We live in a visual world, where the look and design are just as important as the message. That’s why as a public relations firm it’s imperative that we have an in-house designer to help make our client’s message as aesthetically pleasing as it is interesting. Enter Charles Grieser, CCO at Emerging Insider Communications. A full-spectrum creative, Charles believes the first step in the design process is to always listen to the client and market. Despite his artistic aspirations, his goal is to never just making something “pretty,” but to create solutions that are clear, relevant and lasting. Here, Charles fills us in on his thoughts on some of today’s hot topics in the design industry…
Why in today’s world is design and branding more important than ever?
There is a popular phrase that pervades current culture: “Design will save the world.” As a designer, I will be the last person to jump on that bandwagon. The world was fine long before the first craftsman or designer staked their claim in human history. What is unquestionable is that design—and more specifically, the design process—makes the world a far better place to live in. This process is simply an open and aggressive approach to problem solving that is a topic of a whole other discussion.
More specifically to the world of technology, public relations and marketing, design is no longer a nice-to-have add on. Thanks to the likes of Apple, Pinterest, IDEO and others, the market now expects well-designed products and succinct messaging. The expectations go even further in that people now expect custom-tailored solutions in order to hold their attention. This is a good thing. The bar is set high for products and services to really shine and address real needs and important issues.
What’s lacking in the way most brands and companies execute their creative?
The biggest hurdle for any company wanting to harness the power of good design is a failure to truly embrace the importance of design in the marketplace. There are many companies who pay lip service to this “fad” of design. Design thinking and priorities need to start at the top. Implementing design as an afterthought to simply “make things pretty” is not an effective approach to creating something great. Design must be in the blood of any company that wants to profit from its power. It must start in the mission and run through every product, every piece of copy and every touch point so that in the end the brand lives in the consumers mind.
In the age of content overload, what makes anything stand out?
Simplicity and relevance are my mantras in an overcrowded marketplace. As the lead in Mad Men, Donald Draper, is famous for saying, “Make it simple, but significant.” Simple beauty and well-chosen words are always a stand out. They have the air of honesty and the brevity to maintain a place in memory. The other compliment to simplicity and relevance is relationship. A company doesn’t need to go the extra mile, but just a few extra steps to show that they care about the customer and their satisfaction. If you do that you may just have a customer for life.
Has modern technology decreased the need for outstanding creative or increased it?
Modern technology is a result of outstanding creative thinking, so I would say it has opened the door to an increased emphasis. Technology has also produced more tools and outlets for being creative. For example, instead of advertisements consisting of television, radio and print, we also have an explosion of digital outlets and renegade-style marketing.
Are there any incredibly controversial topics in the design space today?
In my opinion design, just as any other mode of human motivation and industry, has the power to be used in both positive and negative ways. Design can be used to create drones built to spy and kill or can create images of people so perfect that no one can measure up. If removed from the human condition and abstracted to pure aesthetic, design can tip the scales from creative to destructive. As anything else, design takes on the image and intention of its creator. It think it’s important that we recognize design’s integral place in society, but keep it in check with the people it serves.
Many companies are working to change the viewer experience by marrying sports and technology, but none are doing it quite like OneTwoSee. An award-winning fan engagement technology company based out of Philadelphia, OneTwoSee provides white-labeled products to help some of the biggest names in sports—including Comcast, NBC, Yes Sports and Fox Sports—monetize their engagement. Their multi-platform software allows fans to interact with games live using the smart device of their choice. Leading this innovative Participation TV-meets-sports charge is Chris Reynolds, OneTwoSee’s CEO and co-founder. Chris, a veteran in the television industry, took time out of his busy schedule to provide some insight into the emerging Smart TV ecosystem and explain why OneTwoSee is at the forefront of the industry…
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Chris Reynolds: I’ve been hyper-focused on television, whether that’s self-delivering interactive television products to the market, selling television networks or building web-based solutions to support a multiscreen experience.
Why did you decide to start OneTwoSee?
