Is social media making us anti-social?

During our recent weekly “Debate Club for Nurds” session at Bravo Romeo HQ we discussed the subject of whether social media is making us more anti-social. The subject divided our group and a fierce debate ensued. In this blogpost, we’ll examine the arguments from both sides and we invite you to join our debate in the comments section.

In the beginning..

Whenever a new technology emerges that fundamentally changes the way we live, it generates debate over the nature of that change and whether it’s “good” or “bad.” In the 1800s, when a monumental communication revolution was taking place — the advent of the telephone – there were privacy fears, worries that people would listen to the phone conversations and face-to-face communication would be lost. Complaints abounded about unwanted calls and the annoyance of interruptions plagued even its inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, who refused to have a phone installed in his workroom. The phone was thought of as so intrusive that in 1890 Mark Twain wrote a Christmas card wishing all people rest and peace, except for the inventor of the telephone. And it is no different for technology that affects our communication today. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, and Twitter that have revolutionized the way human beings source information, communicate and interact with one another. In this blog we’ll be discussing the positive effects in terms of empowering and connecting people whilst conversely examining how they can be a platform for negative, and sometimes destructive, behavior.

What do we mean by “anti-social”?

Before we delve into the debate at hand, let’s begin by defining anti-social. Anti-social: not sociable; not wanting the company of others. Therefore, the affirmative camp in this debate argued, by very definition anti-social is a behavioral trait, rather than one caused by technology. On the other hand, does too much screen time lead to more and more of this anti-social behavior presenting itself in our society? After all human interaction is in our nature, it’s been part of the way we form relationships, build trust and for years has been our main channel of communication.

Enter social media. Now face-to-face interaction is not a must. You can do business, make friends, form relationships with people from all over the world and maintain them for years, without ever having met. However spending all this time texting, commenting and liking or sharing photos makes us feel that it’s much easier and faster to communicate with our friends online, rather than invite them over for a gathering, for instance. This in turn keeps us addicted to the newsfeed… and so the cycles continues.

While technology has undoubtedly made communication easier and given us a wider reach, there are concerns that excessive use of technology can be addictive. People crave validation and attention via their social posts, more so than they do via interactions with humans in real life. This addiction is reflected through consumer behavior with 27% of consumers admitting to checking their social networks as soon as they wake up, and 51% continuing to log in periodically throughout the day.

However it’s when addiction turns from a solitary indulgence into a straight up preference over human interaction that the debate really comes into its own. It’s hard not to be concerned when you see a group of people sitting together, each staring in his or her own smartphone constantly scrolling through their accounts. We’ve all seen it. Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it.

But just as with our earlier point around the advent of the telephone, this is not new. People have always found ways to communicate without human interaction, be it through newspapers, radio, even literature.


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So, is social media to blame?

While there are convincing arguments for and against (and believe me we had a great time hashing it out together in the office!) our conclusion is no.

Social media has opened up a world of connectivity and conversation. People can keep in touch with others from all around the world, start discussions with groups they would never have met in real life, follow hashtags to surface different perspectives on the same issue. It helps alleviate the tyranny of distance, in some ways, and has accelerated global and local communication at speeds unattainable in the past. Since communication is the backbone of social interaction, we think it’s therefore wrong to say, out and out, that social media is making us anti-social. What do you think?

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Generation Innovation: Why Gen Z is poised to hack the world, in the MENA region and beyond

Today’s young adult is different. Gen Z, born to digital-savvy parents and growing up in a world of technological accessibility, are our first true digital natives. For Gen Z, technology is as natural as oxygen, with connected devices prevalent within their lives since birth.

Unlike their Millennial counterparts, Gen Z have a realistic and practical worldview; they know that they have to make their own opportunities and be financially responsible. Industriousness, the ability to multi-task, resourcefulness, collaboration and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of this generation.

This blogpost will examine this generation’s social, cultural, political and economic outlook both regionally and globally, to reveal how they will hack the world to create a better future, powered by hyper connectivity and collaboration.

So what makes them so different?

To understand this generation, we must first understand the landscape that they have been raised in. To put it bluntly, Gen Z were born into a bleak world.


This generation have grown up through many brutal and harrowing global conflicts, the war on terrorism, the Arab spring to name but a few. And while overall conflict may have reduced since prior generations, this generation have unprecedented levels of exposure to the conflict in the world due to the access to media and technology, making them a lot more cognizant of it.


Climate change, global warming, species extinction and the finite resources are just a few of the worries around the environment. We’ve fallen into the routine of using far more of the earth’s resources than we could possibly ever replenish, and we don’t have a plan b for when they run out. The state of our planet is abhorrent and Gen Z hold past generations responsible.


Likewise, the economy has suffered greatly in recent years. Gen Z grew up with parents who lost jobs because of the credit crunch, watched Millennials graduate with Geography degrees that are no longer relevant and are now themselves faced with a housing market that is becoming more and more impenetrable to the youth.

red symbolsImage Credit: Matthew Brodeur

The Differentiators

With these grim factors at play, many would assume the youth to be ambivalent. But in fact, they are quite the opposite. While Millennials saw the Internet as a place for duck-faces and swiping right, Gen Z’s outlook is very different. Gen Z are resourceful, they see the internet as their secret weapon and want to use it to solve the worlds hardest problems. Gen Z want to challenge the status quo and fix the mistakes of generations gone by. Their outlook is optimistic, progressive and deeply collaborative.


At the heart of it all, lies technology. As we mentioned at the beginning of the piece, this generation are digital natives. They’ve never had to make the transition from offline to online, and have grown up in a world where “Googling” has always been a verb. Armed with this accessible, evolving technology, Gen Z have taught themselves skills online, moved away from the traditional means of education and as a result have become a lot more entrepreneurial.

A wonderful example of this is Jack Andraka. A teenager from the USA who used the wealth of information available through the Internet, coupled with his teenage optimism, to do what everyone told him was impossible – find a detector test for pancreatic cancer. Check out his amazing story:

Incredible right?

