TNO, a Dutch research institute, now includes a link to an email disclaimer in its personal email traffic. This is instead of the usual complete disclaimer. Brands are entering the dialogue with consumers, with people. Just like normal mutual (for example) telephonic contact we don't agree to a disclaimer beforehand. The attention of this kind of messages are currently still disrupting the communication, but this is a step better. In a next step TNO will set down the disclaimer at a notary and create a link 'sent under TNO conditions 1.01' with a link to the notary. In a next step in which authentication in email will be organized (worldwide) extremely well a disclaimer won't even be needed and we can just trust the sender implicitly. And then messages can become interesting again, open a virtual world for us, without having agree to something 15 times. It'll all take a while, but it's coming.
Communicatie Online (Communication Online; Dutch), the site of the monthly magazine for communication specialists, has now been integrated with its sister blog Commlog (Dutch). The headers 'news' and 'opinion' (the old blog part) are now fraternally below one another. It's possible to react to all articles. This is how magazine brands are slowly giving the reins to their community (the readers). At first they'll become passive purchasers, now they're active contributors, soon they'll decide which item should be treated in the magazine. Communicatie can then grow into a brand that facilitates a trade association in their career developments. In affiliate programs, it can recommend courses, (all) books and congresses. And even new jobs. Internationally too. And this is how Communicatie can grow into a true career coaching brand.
Public transport adviser 9292ov.nl now also includes car transport in your search. After clicking a special link, it will give you a comparison of the various types of transportation. Even the car park closest to for example public transport to Amsterdam’s city center will be shown. According to Reisinformatiegroep, the organization behind 9292, this is the first service of its kind in the world. It is definitely a step in the direction of a mobility coaching brand, a brand that selects for us the best way to get from point A to point B, independent of transport suppliers. The next step will be the integration of car transportation advice in the standard public transportation advice, and the building of customer profiles by ov9292: maybe somebody doesn’t have a drivers license, he or she hates buses, or can’t stand for a long time and so wants to avoid traveling during rush hours. And an even further step would be to give international travel advice. Earlier or later we will get instant spoken advice on when to leave, which way to walk and where to sit. Reservations, payments and tips will all have been taken care of. We won’t have to think about traveling any more. This is a small step in that direction.
A couple of striking differences between Chinese and American internet users:
Chinese users regularly use photoshop to touch up their pictures.
Chinese users don’t mind their picture to be blurred.
American users look straight into the camera, in contrast to their Asian counterparts.
(vc). Children nowadays get to meet people from other cultures at an early age. They start speaking different languages much earlier than their parents did. They get an early consciousness of the cultural differences between people. But humans mostly learn their own behavior by looking at other people, and imitating them. If in the future all toddlers in the world are connected, we can expect very special developments. The result in the long run will be that human behavior worldwide will be identical, and in the end there will be one culture. This however will take at least another hundred years.
Due to the implementation of new speech recognition systems at the call center of British company Bristol Wessex Billing Services, its costs have been reduced by 75%. Besides the customer service levels for its 1,100,000 customers have improved, and a 24-hours service has come into service, available 7 days a week. (sw). Brands are completely computerizing their dialogues with their customers. To become a stronger brand, to extend their service, and to reduce costs. This research clearly shows it is really going that direction.
All 700,000 companies listed on the business pages of the Dutch phone directory telefoongids.nl are now also listed on Google Earth (em, Dutch). In the virtual world, we completely imitate the physical world. In this building phase we connect everything. This way we will be able to travel everywhere, see everything, experience everything. Like it is real. This is a small step in that direction.
Publisher Sanoma has started a test in its Dutch magazines Libelle and Viva, in which readers can order samples and have them sent home by sending a text message. Usually samples of shampoo for instance are glued on a magazine, so every reader will get the sample. In this test the reader will take the initiative, and with that the publisher will be able to gather pithy profile information. (em, Dutch). Brands are sending their messages more and more targeted, and wait for their target to answer. Samples used to be sent to everyone (like mass communication), now they are sent to people who take the initiative themselves, and later brands will know exactly what people they have to provide with samples. Maybe not only the people who will personally benefit from the product, but also the people who play an important role in word-of-mouth advertising. Those people then don’t just get a sample: they will get the whole bottle sent to them, in a special box and with a handwritten letter. This is a small step in that direction.
