Category 'Technology'

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Completing your final communications preparations before GDPR. Need help?

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) take force on 25 May, less than a month away.  In most organisations, multiple departments from legal through to IT, marketing and communications will need to take action to ensure compliance with these new data privacy rules which, in simple terms, apply to any organisation which processes the personal data of EU citizens.

In the last few weeks we have seen a real shift in our client work in preparation of this change, moving from helping clients to evaluate the broad contours of their messaging on privacy, as part of general preparation within the communications department, through to communications team driving final cross-organisational preparations.

It seems that the item highest on our clients’ agendas is the notification requirement of GDPR.  Under GDPR, companies must notify supervisors and data subjects within 72 hours of first becoming aware of a data breach.  Potential consequences for non-compliance with these notification requirements include hefty financial fines of up to €10 million (or up to 2 percent of the total worldwide turnover), but also failure to comply with this requirement would open another vulnerability for the company and add a complex dimension to reputation risk.

With this in mind, we’ve been helping clients to make plans and test them through a simulation.  Whether a more limited desktop exercise in order to gain familiarity with an existing crisis playbook, or a fuller all-day simulation with core incident response team members, leaders and subject matter experts from across the company, these provide a useful way of ensuring everything is in place before May 25.

Edelman has experts available to co-create GDPR-compliant data breach response plans and prepare and run crisis simulations before the launch of GDPR. 

If you would like to take advantage of this, please get in touch.

Steve Heywood
Deputy General Manager and GDPR Lead
Edelman Amsterdam

Voice Marketing: Five Opportunities and Challenges

23% of marketing professionals think that the increased use of voice-controlled assistants and smart speakers will influence their marketing strategies in 2021

In a few months, Google will launch the Dutch language version of Google Assistant, opening the door for an increased use in voice activated assistants in Dutch households. That being said, it is already a quickly moving development: Apple speech assistant Siri is used on almost 500 million mobile devices and it is expected in the next year that more than 59 million people worldwide will use a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. For many marketeers this will have a huge impact on their strategies for the coming few years, but which opportunities and challenges come with it? Here are 5 things to keep in mind for a voice-driven marketing strategy.

1. ‘Marketing in the Moment’ Becomes Essential
The rise in popularity of the voice assistant offers the chance for your brand to – both literally and figuratively – enter the homes of your target audiences and become a part of their daily lives. While only a fraction of current users have indicated that they like receiving branded content via their smart speakers, there is still huge potential for service and commercial purposes. Determining the when and how of using the speakers to approach customers is essential.

With the right insights into the (daily) usage of smart speakers, you can assess where you can create added value. Is it between 17:00 and 19:00 – when people are mostly using their assistants to search for restaurants and recipes – or when users are using their speakers to listen to music together with friends or family? There are plenty of chances to tune into the different phases of the customer journey.

2. The Revolution of Voice Search
More than 20% of all mobile searches via Google are voice search queries, which has already made voice search relevant for SEO marketeers in the last few years. But the real revolution will come in the next few years as use of smart speakers increases. Through more voice-based searches…

…search subjects will become more diverse and complex, based on various forms of speech.

…the search result needs of the users will change. More focus on audio will have an impact on the optimal audiovisual design of your brand’s various channels.

… even greater competition is created for the top positions in search engines – since only the top results are considered by the speech assistants, and ultimately only these results are heard by the users.

These are just a few reasons for marketeers to change the direction of their search strategy. Because there is not much existing data available about spoken searches, qualitative user research is advisable to find out which spoken search queries your target groups use and in which domains these searches are. You might conclude that it is more efficient to focus on long-tail in order to be able to claim more specific search domains.

3. Brands are (quite literally) getting a voice more and more
Where music and voiceovers in traditional advertising have helped brands get attention or form an emotional bond with customers for decades, the rise of voice assistants gives a new dimension to the importance of audio. For example, the translation of tone – in many companies an integral part of the brand identity – into the sound of a voice becomes necessary. It’s not for nothing that ‘voice designer’ is an up and coming career choice among talented designers.

Make a conscious choice for the voice of your brand. One that is in line with your brand values and keeps the forward-thinking target group of the smart speaker user in mind. In the world of speech assistants, your brand – and its representation in voice design – must be of service to the target group and ensure recognizability and trust. Do not make your voice design too obedient either: dare to be different, while ensuring an intelligent design with a human quality. That way, you also build a connection with your target audience via this channel.

