Trading guns for bikes

It’s a brilliant idea. Take guns off the street and replace them with bikes.

Uruguay rates 9th in the world for the number of guns per capita. With a population of just 3.3 million, there are more than a million guns – half of those unregistered.

Under the Uruguayan Interior Ministry’s “Weapons for Life” campaign, residents turning in an unregistered guns will each receive either a new bike or a (simple) computer. The scheme is an alternative to the weapons buyback schemes that richer countries like the USA and Australia have tried. And of course the idea has the potential to improve health and transport as well as reducing the murder rate.


Changing your Mind

Getting you to change your mind (and thus your behaviour) is the objective of most marketing. But what if it’s the marketers struggling to keep up with our changing minds?

As we multi-task more, we emerge with a weakened sense of identity, finding it hard to empathise with others or concentrate well, warns (Baroness) Susan Greenfield, Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology at Oxford University. She says that the amount of multi-tasking people carry out in daily life is dramatically affecting the human brain.

Neuromarketing author Martin Lindstrom agrees: “Our brains are rewiring themselves because of multi-tasking, so the new younger generation are in fact more able to multi-task than older generations. This isn’t because they have trained themselves to do it, it’s because the brain is literally redesigning itself around the fact they are multi-tasking from birth.”

Greenfield explains that the human brain and short-term memory can only cope with a limited amount of input: Advertising messages on TV and billboards have been replaced with multiple channels – social networks, email, websites and face-to-face communication. Everything is scrambling for our attention, but according to Greenfield we can only cope with so much.

For marketers, achieving cut-through in a multi-tasking, social media age will increasingly involve understanding the consumer’s sense of identity. Brands that feed consumers’ desire for individual acknowledgement will seem more interesting and thereby gain an unfair share of attention.

Individual interaction then becomes the key to being relevant to the younger generation. Back to Greenfield: “Brands will need to make you feel wanted, important and individual. Goods or services that help people be creative, do something that no one else has done, or join the dots up in a new way, will be very powerful as they give people a sense of uniqueness. Just as we adapt to the environment, the environment drives what’s happening to the brain and will create different needs and motivations.”

Life on the Move

Tweet. Buy. Sell. Watch TV. Play games. Take pictures. Upload pictures. Read a book. Play chess. There was a time when your mobile phone was about voice calls and texts. Now it’s about every form of media in your pocket. And every form of marketing.

This week the great and good of the mobile world gathered for the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. During the week we heard that: smartphones had outsold PCs for the first time; the tectonic plates of Nokia and Microsoft moved together; and the facebook phone launched.

That last point is important because on mobile, as everywhere else, it’s all about social media. 50% of UK mobile internet traffic is for facebook. Stop – read again – that’s 50%! And this is where marketers will increasingly focus their thinking. The overlap between social and mobile.

It was only recently that mobile marketing moved out of the innovation labs. But today there are 75m mobile subscriptions in the UK – for just 60m people. Even today, 24% of those are smartphones, but by 2015, 75% will be smartphones – mobile computers capable of doing more than a 1980s supercomputer the size of a factory.

“Mobile will become a powerful advertising medium”, said Sir Martin Sorrell in Barcelona earlier this week, with the apps market alone tripling in size to $15bn in a year. I think we all recognize the immense power of the medium – now we need to find ways of engaging with the mood, mode and context of mobile users in a way which makes messages relevant. We need to do no less than re-invent marketing for a mobile world.

Here is the Forecast for 2011 – Part 2

And here’s the rest of the 11 predictions for 2011:

6. Mobile. Each of the last 10 years has been heralded the Year of Mobile. What makes 2011 different is not reach (the UK already has more mobile devices than people) or even smartphone uptake (although that will accelerate), it is usage by most people, increasingly using mobiles to search, shop, research brands and prices. Brands that don’t understand the small screen will suffer, those that make it easy to connect and buy on the move will thrive.

7. Social commerce – coming together to buy in groups – will start to take off. Get your Facebook friends to buy the same thing, and the price for all will come down. Or try Groupon’s successful deal-of-the-day model. Facebook has become the new shopping mall, e-commerce changes all over again.

8. In an ever more pressured society, simplicity will win in communications as much as elsewhere.

9. 4G. No this isn’t the comedy item on the list. The next generation of mobile broadband is already rolling out across Scandinavia, the USA and  Japan, with O2 already having test areas up and running in the UK. So will 4G change your life? If you need Coronation Street in HD live streamed to your mobile, then yes. Otherwise, set your Sky+ like the rest of us.

10. Google’s absolute dominance will start to wane. Now there’s a foolhardy prediction surely? But I am not alone in thinking time is ripe for competition. Social search will come to mean much more – as our friends’ recommendations mean much more to us than the Googleplex’s views. And new search options (and I don’t just mean Bing) will start to gain critical mass – try Blekko or Yandex for a glimpse of the future of search.

11. Lists will be bigger than ever. Need traffic? Want readers? Seek acclaim? Write it in a list  and people will read. Lists hold readers’ attention – as you’ve just proved….

Have a great start to the New Year and here’s to a prosperous one for all who sail in it.

Here is the forecast for 2011

11 predictions for 2011 in marketing – part 1:

1.  The end of digital marketing. Yes, the end, not the continued growth, nor the high point. Because we’ve moved from digital marketing to marketing for a digital age. Because now digital is everywhere, it no  longer makes sense to bracket digital spend from other “channels”. The AAR reported that last year the number of digital pitches decreased by 33%, which compared to 21% across the whole industry. From now on it’s just marketing….

2. …. Which is why Integrated is my next theme of the year. Integrated pitches, integrated campaigns and integrated strategic thinking will define 2011, filling the vacuum left by “digital marketing” and defining effective communications. Success this year will be about ideas that work across platforms, making best use of mobile, or consumers’ use of social media, or understanding how people use radio today. Call it transmedia, cross-platform, multi-channel – winning marketing will be what engages people in the mood, mode and context of their day.

3. Honeysuckle. That’s the colour of 2011. Don’t take my word for it – this is why the Pantone Colour Institute reckons honeysuckle is setting the tone for the year: “A Color for All Seasons. Courageous. Confident. Vital. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.” My feelings exactly.

4. Social media marketing spend will finally start to catch up with social media use. P&G’s Pepto Bismol is the latest brand to take a tonic to get over indulgence in offline media – switching from 80% of its budget focused on offline marketing to 80% on social media marketing.

5. 3DTV will move from the ridiculous to the periphery in 2011. That’s a long way short of mainstream, but it’s on the path towards becoming normal. There’s nothing normal about those glasses of course, so wait until 2012 and glasses-free 3D before it really hits its stride.  But start trying 3D marketing in the meantime.

Part 2 follows tomorrow, including social commerce, 4G mobile networks and the importance of lists …