you don’t want the technical expert to address.

Once the show is underway, make sure booth personnel understand the color coding of the media badges. Don’t be shy about approaching journalists as they go pass your booth. Approach them and invite them into the booth. All booth representatives must be able to explain the product and be fully conversant with the messaging that was developed before the show.

Keep the booth fully stocked with Press Packs and hand them out to anyone from the media who is even vaguely interested.

4 – After the Show

Follow up with everyone you engaged with at the show. Ensure that journalists don’t have any lingering questions from conversations at the show. Make sure everyone has the media assets and quotations that they need for their article. At this stage it’s very easy to drop the ball and lose out on great media opportunities by failing to follow-up with journalists who expressed initial interest in your product. Don’t assume the media you met with will remember your discussion, reach out to them after the show with an email thanking them for their time and letting them know you’re looking forward to working together in the future.

Media analysis. Make sure that you have media tracking in place and that you can follow up with a personalized thank you for everyone that covers your product announcement. This is how you will build credibility and long term media relationships. You may also need to tactfully correct any factual errors.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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What We Need To Understand About Generation Z

The difference between Millennials and Generation Z is important to understand in order to prepare your organization, adapt marketing strategy and refocus recruiting efforts to stay relevant for the future.

Generation Z

Generation Z

The Generations

The underlying belief is that generations share historical or social life experiences, the effects of which are relatively stable over the course of their lives. These life experiences tend to distinguish one generation from another. Because of this, we can’t readily predict when one generation will end, and another will begin or what will be enough of a change to tip us over the edge from one generation into the next.

Broadly accepted age definitions.

  • Generation Z: 16 to 22 (youngest born in 2001)
  • Generation Y (Millennial): 23 to 37 (youngest born in 1994)
  • Generation X: 38 to 51 (youngest born in 1979)
  • Baby Boomers: 52 to 71 (youngest born in 1965)

Social Behavior Online

While a significant aspect of Gen Z is the widespread usage of the Internet from an early age. How members of Gen Z think about the internet is most relevant. Unlike Millennials, Gen Z was born into a world overrun with technology. What was once seen as amazing and inspiring inventions, are now taken as a given for teens. The internet is like electric lighting. It is expected to be available at all times, and it costs so little no one bothers to turn it off.

The research suggests three-quarters of Gen Z uses Facebook with Twitter way behind on 44%. While most Gen. Z use Facebook, they are much more likely than older generations to use Instagram (59% compared to 21%), Snapchat (56% compared to 9%) and Twitch (13% compared to 2%). These platforms have a more integral role in their lives. As illustrated in these quotes.

“Social media is positive. It’s shaped my career. I don’t have a CV. I use Instagram as a CV.”   Elias.

 “It’s not just for connecting with friends – but also building your career. We’re not just using social media for our own vain reasons.”    Emily.

Entrepreneurial Ambitions

Gen Z can quickly and efficiently shift between work and play, with multiple distractions going on in the background…working on multiple tasks at once. This behavior will have a significant impact on the work environment. With that in mind, many in Gen Z plan to create their own work environment. According to Gen Z marketing strategist Deep Patel, “the newly developing high-tech and the highly networked world has resulted in an entire generation thinking and acting more entrepreneurially.” Gen Z desires more independent work environments. Fully 72% of teens say they want to start a business someday. This desire for a new type of work environment is one reason why coworking and providers of coworking environments such as We Work are booming. Coworking is a social gathering of people who are working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with people who value working in the same place alongside each other. Despite older people (including parents) being pessimistic about the future for Gen Z, the people most positive about their future are 16 to 22-year-olds themselves. Among Baby Boomers, 54% thought Gen Z lives would be worse. But only 41% of those actually in Gen Z agreed.