Another inspiring example is that of Dutch youngster Boyan Slat. Appalled at the state of the world’s oceans, he devised a plan to clean up the devastating amount of plastic polluting our planet’s resources. Unsatisfied with the attitude of previous generations who’s outlook is “we can’t fix it, all we can do is try not to make it worse” he started a project called “The Ocean Clean Up”. Here’s his story so far:


Our Responsibility

Equipped with this knowledge about Gen Z, it is our responsibility as mentors, parents, teachers and role models to act as facilitators for this new generation and nurture their approach. It is the combined responsibility of government, industry and academia to address the skills gap that is being created in the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (don’t believe us – just ask the Millennials with their Geography degrees).

Let’s take a look at some of the examples from around the world as well as within the UAE of support systems that have been put in place to mitigate this evolving issue.

1.The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation has been established to address the growing need for talented designers and innovators in the UAE and beyond – today’s students who will be tomorrow’s innovators.

2.Smart City University, is the world’s first open platform for decentralized education and digital skill development on the blockchain, accessible from anywhere. It’s presently being created by Smart Dubai to formalize and certify the skills people are learning through otherwise unconventional means, increase the number of people qualified for the new industry roles that await them and to enable people from anywhere to build their own educational path towards the future, fourth industrial revolution-world economy

3. Established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a nonprofit entity dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools around the world. Their goal is that computer coding should become the norm in a schools curriculum and given the same importance as say biology or algebra.

The above ecosystems are well poised to help Gen Z in their quest to challenge the status quo, harness technology to solve the biggest challenges the world faces and change the way we think and live. Their outlook, coupled with the technological advances means that Gen Z aren’t just set to hack the world…they’re going to rule it.


Featured Image Credit: Drew Graham

Growth Hacking: 5 tips for marketers… and a little inspiration.

Growth hacking has been hot on the lips of digital marketers for while now; it’s a technique that’s easy to understand but a little harder to practice. When a brand “growth hacks”, it delves deep into the world of its audience, to understand its audiences’ perspectives and create products and services around their needs and desires. Brands start by carefully measuring their audience’s feedback, preferences and behaviors, in order to create, trial and augment products and services to better suit the customer. Growth hackers are customer thrill seekers and problem solvers at heart; searching for the subliminal product / market fit, in order to drive business growth and, in its ultimate application, transform category growth.

Growth hacking means taking an experimental, creative and data-driven approach to the way business is conducted. While the approach is often led by marketing, it’s inherently a cross-functional discipline, drawing together many functions of a business, particularly R&D, Marcomms, Sales, Engineering, Production and Distribution, to gear around the customer. There’s also the “small” matter of C-suite buy in 🙂

To the digital marketing natives among us, growth hacking should be like breathing air, it is both the form and function of how we operate. It’s our job to listen to audiences at both a micro and macro level to surface insights that inspire new ways of conducting business. How many times have you listened to your communities and thought “Why can’t my brand just do what the people want?” To growth hack and transform a business in a way that delights both audiences and shareholders is a marketer’s ultimate dream! The secret to a successful hack is internal buy-in, a degree of organizational agility and perception change – stakeholders need to see that marketing isn’t just a cost centre and can meaningfully inform and shape business growth.

So… you lookin’ for a revolution, punk? Here are 5 tips for developing a growth hacking initiative that will help noise things up:

  1. Start with data-fueled insights, backed up with examples: Growth hacking isn’t an assumption, it’s premised on known information conveyed by customer data. Use the wealth of first, second and third party data that’s open to you. Form use cases and user personas premised on market examples that are representative of your findings
  2. Make decent business cases: Notice the plural here? Don’t just get stuck on one good idea. Get used to (rejection) writing compelling, succinct business cases. Keep it simple, but do your best to include the opportunity, the mutual benefit, the risk, cost, tech, timescale, measurement frameworks, operational and organizational impact and capability. Granted, you may not have full visibility over this, however it can be top line and seek input… which takes us to our next point:
  3. Gather your allies: Start with those who are most likely to understand where you’re coming from, such as your R&D and sales people, for instance and search for allies throughout the organization: a friendly face in distribution could be a killer addition to your renegade growth hacking team.
  4. Allocate a budget for experimentation: September is soon upon us and we’re gearing up for 2019 planning. Now’s the time to allocate a budget for marketing innovation. It doesn’t have to be big… but enough to conduct some monitoring, market testing, customer segmentation, outreach and trial.
  5. Prepare to be challenged: Similar to digital transformation initiatives, of which growth hacking is a natural cousin, expect people to be resistant to change. It’s human nature. Don’t be dismayed, all you need is a small green light to set your idea fly! Remember, all those detractors will become the initiative’s biggest advocate once they small success. Again, it’s human nature.

Need a little inspiration?

Let’s take a look at some of the best examples of growth hacking, to give you a bit of context and hopefully inspire you:

  1. The WIN/WIN.

Dropbox increased their signups by 60% by using growth hacking techniques to grow their customer base and augment their product to better suit their customers needs. In their early start-up years they experimented with many different hacking techniques and were recognized at The Webbys and The Crunchies for their results. One of their most successful initiatives was their “Refer a Friend” through which they were able to exponentially grow their customer base. Existing customers were offered 500mb of extra storage for every friend they managed to recruit via the link, the incentive worked both ways as the new joiners also received the same bonus. By offering the same incentive to the new user, they are encouraged to pass on the message further and so the growth continues. Essentially Dropbox was able to get its existing customers base to take charge of the marketing to potential customers, at very little cost. In addition to this, the referral process has much more credibility than traditional advertising as users were more inclined to trust information that comes from someone they know. 


For our second example we’re going to club Gmail and Hotmail together (so controversial, we know). Both used classic characteristics of human nature, namely curiosity and belonging, to attract their audiences.

Hotmail launched in 1996, with “PS, I love you, get your free email at Hotmail.” This curious tagline, punched on the base of emails, sparked global virality… and the rest is history.

