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Showing all posts tagged with Digital trust

< The beta blog | Sep 11, 2014

20 Questions for the CCO: #4 Have you adapted to the visual world?

According to trade body IMRG, UK online spending will rise by 17% this year. That’s a whopping £107bn of products we’ll buy without necessarily seeing or touching.

What’s interesting is that we haven’t changed (our need for a deeper experience of a product before we commit to purchase is the same). What’s different is that we are now fulfilling that need through high quality imagery, video and digital experiences.

For example, every serious automotive manufacturer has an online configurator now. Drivers can personalise a near real image of the car they want, down to wheel choices and interior trim. They can rotate it, explore it and share it with friends. Increasingly an actual test drive with a dealer is a validation step, if it’s taken at all. Even traditionally dry industries like venture capital have embraced the visual world. Every pitch for crowdfunding investment comes as a slickly produced video, packed with infographics and animation. This extends post purchase too. We can often get the aftersales help we need from a ‘how to’ video, rather than calling a helpline or reading a manual.

The way firms interact with customers has obviously been shaped by the increasingly visual way we interact with each other. Sharing video and imagery through social media is the norm. It’s even the primary means of communication for some. Witness for example the exodus of teens from Facebook to Instagram as a way of ensuring a parent-free, visually driven experience. All of this change brings new and challenging demands for a CCO trying to manage customer interaction across an organisation. There are three key conflicts to resolve:

1. Quality vs volume – Creating compelling imagery and video in a socially enabled world can be a daily or even hourly job. Maintaining quality with volume requires the right processes, tools and partners. They need to be governed by clear guidelines that make on brand, quality production totally idiot proof.

2. Consistency vs flexibility – If a brand is the aggregate of all perceptions of a product or business, being consistent is critical. That means creating a common visual experience across all on and offline channels. Each will have different lead times to manage and may be owned by different functions within the organisation so coordinating them and defining the role they play in the visual landscape of a customer journey is vital.

3. Cost vs investment – Not so much a conflict as an imperative. The creation of high quality visual material and visually rich experiences has to be treated as an investment and protected from inevitable cost-cutting. Visually rich worlds that convey an experience of both the product and the brand are the new normal. Closing your eyes to the need is not an option.

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< The beta blog | Aug 6, 2014

Will commerce on social media erode digital trust?

Some of the leading social networks have recently announced that they will allow users to purchase products through their networks at the click of a button. This is good news for advertisers as it will give them enhanced metrics that allow them to measure return on investment and how social media can ultimately lead to sales.

However, I liken this development to so-called “in-app purchases” through smartphone or games console app stores. The operators of these stores have come under fire in recent months due to complaints from parents that their children are purchasing items from the stores without the parents’ permission. This has led to calls to change the way that in-app purchases work and Apple has even agreed to refund at least $32.5 million (£19.8 million) to customers who complained that their children had run up large bills by making in-app purchases.

It therefore begs the questions as to whether the same will happen when the social networks allow users to purchase products directly through their networks. Concerns have already been raised about how social networks are using users’ data and the networks will need to ensure that they can keep the details of any payments secure to avoid losing users’ trust.

Twitter plans to allow e-commerce around live events, or “in-the-moment commerce experiences” as it puts it. On paper this sounds like a good idea as news often breaks on Twitter before the mainstream media and world events can trend globally on the network as people follow developments as they unfold live on the Twitter feed. However, Twitter will need to provide assurance to advertisers that they have thoroughly tested the algorithms which serve up purchase opportunities for its users to ensure that inappropriate suggestions don’t appear beside world disasters.

For example, there were reports of some life insurance providers using the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine as a means of promoting their policies, something which attracted condemnation by many. If Twitter implements a mechanism that encourages people to buy products during a world event then it could harm both its own and the advertisers’ reputations if the adverts are deemed by the users to be inappropriate.

This wouldn’t be the first time advertisers have fallen prey to contextual based advertising and one only has to run a quick online search to find examples of where algorithms have served up inappropriate advertisements alongside serious news stories based on the specific keywords in the article content.

E-commerce through social networks could clearly be a big success for the social networks. But both the networks and their advertisers must ensure that the associated risks are identified and managed through a clear governance strategy to avoid losing users’ trust.

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< The beta blog | Jul 23, 2014

In a world in beta are we exposing too much about ourselves online?

We often try to keep certain details about ourselves off the internet, myself included. A common piece of information that many people like to keep hidden is their date of birth. Perhaps you have diligently configured your Facebook account to hide the year to make it hard to work out your age, or perhaps you’ve hidden the entire date.

Pretty sensible, you may think to yourself. However, have you ever stopped to think about what someone can tell about you just from your posts, or the posts that you’re tagged in? For example, you may have hidden your date of birth, but are you sure there are no photos from a previous birthday somewhere on your profile? Perhaps a photo of yourself blowing out the candles on a tasty-looking cake with a big “30” on it which has been tagged with the venue and a timestamp? Pretty easy then, in this case, to work out your date of birth!

Something else that many choose not to broadcast to the world is your home address. The problem is that while you may have hidden this information within your privacy settings, it only takes one geo-tagged post from your home to expose this information. The “so-what” factor really comes to bear when you think that most of us make posts or “check in” to places when we’re on holiday. Thus, these seemingly harmless acts can be all that a burglar needs to target your house, in the knowledge that you’re lying on a beach somewhere else!

The interesting and scary thing about this is that the personal data referenced above is used regularly by many credit card companies as a way of verifying your identity when you contact them. We’ve all answered “secret questions” before, such as your birthplace, pet’s name, favourite food etc. And, thinking about it, a lot of this information is pretty easy to guess based on your social media posts too.

In terms of the future, you only have to look at the ongoing growth of social media use globally and new innovations in biometric identification (illustrated in one of our World in Beta videos) to know that we will increasingly share more personal information – social or otherwise – about ourselves knowingly and, in some cases, unknowingly as time goes on.

So, you may wish to rethink what you share online and not rely on the fact that you have configured and reviewed your privacy settings… there are more clues in the other stuff than you may think.

Kay Dent · 1 month ago

Interesting and potentially unnerving thoughts, here. However, as technology develops, the companies that have access to this information - Facebook, for example - should be able to set up systems that automatically block indicators for certain personal information, like your date of birth. It might still be possible to deduce these things, but it would get harder if any photograph that indicates an aged birthday, for example, has the timestamp blocked (if the user chooses to do so). We could hope, therefore, that internet security develops at the rate of cyber communication.

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< The beta blog | May 19, 2014

As spending gets clickier, VAT gets trickier

As the competition for online consumer spend intensifies, it’s inevitable that new routes to market, distribution channels and payment mechanisms will evolve as suppliers seek out new and innovative ways of reaching as many potential customers as possible and develop means to make it easy and convenient to transact with them ‘in the moment’ (the one click panacea).

This is the field of dreams for content developers looking to get their products to the mass market, but of potential nightmares if you’re responsible for managing the associated VAT and other indirect tax issues - be it for those developers or any of the parties with a role in the distribution chain. It’s often difficult to determine who’s supplying what to whom and consequently who’s responsible for the VAT and where. Among other things, accurately forecasting revenue, appropriately contracting and maintaining the right pricing structure is beset with complication.

The plethora of new ways of doing business asks indirect tax questions that have never been asked before. There are a lot of uncertainties and even though some can be, and are being, clarified new uncertainties continue to arise as business models develop.

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