Global Individuality

Gen Z was born social. In fact, nearly 92% of Gen Z has a digital footprint. Arguably as a result of the celebrities and media they follow, Gen Z seeks uniqueness in all walks of life primarily through the brands they do business with, future employers and brands they associate with. 58% of adults worldwide (age 35+) agree that Gen Z today have more in common with their global peers than they do with adults in their own country.  Gen Z will become more global in their thinking, interactions, and relatability. Notable issues which under-22s listed as more important – include prejudice towards LGBTQ+ people, gender equality, and racism.

Brand Loyalty

Gen Z is highly informed and wants to take charge of their lives and their futures. Research shows that trying to gain the loyalty of Gen Z via traditional loyalty programs, cards and promotions is a losing battle. Gen Z is simply much less interested in these things. Getting Gen Z consumers to be loyal to a brick and mortar store will be more challenging than ever. Again research shows that online ordering and delivery are extremely important to Gen Z, and the ability to order online and come into the store to pick it up is, for the first time, declining in importance. The bottom line is that Gen Z expects retailers to get the product to them. Marcie Merriman, executive director of growth strategy at Ernst & Young. “They (Gen Z) expect businesses, brands, and retailers to be loyal to them. If they don’t feel appreciated, they’re going to move on. It’s not about them being loyal to the business.”

Experiences

Products are no longer the cool thing. According to Marcie Merriman “It was cool to save a dollar … and save money and get something really cheap. Through that whole process they’ve (Gen Z) learned the value is not in the product or the thing, it’s in the experience”. Going out to eat or going to an event are examples of this. More importantly, Gen Z  share these types of experiences via social media and that in a way makes them more ‘tangible”.

Value for Money

Gen Z is influencing the way their parents are spending, more than Millennials ever did. They are challenging parents buying decisions. For instance, teens will ask their parents, “How much are you going to pay for that?” The parents may not be price-sensitive, but their Gen Z children are going to educate upwards, whereas, with Millennials, we didn’t see that type of behavior.

Conclusion

By understanding and focusing on Gen Z now, organizations can appeal to both Gen Z and Millennials. However, If you remain focused on just Millennials, you will lose the generation that’s coming up next. Gen Z has the highest brand expectations. If you can please them, you are also going to please Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. Gen Z should become your benchmark.

Article based on research by: Ipsos MORI, BBC.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

Adrian G Stewart

Adrian G Stewart

Posted in Consumer Behaviour, General, Research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on What We Need To Understand About Generation Z

Top Ten Tips from OOKII Company for a Successful News Release

  1. Start with the End in Mind

A news release needs to be newsworthy. Nobody is interested in “Dog bites man!”  but  “Man bites dog!” is a different story. How is your story relevant to the target audience? Relative to all the other news that your target audience will see, how big is your story? News events can conspire against you so be aware of what else is happening that might unintentionally drown your story.

  1. The Headline

The headline shouldn’t be some cheesy click bait ending in  ”..you won’t believe what happens next!”  Your headline needs to be a balance. Informative enough to convey the topic yet ambiguous enough to draw the reader in to discover more by reading the release. If this is a trade press release, then the journalist may simply copy paste the headline you created. However, a larger publication will want to write their headline because they obviously don’t want the same headline as their competition.

Even the WSJ can make the odd headline faux pas!

  1. Expert Opinion

Find someone who is recognized as a subject matter expert to supply a comment or observation; this will add credibility your story. The more independent they are, the more their opinion will carry weight. Paying for this type of comment is a mistake – I don’t have to tell you why.

What do journalists look for in a press release?

  • Supporting facts… 65%
  • Interesting story angles… 62%
  • Trending industry topic… 53%
  • Powerful quotes… 23%
  • Attention-grabbing headline… 30%
  • Engaging multimedia… 17%

Source: Business Wire

  1. Images and Video

Visuals cause a faster and stronger reaction than words. They help readers engage with the content, and such emotional reactions have a favorable influence on information retention. This is because the visual memory is encoded in the medial temporal lobe of the brain, the same place where emotions are processed.

  1. Search Engine Optimization

The good news is that search engine algorithms have become quite sophisticated. What this means is that you simply have to write in a natural way and no longer concern yourself with metrics such as keyword density. Authentic curated content is how we refer to this in the trade.

