HC+T Briefing: Amazon vs. the World

From: "HC+T Update" <shel@holtz.com>
Subject: HC+T Briefing: Amazon vs. the World
Date: July 21st 2017

You're welcome to follow my link blog, which is where I collect the stories from which I choose the contents of the HC+T Briefing.

Data Journalism for Communicators

Data journalism is more than just a trend in the publishing world. Its momentum is crazy big with media outlets investing more and more into the practice of telling stories with numbers. The PR world has not caught on. There is potential in pitching data stories as well as producing our own data journalism to elevate our content marketing efforts. I'll get you up to speed on data journalism in my July 27 webinar. Register

By the way, I recorded a short video offering some insight into data journalism. Watch

A Briefer-Than-Usual Wrap

I had planned to put the Briefing together on the four-hour flight from San Francisco to Chicago, but United's WiFi wouldn't cooperate. I'll be at a conference all day on Friday, so I'm throwing together some of the interesting links I've found in the last week without commentary. I'll be back to the usual rundown next week.


The UK's Advertising Standards Authority will introduce new guidelines on gender stereotyping in ads. Read more

Facebook will test subscription paywalls for Instant Articles, letting publishers sell subscriptions directly through Facebook. Read more

Panoply Media -- one of the big podcast networks -- is now using Nielsen data to target audiences with ads inserted into its podcasts. Read more

Apple has revealed new emojis coming this year, including zombies, a genie, and T-Rex. Read more

Facebook has made it possible for any Page to create a Group, reflecting the company's new emphasis on Groups. Read more

A WordPress update lets you schedule tweets, Facebook posts or LinkedIn updates in WordPress.com’s admin interface. WordPress.com also introduced a brand new sharing section below each post in the WordPress.com admin interface. Read more

Google Analytics is getting a whole lot easier. Rather than have to study the multiple layers of data Analytics users are accustomed to, now you can just ask a question, like "How many users came to our site from Europe last month?" "Why" questions aren't supported yet, but they're coming. Read more

Amazon has introduced Spark, a shoppable feed of stories that will remind you of Pinterest to some extent and Instagram to another degree. Read more

Apple has started blocking ad blockers from its app store. Read more


Advertisers are dumping hashtags in TV commercials, opting for links to their websites, which have improved http://bit.ly/2vIrHBA">Read more

Fear of downloadable guns is becoming a reality. Read more

Two dozen Google Android team members conducted a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) about Android O. Phone details are interesting but the use of a Reddit AMA as a way to reveal features (and get instant feedback from your hardest-core fans and critics is genius. Read more

Blockchain is finding its way into the media and advertising industries. Uses include monetizing content, fraud detection, white-listing, and more. Read more

When connecting with influencers, consider how many of their followers might be fake. (One study put CNN's fake follower count on Twitter at 12 million.) Read more

Amazon's Video Direct -- open to content producers of all sizes -- is taking on YouTube and Facebook. Read more


Gen-Z is now the largest segment of the population, representing 26% of the marketplace. Combined, Millennials and Gen-Z account for 48% of the population. Read more

People who get their news via social media and search don't remember the original source of the news. Read more

Instagram tops cyber-bullying study; it' the vehicle for the meanest comments, with 7% of young users saying they've been bullied on the app. Read more

Longer videos drive higher engagement. "Mid-form and long-form videos, which are at least 15 minutes long, drive over half of all video engagement despite encompassing just 8 percent of all video." Read more

The perception of bias in the workplace produces less innovation and productivity as well as high costs associated with frequent turnover and burnout when employees perceived bias. Read more

Job candidates need a social media profile. A national survey found that more than 57% of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online. Read more

Local television news programming has lost viewers in recent years, but still attracts more viewers on average than cable and network news programs. Read more

Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots

Lenovo positions AI as the "connective thread" like a vest with 10 sensors and ECG to monitor heart conditions Read more

Freelance job site Fiverr has added chatbot development as a category, with simple bots as inexpensive as $5 and "genius bots" for $500. Read more

Samsung has finally released the Bixby voice assistant for its Galaxy 8 phones, representing new competition for Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana. Read more

Marketers are embracing chatbots which, when done well, "can deliver deep functionality and, if they do it well, they can deliver it in a highly branded way." Consider Rose, a chatbot from the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, which is both a concierge and a housekeeping aide. One guest called Rose "a sultry siren." Read more

A couple of Google Machine Perception researchers have trained a deep-learning system to identify objectively fine landscape panorama photos from Google Street View, and then artistically crop and edit them like a human photographer would. Read more

Smart Audio

Mozilla is crowdsourcing 100,000 hours of audio to create databases of audio that will be freely available to developers eager to develop speech-to-text systems. Read more

BuzzFeed had launched a new audio morning briefing for the Amazon Alexa. Read more

The Values-Driven Marketplace

The environment and sustainability are Millennials' top issue, but oil companies need to hire them. The industry has undertaken advertising to try to attract them, but they'll have to do more to be viewed as "conscious capitalists." Read more

SodaStream marketing targets bottled water as a social issue, bluntly shaming companies in that industry with off-beat commercials featuring themes like "Game of Thrones."

