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When will brands demand the vote? – The Daily NTK

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Thanks for the feedback you've given so far about this new newsletter format. It's encouraging to see
 
March 1 · Issue #4 · View online
Big Revolution
Thanks for the feedback you’ve given so far about this new newsletter format. It’s encouraging to see you like it. That said:
- It wasn’t clear to everyone that the text was all original writing by me, rather than quotes from the articles I shared.
- It felt like a lot of *stuff* to get through.
So, today, I’ve rearranged things. Feedback welcome, as always!

Will brands demand the vote?
Image credit: Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash.
Yesterday, I linked to a story about how American companies were struggling with the dilemma of whether to offend gun control activists or NRA supporters. Essentially, they were forced to decide whether to be liberal or conservative.
We’ve seen a similar situation in the UK recently, where Stop Funding Hate has successfully campaigned against companies advertising in fiercely right-wing newspapers. Virgin Trains even stopped selling the Daily Mail, before changing its mind. That could have been a typically cheeky Richard Branson publicity stunt, but it shows how brands find it hard to stay neutral in the highly polarised world we find ourselves in today.
Shifting power
When I discussed this on Twitter yesterday, futurist Tom Cheesewright suggested the shift to campaigning against brands was was due to “the feeling that corporate/media power has surpassed political power, so political campaigns have more corporate targets.”
I added that the rise of social media has made people feel like they can have an impact on the world in a more direct way than was previously possible, and the stakes seem higher than ever.
Technologist Tony Churnside noted: “We can also blame social media a bit, with ‘brands’ wanting to connect with customers, have them care about them. With the resulting personification of 'brands’ comes ideological beliefs and political leanings.”
So maybe it’s partly brands’ faults that we’re treating them like people, and expect them to have political persuasions. I just don’t see how we walk back from where we are. It’s surely only a matter of time before brands become even more political… although they probably won’t demand the vote, even if some argue that corporations 'are people.’
An important read
Exclusive: Public wants Big Tech regulated - Axios Exclusive: Public wants Big Tech regulated - Axios
Big things you need to know today
- Slack’s rise may have caught the leaders in enterprise cloud software unprepared, but they’re gradually getting their act together. Google yesterday launched Hangouts Chat, which is very similar to its upstart rival. It’s included in your G Suite subscription too, which may dissuade some businesses from paying out extra for Slack. Microsoft Teams got some love yesterday too, with enhanced support for guest users. A rising tide lifts all boats, and the enterprise cloud communication market has improved massively thanks to Slack, even if it will never unseat the giants for all customers.
- Twitter annoyed a lot of people when it switched Favorites to Likes and started highlighting them in other people’s feeds. There was suddenly no easy way of saving a tweet for later (even though Favorites were never truly private). With its new Bookmarks feature, Twitter finally has a way of saving tweets in a private collection for later use. 
- Facebook has launched a jobs section in the USA. Rather than taking on LinkedIn, this is more aimed at blue- and pink-collar work. One more reason for your local newspaper to hate Facebook.
- Spotify has made its unconventional IPO plans official. That means we have lots of insight into the financials between the as-yet unprofitable business.
- Hiring a big name can be a PR win, but if you don’t know what to do with them that big name can just end up frustrated. That’s what happened with US TV news star Katie Couric at Yahoo. Some useful lessons here about tech’s relationship with journalism.
One big tweet
Yesterday saw two big UK high street chains, Toys R Us and Maplin (like a UK version of America’s Radio Shack), go into administration. This idea from Rob Manuel seems appealing; a retro retail museum experience:
Rob Manuel
I want small artisanal museums of old tech & media in the higstreet. HMV in 1985. A small computer shop in 1982. WHSmiths (magazine section) from 1991.
11:21 AM - 28 Feb 2018
That’s all for today...
Thanks for testing this newsletter. I’ll keep tinkering with the format over the next few days. Continued feedback welcome! 
See you tomorrow.
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