4. Traditional channels are also getting smarter – and speech controlled
With the increasing number of chatbots, Conversational UI – the web design facilitating interaction between human users and robots – is implemented on different platforms: from Facebook Messenger to customer service pages. The next development, however, is already happening: Voice Conversational UI, in which speech is central.

Keep this in mind when (developing) your channel strategy: as people become increasingly accustomed to communicating with voice assistants, in the future they also expect your brand to facilitate them: via a chatbot, website or even at physical service points. Because of this change in user experience, it is becoming less important what you want to say as a marketeer and more important what the consumer wants to hear. This means that listening to your target groups – and that is a possibility that voice-driven platforms will offer – is also becoming increasingly important.

5. Measurability and Determining Your Tone
Because your brand’s success via smart speakers is determined by user experiences, measuring and optimizing these experiences is essential. This is likely to be another big challenge in 2021, especially for the modern marketeer who is used to testing, measuring and optimizing everything in detail.

Fortunately, there is hope, due to enough potential KPIs and metrics for voice marketing. For example, based on stored voice-activated messages, it should be possible to map the customer or service journey and identify any bottlenecks. By 2021, user statistics such as length of audio sessions and frequency of use should also be available to brands. The statistics from other channels, and possibly qualitative user research, form an excellent basis for measuring brand performance in this area and for optimizing communication, marketing and service programs.

In the coming years Dutch brands will also look at the possibilities to respond to the role voice assistants and smart speakers play in the way that the public changes their consumption of media. However, smart(er) brands are already laying the foundation for this by, among other things, making their media channels and search strategies futureproof. Pioneers will dare to experiment and – as soon as the first smart speakers in the Netherlands are available – use this innovation to reach and serve their target audiences.

Blockchain and trust: communication can boost acceptance

A select group of entrepreneurs and government and university representatives came together at the end of September for a series of roundtable discussions to explore the future of Blockchain and how it can best be implemented in the Netherlands. Discussions highlighted the promise that Blockchain offers, but they focused primarily on the greatest challenge to implementing the new technology successfully in the Netherlands: earning the public’s trust.

During the ‘Blockchain Future of Trust Summit 2017,’ which took place in the 800-year-old venue of the Ridderzaal in The Hague, 250 participants shared their vision of and experience with the relatively new technology. They also collaborated on potential implementations of Blockchain to solve societal issues such as global trade, public safety, identity theft, humanitarian aid and more.

But the participants’ enthusiasm about Blockchain’s possibilities plays itself out against the backdrop of public distrust in the technology. The Edelman Trust Barometer shows that the gap between the public’s trust in the technology sector and its trust in Blockchain technology in particular is greater than anywhere else in the world.  In spite of the fact that there is a significant decline in public trust in institutions, the average Dutch person still trusts the technology sector to do ‘what is right.’ Their trust in the Blockchain technology sector is in the distrust zone, however.

The Dutch public is generally distrustful about new technology. One concern they’ve voiced about technology in general – protection of consumer and user data – likely underpins their distrust of Blockchain. There is clearly confusion within the public about how it works and how accessible private information is to others. These concerns play out alongside the reality that Blockchain can enhance transparency in banking, business and government interaction.

So, how can businesses in the Blockchain sector work to building trust? It’s essential that people understand what Blockchain is, what happens with (personal) information and, importantly, how the technology can benefit them. Listen to and understand people’s concerns, anticipate them and address them openly. Trust is only won when you let people know they are being heard. So, listen actively and act mindfully.

Blockchain has much to offer the average consumer, but fear and distrust of the unknown and the motives behind the companies’ implementation of this technology make people reluctant to embrace it. There is a way forward in all of this! A well thought through and planned content and engagement strategy can build public awareness and trust step by step.

Develop and execute such steps as authentically and transparently as you can, if and where possible using ‘normal everyday’ people as ambassadors. Be strategic about your content you publish and the channels you use to reach people, tailoring things to specific needs and concerns. Trust will grow as people start to understand the technology and its benefits for the public will become tangible.

In short, the smooth and as-swift-as-possible implementation of Blockchain technology starts with building public trust. Essential to build trust are transparent communication and direct interaction with the public about how it works and how it benefits them.  Blockchain is a highly promising technology that could offer traceable and safe data exchange. People simply need to be well informed and reassured.

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