CR: The idea was conceptualized with my partner and co-founder while we were both working for Nokia. We started contemplating new, unique ways to deliver an interactive television experience through connected devices instead of the set-top box. Traditionally, interactive television had been delivered specially through set-top boxes, but it was a really clunky and lousy environment to work in at the time. That’s changed significantly over the last couple of years and we are starting to understand the possibilities of delivering smart services via a set-top box. But going back almost five years, that industry was bogged down and there wasn’t a common platform to build against. We started thinking about how we could deliver these same types of experiences through your mobile phone (at the time tablets weren’t really available on the market) or through your PC. That’s how we started conceptualizing the idea.
And you’ve had lots of success ever since!
CR: We are extremely busy; we tripled the amount of partners we are supporting over the last year and we’re going to double the headcount this year. We are just looking forward to being able to support the market and deliver really interesting applications and services to our partners.
Why did you choose sports as OneTwoSee’s vertical?
CR: The use case has already been established. It wasn’t uncommon for sports fans to text or call each other during games, or even communicate via Facebook. We figured if you could incorporate all those attributes into one single platform and deliver them elegantly through an application it would be an interesting offering to the end user.
What are the benefits of providing a white-labeled product?
CR: By not trying to create our own consumer-facing brand, we enable our partners to deliver our products to market under their shingle and do what they are very good at—marketing and advertising. That allows us to take care of the technology and the experience. We don’t create a channel conflict in that scenario, the same way we would if we had our own consumer brand and then tried to partner with a Media Rights Holder who isn’t necessary interested in competing their audience to our brand.
How does OneTwoSee’s multi-platform approach benefit audiences?
CR: We believe that audiences who want to engage around professional sports are doing it through all screens. We look to replicate those experiences across all screens and either deliver products through responsive design or purpose-build them for each individual platform.
Do you see OneTwoSee extending its reach outside of sports?
CR: We will grow within the vertical. We are hyper-filtered on professional sports, whether it’s real-time statistical content, advanced statistical content, the social side of the experience or the interactive side of the experience. In 2014 we will have a very strong emphasis on mobile and mobile engagement.
What excites you about the future of the Smart TV industry?
CR: The potential. For years the promise has been floating out there that eventually you’d be able to have this optimal use case, which is incorporating your second screen activity into your primal viewing experience—your television. Now, because the technology is embedded within these sets, it allows that use case to come to fruition. We are very optimistic about the space, specifically on the TV side of our business. These aren’t necessary new equations that are being solved, it’s just technology and how it’s enabling these types of services to be delivered in a way that wasn’t available three or four years ago.
In your opinion, what has been the biggest disruptor in the Smart TV industry to date?
CR: I think ACR is going to disrupt the smart TV industry in a very positive way. I think it’s already started to and it’s going to become more and more ubiquitous, not only for the smart TV side, but also for the smart set-top box side. I think MSOs are going to start utilizing that technology, as they really haven’t yet.
Growth is upon us here at Emerging Insider Communications, which means we are acquiring the best and brightest in the industry to join our talented team. One of the most promising additions to the Emerging Insider family is Adam Dawson, a passionate video game expert who has been instrumental in navigating this evolving industry through his analysis on emerging trends and in-depth knowledge. By examining the past and future of the gaming industry, Adam is determining the best ways to help position new clients into the evolving ecosystem. Here, Adam shares his knowledge and insights on the current gaming landscape and where he sees the industry heading in the future:
Where does your passion for the gaming industry stem from?
Adam Dawson: I’ve been passionate about games for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of me climbing out of my crib to play my brother’s SEGA Genesis. Ever since, my passion for games has grown exponentially. It’s truly fascinating how video games allow us to assume the role of a character, escape into fantastical digital environments and experience adventures we could never dream of experiencing in real life.
In your opinion, what has been the biggest disruptor in the gaming industry to date?