Gmail’s 2004 launch was same same but different; it launched by releasing invites to 1,000 tastemakers and granted them permission to refer friends. A gmail invite became the hottest invite in town – we remember the mad scurry to get said invite, it was a digital social status *thing*!

As you can see, successful growth hacking often comes about from leveraging the nature and behavior of audiences and working with them so that all parties involved benefit. And while everyone’s talking the technique up, wouldn’t you agree that listening to your customers needs and acting on them to drive business growth is simply common sense*? We certainly think so.

Please share with us your thoughts and experiences on growth hacking.

*And yes, we are more than well aware of “that” Henry Ford quote and guess what? He never said it!

Image credit: Bruno Cervera / Unsplash

Got a blogpost to write for work? (Make Google do it!)


Once upon a time, robots were the stuff of sc-fi movies and graphic novels. For most, this conjures up an image of a dalek-like helper with an automated voice who, in our imagination, could one day help with the washing up. Nowadays, this has evolved into a more virtual and smarter concept. 

As technology advances so does AI, its capabilities and our expectations of it. Developers at Google have created a device that can understand orders, perform tasks intelligently and professionally, understand complex language of the ordinary human and know how to respond to it. To date, we have seen examples of this through technologies such as Siri VI and Google Home.

On May 8, 2018 Google levelled up and launched Google Duplex, a smart assistant, the likes of which have never been seen before.

What is Google Assistant?

Google Assistant is Google’s voice-controlled smart assistant. The technology is marketed as an application that can save you time and make your life easier, by assisting with day-to-day tasks. Google Duplex makes the conversational experience as natural as possible, allowing people to speak normally like they would to another person, without having to adapt to a machine.

What Makes it Different?

Google Assistant has the below differentiators setting it aside from existing voice-controlled AI technologies:

  1. Google Assistant Multiple Actions means that it can handle multiple requests at once, something that other AI-powered assistants have yet to master
  2. The assistant can understand when you are speaking to it or when you are speaking to someone else around you due to its ability to understand the nuances of the conversation

This doesn’t mean to say that there is no competition. While Google’s AI-powered, conversational capabilities such as these have never been seen before, Amazon Alexa (released in 2014) is compatible with over 12,000 devices while Google Assistant only 5000.

google assistant

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The Future of Smart Technology

At Bravo, technology is a passion of ours and we love learning about new smart solutions. We asked the team to share their thoughts on Google Assistant and while some of the team like the idea of a smart assistant to help with their life admin, there was some apprehension around privacy.

Gamze says, “The main aim of Google Assistant is to enter your private life in order to help make your life much easier, which for me raises privacy concerns. The assistant will need to grab as much information as possible from my personal data, day-to-day activities, documents and much more to become more powerful, faster and ultimately “smarter”. It is simply not useful without me sharing my personal information with it. Hence, this raises a lot of concerns; To what extent does Google Assistant have access to my stored information? What if my information is used for advertising purposes? Is it heavily secured or could it be hacked? Will my data be sold?”

Mer echo’s these sentiments with concerns around data management and the need for full disclosure, “There is an early indicator however that transparency is not a priority and that concerns the subject of DISCLOSURE. The fact is that you don’t know whether you’re speaking to a human or robot, Google Assistant does not disclose itself to you. And that, in my opinion, is really dangerous – there are likely to be a range of use cases for bad players. Couple this with the AI-infused natural language processing, whereby you have Google Assistant reflecting human intonation and speech, the “umms,” “eerrrs” and “ahhhs” for example and the end user is even more readily deceived”.


This is more true than ever now, in the wake of GDPR, where consent means offering users choice and control. With regards to data, as we mentioned on our previous blogpost, the GDPR defines consent as “any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her”.

However, Google is claiming to care about clarity and transparency and a Google spokesperson was quoted in the Financial Express saying, “We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex, as we have said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important”.

“We are designing this feature with disclosure built-in, and we will make sure the system is appropriately identified. What we showed at I/O was an early technology demo, and we look forward to incorporating feedback as we develop this into a product,” the spokesperson added.

So What’s Next ?

At the moment, Google can follow instructions but what if Google got smarter than this and started to make decisions for us?  For now, we can book hair appointments and get simple tasks done but will we be able to send Google Assistant to work for us in the future?

As Katie said, ”For me to actually bother to use Google Assistant it would have to be smart enough to carry out tasks that I see as a real hardship. For example, my car registration is currently three weeks overdue, if Google could take care of that? Absolutely – sign me up! My DEWA bill is the bane of my life – can Google pay it? Yes please! I also could really do with finding the cheapest way to get from Dubai to Scotland over the summer but I can’t face trawling through all the compare websites – can I make Google do it?”

And so, we’ve reached a crossroads…on one hand we have technology advancing at an exponential pace and on the other, we have a more aware, discerning audience with real concerns about data-privacy and cyber security. Do regulations such as GDPR make it harder for companies to be free to invent new technologies by imposing all these regulations? If Google can find the careful balance between creating a smart, truly useful product and at the same time genuinely addressing its users concerns, we believe that will be the key to success. What do you think? Send us your thoughts on

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GDPR: A New Era of Data Regulation

What does it mean for businesses in the Middle East?

Last September we penned an article on the upcoming GDPR laws  (General Data and Protection Regulation) and the potential implications for the MENA region. At the time of writing, information was scarce and the impact for the region was unclear. 25th May is “G-Day” – so if you’re late to the party and need a cheat-sheet, we’re here to help.

To recap, theGDPR is a set of regulations being brought in by the European Union this month to tackle data and specifically consent. Described as the most comprehensive data privacy law in history, it comprises of 99 articles that define how companies must approach data collection and its management.

What is Consent?

In a nutshell, consent means offering users choice and control. With regards to data, the GDPR defines consent as “any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her.” 

In layman’s terms, this means that individuals will have the power to demand that a company reveals or deletes the personal data they hold. In addition, it changes the rules of engagement from an marketers point of view, for example; sending out mass marketing emails to people who have not opted-in will be illegal.

