SAPVoice: Retail's Perfect Present: Holiday Social Sentiment Analytics | 12/19/2014
Santa Claus has it easy. Sure, the jolly man in red must create and deliver presents to children across the globe. But he already knows exactly what each kid wants, and even has a month or two to deliver. Those are huge advantages.
Unlike Saint Nick, retailers don’t have consumers excitedly mailing in their holiday wish lists. It takes work to understand what they want and why they want it.
Social media has those answers, through which consumers share their thoughts and feelings about almost everything. In today’s hyper-connected society, social sentiment about products and trends can be as impactful as big-budget marketing campaigns. Analytics solutions, like those from SAP, collect that wealth of information and distill it into easy-to-understand insights that retailers can use to fuel informed decisions.
SAP has developed a dynamic dashboard that combs social media conversations to reveal consumers’ top categories and interests of the holiday season – from home improvement and electronics to jewelry and toys and games. Using the power of SAP social media analytics, you can not only gain understanding into what product categories people are talking about, but how they feel about them. It’s this combination that gives you truly actionable insights about retail/holiday shopping trends.
The live dashboard enables both consumers and businesses to track these trends as they are happening. Updated hourly, it continually measures key social analytics to provide insights into:
Which product categories are popular?
Identify trends and discover what’s being talked about most based on the volume of mentions each category receives.
Which factors and themes are most important this holiday season?
Understand what people value most about each category, in regards to time, customer service, price and convenience.
Online or in-store?
See whether consumers are looking to purchase products online or inside a brick-and-mortar store.
Answering these questions helps get to the real benefits that social media analytics provide. When retailers are able to actively listen and understand social conversations, they can make better-informed decisions about their entire business strategy.
With the data updated in real time, be sure to check back often to see how the conversations shift throughout the holiday. Click through to see the live social sentiment analysis dashboard now.
This story was originally posted on The Customer Edge, a webzine featuring trends, news, and insights for marketing, sales, and commerce leaders.
At 25 Years Young, 'Simpsons' Still Has Plenty Of Upside | 12/19/2014
The Simpsons marathon was only at the halfway mark on the night of last August’s Emmy Awards, but FX executives were already ebullient from the early numbers for the wall-to-wall promotional run of the show on their nascent FXX network. High fives were exchanged as they studied the numbers scrolling past on their phones. Excited though they claimed to be about donning formal wear and celebrating achievements in programming — including one win by their own Louie – the small contingent of network brass recognized one of the cornerstones of the company’s future: a generation-old, line-drawn animated comedy that could fairly be called TV’s all-time unlikeliest hit. “We still have a week to go,” one told me breathlessly, “but this show is already the biggest in all of cable in the demo,” meaning the 18-49-year-old viewers most coveted by advertisers.
Cut to December, and it has now officially been 25 years since The Simpsons introduced viewers to the crew from Springfield. The milestone was reached on Dec. 17. At that time, way back in the late-1980s, it was the standard-bearer for the brash new Fox network. Today, it is not just the longest-running scripted show in TV history, but a testament to the power of multiplatform programming and the all-too rare example of of a known property anchoring a range of innovations around it. The long-in-tooth veteran, in other words, is schooling all of the kids.
The ratings results of the full FXX marathon, which ran from Aug. 21 to Sept. 1, were remarkable. (So was the marketing for it, but that’s another post for another day.) FXX, the sister network launched last summer, finished No. 1 in total day and primetime 18-49s and No. 9 in total viewers, ranking ahead of more established rivals like Adult Swim, Lifetime and MTV. Among all basic cable telecasts over the course of the marathon, 17 telecasts of The Simpsons on FXX rank among the Top 50 in adults 18-34.
Leveraging this initial momentum, the series then hopped to the digital arm of FX, via “Simpsons World,” a new destination available on a branded website and on the FXNow app on iOS, Android and a range of other digital platforms. “Simpsons World” features not only every episode in full from all 25 previous seasons, but each new episode from the current, 26th season one day after it airs on the Fox network. In early 2015, “Simpsons World” will get a further upgrade, with additional features like “Explore Characters,” with special character moments, bios, images, etc.; “Episode Guide” offering time-synced fun facts and a script view allowing viewers to follow and and share their favorite quotes on social media; and a beefed-up search function to make literally every word of dialogue from every single episode searchable.