AD: Cloud gaming hasn’t completely emerged yet, but once it takes off, it will be the biggest disruptor the video game industry has ever seen. Cloud gaming allows video games to be streamed through a thin client, similar to how Netflix steams video. They will be stored on servers and streamed directly to the device. Since the servers handle most of the performance intensive operations, the power of the device becomes less important, allowing newer games to be run on dated hardware. Once completely established, cloud gaming will disrupt the retail game market because consumers will stream games rather than purchase a physical copy. It will also disrupt the used game market, as less physical copies of games will be purchased and will result in fewer trade ins. Developers will be on board because it will eliminate packaging and distribution expenses, and also help prevent them from losing money on the used game market. It will also disrupt the PC hardware market because state-of-the-art gaming hardware won’t be required to run new games.
What about a major disruptor in the last few years?
AD: The ability to purchase games digitally has disrupted the retail market by offering new games for less than their original prices. Digital marketplaces like Steam and Origin have sales that allow gamers to purchase and digitally download new games at huge discounts. Console marketplaces such as the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Network offer new, free-to-play games each month as well as sales.
Since a lot of gamers are buying digitally, it disrupts the used game market. The development of buying digitally allows consumers to buy new games for much cheaper than a used game, without worrying about the condition of the disc. Taking away the reselling of used games, which is a billions dollar business, will dramatically affect companies like GameStop. On the other end, development studios are on board with the digital purchasing of games because it saves them money on manufacturing, packaging and distribution. Also, when a used game is bought, the store selling the product receives all of the money towards the purchase, cutting the creators out. If games went completely digital, studios would share a percentage of the sale with the marketplace their game was purchased from, but still make money off of their titles several years after their release.
Where do you see the space heading in the future?
AD: Once high speed, broadband internet connections become more common in households, the space will go completely digital. With the advancement of digital marketplaces and the development of cloud gaming, physical copies of games will become irrelevant. Gamers will only download or stream games from their homes because it is convenient and inexpensive. It is also cheaper and easier for studios because they don’t have to worry about the headache and expenses of finding a publisher to publish and distribute their game—the marketplaces themselves act as the publishers.
What do think are some of the more exciting gaming tech developments?
AD: The return of head-mounted VR consoles with the development of the Oculus Rift is extremely exciting because it aims to offer a truly immersive gaming experience. Other exciting developments are modular computers, open source gaming, multiscreen gaming, advancements in graphics and physics engines, advancements in motion capture and animation, and advancements in motion controlled gaming.
Is there anything missing in the gaming world?
AD: Originality. As the years pass by, less and less intellectual properties (IP) are created. It seems that companies keep pumping out titles to already successful series instead of making something new and exciting. During this new generation of gaming, I hope that studios will take advantage of new technologies and create some interesting and innovative IPs. Also, open source gaming will hopefully add more originality to the industry by allowing independent developers to produce and share games without the need for and expensive software development kit.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about gaming?
AD: Video games being a cause of violent behavior is probably the biggest. There have been numerous studies proving that excessive video game playing does not cause violent behavior, but many people still use video games as a scapegoat in displays of violent behavior by the youth. Another misconception is that gaming is a waste of time. Gaming offers a chance to develop skills such as team building through cooperative play, hand-eye coordination and sharpened reflexes. Also, since the video game industry is one of the most profitable spaces in the business world, there are many opportunities for corporate careers.
Are there any companies or technologies on your “must watch” list?
AD: There are many technologies to watch out for in the near future, and most companies are always worth keeping tabs on. Specific technologies that are a must watch are the Oculus VR, cloud gaming, modular computers, multiscreen gaming and open source gaming. All of these technologies and trends will change the gaming world over the next few years. As for companies, Valve is always doing something new and exciting. Razer and Origin are making moves in the PC landscape, developing the first modular concepts. In general, it’s always good to watch development studios, my favorites being Naughty Dog, Rockstar Games and Sony Santa Monica.
What do you see in the future for gaming media development?
AD: I see a more immersive and interactive experience. I also see a more social experience as online multiplayer games become even more popular and interactive. Development studios will take advantage of new technologies and create more lifelike visuals, as well as improve upon game mechanics. Narrative in games will become more important, resulting in video games with narratives that are deeper and more captivating than most movies and television programs. Games will go completely digital, resulting in the collapse of the retail and used game markets. Open source gaming will allow a plethora of new game content into the market by enabling independent developers to create and publish games for cheap. The video game industry is growing and changing more rapidly than ever, so there are a lot of expectations and speculations.