What does GDPR mean for businesses in the UAE?

With the new laws coming into effect on the 25th of May, companies in the UAE are trying to determine what the business implications will be for them. In the past week we’ve seen a significant spike in the number of searches for information surrounding GDPR, as indicated below:     


Source: GoogleTrends

The EU has madeGDPR and its implications very clear; it applies to companies within the EU, as well as any companies that offer goods or services to, or monitor behavior of, people within the EU. Now, obviously this affects a great deal of companies operating out of the MENA region who have audiences, marketshare and even employees within the EU.

Getting it wrong is costly – beyond reputation damage, businesses may face substantial fines. Infringements of the basic principles for processing personal data, including conditions for consent, are subject to the highest tier of administrative fines. It could mean a fine of up to 20 million euros or 4% of your total worldwide annual turnover, whichever is higher.


Image Credit: Mysolomon

However, what is not yet clear is how the EU will enforce these regulations, particularly in the region, as the Middle East is not bound by the European Court of Human Rights.

Data Laws and best practice in Dubai

Now, while how the EU regulations will be policed may not be completely clear, Dubai’s stance on the issue of data privacy, management and protection is unequivocal. In February 2018, Smart Dubai launched the Dubai Data Policies to regulate the classification, publication, sharing, storage, use and re-use of open data.

What’s the benefit of GDPR for companies?

Legalities aside, here at Bravo Romeo we believe that stricter regulations surrounding data are a welcome change. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, data privacy made headlines worldwide, resulting in people making an effort to become more aware of how their data is managed and be more discerning about giving consent for companies to use it. Realistically, almost every business today is data-driven and digital. The threat of cyber-security is real and it is imperative to both personal and commercial safety, as well as to business continuity, that data is managed securely. It’s not just about compliance, it’s about best practice and ensuring that we, as an industry, support GDPR as a catalyst for positive change in regards to cybersecurity, both globally and in the region.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not all doom and gloom! Ultimately, the correct management of data means that companies are better placed to manage it as a strategic business asset. Data is arguably set to becomes the most valuable currency so by complying organizations will ensure they reap the benefits of it.


Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock. Image ID: 731051713

In Arabic: 2018 Media and Marketing Trends across Content, Technology and Data. PART 3: DATA

Data is the flavor of the month

توجهات الإعلام والتسويق على صعيد المحتوى والبيانات والتكنولوجيا في عام 2018. الموضوع الثالث: البيانات

 لقد بات مجال البيانات والإحصائيات أمراً في غاية الأهمية بما يتعلق بمجال التسويق والذي لطالما اتسّم بالتطور الدائم. إذ شهد مجالنا علاقة غير معروفة ومحددة مع علم البيانات خلال السنين القليلة الماضية، فقد كانت البيانات الحل الأمثل لتحديد وقياس الأشياء دون معرفة المعنى الحقيقي حولها. وبالتأكيد فإنّ مجال البيانات يشهد عدداً من التطورات التي تجعلنا نتنبّأ بالعديد من الابتكارات الفريدة التي سيعرّفنا عليها هذا العلم. وقبل الحديث المفصل عما يحمله مستقبل هذا المجال، دعونا نتعرّف على أبرز ما يلوح في أفق علم البيانات في عام 2018.

القياس في مجال غير معروف.

لطالما كان تعريف مسألة قياس نجاح المحتوى أمراً عُضال. إذ تُثبت البحوث الرقمية أهمية الفيديو كأهم عناصر المحتوى الحالي والمستقبلي، ولكن ما نزال نشهد صراعاً وجدلاً كبيراً من مختلف الرائدين في هذا المجال بالنسبة لتحديد معايير قياس ونجاح ذلك. وقد تمّ بالتأكيد اتخاذ عدداً من الإجراءات لتحسين هذا المجال كتشكيل المجالس المحلية والحصول على حلول متكاملة من شركات خارجية والقيام بإحصاءات خاصة مستقلة حول هذا القطاع. وعلى الرغم من كل تلك الجهود، إلا أنّها لم تتمكن من حل المشكلات التي تعاني منها العلامات التجارية. كما وحاولت العديد من الهيئات الخاصة بهذا المجال في نقاش وإيجاد حلول تلك المشاكل، ولكن يكفي الاطلاع على كتيب إرشادات قياس مرات الظهور للفيديو الرقمي، والذي سيُثبت بأنّنا لا نقوم بالتطوير والتسارع بالشكل الكافي. ولا بدّ من أخذ ذلك الموضوع بعين الاعتبار في ظل غياب أهم رواد هذا المجال كفيس بوك وأومنيكوم. وقد بات المجال مفتوحاً لبعض مؤثري ذلك المجال كنستله وإتش بي، ونتوقع بأنّ العلامات التجارية الأخرى ومختلف شركات الذكاء الإعلامي والرقمي سيلحقون بذلك الركب، عوضاً عن المنصات الرقمية بحد ذاتها. وذلك بغية تحديد معايير قياس تهم القطاعات المختلفة على حدى عوضاً عن المعايير القديمة والغير مجدية.

ارتفاع تأثير المعلومات المحددة والمقيدة.

لقد بات موضوع الحصول على البيانات بالمجان للعلامات التجارية أمراً في غاية الصعوبة مؤخراً، إذ أصبح مجال استحواذ البيانات أمراً في غاية الأهمية للناشرين. إذ يشدد قانون هيئة حماية البيانات الأوروبية على خصوصية معلومات المستهليكن. ويبدو الأمر في غاية الأهمية نتيجة لغفلة وتجاهل العلامات التجارية والمؤسسات والمطورين لهذا الموضوع والذي يمس بالسمعة، كما ويتعلق بمسائل قانونية ومالية. وحسب نصائح إحدى مستشاري الإعلام القانونيين في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، فيونا روبيرتسون، لقد بدأ ظهور وتقييد المنصات الرقمية كنتيجة غير مباشرة لجهود قانون هيئة حماية البيانات. فعلى المنصات الرقمية مضاعفة جهودها لتقديم خدمات مجانية ومميزة للمستخدمين مقابل السماح باستخدام معلوماتهم وبياناتهم الشخصية من قبل تلك المنصات. إذ أصبح توفير بيانات ومعلومات مستخدمي تلك المنصات بالمجان أمراً أشبه بالمستحيل. إذ يسعى قانون هيئة حماية البيانات إلى حماية معلومات المستخدمين، مما يحفز العلامات التجارية لشراء تلك البيانات بشكل رسمي من المنصات الرقمية مباشرةً. كما ونتوقع بأنّ العلامات التجارية ستكون أكثر تميزاً في الإنفاق الإعلامي مع تزايد طلبها على نوعية بيانات مميزة، والتي يصعب الحصول عليها من قبل الناشرين المغمورين.

