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What we could all learn from Jack in Titanic

Jesus. Hodor. Jack in Titanic.

The poor bastards had it rough, didn’t they?

And whilst I’m not talking about being able to fit onto a floating door in the middle of the freezing North Atlantic Ocean here (am I?) I am talking about something that is often overlooked in our industry: sacrifice.

Defined as ‘to give up (something valued) for the sake of other considerations’ in the Oxford Dictionary, the word comes with a shit load of its own biblical, political and cultural baggage. But in business? It feels raw. Moderately untouched. Fresh-out-the-box.

So, what can we learn here? All hail the 3 S’s of sacrifice:  

Sacrifice as story

It can be terrifying to sacrifice something that is potentially valuable or unique. But, by sacrificing something in your storyboard, campaign, or business strategy, it forces you to centre your energy on something else. A shift in focus. A shift in the storytelling. Trying to do too much is holding you back – so strip it back. Even when you’re winning, the bravest amongst us ask: what needs to be sacrificed to open up new narratives?

It is those whittled-down, honed-in ideas that will be remembered. That’s where you find your diamonds.

Sacrifice as success

Business is, at its very core, a give-and-take process. The more you invest and the more you’re willing to part with, the more you’ll reap the rewards. That can mean you working late a few evenings a week, identifying the people that aren’t serving your organisation and showing them the door, or just recognising the organisational structures that simply aren’t working. Sometimes, if sacrifices aren’t made, success simply isn’t possible.

Detect the static. If it isn’t evolving then you probably just found why your business isn’t moving forward.

Sacrifice as strategy

Some brands have danced with the big S; Tesla not initiating patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use their technology; Patigonia forsaking short-term sales by asking consumers not to buy their jacket in order to help our environmental crisis. Communications that negated immediate business adjectives, but contributed to long-term sales. Sacrifice can refine brand meaning. A defiant act that can take your relationship with consumer above functionality, and into a deep and emotional connection.

 

Sacrifice is all about articulation, ie. if you come across a good idea, don’t keep adding things to it. And if you find you have, take a step back, assess and lose anything unnecessary. You’ll save on resources, time and fundamentally – cost.

In a crowded marketplace where everyone is overwhelmed with choice, we need to learn a new way: in how we do business, in how we create, in how we speak to one another. Could sacrifice be the answer? I get the feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg (sorry Jack).

Frankly my dear, I don’t gif a damn

We’re living in the age of visual communication. That’s a given. Where we might once have settled for a simple ‘thanks Geoff, see you tomorrow mate’, we now frantically scroll through clips of goats in sunglasses.

You see, the goat says it all. In fact, the goat says so much more!

Hilarious! Geoff will love that. Geoff loves goats…

…probably.

These snippets understand us. They get us. In ways, thousands and thousands and thousands of years of language never could. Go figure.

GIF (short for Graphics Interchange Format) is now a way of life. Incorporated GIF searches are a must for social media platforms, and in September 2018, Giphy, the world’s number one gif website, reported 300 million users a day. What’s more, according to a survey published in Time in 2017, nearly two-thirds of millennials felt that GIFs got across their feelings better than words.

Complex messages expressed in a matter of seconds, does it come as any surprise that we’re hooked? The convenience of it all is too tempting. Why use the many iterations of the English language when Homer Simpson backing slowly into a bush can say it that much better?

In an era of ‘I want it and I want it now’, the pace of the GIF fits into the pace of our times. They’re our new digital dialect. Your joy, your excitement, your sadness, your pain – encapsulated in one little clip. More than words, more than emojis, this is immediate storytelling – entertaining and accessible to everyone, no matter their background.

So, time to get animated?

Maybe. A lot of brands are already using GIFs in their marketing to boost engagement, using it across their social media channels, blog posts, email campaigns and more. Meaning GIFs are no longer merely a bit of bants over the group chat. They’re legitimate tools of engagement that can be used to target your audiences online, and make your business more relatable, more human.

‘It’s all about joining in and entertaining,’ says British journalist and novelist Justin Myers, aka The Guyliner, who has earned a reputation for using GIFs in his online dating columns, ‘they’re almost impossible to misread. A sarcastic tone in a tweet might be misconstrued, but a GIF of Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development rolling her eyes at what you just said doesn’t take the Enigma machine to decipher.’

Take heed, people are using GIFs to convey their own sense of identity, anchoring themselves to TV shows, movies, or even news clips. A short and sweet way of saying ‘hey, this is me’.

So, pay attention. Watch. Enjoy. Get to know your audience. Laugh with them. The conversation is visual.

Image result for obama mic drop gif

Look who’s talking

I’m human. Aren’t I? You’re reading words spouted out of a fully-fledged chunk of flesh. You’re sure? Absolutely sure? No niggling doubts? No bots in the vicinity?

As the line between digital and human voice blurs, consumers’ suspicions are on the up. And rightly so. Bots’ capabilities are accelerating and distinguishing exactly who you’re talking to isn’t the picnic it used to be.

From Facebook messenger to text messaging, more and more brands are handing the baton over to chatbots to service their customers and sell their products. By leveraging machine learning and natural language processing, AI is one step ahead; accounting for each customer’s conversation history, understanding the intent behind customer requests and responding to questions in a more human way. Terrifying? Mildly. Efficient? You best believe it.  

By collecting information about users, the bots are helping businesses understand what their audience wants, how they want it and when. In an age of ‘brand experience’ this isn’t just a case of customer service, bots are feeding into crucial personalisation, vital to the brand experience.  

Alexa. Siri. Google Assistant. They know us; the good, the bad, the ugly. The more they learn about us, the more they are right about us. Trust grows, we disclose more.  

So, does your business require a virtual assistant? There isn’t one answer for all. But as customers continue to crave convenience, the demand for digital chatter is certainly increasing. The world’s leading research and advisory company, Gartner forecasts that by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human. Chinese WeChat bots can already set medical appointments, call a taxi, send money to friends, check in for a flight – the list goes on.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t a bot for the sake of a bot – it is something to be aware of. If you want to move forward with bot support, you need to determine the below early on:

  • Goals: clearly define the list of functions your bot needs to perform.
  • Channels: understand where your audience prefers to communicate – your website, mobile, Facebook Messenger, app, or any other messaging platform.
  • Application: choose your way of creation, using ready-made chatbot software or building a custom bot.

Here at BBT, we, of course, have the know-how to get you up and running. Our team of experts have the capability to implement your preferred software or build you a personalised custom bot from scratch.

As for machines fooling us into believing they’re human? We’ve come a long way from Alan Turning’s famous test, but I think we can all agree we know when there is a human behind the keyboar00010100010100011100

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