This Week in Business and Brands: Google Knows Everything, Brand Management 2.0 and May The Force Be With Us

Happy Holidays! As we send out this final roundup of the year, we’d like to thank you so much for your readership over the last twelve months and wish everyone the happiest of holidays this season. Along with warm wishes, we’d also like to share a little gift with all of our readers — it’s a classic holiday story, with a special marketing twist, created just for you by the Vivaldi team.

Now let’s see what this week had to show us in the world of business and brands…

Navigating Through Change

We often note the speed at which industry changes occur (i.e. extremely fast), but this week also served to remind us that the direction of those changes is far from one-way. Take the ongoing advancement in artificial intelligence, for example: with IBM’s Watson opening up its brain for all the world to pick, big data could soon be used for massive improvements in infrastructure and environmental protection. And with new stores like B8ta offering the latest in tech gadgets like VR and drones, it would seem that a physical human presence is becoming less and less necessary in the face of virtual connection.

Not so fast, say some service start-ups — they’re aiming to keep the personal touch alive with human experts, connecting to customers in a way that no algorithm or robot could ever equal. From travel to home improvement, getting a helping hand from a professional often beats the drudgery of DIY, regardless of any newfound digital assistance. That said, when it comes to manufacturing, we’re still happy to let our android friends shoulder the bulk of the work, as Adidas does by using robots to lace up their sneaks.

Re-Routing

While changes in AI tech make for moves in all directions, it seems like changes in digital ad tech are shifting some gears into reverse. With ad-blocking services putting a stop to interruption marketing, brands are reevaluating their strategies for connecting with their audiences and going back to the drawing board. Luckily for the consumer, this means we’re in for more high-quality branded content that adds much greater value to the viewer. New players in the marketing industry like Jebbit are working to create more engaging experiences for the customer, full of hooks and rewards alike. This kind of “customer-activated enterprise” values the modern, discerning consumer over the traditional marketing playbook and is finding success accordingly.

Despite this high demand for new methods in building a brand, let’s not forget the tried-and-true strategies of family businesses — after all, they’ve got generations of experience and success to show for it. And while best practices can’t be studied enough, a lot can also be learned from what not to do — fortunately for us, 2015 was a year chock-full of missteps in brand outreach so there’s no shortage of lessons there.

Mapping with Big Data

This was also a big year for big data — whether it was used on the backend to improve internal strategies within a company or brought to the forefront for news reporting, statistics continue to flex their value in every industry. And the big opportunity is still there for the taking by content marketers looking to tell their story in the most engaging way.

Perhaps the biggest name in big data released their “Year in Search” this week, full of interactive visualizations and neat tools to review the biggest stories as the broke around the world. And you might be surprised to find that your own Google searches might not have been so esoteric after all…

That’s all for this week — and this year! We hope the rest of 2015 treats you well and look forward to catching you again in January. Until then, may the force be with you for the Star Wars release today — we’ll leave you with an interesting look at understanding our own world through the eyes of a galaxy far, far away…

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