New Services, Clients And Staff Members…Oh My!
As the ever-changing, evolving and exciting field of emerging media and technologies continues to expand, it’s only fitting that we do the same. Growth can be measured in an assortment of ways, which is why Emerging Insider Communications is thrilled to announce a variety of promising developments in the form of new service offerings, clientele and staff members.
First, we are incredibly excited to announce that we have expanded the Emerging Insider family to include a web development team. This team is in place for any web ventures our clients crave, whether it be small design projects, web development or applications. The vision is for these highly intuitive, creative experts to assist on a full suite of design services to meet our client’s high standards. Oh yeah, we should mention they’re pretty stellar to work with, too.
In addition to the proficiency and knowhow of the web development team, Emerging Insider also brought onboard a dedicated staff writer. A Boston native, Beth Principi began her career working at Horizon House Publications covering the Telecom and Machine-to-Machine Technology industries, before venturing to the even colder Chicago climate and onto our team. Her passion for knowledge, especially within the emerging technologies sector, makes her a valuable asset to both us and our clients. “We are incredibly excited to bring Beth onto our team,” says Zach Weiner, CEO of Emerging Insider Communications. “Given her wide range of expertise and experience in bringing exceptional stories to life, we are confident she can help take our clients to the next level.”
In the same vein of internal development is our external growth, where we have recently welcomed a range of clients within the Digital marketplace, Advertising innovators and TV Technology space, further extending our reach into the cutting edge areas of digital media and technology. We don’t want to give too much away right now, but will leave you with this thrilling tidbit to chew on and savor until next time.
The past few years have seen rapid developments in TV land. Start-ups have failed, flourished and consolidated; new technologies have led to new behaviors and novel buzzwords are thrown around quicker than we skip through commercials. With all of the new gadgetry and capability however, there remains a plethora of pain points rippling through traditional entertainment/broadcast organizations.
These issues, however, are also the largest conduits to what will be immense growth led by a new breed of start-ups. Social TV, connected TV and multiscreen platforms and services have seen some viable adoption, but nothing compared to what we will see as the massive industry continues to evolve with limited deliverable solutions to the pain points yet seen. If we look into three of these most problematic issues we can gain a better perspective as to where innovation will occur, and where investment should be explored.
Choice: No matter how interesting or engaging specific TV/video programming and content may be, viewers have a huge number of options that never before existed. Outside of increasing amounts of traditional channels exist a wealth of on-demand content, over the top content and more digital video than one could imagine. With thousands of calls to action for what to watch or for how long, broadcasters, publishers and advertisers deal with far less retention, engagement and attraction based on this fragmentation.
Startup/Innovator Potential? Discovery and personalization. Discovery of programming and content is a need for audiences that also solves the industry marketing crises. While choice is good, overabundance of content without a navigation route must change for audiences. With innovations in personalization we will see highly engaged consumers, who yield the industry with highly engaging data and are more receptive to stay engaged with specific content.
First Responder: IRIS.TV is a novel startup that helps make digital video more accessible and profitable to both consumers and publishers. Through dynamic recommendations based on individual personal consumption habits, IRIS.TV brings together a linear viewing experience and video personalization, which is exactly what the industry needs to help consumers navigate a veritable jungle of content, choice and attention.
Attention shifting: While watching TV programming, viewers have a slew of elements they could be engaged with in their digital galaxies outside of whatever screen they are viewing within. Are viewers 100 percent focused on a certain program, or is 50 percent attention share going to other digital endeavors? Are they only 20 percent focused on programming while their attention is going to online shopping? Facebook? Words with Friends? In most cases without proper usage, the multiscreen landscape for all of its potential drives user focus away from television content.
Startup Potential? Engagement innovations that focus on how to take viewers down a path that is exciting and novel. These experiences will drive audiences to engage across devices endemically. How does the industry engineer new experiences that are the modern equivalent of the transition from black and white to color? Multiscreen engagements, transmedia and digital gamification will all be utilized to capture attention and divert it back.
