The more you investigate innovation, the deeper down the rabbit hole you go – and there’s a good reason why. The amount of innovation in the world is a reflection of the number of brave entrepreneurs attempting to find solutions to our innermost needs and desires. For every want that we have, someone somewhere is trying to give us the perfect solution. How nice of them.
In a highly-ambitious attempt to track the entirety of the world’s innovation, we have formed an internal Innovation Team. We meet once every two weeks to try and nail which disruptions will have the biggest impact for our clients. At the same time, we have ten global offices spotting innovations, which we then feed into our monthly Curiosity Stop.
The Curiosity Stop is a report of all things innovative, from talking changing rooms to tweeting potholes and from cosmic coffee cups to 3D dinners. We’ve scoured the innovation world with a fine-tooth comb to find what matters, so you don’t have to. How nice of us.
Take adidas’s Spotify app, launched earlier this year, for example. One of the hardest parts of running (apart from summoning the energy to get out of bed) is getting your playlist right. The ‘adidas go’ app will work out your stride rate, then play tracks with matching beats.
Or how about the early brand adopters of the Apple Watch, such as publishers like New York Times, CNN and The Economist? The New York Times is thinking ‘watch up’ rather than ‘desktop down’, with an app featuring exclusive one-sentence stories, designed for easy reading on the small screen. Simple but effective.
Then there’s General Electric, which has begun producing super-efficient LED street lamps which could last for 20 years. These bulbs contain video, light and weather sensors, so they can turn on and off, or dim and brighten at relevant moments. The sensors will also capture data, which cities can take advantage of.
All these, and loads more innovations feature in our June edition of the Curiosity Stop, embedded at the top of this post. So put your feet up and enjoy – we hope you feel inspired!
UK consumers are influenced by online reviews like never before
According to a recent survey from GfK, 54% of UK adults aged 16+ use online reviews to get product or service information. The results showed that 61% of all respondents aged 16-34 and 35-54 would seek review online before making a purchase. We were let down by only 42% of the less-digitally savvy over-55s saying they would, bringing the overall percentage down for everyone. Luddites.
Facebook teases new, immersive mobile ads
Facebook used a Cannes Lions presentation to launch what could be a real money-spinner this week: a new, immersive ad unit. Once a user clicks on the ad, it takes them to a full, browsable mini-site, keeping the entire experience within Facebook. The question, now, is to what extent brands will be willing to invest. Watch this space.
Facebook is testing a mobile lead-generation ad unit
Another day, another Facebook mobile ad unit. The social network is testing lead-generation-based mobile ads that will allow users to sign up for newsletters or complete forms with two taps, with fields being pre-filled with the information Facebook already has about the user. If they sufficiently help to reduce the hassle of filling out details, the ads could be a real success.
Jazz up your photos with Facebook’s new photo uploader
Facebook has introduced a new way to spruce up your photos by adding text, filters or stickers onto any of your photos. The functions may not exactly be revolutionary but Facebook is keen to stay on top of the game especially with the likes of Snapchat and Japanese messaging app, Line, already being early to the party. The new photo uploader is currently being tested but watch this space for when it is rolled out across iOS soon.
You can now use Facebook Messenger without having an account.
Not keen on using Facebook but want to stay connected with your friends? Do not worry – Facebook has this sorted. Starting in Canada, North and South America, users can sign up for the Messenger app without having a Facebook account. The change comes with a new “Not on Facebook?” button where people can then upload their phone contacts which will be matched with other Messenger users. The head of Messenger, David Marcus calls it ‘an augmented address book’ where a user will have all of their address book and the ability to search for everyone on Messenger.
Instagram revamps its ‘search and discover’ functions
From having a pretty basic ‘Explore’ function, Instagram has ramped it up a notch and introduced a whole new way of exploring and searching for photos. As well as a revamped explore feature, complete with trending tags, users can now search specific categories, location-based topics or even events in real time. The change brings Instagram into being at the forefront of real-time content alongside the likes of Twitter and Snapchat.
Snapchat gives advertisers the hard sell
Snapchat took a very temporary break from being cool last week and released a no-fun infomercial about Snapchat‘s ads. In a zero fuss, zero enjoyment video, Evan Spiegel explains how Snapchat’s full-screen ads slot between its content while Facebook and YouTube’s are either annoying pre-rolls or only fill part of the screen.
Bringing back the Mayor!
Location-sharing app, Swarm has brought back mayorship to the delight of… no-one, really. Since launching off the back of Foursquare, the app has slowly declined in the ranks and it seems the latest efforts may just be a bit too late.
Happy birthday to Reddit!
User-generated blog Reddit celebrated its 10th birthday this week. Since the website was set up 10 years ago there has been 190,227,552 posts, 36,136,190 user accounts and 1,715,454,785 comments… only 0.36% of which mention cats. Reddit is now so huge that its current active users would make up the 8th largest population in the world, just after Nigeria and larger than Russia, Japan, and Mexico.