Some avid fans, and plenty of media watchers, may be saying by this point, “OK, OK, I get it. It’s a big deal. So what’s the point?” My point, really, is just to say that not many properties have aged nearly as gracefully. If you look at mature titles with a universe of revenue opportunity around them — theme parks, merchandising, syndication, and so on — has anyone managed it better? Yes, Seinfeld and Friends (coming to Netflix in January) have struck gold as TV syndication properties that will play forever. But do they have an ingenious app with a searchable database of every line? Did they marathon every episode? There are obvious reasons why not — and Netflix, in fact, is trying to inject some of that roadblock, gotta-remember-how-great-this-show-was kind of energy. But in terms of sheer synergistic inspiration, that ability to leverage a full corporate portfolio, from broadcast to cable to digital, and to keep a 25-year-old series feeling cool to the very audience segment that initially embraced it and made it a hit, has rarely happened. And that’s why The Simpsons, barring major creative lapses (and certainly even loyal fans argue that’s already happened), could run for another 25 years, on one Fox platform or another. Or maybe on all of them.
Even As College Football Playoff Semi Final, 2015 Rose Bowl Tickets Can't Top 2014 Prices (Infographic) | 12/19/2014
Even as part of the inaugural 2014 College Football Playoffs, prices for this years Rose Bowl tickets can’t compete with the 2014 edition according to data from TiqIQ. When it comes to bowls, proximity is a huge demand driver, even for the first semi-final playoff game ever. While the combined distance for Florida State and Oregon is only a few hundred miles farther than Stanford and Michigan State last year, Florida State fans are not plunking down dollars for tickets like Michigan State fans did last year. While Tallahassee is only 200 miles father than East Lansing to Pasadena, for Michigan State it was their first visit to the Rose Bowl in 25 years, and enthusiasm was through the roof. For Florida State, there’s nowhere to go but down from last year’s championship-crowning trip to Pasadena against Auburn. Oregon fans, on the the hand, are likely saving up for a trip to the 2015 National Championship Football Game in Dallas. The result is tickets going for under $150 compared to a game-day get in last year of $324. By January first, prices will likely be even lower, and attendance will be challenged to top last year’s gate of over 95,000. That was the highest draw since Keith Jackson was calling the game in 1998.
Below is the first in a series of TiqIQ infographics on the economics for all the major Bowl games that includes details on sponsorships, school payouts, player swag, and of course tickets.
Spain Hits A New Low In Its Fight Against Entrepreneurship | 12/19/2014
One of my top former students, Fredi Fernandez, recently sent me a compelling email. After studying at UC Santa Barbara’s entrepreneurial program, he returned to Spain, excited to start a venture and make a positive impact on his homeland.
He founded Alpha Origins in 2011. Although he has helped a number of startups gain traction, he is now questioning if he should flee Spain, given the recent passage of the unprecedented Exit Tax, which seeks to tax potential, unrealized wealth.
Fredi’s email is worth reading, as it reinforces how lucky American entrepreneurs truly are. It is difficult to not be moved by his passionate desire for his country to share the entrepreneurial spirit that he experienced during his stay in California.
One could certainly argue that the US government could be more business friendly. However, when compared to the anti-startup environment prevalent in Spain, the relative degree to which entrepreneurship is an indelible aspect of American society is undeniable.
Geographically, the distance between Spain and the US is about 4,715 miles. However, from an entrepreneur’s viewpoint, the philosophical distance can be measured in light years.
“Any prosperous society should love having talented entrepreneurs that create not just a new and better future but also jobs, knowledge and a dynamic and optimistic environment. Sadly enough not everyone understands this.
Trade for Rajon Rondo Will Help Nowitzki, Mavs Go for Title | 12/19/2014
Mark Cuban promised Dirk Nowitzki he’d get him some help to compete for another title and the Mavs did exactly that Thursday when they traded for Boston’s veteran playmaker Rajon Rondo.