Mobile and Wearables

Years ago, I said wearables would gain their first serious foothold in the enterprise. Now, Google has reintroduced Google Glass with a clear focus on its utility at work. It's even called Google Glass Enterprise Edition. Read more

Audio will be on as a default for autoplay videos on Facebook's mobile app. The social network is spinning the change as positive change to make watching videos more enjoyable. Read more

An update to WhatsApp expands the kind of file you can share from just PDFs to just about anything. Read more

Google has updated its search app with a "smart feed" that "makes it easier for users to follow topics of interest and discover new content without necessarily typing out a search query." Read more

Facebook camera now has built-in GIF creator. Read more

In an effort to offer features not available on Instagram, Snapchat has made it possible to create six consecutive 10-second videos. Read more

NBC News is producing "Stay Tuned," a daily show for Snapchat that will focus on issues like political and international news. Read more

Amazon is floating a messaging app called Anytime for smartphones, tablets, PCs and smart watches. Anytime would let people chat with text and video, share photos with filters, play games, and (of course) engage with other Amazon services like music and food ordering (and other shopping), and interact with businesses. Read more

On the Calendar

  • On August 8, I'll be in Chicago again, this time for a meeting of the Ragan Consulting Group and its affiliates (of which I am one).
  • On August 15 and 16, I will be working with staff at the Asian Development Bank in the Philippines on using social media strategically in the Bank's communications.
  • On September 17, I'll give a talk at the Association of Women Communicators national conference in Dallas.
  • I'm speaking at an Igloo Software user's conference in Nashville on September 20.
  • I'm giving multiple presentations at the Professional Speechwriter's Association on how speechwriters can use social and digital media. It's set for Washington, D.C. on October 16.
  • On November 1, I'll present a preconference session on the four key focus areas from my new employee communication model at the Great Places to Work conference at Genentech in South San Francisco.
  • I will present at an internal communications conference at Staples headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts, on November 8.
  • On November 16 or 17 (the date is still being decided), I'll present a session and participate in an expert panel at the Library Marketing and Communication Conference in Dallas.

July 21, 2017
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Consultation: Part 5 of my series on a new employee communication model

Beyond advising leadership on the best ways to communicate and counseling managers on how to get a message across, employee communicators need to employ their understanding of communication models and tools to improve the way information and ideas flow across the organization formally and informally. Read more

Why I call it employee (not internal) communications

Internal is an adjective and a place. Employees are people. Read more

The latest from the FIR Podcast Network

  • In the July installment of The Hobson & Holtz Report, Neville and I talked about a 15-year-old participating in a Work Experience program who took over the Twitter account of the beleaguered Southern Rail in the U.K; an experiment by the online publication Quartz to add display-type ads in the text of stories that let users ask an Artificial Intelligence-based chatbot named Hugo for more information about just the stuff they’re interested in; whether Artificial Intelligence eventually take over the creative side of content marketing; Takata’s air bag crisis, which is now in its second decade; workarounds and system-gaming by brands and publishers frustrated that they can’t get the results they want on the social media channels they’re using, and the true cost of cybercrime to afflicted companies (there’s a communication angle.) Dan York’s Tech Report looks at Microsoft’s new LinkedIn app for Windows 10, issues with the Skype app rollouts for iOS and Android and the changes those issues prompted, and why some publishers are abandoning Snapchat for Instagram. Listen
  • On Inside PR this week, tales of misdirected attention. (And no, they're not making this up.) Listen
  • On episode 5 of Passport, our new podcast on Travel PR and Marketing, Chris and Leif interview Spud Hilton of the San Francisco Chronicle about the shrinking world of newspaper travel editors. Listen
  • The latest TDigital India podcast explores how a 106-year-old grandma from South India became a YouTube star. Listen
  • On episode 20 of EE Voice, the Sharons talk with David Cronin, chief technology officer of DevFacto, about how we can better measure our digital communications. Listen
  • What can be better than combining two of your passions to launch a new business? That’s exactly what David Meerman Scott did when he opened the doors of Signature Tones, which he describes as a “sonic branding studio” that he started with his partner, musician Juanito Pascual. The agency, which lets Scott apply his marketing skills to his love of music, creates sonic logos and original music designed to become as recognizable when heard as logos and trademarks are when seen. In this FIR Interview, I talk with Scott about his inspiration for the company, the process he and Pascual use, a case study from one of their early clients, and some of the uses for sonic branding that probably haven’t occurred to you yet. Listen

Bring your employee communicators up to speed on how to remain relevant

My new model for employee communication is generating a lot of buzz. I am ready to bring it into your organization, tailored to meet your needs in a one-day immersive course that will help you and your team start planning on how to become more relevant to employees and vital to leadership than ever. Email or call me and we can discuss the details.
HC+T provides a full range of services for large organizations, from speaking and training to communication audits and strategic plan development.

Visit us at Holtz.com.

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