Brilliant Reads: the open web, Trump’s big data and embracing diversity


Welcome to Brilliant Reads. This week we’re discussing tech giants vs. the open web, if Facebook Likes helped Trump win and what happens when you embrace diversity.

The open web vs. the tech giants: how do marketers respond?

There are two opposing forces shaping the web: the distributed system and centralised system. The centralised web is appealing for marketers: a stable space dominated by big brands where we can pay to reach audiences.

The alternate vision is an open, Wild West; formed of loose groups, big ideas, and potentially world-changing technologies. The best example of this is Bitcoin. Advertising here is full of uncertainty and complexity. However, it’s essential to understand the distributed system and plan for its potential rise.

To do this, focus on your customer and how the different webs are being used. A strong digital leader needs to spot edge trends and respond with digital initiatives. And, lastly, you must operationalise digital – make sure your vision is followed with action.

The centralised vs. distributed web
Brilliant Noise 10 mins

What to spend your resources on in 2017

This short video features marketing experts discussing where money and time need to be spent this year to make the biggest impact.

Start off by building capability in teams by hiring and training T-shaped people who are data literate. Visualise data so everyone across the organisation can use it to make and align decisions. Create hypotheses based on data then rapidly prototype, test and adjust campaigns.

Marketing experts suggest: how best to spend money and time in 2017
CMO.com 3 min video

Did Facebook Likes help Trump win?

Psychometrics, a data-driven branch of psychology, can profile people and predict their behaviour based on their past actions. Psychologist Michal Kosinski pioneered a method to analyse people based on their Facebook activity.
This article argues a similar method was used to realise the unpredicted victories of Brexit and Trump. Alexander Nix, the CEO of big data company, Cambridge Analytica, claims, “We have profiled the personality of every adult in the United States of America – 220 million people.”

Kosinski is currently conducting a new series of tests and the initial results show the effectiveness of personality targeting, its accuracy and scalability. Back in the infancy of Kosinski’s research, he warned of its dangers – that it could “pose a threat to an individual’s well-being, freedom, or even life”. (Cambridge Analytica denies any link between their own methods and Kosinski’s research.)

The data that turned the world upside down
Motherboard 24 mins

Or has the political power of big data been exaggerated?

In contrast to the article above, this piece argues that social media data wasn’t the golden ticket to the Trump presidency.
It highlights that Ted Cruz, who Cambridge Analytica worked with before Trump, lost spectacularly to an opponent with no data science backing.

Furthermore, it outlines the challenge of bringing the data together accurately. How well can you match a Facebook account to a record on the electoral roll? And how many people can you successfully profile using social media alone?

The myth that British data scientists won the election for Trump
Little Atoms 7 mins

Embrace diversity: a team works best when it doesn’t match

The joint heads of 4Creative explore how diversity can result in new and refreshing creative work. The company is home to 2016’s Edinburgh TV Festival Channel of the Year, Broadcast Awards’ Channel of the Year, as well as Britain’s best Diverse Company at the National Diversity Awards. They believe that diversity is the solution to the current lack of creativity in the advertising industry.
Creativity needs difference. Diversity creates change, friction, new understandings and difference. The pair advise to be careful of your unconscious bias when hiring – go for people who don’t look, sound and act the same. A samey team equals samey work.

Beautiful weirdos wanted: how diversity will solve your creativity problem
Campaign 8 mins

How do you serve and support customers who are the most vulnerable?

Monzo wants to be a powerful, helpful and unique financial service for everyone, including people suffering from mental health problems. They see positive friction and pre-emptive action as possible solutions to providing a supportive service for people making unwanted, instant purchases or experiencing financial difficulties. Customised settings, flexible contact options and spending limits are just some of the features being explored.

Designing a product with mental health issues in mind
Monzo 8 mins

Commit to learning with the five hour rule

Many professionals focus on productivity and efficiency, less on improvement. Learning can set you apart but what’s the right amount of time to set aside? Top business leaders spend five hours each week on deliberate learning or practice. These fall into three categories: reading, reflecting and experimenting.

Billionaires including David Rubenstein and Mark Cuban have hefty reading habits and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong encourages his senior team to spend four hours a week mulling things over.

We need to approach the five hour rule, as we approach exercise, as the effects of non learning are just as dangerous as an unhealthy lifestyle.

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Oprah Winfrey All Use the 5-Hour Rule
Inc 5 mins

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