Just on sheer talent alone, Rondo gives the Mavs a better shot of winning the West. The four-time All-Star will be a free agent this summer and according to league sources, he’s amenable to staying long-term in Dallas.
All you hear about Rondo is that he’s a head case and a big attitude problem in the locker room. No doubt, even when the Celtics were the cream of the Eastern Conference in their Big Three era of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, he was a handful for Doc Rivers, and often didn’t get along with Allen, most notably.
As Kobe Bryant once noted about Rondo, “from what I understand, he’s an a–hole, like me.”
Rondo took it as a compliment: “I feel the same way about him.”
If only the Lakers could have paired the two. When the Celtics were winning, Rondo delivered huge playoff games during their 2008 title run and when they took Bryant and the Lakers to a seventh game in 2010. That’s why the Mavs had some competition for Rondo, most notably from the Rockets.
Among his big playoff games, he delivered a triple-double on Mother’s Day of 2010 in a win in Boston over LeBron James in the Eastern Conference semis. In that tour de force performance that tied the series after four games _ James’ last one as a Cavalier; he’d bolt to Miami two months later _ Rondo became only the third player in playoff history to have at least 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Who’d he tie? Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain. Yeah, pretty nice company.
Now that’s five years ago and Rondo, who turns 29 in two months, has torn an ACL in a knee since then and suffered other injuries, including a broken hand this season. Neither has been impacting his recent play, according to scouts.
The trade should put extra fuel in his tank while giving the Mavs a better chance of knocking off the Spurs, Thunder and Warriors in a playoff series. First off, he gets to leave Boston, going nowhere fast in another rebuilding season and with no light at the end of the tunnel. Go ahead and laugh at this thought: I’d rather have Philly’s situation than Boston’s.
Rondo joins a first-class operation in Dallas, with one of the top coaches in the game in Rick Carlisle. He’ll be pumped about playing for a playoff team again, with the Mavs currently 19-8. That’s only good enough for third in their own Southwest Division and sixth in the West, while that record would have them nipping at the heels of first-place Toronto in the East.
But that’s why getting Rondo was a must for Dallas. You know who should be equally fired up? Nowitzki. He’s stayed in Dallas and has given the Mavs a hometown discount, re-upping last summer for only $25 million over three seasons. He took a $14 million paycut from last season in the belief that Cuban, along with GM Donnie Nelson, will put the right pieces around him.
Just What Fleeing Staffers Feared: New Saucy 'New Republic' Savages Sports Writing Icon | 12/19/2014
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski never needed such a thing as a defense, having taken NBA reporting to never-seen heights, until someone at the New Republic decided to make him the living embodiment of shoddy ethics.
Yes, I mean the liberal magazine that liberals stopped reading, whose staff just resigned over plans to make it more internet friendly.
They got out just in time. Welcome to internet friendly.
We don’t see a lot of ethical crusades in an age in which TMZ is lauded for buying scoops on a journalism school web site. Accusing a sports writer of shoddy ethics is, as Capt. Willard says of investigating war crimes in Viet Nam in “Apocalypse Now,” like “giving out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.”
Not that Woj—he’s a friend, as are most of the people TNR quoted—does shoddy stuff in a shoddy context. Author Kevin Draper is shocked–shocked!–to note that he writes a lot more favorably about people who tell him things, which is true for every last person in the biz, including me.
Turning the world upside down, Draper makes mighty ESPN the victim of a malicious Woj, who uses his column to browbeat sources.
Almost everyone quoted is or once was at ESPN. Draper notes piously that he tried to get people to talk on the record. Of course, when they wouldn’t–bombs away!–he notes, “In private, NBA reporters complain endlessly about Wojnarowski’s methods.”
Seniors: Beware Of The Gift Delivery Scam | 12/19/2014
My 92 year old mother in law, Alice sometimes hears from friends about various elder-targeted scams. Any seniors’ community like the one Alice lives in in southern California is probably on the thieves’ hot list. Sadly, some of her friends have fallen for scams and when they do, the word gets out. First, it was the “I need help, Grandma” phone scam, in which the thief pretends to be a grandchild and asks the senior to wire money. One of her friends got sucked into that one and sent money. Now, it’s a new and nasty one.