وفي حديث مع السيد بوجا بانوم، المدير التنفيذي للموقع التكنولوجي، بليس، أوضح بأنّه يمكن اعتبار فهم واستيعاب الجمهور ومعرفة كيفية الوصول إليهم كالأهمية الكبرى للمسوقين قبل البدء بالصرف الإعلامي. ويجب استهداف الجمهور بشكل عميق يعتمد على مؤشرات وبيانات دقيقة. ووضّح على الرغم من أهمية الحصول على بيانات المستخدمين، إلا أنه يجب التمتع بالشفافية والصراحة مع العلامات التجارية حول تلك البيانات والعائد على الاستثمار. ويجب على العلامات التجارية أن تزيد من مصداقيتها حول مصادر بيانات المسخدمين وأهمية ذلك في تحقيق العائد على الاستثمار، وهذا هو الأمر الذي يجب أن تعمل عليه العلامات التجارية والمسوقين في عام 2018. وسيكون لمشاركة تلك البيانات بين العلامات التجارية وشركائها أهمية كبرى في التسويق والحملات الرقمية في عام 2018، مما يساهم في معرفة وتحديد أهمية نوعية البيانات المختلفة.

الإنسان والآلة…ظهور لتوأم رقمي جديد.

يُعتبر التوأم الرقمي إحدى أهم النتائج المتوقعة لاندماج انترنت الأشياء وتطور الآلة. إذ يمكننا اعتبار التوأم الرقمي كنسخة افتراضية عن الأشياء الملموسة والعمليات والأنظمة التي تعتمد على البيانات للفهم والتعلم والمنطق والنتبؤ. ولعلّ مجالي الطيران والسيارات هما السباقين عند حديثنا حول هذا الموضوع، وهذا ما يتمثل في الحصول على الإحصائيات والمعلومات بشكل مباشر كضغط الإطارات والحرارة والسرعة وذلك بغية تحسين الكفاءة.

ومع الظهور الواضح لمفهوم التوأم الرقمي في مجال البيانات والمعلومات، فإنّنا سنرى قريباً ما يُدعى بالخيط أو السلك الرقمي. إذ سيسهم ذلك المفهوم في تعريفنا بسياق وترابط البيانات ببعضها البعض. كما وسيوضح تسلسل البيانات وتاريخها، مما سيساهم في توفير خطط ونقاط عملية للاستخدام الجاد والبناء لتلك البيانات. وحسب توقعات موقع غارتنر، فإنّ ما يقارب نصف الشركات الصناعية ستقوم باستخدام التوأم الرقمي مع حلول عام 2021.

كما ولا بدّ من الإشارة إلى تواجد تقنية التوأم الرقمي منذ عقود، وذلك من خلال بعثة أبولو 13. وقد أدى استخدام تقنية التوأم الرقمي إلى إنقاذ البعثة آنذاك.



نشكركم على قراءتكم لمقالاتنا حول توجهات الإعلام والتسويق في عام 2018، ونتطلع لآرائكم واقتراحاتكم حول هذا الموضوع في موقعنا .

In Arabic: 2018 Media and Marketing Trends across Content, Technology and Data. PART 2: TECHNOLOGY

التكنولوجيا: الموضوع الثاني من توجهات 2018

تحفز التكنولوجيا وتدعم الجيل الصانع…

ستكون التكنولوجيا محور موضوعنا الثاني لتوجهات 2018، إذ سنتحدث عن توجهات اجتماعية قامت على التكنولوجيا، عوضاً من الحديث عن التقنيات بحد ذاتها. فهنالك العديد من المقالات حول الواقع الافتراضي والعديد من الصيحات التكنولوجية. ولكننا سنتناول في حديثنا، التأثيرات الاجتماعية الناتجة عن التكنولوجيا، خصوصاً حول جيل زد والمعروف باسم الجيل الصانع.

إذ يمكننا اعتبار هذا الجيل بالمذهل والفريد نتيجةً للعديد من الأسباب المختلفة. حيث يشكل هذا الجيل ما يقارب نصف سكان منطقة الشرق الأوسط، ما يعتبر ضعف الرقم الموجود في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية والمملكة المتحدة. ويمكننا اعتبار هذه الشريحة بأنها أول جيل وُلدَ وترعرع في ظل التكنولوجيا ومع والدين مثقفين تكونولوجياً، من خلال سهولة استخدام الهواتف الذكية وشبكات التواصل الاجتماعي منذ الولادة. وسيكون لهذا الجيل تأثير كبير على المجتمع والأخلاق والاقتصاد والوضع السياسي. ويٌعتبر جيل زد مختلفاً بشكل كامل عن أي جيل آخر شهده العالم من قبل.

وفي البداية، دعونا نلقي نظرة على التوجهات والوضع في عام 2018.

في مجال العمل..

في وقتنا الحالي، فإنّ الجيل زد مختلف بشكلِ كامل عما سبق (جيل الألفية). إذ يُعتبر جيل زد أكثر واقعية وعملية بالنسبة لوجهته حول العالم. فقد نشأ هذا الجيل في ظل فترة عدم الاستقرار الاقتصادي، ما ساعد في جعله أفراده يعتمدون على أنفسهم في استحقاق الفرص عن جدارة بدلاً من الحصول عليها ببساطة تامة. ويتمتع هذا الجيل بعدد من الصفات منها تعدد المهام والتعاون والريادة. حيث تعتمد محطات العمل بالنسبة له على التمويل الجماعي والتعاون، تماماً كالمشروع الجميل الذي قام به بيير 9 والذي يعتبر مثالاً واضحاً حول العمل الجماعي.

