Category Consumer behaviour

Not a good start to the New Year for Apple

Apple has just issued a second customer warning for owners of its iPhones, iPads and MAC products that they are affected by a processor flaw that could leave them vulnerable to hackers.

The US tech giant urged its millions of customers to only download software from trusted sources after the security vulnerabilities, known as Meltdown and Spectre, were revealed on Wednesday.

According to the Press Association (PA News), there’s no evidence that the security flaws that affect computer processors built by Intel and ARM – have so far been exploited by hackers, although companies including Microsoft have been working to provide urgent fixes.

Apple says it had released software updates for iOS, the software on its phones and tablets, macOS, which is used by its computers and tvOS for its tele...

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New FCA rules result in loan sharks losing their teeth to bite borrowers

loan sharksFrom Friday 2 January 2015, payday lenders are now required to be fairer and in many cases cheaper and have had lost the ability to inflict misery on their customers that struggle to pay.

As a result of the new rules introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that regulates the market, it’s estimated that more than 100 payday loan firms have been driven out of business – 30 have closed down and a further 70 have simply stopped offering these products, while 450 high-street payday loan shops have also closed according to media reports.

“The crackdown on the payday lending market comes not a moment too soon. Lenders must now start competing on price and treating their customers fairly,” says consumer-rights boss Richard Lloyd at Which?

New Rules

  • Lenders can’t charge more th...
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PewDiePie is the future of TV

PweDiePieMy guess is you’ve never heard of PewDiePie, have you?

But what if I told you this Swedish vlogger who loves sharing the latest video games and slightly bonkers videos on YouTube is also the biggest star on YouTube himself with 32,222,075 subscribers and a whopping 6,753,075,673 views.

And he launched his channel in April 2010.

Closer to home, my daughter Zara loves this YouTube vlogger.

And by all accounts so do very many other teenager girls who follow her latest musings – if fact over 6.5m subscribers do.

Zoella screen grabThe elf-like and sublimely charming 24 year-old fashion and beauty vlogger Zoella (real name Zoe Elizabeth Sugg) speaks for a new generation of TV viewers. And I’m not talking about those who regularly tune into CBBC’s Blue Peter.

The mainstay of Zoella’s channel is about frien...

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Miracle Whip Factor, brand polarization and Ed Miliband

MilbandMiracle Whip is a salad dressing similar to mayonnaise and is popular with American and Canadian consumers.

Not a subject that you think would stir strong emotions? Well, actually you’d be wrong!

When marketers at Kraft began researching consumer attitudes towards the product, they found surprisingly deep emotions.

It turns out that a substantial number of people love Miracle Whip. And many can’t stand the stuff!

Back in 2011, with this consumer insight, Kraft launched a high profile US ad campaign that made a virtue out of this schism, using celebrities like Paula D fromJersey Shore and the political pundit James Corville.

Some people in the ads praised Miracle Whip’s yumminess, whereas one person said they would end their relationship if he found out his girlfriend ate the stuff an...

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Do you have that “Second Life” feeling?

eric-whitacre-in-second-life-casualAt its peak in 2007, the virtual world known as Second Life had in excess of 5m members.

Everything about this world could be customised – latest cat walk fashions, drinks in a bar or a luxury mansion could be bought for real money. IBM bought real estate, American Apparel opened a virtual shop and Reuters paid for journalist Adam Pasick to be an avatar who reported on virtual happenings. Countries even opened virtual embassies. Yes, really!

The news media thought this parallel universe would become the way in which millions around the world would find ‘self-actualisation’ to borrow the term from US psychologist Abraham Maslow.

In 2014, the number of members in Second Life had dropped to 600,000...

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Guest blog by Richard Chaplin – the science of engagement

MRI scanMRI scans indicate that physical pleasure is experienced by the brain when we give; when people co-operate with us; when we believe we have a good reputation; or when we receive recognition. Being treated fairly by others also lights up reward pathways.

These triggers can be equally or more powerful as those for receiving financial reward.

Yet, comments Jan Hills in her excellent new book Brain Savvy HR, the remuneration policy at most firms appears to be based on two fundamentally incorrect assumptions: work is an economic exchange with time and skills given in return for money; and people are narrowly self-interested, focused on gaining benefits for themselves and avoiding physical threats and doing things for others.

There’s a great TED video in which Dan Pink comments on the mismatch...

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Cultural sensitivity can help to increase profits, claims new research

muslim meal timeWith British Muslims celebrating the festival of Eid al-Fitr over the coming days, new research suggests brand owners may be missing out on the sales opportunities presented by this and other cultural events. According to an online poll of 1,000 UK adults by creative agency Haygarth, nearly 30% of Asian or British Asian respondents intend to go shopping for Eid and Ramadan, the month of fasting that precedes it.This amounts to 3% of all UK consumers, leading Haygarth to warn that the retail calendar is becoming increasingly complex because of changing demographics, cultural trends and marketing techniques.

It found another 3% of UK respondents intend to shop for the Jewish festival of Passover, 7% will do so to mark the Chinese New Year, and 2% (or 26% of Asian or British Asians) wil...

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Evidence of cultural stereotypes holding back innovative new business and marketing opportunities for British companies

halal meatThe recent food labeling controversy where supermarket meat products were halal but not labelled as such threw a spotlight on the choices as consumers we want to make not just about the quality of our food but also the method of its production and manufacture.

We live in a world of infinite choice and it’s absolutely right that as consumers we are given the choice of eating halal or non-halal food which is why labeling is so important.

Taking that one step further, when flying long-haul, many airline passengers will be asked for their food preferences ahead of such a journey and of course many Muslim travelers will choose halal food to be served to them on the flight.

But Muslim consumers are just as discerning in their choice of food as anyone else.

So it won’t come as any surprise that...

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Have you been left behind in the digital revolution?

John-Hamm-Mad-Men-dealThere can be few sectors that have been disrupted to the extent that marketing has been by digital.

The days when marketing directors splashed the cash on elaborate global TV campaigns with gigantic budgets and expenses to match harks back to a bygone era that’s much more Mad Men than the reality brand owners face today.

Most marketing is campaign driven. Brand owners are constantly under pressure to get product and service to market in the shortest time possible. This then takes on a life of its own, spinning activity on a monthly, quarterly and seasonal basis.

Just take a look at the adverts on TV if you don’t believe me. Yet the reality is that at any given moment, only a small proportion of the TV audience will be vaguely interested in what the advertiser has to say.

Digital has tu...

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It’s not what you do, but why you do it that counts

Bafta main doorYesterday I had a wonderful lunch at my club Bafta in Piccadilly with a great friend of mine, Lena Robinson.

Lena is one of the most gifted business development professionals I’ve ever worked with when we were together at WPP and she now runs an incredible business development powerhouse for agency entrepreneurs called KiwiGirl.

Check it out!  Lena is an inspiration of ideas and new ways of thinking. And yesterday she shared something very special that I wanted to share with you too.

But before I share this with you, let me take you briefly into the conversation we started with over sausages, crab bites, burger and chips and a very nice bottle of wine!

We talked about Guru in a Bottle® and what inspired me to write a series of books on sales, marketing and law...

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