The thieves have someone call the elder to be sure she’s at home. They say they are with “Express Couriers” and want to deliver a package within the hour. An hour later, a uniformed “delivery person” shows up at the door with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine. The elder wants to know who the sender is. The scammer says the gift card is being sent separately. Now for the trap.
The delivery person says that because the gift contained alcohol, there is a $3.50 “delivery charge” as proof that he had actually delivered the package to an adult and not just left it on the doorstep. Does this sound logical? The victims thought it did. When the victim offers to pay cash, the delivery person says he can only accept a credit or debit card so that everything is properly accounted for. The delivery guy then produces a small portable credit card scanner and the victim swipes the card into the machine. The scammer then asks the victim to enter the card’s PIN and security number. Victim gets a nice little “receipt” for the transaction, printed from the scanner.
The scanner has recorded all the necessary information to steal the credit card information and create a dummy card, which the thieves put to use immediately, before the victim discovers the theft. The victim who revealed this scam and sent the word out had been ripped off to the tune of $4000 in the space of 3 days. There were withdrawals from numerous ATM machines. It could have been much worse.
If you have a senior citizen in your family, please alert them to this tricky theft scam. It’s not only elder abuse
directed toward our aging parents. Anyone can fall for it. Alert your other friends and family too. The flowers and wine are a distraction from what is going on. The modest “delivery charge” doesn’t sound bad. Or does it?
Think about what the delivery person is asking you to do: give them money to give you a “gift”. That should set off an alarm bell in your head immediately. The SENDER would pay the delivery charges if there really were a sender. If you order a package and send it to someone, they don’t bill the recipient for delivery charges ever. They bill the person who ordered the gift, who always has to pay shipping and handling. (Don’t we all love free shipping?) So here’s the takeaway:
1. Do not accept delivery of anything from an unknown source, unrecognized courier or unknown sender. If someone wants to surpise you, they should do so through the good old US Postal Service, or other known delivery method.
2. Do not ever give your credit card to someone at your door unless YOU asked them to come and you expected to pay at your door. (Not
a good idea in the first place!)
3. If it seems odd it probably is so avoid giving out information to anyone that you were not prepared for in advance. If they call in advance and the call is odd, it may be a trick.
Please pass this on to those you know, especially family during the holiday season. Scammers are clever and can fool almost anyone. Package delivery is frequent at this time of year and it gives thieves an additional opportunity to steal. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Until next time,
Encourage Employees to Engage Them | 12/19/2014
By Beth Miller
“When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you’re making a commitment and difference in that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference.”
You can’t go a day without hearing or reading about the benefits of engaged employees. Why is there so much attention and focus on employee engagement? Because [tweet_quote display="When engagement increases within a company, productivity, profitability, and employee retention increase as well."]when engagement increases within a company, productivity, profitability, and employee retention increase as well.[/tweet_quote] Some of the preeminent studies about employee engagement come from the Gallup Corporation. One of the areas of expertise Gallup is known for is its Q12; twelve survey questions used to measure the level of employee engagement, which was developed in the mid 90s.
The majority of these questions focus on the direct impact a manager has on the level of employee engagement.
These questions include:
- Do you know what is expected of you at work?
- Do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right?
- At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
- In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
- At work, do your opinions seem to count?
- In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
- In the last year, have you had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
Question 6 specifically highlights encouragement, yet I would argue that for an employee to answer in the affirmative to most of the questions above, a manager should be using her skills, ability, and empathy to encourage her employees.
Encouragement is the act of providing positive feedback that focuses specifically on effort and/or improvement rather than specific outcomes. Encouragement is different than praise, which is given only when a person achieves “good” results.
For instance take a look at question 7, “At work, do your opinions seem to count?” For an employee to be able to answer in the affirmative, she needs to be encouraged to speak up by her manager. By asking great questions and actively listening to understand the perspectives of others, a manager is encouraging. By modeling this behavior of questioning and listening, you show that you care about the thoughts and opinions of others and that their voices are being heard.