وقد أدى استخدام التكنولوجيا بشكلٍ متزايد إلى تضاؤل مستوى انتباه واستيعاب الجيل الحالي، بينما يناشد بعض المعلمين بتغيير المنهج التعليمي بالكامل لمواكبة الجيل الحالي. فقد أصبح بإمكان هذا الجيل صياغة الرموز وفك الشيفرات وحل الواجبات المدرسية على الانترنت، بالإضافة إلى معرفته الكاملة بمختلف أنواع المرئيات نتيجةً لطبيعة أفراده الناشئة على التكنولوجيا. فقد نشأ جيل زد على التقنيات ثلاثية ورباعية الأبعاد وصور ذات أبعاد بـ 360 درجة والعديد من التطورات القنية الأخرى.

في مجال اللعب..

إنّ جيل زد يختلف بشكلٍ كامل عن أي جيل سبقه من ناحية اللعب والاستمتاع بالحياة. وحسب دراسة لجوجل، فإنّ 15% من جيل زد يفضلون التواصل بشكل شخصي، في حين 56% منهم يفضلون التواصل عن طريق الرسائل النصية وبرامج المحادثة. وحسب الدراسة ذاتها، فإنّ 3 من كل 10 أشخاص يتواصلون عبر الرسائل النصية مع الأشخاص المتواجدين معهم في المكان ذاته.

وماذا يعني هذا كله؟

فعندما ندمج هذه البيانات مع البيانات الأخرى حول السلوك والاتجاهات، يتوضح لنا رؤية ووجهة نظر أكبر حول هذا الجيل. فإنّه جيل يعتمد على العمل الجماعي ويعتبر نفسه مجموعة ستقوم باختراق النظام الكوني للأفضل. وعلى الرغم من انطوائية هذا الجيل، إلا أنّه يعتمد على المجتمع الافتراضي للتواصل والاحتفال واستمتاع الحياة. وحسب نظرية واسلو حول التسلسل الهرمي للحاجات، فإنّ التكنولوجيا تؤثر بشكل كبير على أكبر عاملين وهما تحقيق الذات والحاجات النفسية.

في مجال رؤية العالم..

وكما نشاهد فإنّ العديد من المؤسسات تقوم بالبحوث والدراسات حول هذا الجيل. فحسب دراسة لمركز جيل كينيتيكس، فالسلامة الشخصية هامة جداً بالنسبة لجيل زد. إذ تلعب شبكات التواصل الاجتماعي دوراً كبيراً بشعور أهمية الذات بالنسبة لهم، حيث يعاني ما يقارب 42% من هذا الجيل من التنمّر الالكتروني. وبكونه جيل نشأ على الإيجابية والجماعية، فإنّ جيل زد لن يقف مكتوف الأيدي حول هذه الأعمال وسيجد طرق بالتأكيد لحل تلك المشاكل.


وبالتالي فإنّنا نشهد ظهور جيل مبدع ومفعم بالمصادر ومتواصل بشكل كبير، والذي يختلف بشتى الأشكال عن جيل الألفية. ويجب على العلامات التجارية إيجاد طرق لتنشئة وتحفيز هذا الجيل، للتفاعل مع هذه الشريحة بأكبر شكلٍ ممكن. ويجب الاستماع والتعاون والتفاعل مع هذا الجيل وإطلاق العنان لإبداعاته وأفكاره.

In Arabic: 2018 Media and Marketing Trends across Content, Data and Technology: Part 1

توجهات الإعلام والتسويق على صعيد المحتوى والبيانات والتكنولوجيا في عام 2018 من منظور شركة برافو روميو. الموضوع الأول: المحتوى

التركيز على النوعية والتأثير بدلاً من الكمية

لقد تميّز عام 2017 بجرأة المسوقين لتجربة أنواع جديدة من أشكال التسويق بمبالغ باهظة لم يسبق لهم معرفة الكثير عنها من قبل. ومن وجهة نظرنا، فإنّ 2018 سيكون عام التأثير والأداء الإعلامي بشكلِ كبير. إذ سيتزايد طلب صناع القرار في الشفافية والمسؤولية بالنسبة للأموال المنفقة في وسائل الإعلام والتقنية وتأثير المحتوى.

وسيكون هناك طلب متزايد على كل ما يتعلق بتأثير المحتوى التسويقي وعمق علاقته بالوضع والمنطقة الراهنة.

وفي البداية، دعونا نعرّف لكم مفهوم تسويق المحتوى!

تسويق المحتوى هو وسيلة تسويقية لتطوير وتوزيع محتوىً قيم ومتناسق ومتصل بشريحة جمهور معينة، لجذبها واستحواذها من قبل الجهة المسوقة. وعلى الرغم من صلة مفهوم تسويق المحتوى بالإعلام الرقمي بشكلِ كبير، إلا أنه يعتمد على أفكار تقليدية وهي توفير الرسالة المناسبة للجمهور المناسب في الوقت المناسب على مدار فترة زمنية محددة. ويؤدي تطبيق مفهوم تسويق المحتوى بالشكل الصحيح إلى توحيد أهداف التسويق والاتصال الجماهيري من خلال استراتيجية واضحة. والتي تساهم في وضع معايير محددة بالنسبة للعوائد على الاستثمار، والتأكد من مدى نجاح الأنشطة والمحتوى في تحقيق تلك الأهداف.

أهمية تسويق المحتوى…

في ظل تزايد المحتوى المتوافر، فقد أصبح الوصول إلى الجمهور أمراً  في غاية الصعوبة. ويجب أخذ الحذر والدراية الكاملة من قبل المؤسسات بالنسبة للمحتوى المتوافر والمنشور بغية وصول الجمهور بفعالية أكبر.

