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Things of Internet: Beyond Wrapped - some examples of how companies have used data
Whether you like Spotify or not, whether you like Spotify Wrapped or not, there’s no doubting that it’s become one of the most culturally relevant marketing campaigns of recent years.
The usage of data, the personalisation, the shareability, and the hey-look-at-my-obscure-musical-tastes-how-cool-am-I showoffability are a perfect mixture for today’s vertical image-happy generation. I myself have spent way too much time listening to melodic progressive metal.
And like any good idea a brand has, it's been co-opted by several others. Some do their own version of it using customer data (Cult.fit and exercise), while others just make a few industry-referential social media posts, like SEMRush below. You've no doubt seen several like this.
Washington Post & SAP too, got in on the act wearing their inspiration on their sleeve.
And thankfully, Pornhub Wrapped remains a piece of satire.
While all this year-end reminiscing is cute, it's worth asking a larger question - can customer data be used for something actually useful? Something that helps drive business decisions, or helps customers out? I have no doubt that new-age digital companies actively look at data to improve processes and product - but I'm slightly surprised nobody has done proper communication out of it. Saying "we listened to you, we looked at the data and the outcome are these new features" is powerful signaling. A couple of examples I can think of...
A Finnish retail chain, S Group, shared purchase data with customers. Beyond transparency efforts, it actually helped increased revenue by 14%. Better than some ad campaigns! Read about it here.
An example closer home - though not 'wrapped' - is how Dunzo uses outlier use cases in its marketing, either on Twitter or on the app itself. It adds a touch of humour while conveying you can really use Dunzo for anything - even Dunzoing yourself. Former head of brand, Sai Ganesh, spoke about this in detail in an interview I did with him earlier this year.
Combining the Spotify Wrapped and Dunzo approaches is London delivery app Gorillas in this video of what the city loves to order.
Then there are brands that will crunch customer data and trends down to interesting factoids. This makes for good PR, and good "thought leadership". A really good example is Tinder's Year In Swipe (tip: people are looking for positivity).
All this is nice, but it still makes me feel there are so many who can still do a good, relevant job of 'wrapping' up customer data.
Why has no bank done anything?
Banks arguably have the most valuable data about you. Why has nobody done anything interesting, either as aggregated data visualisation or actionables for customers? These could be...
Insights into where you're spending
What your savings / spending patterns are like
Interest you could have made by moving idle savings into FDs or other investments
Favourite retailers / categories
And lots more
It might be expecting too much from sleepy banks to do anything interesting, but I feel it's a huge missed opportunity. It's not just me complaining, McKinsey wrote about this in far classier language in a whitepaper.
If any of you come across any interesting "usage of data" campaign by any brand, let me know. Would love to feature them.
A brilliant thought on ChatGPT
Ben Thompson of Stratechery who talks about how homework will be decimated in the new era of generative AI.
Moreover, instead of futilely demanding that students write essays themselves, teachers insist on AI. Here’s the thing, though: the system will frequently give the wrong answers (and not just on accident — wrong answers will be often pushed out on purpose); the real skill in the homework assignment will be in verifying the answers the system churns out — learning how to be a verifier and an editor, instead of a regurgitator.
What is compelling about this new skillset is that it isn’t simply a capability that will be increasingly important in an AI-dominated world: it’s a skillset that is incredibly valuable today.
Terrific point, and you can read the rest of his thinking here.
The updates section
Forget ChatGPT. Canva's new writing tool - Canva Docs - has the power to be a game-changer (and worry Google/Microsoft)
India is the latest country to propose legal oversight over social media algorithms. Watch out for an upcoming act.
Google's launching an anti-misinformation campaign in India.
UPI now allows EMI!
A crop of rivals - from Meta to Mastodon - are trying to cash in on the chaos at Twitter.
The one tech story that's going under the radar this year is Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC (manufacturer to most of the big tech brands) opening up a new factory in Arizona, its first outside Taiwan. This factory will supply chips to Apple and NVidia, besides being a big win for Joe Biden and gives the US a one-up against China in the tech wars. TSMC and its supplier of EUV machines ASML have often been called the most important tech companies in the world. Here's the case for the latter, located in a small Dutch town.
Apple is encrypting most of iCloud - finally filling the one gap in its stance of privacy.
The once-booming esports space has seen investment dry up.
NPCI extends UPI's market cap deadline by two years
Big Tech platforms might need to pay for using news. There's already a law in Australia, one planned in New Zealand and now a proposed bill in the US itself. Meta and Alphabet aren't happy. That normally is a good thing for the rest of us, but I'm not quite sure about this one. The relationship between big tech, media, public good and commerce is a complicated one.
Tried Lensa for an incredible AI-generated image of yourself, yet?
Even Tiktok's growth is slowing.
Of course photos of properties are important for you when you choose a room. This week, Airbnb patented a visual attractiveness scoring system to rate photos. (Also, I recommend the Patent Drop newsletter!)
The reads section
The GenZ marketer's mantra - by Raj from Stoa. Beautiful.
Casey Newton on the perils of ChatGPT. This remains one of the most intensely debated topics of the year. (Signup needed)
A good interview with the CMO of JustDial on the importance of marketing attribution in the digital age.
The AIIMS e-attack further exposes India's cybersecurity vulnerability.
Really good read on the rise of "boring AI" which is finally having an impact on business. Possible signupwall.
All countries think social media is a good thing. Except one big notable one - the United States of America.
Your boy's in the papers!
Cute wins, always.
This week: Swiggy. See the whole carousel here of a kitten being sized against various ingredients.
I came across this
When I wrote about AI generative art (DALLE2) a few editions back, I reckoned that new jobs and talents in prompt writing, rather than design itself, would emerge. Well, this week I came across a site called PromptBase, a marketplace for... prompts!
Weirdest gadget release of the year
As an audio lover, I've seen all kinds of headphones, but this is something else only.
Perhaps next week I should do a football-themed edition? Any cool football-themed digital campaigns you can remember? Hit me up.