Google now remembers, besides your last search queries, also what web sites you have visited: the web history. Google uses this information to personalize search results (dc, Dutch). Brands are getting more personal and resume the dialogue where it stopped the last time. Google is pioneering in this. You will be able to ask Google where you have been. First online, and later also in the physical world. Computers are very good in remembering, whereas people tend to forget things every now and then. We like to leave remembering to technology. In the future we will find it normal for brands to remember every brand-consumer interaction, and share that knowledge with us. This is a small step in that direction.
Hiroshi Ishiguro from the Japanese Intelligent Robotics Lab has designed a robot which down to the tiniest of details resembles himself. The skin tone, the hair color and length, the glasses. Even inside the robot all kinds of technologies are used to make it look as human as possible. It contains 50 sensors and motors, it can see through its ‘eyes’, talk through its internal speaker and shrug or scowl if prodded and poked. Even the breathing is imitated. At first, you may feel strange about the android,” said Dr Ishiguro. “However, once you are drawn into a conversation, you will forget every difference and feel totally comfortable to speak with it and look it in the eyes.” (dm). We imitate humans down to the tiniest of details. We have a natural motive to build things that looks just like ourselves. It started with drawings, later with dolls and chat bots. And it doesn’t stop. With these kinds of robots we will be able to do whatever we want. Cheer in a football stadium (after buying a ticket), use him as a servant, or - of course - as a sex toy. Brands will use him (and her) for service in cinemas, to load and unload the shopping, or to make a just opened restaurant look crowded. This way the movie WestWorld from 1973 slowly becomes reality, and we massively dive into the experience economy. We will have to wait for this a couple more years though. Until then we just keep on building tomorrow’s brands.
Through Dutch website Kortingkorting.nl Dutch consumers can find daily lists of all discounted products for that day. This way we slowly get insight in prices. All prices in the physical as well as the virtual world will be available everywhere. Wherever we go in a street, whatever we will be, we will always be able to find a place to get what we want for less. Worldwide. As a result, prices will be more or less equal in the future. In the long term it will even be “whatever you want to pay for it”. Then we will get special prices for special clients again. Even the purchase price for the retailer could change afterwards if a loyal client of the brand wanted to buy a brand product. The client then could get this product at a reduced price or maybe even for free. It might be an ardent tester who has written lots of positive reviews about this brand. The brand then obviously wants to give this customer a special deal. This way ‘price’ gets a totally different meaning. This is a small step in that direction.
Children can now stroll in Barbie Girls, a world in which they can design their own characters, decorate their own rooms, and try on clothes. In the cinema they can see Mattel commercials with which they can earn b-bkucks, points to be used for furniture in their rooms, accessories, outfits and more. Other Mattel products have special codes which reveal even more content. Shortly there will be a “doll-inspired handheld portable device”, making a direct connection with the content and activities at BarbieGirls.com, like adopting a virtual pet (mt). This way, the virtual world slowly comes to life. We connect everything to each other. In the future, if we change our physical Barbie into a different dress, we will see that even our Barbie avatar has changed. And the dirty dress will, complete with stains, hang in the virtual wardrobe. We will be able to design a new Barbie, make a holographic projection of it in our own house or somebody else’s house, and have it manufactured should we wish to do so.
This video shows how our apparent creativity strongly depends on the surroundings in which we produce something (fc). It shows we are connected to one another. And it becomes clear that the human body and mind don’t stop at our skin. We are all connected and our creations are consequences of that connectivity. This special, six-minute video again shows us that. It might surprise us now, but what if we really start recognizing and using these capacities? Creativity will take off to great heights. A point of focus for this century!
In this video Celine Dion sings a duet with a holographic Elvis Presley. It looks stunningly real (mf, Dutch). We make the virtual world more and more real, and layer it over the physical world. This way we travel in time and space, and experience whatever we want (as long as we pay for it). However, we only have one life. The right choices for the right experiences in the right order, that will be the biggest challenge. Coaching brands will help us here.
British fashion brand French Connection has a social network A New Movement (mb, Dutch). It is a simple network in which people can upload pictures, add a mask, and add connections with friends. It is an almost complete virtual world. There is hardly any room for text. Symbolic brands build worlds in which they invite people and in which people want to bring their friends. Only symbolic brands can do this because they are a part of people’s identities. Like every world, the world of the brand needs to be exciting. A New Movement therefore will continuously be moving. This is only the beginning.