وفي ظل الازدهار الكبير لوسائل التواصل الاجتماعي والرقمي مؤخراً، فقد أصبح عدداً كبيراً من المسوقين غير مهتمين بطرق تواصلهم عبر تلك المنصات واعتبارها مجرد تكملة لوسائل الإعلان التقليدية. ولقد بات المسوقون على معرفة كاملة بمدى تأثير تلك المنصات، ولكن لم يتمكن معظمهم من تحديد النهج الصحيح لتحقيق ذلك التأثير المرجو. وكما نرى، فإنّ العديد من الرسائل الإعلانية قد باتت مزعجةً لشريحة غير مهتمة من الجمهور، على الرغم من طرق الوصول المتعددة لمختلف شرائح المجتمع. فمن الضروري تحديد توقيت وصول شريحة الجمهور المعينة لجذب الانتباه وللتفاعل بشكلٍ أكبر. فالفرصة متواجدة، وما على المسوقين سوى البحث والدراسة لمعرفة المزيد حول مختلف شرائح الجمهور المستهدفة.

(لتسويق المحتوى أهمية أكبر من المال)

يعتبر تسويق المحتوى بشكل مرن وذكي ومعتمد على الواقع أمراً في بالغ الأهمية حسب مؤشرات تقرير معهد تسويق المحتوى لعام 2017. وبالتالي فإنّ تسويق المحتوى لا يحدث في ليلةٍ وضحاها، ولكنه يتطلب جهد ووقت كبير للوصول إلى الهدف المرجو.

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و يعتبر تسويق المحتوى وسيلةً فعّالة للوصول إلى العملاء بشكلٍ أكبر، لأنّه يحاكي حاجاتهم واهتماماتهم. وبالتالي فإن تسويق المحتوى بات أمراً محتوماً للعلامات التجارية التي تسعى للوصول إلى الجمهور. وهذا ما دفع 40% من المسوقين سواءً للأفراد أو الشركات إلى الاستثمار في مجال تسويق المحتوى خلال عام 2017.

ولا بد من السعي بشكل كبير وبذل بالغ الجهود لجذب انتباه الجمهور واستحواذ العملاء في ظل تزايد المحتوى الرقمي. فالأمر في غاية البساطة، من خلال تفكير عميق ومبدع وصياغة استراتيجية ذات صلة كبيرة بالجمهور المستهدف.

الموضوع الثاني من توجهات الإعلام والتسويق على صعيد المحتوى والبيانات والتكنولوجيا في عام 2018 من منظور شركة برافو روميو – البيانات


2018 Media and Marketing Trends across Content, Data and Technology. PART 3: DATA

Data is the flavor of the month

Skidding around the door like a late, naughty school-kid, comes our third post on Data Trends for 2018. Get in here, you scallywag!

Data science and its marketing is a subject that is here to stay, which to us, is refreshing in an industry too often full of whimsy and subjectivity. Over the past few years, however, our industry has developed a twisted relationship with data. At times we’ve seen it as a silver bullet, overplaying our hand, measuring “things” just because they can be measured without objectively interpreting the meaning or impact of what we’re doing; hello, fan count! Then there’s the bright, new shiny stuff in the world of emerging data trends that is cooooool. But first, we need to wind our way through the woods of regulation to get there. So let’s talk first about what’s around the corner and then reward ourselves with the awesome shiny toys of the future.

Measurement in a mire

It’s well known that we have an ongoing issue in terms of measurement; for example, while research says that online video is the present and the future, the major players can’t align on industry-wide benchmarks as they relate to it. Sure, action is being taken – internal councils are being formed, third-party integration solutions and independent industry audits are being conducted… but a lot of it is simply sound and fury, given that the actions aren’t necessarily solving the brand owner’s problem. Industry bodies such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Media Ratings Council (MRC) have been active in trying to progress discussion but you only have to look at their recent Digital Video Impression Measurement Guidelines, released in October 2017 for public discussion, to see that we’re not making progress fast enough. When you don’t have major media players such as Facebook and Omnicom at the table, there’s a telling sign. Also – notice the narrowing of the title? Now, major players, such as Nestle and HP are going out on their own; we predict that others will follow and that solutions will come from the brands and media intelligence firms this time, rather than the platform players, establishing metrics that matter to their business rather than industry-agnostic measures of old.

Walled gardens rise as a butterfly effect takes hold

There’s no way of putting this mildly: the free ride for brands on digital media – particularly as it relates to data acquisition is well and truly over and the stakes are rising for publishers.  The EU’s General Data Protection Law (GDPR) brings consumer protection firmly into the limelight. What’s worrying is how many brands, agencies and developers have their eyes closed to it but to do so is dangerous from a reputation, legal and financial POV. Why? Read our previous post for background, with advice from MENA media legal eagle, Fiona Robertson.

A perhaps unintended consequence of the GDPR laws is the rise of the walled garden, aka closed platforms. Platforms will now have to work harder at providing truly compelling, free services in exchange for audiences to provide them with personal data. No way will they be giving customer data away for free anymore. While GDPR is designed to protect its audience, it means an increase in advertising investment from brands seeking personalized customer interaction and validated audience data from platforms. Expect brands to be a lot more discerning about their media spends, a lot more demanding when it comes to data quality and unfortunately… for the smaller publishers to suffer they don’t get their ducks in a row. Throw in the universal uptake of ad-blockers and the repeal of net neutrality (which we are still in denial about) and you can see just how well-protected these walled gardens will be.

We asked location tech firm, Blis’, Managing Director Puja Pannum to weigh in. “Understanding audiences and where to reach them is a marketer’s number one priority before their first dollar is spent, and with more and richer data, targeting capabilities naturally improve. While it’s an absolute priority to protect consumer data, it is also beneficial [for vendors] to be transparent with brands about ROI and footfall data. But to do that, it needs to go both ways,” said Puja. “Brands need to be as transparent and open about their analytics and data sources, like loyalty card data and Google analytics, as vendors are about ROI. Currently, this is the only missing element in end-to-end transparency, something players on both sides should be striving for. In 2018, promoting the sharing of these kinds of data will help brands and their chosen partners build campaigns on more data sources and benefit from a holistic view of what’s working versus what’s not.”