  1. Now What?

Having gained the reader’s attention via your authentic content, which may be informative or entertaining, perhaps a blend of the two, now what? What do we want readers to do? Is there a specific call to action? Choose a single call to action for each press release, otherwise, you will confuse readers and make evaluating the outcomes challenging. If your release is about the launch of your new Dongle your call to action might be

  • Click here to preorder your Dongle
  • Sign up for Dongle updates
  • Click here to read Dongle reviews

Decide on one, and only one, call to action.

  1. Close Encounters

Your press release will be going to numerous journalists/bloggers/influencers and media specialists.

Some will simply copy paste what you sent into their newsfeed, either because they are swamped, or don’t care or most likely the process is automated. Yes – your press release will show up in an online search under – Fox12 News in Milwaukee!

However, the more discerning journalists and opinion leaders may well want to ask questions or gain direct access to the people who are quoted in your release. You need to make this as easy as possible. Names, phone numbers, email, social media – all the usual suspects. Make sure the people named as media contacts are thoroughly briefed, going to available and think about time zone differences and language skills as appropriate.

  1. Social Media Channels

Make certain that whoever manages your social media channels (Blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) has access to the release including any images ahead of time this will be greatly appreciated. Plus when all the channels fire simultaneously there is a synergy to your efforts. Let’s not forget that employees who are active on social media integral part of issuing your press release.

  1. Pitch to the Right People

The top two methods through which journalists prefer to receive breaking news have remained relatively unchanged.

  • The majority prefer an email alert with a link to a full press release (74%)
  • Less popular is a newswire press release (21%).

(Note: 75% of newswire journalists (Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France prefer a newswire press release.)

  1. Measure to Manage

It’s an old management adage that managers tend to manage what they can measure. To manage your media efforts effectively you will need to measure the performance of your press release. The good news is that there are tools to help you do this and if you don’t have them then your friendly PR agency will have access to them and can use them on your behalf. By accumulating this data over time and comparing the performance of different releases you will gain some interesting insights. Insights that are unique to your organization are of course the most valuable.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

Adrian G Stewart

Adrian G Stewart

Posted in Media Relations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Top Ten Tips from OOKII Company for a Successful News Release

What PR challenge do Nike, IKEA, Porsche, Fjällräven, Adidas and Hoegaarden have in Common?

Commonly mispronounced brand names.

They all have brand names which are occasionally mispronounced and generally they don’t like it when that happens. Let’s see how knowledgeable you are….

NIKE: Should Nike rhyme with “like”? Apparently not! In 20114 Nike chairman Philip Knight confirmed the correct pronunciation was in fact “Ni-key” , after the Greek goddess of victory.

IKEA: Is Swedish so if you want to pronounce it correctly then, it should be “ee-kay-uh” not “eye-kee-ah”. The company’s name is an acronym that consists of the initials of Ingvar Kamprad (name of founder), Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up), and Agunnaryd (his hometown in Småland, southern Sweden)

ADIDAS: Named after its founder Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler who started making shoes in 1924 it’s “A-di-das” not “a-DEE-das”.

FJÄLLRÄVEN: Swedish for Arctic fox, the company makes outdoor clothing and equipment. And if you want to say their name correctly its “F-yarl-Rar-van”.

PORSCHE: Luxury car brand Porsche also takes its name from founder Ferdinand Porsche. His family name has two syllables: ‘Por-shuh’

HOEGAARDEN: Records of brewing in the village Hoegaarden, Belgium date back to 1445, when the local monks were enthusiastic brewers. If you feel like a Hoegaarden make sure you order a “Who-gar-den”.

If you know of other mispronounced brands we would be interested to hear about them….

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

Adrian G Stewart

Adrian G Stewart

Posted in Consumer Behaviour, Cultural Differences | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on What PR challenge do Nike, IKEA, Porsche, Fjällräven, Adidas and Hoegaarden have in Common?