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Wall Street Slow to Adopt Social and Mobile Communication
Written by Betsy
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 14:39

Steve Hong, a social media analyst and Kairos Consumers contributor, explores whether - and how - social media is making an impact in the financial services industry.

Try this. Ask someone in the finance industry how they are incorporating social media into their business. Chances are, their reaction will range from indifference to utter confusion as to what relevance the medium would have in the first place. Case in point: Goldman Sachs only has 19,000 likes on their Facebook page but they’re still scraping by.

In May, I attended the Business Development Institute’s Social and Mobile Financial Services Communications conference to see what role these technologies were playing in the industry. Are apps and Facebook changing the way things are done on Wall Street? In summary, not really. At least not compared to the break neck pace at which social media is impacting how we communicate in our personal lives. Let’s look at some of the conclusions from the presentations to see where social media has the most potential.

Opening comments from Michal Shapira, the Associate VP of Digital Marketing at the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, suggested that the technologies had an impact on the personal news consumption habits of finance workers who were increasingly consuming news via iPad and also watching more video. As well, some of the network’s content had gone viral due to exposure on social networks.

The conference featured two presentations that centered on compliance; calling attention to the idea that heavy regulation of communication in the industry is at odds with the glibness usually associated with social media. According to compliance officer David Chung of ING, the SEC and other regulatory bodies were now defining social media but not putting forth any specific regulations around usage. The rule of thumb for the time being is don’t say anything you couldn’t say via any other medium. Some financial advisors have begun using social media to generate leads and communicate with their clientele. Indeed this makes sense as social media can alert FA’s to clients’ life events, which might require financial planning. Chung was careful to point out, however, that compliance departments should still approve all communication lest an offhand Twitter blast about a stock violate an advisor’s fiduciary responsibility for individual clients. Joanna Belbey, Social Media and Compliance Specialist for Actiance, spoke about her company’s enterprise solution for managing social media communications in a compliant manner and gathering metrics on that activity.

At this point, evidence regarding success in using social media by FA’s remains anecdotal. In addition to regulation and compliance issues, social media also faces other challenges, including: 1) financial advisory is a high-touch activity with rich, older clients who expect personalized treatment, not wall posts and 2) finance companies tend to make money without social media so why fix it if it ain’t broke?

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:28
Is Travel and Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa "Sportificating"?
Written by Betsy
Thursday, 07 June 2012 14:47

Reading of the plans of "Real Madrid Resort Island" a few months ago, the first words that came to mind were "thoughtful concept", "strategic" and "promising". For those that are not aware of the Real Madrid Resort Island here is a short description:

  • It will be the first theme park built on an island in the United Arab Emirates which will combine tourism and sports, and it will be the first recreational tourism complex built under the Real Madrid trademark.
  • The Real Madrid Resort Island will hold a theme park, the first stadium open to the sea, a Real Madrid museum, numerous sports facilities, a sport port, a residential area and luxury hotels.
  • One billion US dollars have been invested in the project and it is expected to open in January 2015

The case of Real Madrid Resort Island is concrete evidence of the fuelling growth of sports tourism and the associated "sportainment" (fusion of sports and entertainment); according to World Sport Destination Expo (the only global exhibition and business forum dedicated to showcasing the full spectrum of sport tourism related products and services) sport tourism represents an astonishing 14 percent of overall travel and tourism receipts globally in 2010.

Sports tourism definitely yields promising returns as visitors are high-spending, of higher income bands, tend to visit multiple times (highly loyal) and tend to stay longer. Moreover, sports tourism can appeal to a wider target audience i.e. a sports fanatic might combine an attendance to a sports event with a family vacation.   

There is no doubt that the Real Madrid Island Resort is a bold plan which will generate economic benefits and lead to a higher brand loyalty for the soccer team, should it be successful. However, has the tourism industry in the Middle East capitalized on other sports opportunities?

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 14:58
Building and Learning through Prototypes
Written by Betsy
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 12:02

This week Kairos Consumers interviewed Ric Edinberg, Principal at in/situm U.S. regarding a growing trend: prototyping in research.

For many companies, prototyping as part of the research process is not so much a new or novel component in the research process as it is an increasingly accepted risk management approach. While dire economic times arguably have an impact on research budgets and product development timelines, the fact is that prototyping simply meshes well with shortened time to market demands and technology advancements. There may not have been a turning point, per se, but Edinberg noted that there are a couple of notable milestones when it comes to prototyping. Firstly: IDEO has been actively prototyping for 20 years, and with great success and notoriety. The company remains a gold standard in many ways. As for why and how companies not necessarily ingrained in the product design process have also taken to prototyping, Edinberg points toward the volatility of markets. “Speed to market is imperative and agility is critical. The ideal process is close to evolutionary biology. The idea of testing multiple processes, products or services concurrently is an opportunity, because it is risky to put all of your eggs in one basket.” The approach, from a theoretical standpoint, is sometimes referred to as “hill climbing”, says Edinberg, where the danger of climbing the huge mountain is that you might not be climbing the right mountain.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 12:25
Are Curated & Subscription Commerce the New Genie in the Bottle?
Written by Betsy
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 14:29

Giulia Billi, marketing research professional and seasoned blogger, returns to the Kairos fold for a special look at curated and subscription-based commerce.

E-commerce keeps growing across the world, dramatically increasing consumers’ options and shaping new shopping habits. As seen by the figures reported in a article, dynamic growth is forecast in developed and developing markets alike:

At the same time, a recent consumer survey by The Harvard Business Review highlighted how all the options and information available on our digital age result in consumers’ cognitive overload. This is counterbalanced by a need for simplicity driven by very busy lifestyles, coupled with the pleasure of trying and discovering something to one’s own taste in this contemporary Aladdin’s cave.

This is where product curation comes in: style-masters, professional stylists, celebrities and experts on a certain field carefully select a limited and manageable choice of products. This proved successful already back in 2000, when ex-Tatler journalist Natalie Massenet founded Net-a-Porter. Now it is resulting in what defines as curated content consumption, which is associated with “story telling”, “character”, “authenticity” and “discovery”. This is also evident in the success of platforms like Pinterest allowing people to showcase their product preferences, among other things.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 08:36
Is Pinning Set for Long-Term Winning?
Written by Betsy
Thursday, 19 April 2012 11:31

What is Pinterest and how are brands using it? How will the platform's privacy policy impact future growth? This week Kairos Consumers asked Ellie Deutch, the Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist of Blitz Branding, to shed some light on this dynamic platform and its impact on brands.

Pinterest is an exploding online photo-sharing platform that heightens awareness of your brand and helps increase traffic to your webpage, blog, or social outlet. It is now the number three most-popular social network in the U.S. and is generating more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined.

The platform has grown to over 18.7 million users since it’s launch in March of 2010, and has increased its daily user activity by 145% since the start of 2012. The growth of Pinterest is incomparable to any other social platform in the past 10 years, and has capitalized on the lone aspect that photos and videos are the highest engaging post types on the web.

Like Facebook and Twitter, it has allowed for brands to organically spread their messages to consumers and share experiences with them. It is being optimized by various types of brands (most successfully by beauty, fashion, food, crafts, DIY, and retail brands) and is retaining and engaging users as much as 2-3x as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in its history.

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 April 2012 21:11
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