Mexican Telecom Tycoon Carlos Slim's Net Worth Slipped In 2014 | 12/19/2014
It was not the best year for Carlos Slim Helú. During 2014 the Mexican telecom mogul went from temporarily reclaiming the world’s richest person title to third place on Forbes World’s Billionaires list. Over three months, his net worth plunged from a peak of $86.2 billion in September to $71.4 billion on Thursday, a loss of $14.8 billion. He started 2014 with a net worth that Forbes pegged at $73.8 billion.
The drop in Slim’s net worth is linked to weak performance of América Móvil (NYSE:AMX), the flagship telecom company controlled by Slim and his children. América Movil’s shares, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange as well as in Mexico, are down 2.3% in dollar terms since January 2, 2014.
Its profit, meanwhile, fell in the July-September period 39.3% compared to the period a year earlier as taxes rose and the cost of sales jumped, the company reported. In monetary terms it represented a fall of 10.1 billion pesos ($754 million at the exchange rate at the time) from 16.38 billion pesos a year earlier.
This year Slim held the title of the world’s richest man for five months, beginning when he unseated Microsoft (NYSE:MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates in July. Between the beginning of June and the middle of September the value of América Móvil’s shares, Slim’s largest holding, rose, helping to push Slim’s net worth to a high for the year of $86.2 billion.
Also in 2014 the process of breaking up his telecom monopoly began. Currently, América Móvil controls 70% of the mobile phones in Mexico, and 80% of the country’s landlines. Early in the year, América Móvil and fellow billionaire Emilio Azcarraga Jean’s TV monopoly Televisa, were declared market dominant in their respective fields by Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), a new telecom regulatory agency. The IFT ordered América Móvil to “substantially” cut some of its interconnection rates and forced infrastructure. Starting next year, the company will be forced to cut the rates it charges to complete calls from competing networks.
Slim’s mobile network operator Telcel will only be allowed to charge competing carriers 20 Mexican centavos (about 1 US cent) per minute for incoming calls, down from the current 31 centavos per minute. Bitterly upset, América Móvil said in April: “The referred tariffs in the resolution are comparatively lower than the ones currently in force for the same services in most countries.”
In an October report JP Morgan said that it expects the new business landscape, which will go into full force in 2015, will continue to weigh on América Móvil profit margins in Mexico and Colombia, where its affiliate Claro is the largest provider of mobile phone services in the country.
Unilever Drops Mayo Lawsuit Against Egg-Replacing Startup Hampton Creek | 12/19/2014
It’s been a good day for San Francisco food startup Hampton Creek Foods. After announcing it had raised $90 million, the company learned on Thursday that multibillion-dollar food corporation Unilever had dropped its lawsuit against them over the branding of their eggless mayonnaise product.
Unilever withdrew its litigation in New Jersey court and oddly praised Hampton Creek, which aims to replace the use of egg products in foods, for its “commitment to innovation and its inspired corporate purpose” in a statement.
“Unilever has decided to withdraw its lawsuit against Hampton Creek so that Hampton Creek can address its label directly with industry groups and appropriate regulatory authorities,” said Mike Faherty, Vice President for Foods of Unilever North America.
Unilever originally sued Hampton Creek over the company’s “Just Mayo” product, alleging the condiment was mislabeled because it did not have eggs. Unilever said that by definition, mayonnaise should have eggs as an active ingredient, an argument that garnered plenty of ridicule for the food conglomerate and free press for the startup.
Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick had earlier predicted that Unilever would drop its suit and said that Thursday was “surreal” given that news and the funding announcement. He said that since Unilever had filed its lawsuit last month, his company has had several positive conversations with the multinational corporation, which likely led to the withdrawal of the litigation. Tetrick learned that Unilever had given up on late Thursday afternoon after a call with Faherty.
“They didn’t indicate [why they dropped the suit],” he said. “I’m sure the real reason why is that Unilever realize it’s not the company they are or the company they want to be.”
Earlier Thursday, Tetrick and his company announced a $90 million round of funding that was led by Horizons Ventures and Khosla Ventures and joied by tech leaders including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin. According to sources close to the company, that investment valued the company at about $500 million.