First Responder? iPowow. This startup originally out of Australia, has been showcasing amazing ways to create interactivity, gamification and intensive participation across TV and digital with audiences worldwide working with organizations like ESPN, Fox Sports, Red Bull, A&E and USA Network. They are showing the industry how to draw attention back to the story and recapture shifting attention spans.
Time-shifting: This is not new, but as increased choice, enhanced skipping technologies and OTT content increases, audiences have the freedom to watch any time they would like. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for content, but it does negatively impact the advertising aspect. Without a call to action on specific timing, advertising content is less valuable, targeted and time sensitive. Ad content that strikes less attention and is avoidable also offers less real time chatter via social sharing and far less data yielded about audiences than live TV. This factored in with less engagement, as seen in the above section, deals a crippling blow to the ad industry.
Startup Potential? Advertising innovations- What these may look like is up for grabs on a few fronts, but it’s clear that the traditional 30-second spot is and has been in severe danger. Innovators are needed who can set forth to create novel formats for brand conversations that captivate, are highly personalized, laser targeted and multiscreen.
First Responder: Ad Tonik. Ad Tonik is helping to facilitate an interchange between smart devices and Television. By targeting ad spots to mobile users based on the shows they watch endemically, this startup has the potential to aid brands and agencies in better optimizing ad spends and making brand messages relevant in a multiscreen world.
Where else will the chips fall? Let us know.
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/biz/business/op-ed-emerging-tv-innovation-in-a-multiscreen-world-has-just-begun/article/364660#ixzz2odzWeUaW
Facebook versus Twitter: The news of the Social TV battle has been abuzz with debate, conjecture and analysis across the board. On a recent interview, I was asked “Who do you think is going to be the long term winner between the two?” “Who will lead in gaining TV Ad spend share?”
The question represents a rather myopic view of emerging TV. There is no one winner between the two big platforms- and neither offers one specific holy grail for Social TV. The truth is that both will see their fair share of TV advertising spend if initiatives are developed with deference to audience behaviors. Facebook and Twitter are differing platforms with differing advantages and disadvantages when it comes to socialization and interactivity in correlation to entertainment viewing. Their potential and utilization by audiences will always be different as should be their development goals for the TV space.
The past few months have seen many articles in circulation that pose the debate over who has more TV chatter or propose diverse claims regarding one platform’s merits versus the other. Similarly, the two organizations themselves have evangelized based on developments and metrics that seem to mirror one another. It is an example of very in-the-box thinking that is occurring. Twitter is not Facebook. Facebook is not Twitter. Comparing the two is like trying to compare apples versus oranges. They should be viewed as separate means to sometimes similar and sometimes differing ends.
The how/where/when/why of audiences in regards to social media is a study in human nature and sociology that is highly subjective. The core of any research however, shows that in today’s digital world each and every individual utilizes differing formats/venues of communication for differing purposes. This is the reason why many Facebook users are also on twitter and vice versa. Both are used as social tools and both are used in differing ways. Usage is not standard nor uniform across any platform and so treating multiscreen endeavors as something that can be equally measured, analyzed, developed or contrasted is off-base and dangerous.
Less dangerous, but equally unexciting is the fact that the platforms are both trying to provide the same values to the television industry as the “conversational peripheral” for TV chatter. On this topic, Facebook needs to step outside their current scope and rethink. The goal should be less focused on developing easier routes to conversation such as adding hashtag functionality and more focused on developing novel functionalities based on the strengths of the platform. Currently, striving to act in a similar manner as Twitter solely scratches the surface of how to better drive attraction, engagement, and retention of viewers with zero distinction.
Facebook has tremendous potential to be used for deep television/multiscreen related content and advertising experiences. The ability to explore transmedia and branded entertainment initiatives, new ways to drive and steer mechanisms of TV interactivity and the ability to integrate real time user generated content in novel ways have limitless potential. These three functionalities can become intensive engagement experiences and take advantage of Facebook’s unique aspects.