Human + machine gives birth to Digital Twins

One of the more interesting aspects to come from the fusion of Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning is the Digital Twin. A Digital Twin is a virtual replica of physical assets, processes and systems which uses data to enable understanding, learning, reasoning and prediction. The aviation, aerospace and automotive sectors are the leaders in this field, whereby real-time analytics of critical aspects (such as tyre pressure, temperature, distance and speed) have been used to optimize efficiencies.

Where Digital Twin technology starts to get really interesting is in the area of predictive modeling and future-proofing, where we’ll start to see not just the what but the why, generated by the emergence of the “Digital Thread”. The Digital Thread is the contextualization or connectedness of data, informed by the integration of large and multiple data flows, both real time and historical, leading to actionable information – such as establishment of digital twins being able to accurately predict a range of outcomes at scale.

Gartner predicts that by 2021 around half of large industrialized companies will be using Digital Twins. All this said, Digital Twin technology has been around for decades – were it not for Digital Twins, the Apollo 13 mission may well have been doomed – it was this practice that enabled them to mirror how they could rescue the mission when it ran into trouble. Without Digital Twin technology, there would be no Mars rover Curiosity! Take a look at the video below, to see how curiosity, technology, ingenuity and data join forces to make miracles!

Thanks for reading our 2018 trends across content, technology and data. Please feel to drop us a line and let us know what you’re thinking about in this realm and of course, we welcome your feedback too!


2018 Media and Marketing Trends across Content, Technology and Data. PART 2: TECHNOLOGY

Technology Empowers the Maker Generation

In the second of our three part series on 2018 trends, we now turn our gaze to technology. In this piece, we’re going to look at social trends produced by technology, rather than tech trends in and of themselves – there’s already squillions of posts out there on AR before VR, blockchain, mobile first approaches, addressable media, voice and mood recognition, data driven content and video content, just to name a few “trends”. Instead, we’ll be looking at social and cultural nuances directly influenced by technology, specifically as they relate to Generation Z, otherwise known as The Maker Generation.

Generation Z is fascinating and of great importance for a number of reasons. Firstly, in the Middle East Gen Z comprises half of the regional population – double that of the US or UK. Gen Z are our first true digital natives, born to digital-savvy parents – namely GenX –  into a world of advanced technological accessibility on a personal scale, with smartphones and social media for example prevalent in their lives since birth. This is the generation that will deal with “the singularity” and will need to assume the lead in addressing the social, moral, economic, ethical and political questions that the advent of such advances necessarily demand. Then there’s the small issue of looming environmental catastrophe that they must address. The reality and viewpoint of this generation will be so different to any other generation the world has seen – and we are already seeing signs of this emerging.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at where things heading today, in 2018.

On Work.

Today’s young adult is different. Unlike their millennial counterparts, a hallmark of Gen Z is a realistic and practical worldview; young adults of today don’t have experience of a life before economic instability and certainly don’t expect opportunities to be handed to them, rather they know that they have to make their own opportunities and be financially responsible. Industriousness, the ability to multi-task, resourcefulness, collaboration and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of this generation. Accessible, crowdfunded tech and collaborative workspaces are emerging symbols of this new way of working: check out the beautiful work being produced by Pier 9, as one example, where one exhibition required that each piece be made available via Instructables and a Creative Commons license, inviting anyone to collaborate.

While some educators lament that, as a result of technology, the attention span of this generation has dwindled, others recognize that the education system itself must necessarily change to become more collaborative. This is the generation that can code, does schoolwork on the cloud and is highly visual due the digital nature of work and interaction.  “Gen Z have always known how to pinch and swipe. They have grown up with hi-def, surround sound, 3D and now 4D – 360 degree photography and film is their normal. Ultra slow motion and hi-speed video is their standard.” (Sparks & Honey, Pew Research, 2012).

On Play.

Where are our young rebels, our wild-eyed-yet-wet-behind-the-ears individuals demanding a brighter future and showing us the way through music, art and culture? They’re not hanging out, partying or protesting the way generations before have done. But that doesn’t mean for a second that this generation is apathetic, far from it. This generation is different.

According to a recent “Think With Google” study, only 15% of Gen Z prefer to connect in person versus 56% who would rather connect through SMS or messaging apps. According to the same study, nearly 3 in 10 teens say they text with people who they’re physically with at the time.

What does this say?

When you overlay this data with other behavioral and attitudinal data, we start to see a clearer picture; this generation sees themselves as collaborative change-agents, a group that will hack the world for the better. And while potentially more physically reclusive than generations that have come before them, in this region, they still want to stand out and online is where their party’s at. In fact, I would argue that online is where GenZ’s “id” – the part of the personality that demands gratification of needs and pleasures – finds its outlet. Looking at this through the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you can begin to see how technology, particularly social technology is impacting the two top tiers – those being self-fulfillment and psychological needs.

On World View.

As you can see, interesting research is beginning to emerge on this generation. According to a study conducted by the Center of Generational Kinetics, personal safety is high on Gen Z’s agenda. They can articulate the impact that social media has on their sense of self worth. Nearly half (42%) report they’ve been bullied online. Being a generation focused on positive and inclusive social movement Gen Z won’t tolerate these actions and it will be interesting to see how they find ways to solve this issue. Youth research consultancy Sparks & Honey found that Gen Z’s outlook is about togetherness; they’re more mature and have greater humility as realists compared to Millennials. Other research indicates a keen sense of financial responsibility.

A creative, resourceful and hyper-connected generation is emerging; one which is vastly different to millennials. For brands to meaningfully engage with The Maker Generation, they must find ways to nurture and empower their ambitions, to listen, collaborate, engage in real-time and ultimately have the confidence to stand back and watch them fly.