This Week in Business & Brands: Surprising Headlines, the Science of Binge-Watching, and More

woman licking finger

Just last month we hosted an event in our New York office celebrating the “brand new world” of business and branding, and examined the strategies to answer changing consumer behaviors and expectations: how do we keep up with the on-the-go, no-time-to-waste, 8-second attention spans of our consumers? Ted Pulton sums it up nicely in this thought-piece: “brands are no longer the sum of their advertising; they’re the sum of their behaviors… Control is now totally in your consumers’ hands and hearts.” With that, this week we take a look at how brands are evolving to operate in this New World of Branding.

Modern Cultural Phenomenons

Using data has been a huge challenge for brands looking to extend their offerings while maintaining their consumers’ trust. Netflix has done this like no other brand. Recent research suggests that its binge-worthy popularity can be attributed in part to the choice of program imagery (which we process in just a few milliseconds). And we’re looking forward to putting the New York Times to the test, as it extends its brand and gets cooking to generate new revenue opportunities.

Mobile devices are sure to be the focus of marketers’ attention, especially for their ability to ‘house’ consumers’ favorite go-to brands. The food industry is picking up on its business value, with Starbucks and Domino’s gaining an enormous advantage through their ordering apps — becoming the more ever-present, convenient and likely choice.

But these days it seems brands are trying anything to get the attention of their target audience. So much so that headlines like “KFC Is Officially Entering the Cosmetics Game” become less surprising. More noteworthy is when a 31-year-old brand tries to erase its online identity or when a ‘cognitive dress’ is formed by the collaboration of an esteemed European fashion house and IBM Watson.

Learnings of Experience Past

Hoping to use open-innovation approaches to finding your own next big idea? Consider HBR’s recommendations to a successful collaboration. And pay heed to AMA’s CEO, Russ Klein, who recommends first establishing a north-star – something he has experienced firsthand as the AMA creates its “intellectual agenda” to strengthen and build a community of inspired marketers.

When it comes to executing your agenda in the social realm, your audience can be a hard one to keep tabs on. Unilever’s Keith Weed has some good tips on how Unilever brands use social to scale by “connecting with authenticity, engaging with relevance and innovating with talkability.”

Looking through the Crystal Ball

Fortune Telling, Future, Magic, Astrology, DivinationThe question remains: in today’s brand new world, what makes for a good idea? Which venture capital investments will be successful? Does technology favor the young? Do all top startups come from Silicon Valley? Check out the factors that correlate with startup success — some reassuring, some surprising.

Staying on top of these quickly evolving consumer demands remains marketers’ greatest challenge — and a boost of intelligence will be welcome, wherever it comes from. Maybe they’ll be helped by the rapid advancements of artificial intelligence that hopes will live on our wrists and become one with our clothes.

That’s all for this week, happy reading!