In the outside world: February 7th

Interesting media-related news this week that caught the eye of Anjali Ramachandran, Head of Innovation:

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Apparel brands like Abercrombie & Fitch are scratching their heads about what to do about the disappearing numbers of teenagers in their stores. Teenage unemployment is one factor, but so is access to online shopping, which shapes their habits because, as the article says, ‘not only did teenagers grow up on the internet, but it has shaped and accelerated fashion cycles.’ Also, uncool CEOs who plan for a season nine months in advance don’t help with their lack of knowledge of market trends (not my words, theirs!).

The UK Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insights Team – the nudge team, as they’re called – is being taken out of government but going to be run by policy group NESTA. The work that this team does can have far-reaching effects and is really interesting, as anyone who’s read Thaler & Sunstein knows. PHD’s own Source draws on behavioural economics principles so I’ll be following NESTA’s work on this.

Marriott Hotels are partnering with Ikea to see how they can attract the millennial customer through their Moxy range of hotels, the first of which is set to open in Milan in the summer. They want to bring the philosophy of ‘bare maximum’ to life, with a lot of stylish features even while keeping costs down, based on research that said the younger customer wants to be able to have a communal experience in the hotel when they want to, but also easily be able to go out and see the city. The next generation of young travellers will be ‘independent social travellers’ according to their research, so this is one of Moxy’s key brand attributes.

There have been a few interesting reads to do with the news industry this week. The Trinity Mirror has closed down people.co.uk and is focussing on promoting two of their properties that I’ve mentioned here before, UsVsTh3m and Ampp3d. The Mirror Online’s general manager spoke about how the two new sites allow them to experiment in low cost ways. Second, this is an interesting interview with The Guardian’s David Pemsel on their new commercial strategy. And Upworthy, the site that’s responsible, along with Buzzfeed, for all those articles along the lines of ‘You Just Won’t Believe What Happens Next’ is working on a new metric called ‘attention minutes’ to measure audience engagement that goes beyond clicks and shares. They’ll release the source code when it’s out in a few months – I wonder how that’s going to impact the digital business.

Lastly, new research by Harvard Business School behavioural scientist Francesco Gino indicates that consumers actually show more loyalty when they flirt with a brand’s competitor. The implication? Might be time to rethink ads that pit one brand against another in a bid to get people to convert, amongst other things.

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