For chatter- Facebook is weak. It doesn’t allow the rapid-fire back and forth endemic conversations like Twitter does. It also does not allow expansion to external audiences outside of ones own network. This is countered however with the fact that Twitter doesn’t have nearly the same capability to present rich (and shareable) portals that beg for interaction. Facebook needs to develop their unique differentiators across differing metrics and they need to develop and evangelize some of their amazing potential for TV in a novel way. This should be driven by a better understanding of their value proposition to both audiences and the industry.
It’s time to start looking outside of the box when it comes to Social TV- There are amazing integrations to be found across platforms, but we have to acknowledge that differing conversational venues will be utilized differently and thusly need to foster potential based on their differing strengths.
As the battle for most robust social TV peripheral platform rages on between Facebook and Twitter and more innovators continue to both launch and leave the market, the TV industry is still throwing darts trying to decipher what multiscreen endeavors for both content and advertising will actually be efficacious. The below announces the launch of our Think Tank which seeks to address the landscape from a new perspective- What actually influences audience behavior, engagement and motivation across both individuals and groups. The announcement is below.
Emerging Insider Communications, a boutique public relations and marketing firm is proud to launch the emerging TV industry’s first comprehensive multi-discipline Think Tank to address disruptions, innovations and new methodologies across television, advertising, and the entertainment content landscape.
Emerging Insider is bringing together a range of professionals across non-traditional disciplines including media psychologists and research sociologists to pair with their media and brand strategists in order to further understand and position new endeavors, multiscreen methodologies, advertising innovations and smart TV technologies.
The firm believes that as the television and video content marketplace continues to evolve and intersect with the digital landscape, a number of broad spanning crucial initiatives need far greater levels of understanding when it comes to deep psychological and sociological data and understanding. With a slew of innovations, methods and startups that entered and left the market rapidly, the belief is that a greater basis for understanding audience engagement across television, social media and digital devices is the key to evangelizing new products and engaging viewers.
Emerging Insider will be bringing on renown Media Psychologist Dr. Pamela Rutledge as a consultant to study and advise upon viewer behavior, analyze user experience and to help to develop novel strategies for engagement. The team also consists of several sociology and anthropology consultants with backgrounds in media to provide deeper understandings of group behaviors and interactions on a holistic level.
Zachary Weiner, CEO, of Emerging Insider Communications stated “What we’ve seen are a lot of organizations with amazing products and services, but little understanding of how to drive their models forward. A portion of the disconnect found in TV and other media sectors is due to fundamental flaws in the understanding of novel psychology and sociology behind audience behaviors, levels of engagement and motivation. Our goal is to assist our clients and the industry at large in developing products and initiatives that capitalize on robust insights to better position innovations in the market. A think tank of diverse practice areas to facilitate greater knowledge is needed across the board.”
The group took the initiative to bring forth this variety of professionals across multiple disciplines to enhance and build on what has been limited data and restrictive research. They believe it’s a way to stop throwing darts and focusing on business drive initiatives and start developing audience driven initiatives with a strong foundation of efficacy based on deeper understanding.
Innovation. Disruption. Enhancement. Making a splash.
We love media. As a group we’ve been diligently evangelizing multiple areas of emerging television, helping to shape the future of advertising technologies and marketing the newest endeavors from groundbreaking and innovative organizations. We’re a taking a novel and revolutionary approach to the industries most in flux.
We’re a group of passionate industry insiders who love to march to the beat of the newest innovations in media and technology. We officially launch next week and we can’t wait to hear from you. Stay Tuned.
Some of our favorite clients are the ones who always seek to innovate in a consumer facing manner that drives the industry forward. Over the past few months we have been assisting never.no launch their novel Ad product “Sync” which seeks to create truly interactive multiscreen and Social TV Ad integrations. We’ve been helping to ramp them up with a multi-tiered marketing and PR campaign involving; media relations and targeting, a heavy interview lineup, event endeavors, novel content marketing strategies and deep social media exposure. We’ve seen ongoing media pickup by targeting both TV industry trade publications such as LostRemote.com, as well as broad based advertising and marketing publications, like MediaPost, ClickZ and the Drum.
A few great articles about never.no’s recent campaigns for those in the Ad world.
MediaPost and never.no
The Drum and never.no
ClickZ and never.no