Crocs goes creative
Summer is a big season for crocs and to really push sales, the brand has recently partnered with Twitter to create a new, interactive campaign. Consumers can pick a pair of crocs and an outfit of choice for a model to wear… whilst going down a waterslide. The content will live on a micro blogging site called Funway Runway and will be a ‘cross section of fashion, fun and footwear’.
Lilly Pulitzer collaborates with Snapchat
American brand, Lilly Pulitzer has collaborated with Snapchat in offering custom prints to add to customers own Snapchat photos. When a user enters a store they can automatically add a printed ‘geofilter’ to their photos. Jane Schoenborn-Paradis, vp of creative communications at Lilly Pulitzer commented on how (Snapshat) “is such a visual platform and allows us to share our prints and enforce what we’re known for in a fun way.”
Facebook shows its support for same-sex marriages
Have you noticed that your Facebook News Feed is looking a lot more colourful? After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is now a fundamental right, Facebook launched the new ‘Celebrate Pride’ tool where users can show their support of marriage equality by adding a rainbow filter over their profile photo.
It’s not just Facebook that’s shown support for the latest ruling in America. Lots of brands have leapt on the back of the same-sex marriage legalization and have demonstrated their support in a variety of ways:
This week, many of the We Are Social team have been enjoying the sunshine, the parties and of course, the amazing creative work on display at Cannes Lions.
And the week got even better on Tuesday, when we were delighted to hear that our work joined the impressive roster of agencies and brands highlighted as the world’s best at the festival, with four shortlisted entries in the Cyber categories from our London and Paris offices.
Last night we received even more fantastic news.
It’s a simple idea. It allows Hello Bank!’s customers and non-customers alike to fund music projects, helping support the future of the music they love.
It’s a perfect example of the work that has been gaining traction in Cannes – ideas that make a difference, that make the world just a little bit better. It’s also a great example of social thinking in practice, recognising that those who stream music will be passionate about helping sustain its future.
As our blog post about the campaign explains, to get involved, people can visit the Hello Play! platform and connect to their usual streaming service. Then, by listening to songs, users collect a virtual currency called Hello Coins, which they can redistribute to a choice of music projects. Hello Bank! then transforms the Hello Coins into real money to fund these projects.
It’s already created a lot of brand love for Hello Bank! and has been incredibly successful in terms of results, too, with 35 music projects fully funded so far, and even more to come.
We’re confident that these Lions will be the first of many for We Are Social.
comScore has produced an infographic which captures mobile audience behaviours across smartphones and tablets, showing how Brits are using their devices.
The research shows that mobile now accounts for 56% of all time spent on the Internet, compared to desktop’s 44%. A large proportion (81%) of time on mobile is spent using apps, with Google sites (91% reach), Facebook (86% reach) and BBC sites (77%) coming out on top.
In fact, social media use now accounts for just under a third (31%) of all time spent on mobile, significantly higher than entertainment and games, with 14% of time spent each.
It’s been a big year for We Are Social, and we haven’t even hit the halfway point yet. So far, we’ve picked up multiple awards both for our work and for our overall performance as an agency, we’ve started working with a number of great new brands and we’ve continued to grow and expand our global footprint with recent office openings in San Francisco and Shanghai.
Today we received even more fantastic news, with four shortlisted entries in the Cyber categories at Cannes Lions, the world’s biggest creative communications festival, with work from both our London and Paris offices.
Hello Play for BNP Paribas, a unique service that revolves around allowing users to fund music projects while listening to the music they love, is shortlisted twice, for both Engagement Platform and Financial Services.
The campaign has already picked up some great recognition, including Gold in the Social Media category at the Trophées du Marketing and was winner in the Innovative Digital Service category at Grand Prix Stratégies du Digital. And it’s still ongoing, with more than 35 musical projects fully funded so far – and more to come!
We’re also in contention for our multi-award winning work with adidas at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which picked up Gold in Best Use of Social Media and the overall Grand Prix in the Sports Marketing category in the Cristal Festival late last year.
With #allin or nothing, shortlisted in Response/Real time, adidas came at the tournament social-first and stole the show, significantly out-performing other sponsors and competitors to become the most talked about brand at the World Cup.
Lastly, @brazuca, adidas and We Are Social’s campaign to bring the 2014 World Cup ball to life on Twitter, has been shortlisted for Community Building/Management. @brazuca has already picked up a Silver in Best Digital-Led Campaign at the prestigious Creative Circle Awards and was the winner in the Sports category at the International Shorty Awards; it’s a world-class campaign, transforming perceptions of adidas’s hero World Cup product.
The recognition of our work, alongside the a number of other amazing, socially-led campaigns at Cannes this year just shows the growing importance of putting social thinking at the heart of brands’ marketing strategies. We’re looking forward to helping more of our clients produce first-class, industry defining work like this in the future.