UK’S AI Superpower Dreams Need To Compute
The UK's superpower aspirations in AI are on thin ice. The reason? We simply don't have the computational muscle needed to punch in the big league. When one looks at the whole world's computing capabilities, we're not even making ripples in in the kiddie pool, contributing a mere 1.3%. In this deep dive I expose the stark realities of the UK's position in the AI power play. It's snapshot few are willing to frame. I admit, we're ahead of Europe in attracting VC, but standing next to US and China, we're being hugely outgunned. Big Tech's spending makes the UK government’s piggy bank look like chump change. So, where from here? Grab your coffee, buckle up, and join me in exploring how a robust power generation policy and a heavy dose of expertise could refuel the UK's race to the AI top.
Branding In A Social World
The World Has Become A PhotoShop Faith in everything - God, Government and our institutions is waning. In this new, challenging landscape, how should companies look and behave? We all have an appetite for perfection but it’s making us sick. Thinspo (imagery of the beautiful but implausibly thin) is pushing young girls to become anorexic. Images of the rich and lucky are driving a crisis of mental illness among the less fortunate. It seems the traditional skill of marketing - creating desirable images that might exaggerate the truth - are under fire.
Has More Become Less?
According to Seth Godin, "Content Marketing is the only marketing left." He's usually right but there is little consensus as to what people mean by 'content marketing'. Here are a couple of definitions for you to noodle over. "The creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.""A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."Both start out the same but notice "to attract and retain a clearly defined audience" in the second. Is Content Marketing targeting an audience or is it self-serving? Is the audience defined or defining itself? The next discrepancy is that one aims to simply "stimulate interest" while the other goes in much harder, "to drive profitable customer action."
Made To Fail
At the IPO, it was ‘Sofa' so good… but today, MADE.com is bust. Fingers have been pointed at supply chain issues and the 6 long weeks it took to ship MADE's furniture. (This as 4 hour deliveries are becoming standard). However, like most corporate failures, it seems that the company’s whole business model was just ‘Insufficiently Profitable’. According to data from their 2021 Report and Accounts, an average MADE order looked like this: Sale Value £246 Gross Profit £97 Fulfilment £45 Contribution £52 Marketing £38 Meanwhile overheads were running at something like £40m.
Who's On My Side?
Try this. Conjure up the name of a brand - one that features in your life. Now, without thinking too deeply, is that brand on your side? I realise it's a simple question but it evokes an immediate response. One that forces you to process a vast number of criteria in a flash. It’s a simple way to solicit an instant indication of your brand loyalty - or lack of it. Big brands need to fight on so many different fronts to win our love and respect. Think Apple. Not content with being just a hardware manufacturer, Apple launched physical stores to humanise and demonstrate Apple’s magnetic magic. It spent vast sums of money and effort optimising the Out Of Box Experience (OOBE) for its physical products. It created services like Music, News, TV and Pay. Apple knows that each positive customer experience, at every touchpoint, adds together to create and amplify customer appreciation and loyalty.
What Next for Big Tech?
An electric vehicle glides silently up the drive of an elegant suburban home. A man steps out wearing a white suit and removes three glass receptacles from a stack of cases in the back. They are each filled with a white liquid. He places them next to the front door, removes three identical, empty vessels, returns to the vehicle and slips away. He was known as the milkman.Nobody used to talk about sustainability. Way back in the 1960s, resources weren’t squandered because they simply didn’t exist. Britain had only recently shut down its rationing programme. So, why would anyone contemplate packaging a staple food in throw away containers when you could use the same one, time after time?
Why CMOs are disappointing
Over the last five years there’s been a massive expansion in the roles and responsibilities handed to CMOs. Many, especially those in Small & Medium sized enterprises, have job descriptions that are utterly impossible for any single individual to deliver. They are now frequently expected to blend these requirements.
What is MADtech and why should you care?
Over the last few years the business of marketing has completely changed. Shoppers have wised up to a century of spin and learned to ignore hyperbole in advertising. Exaggerated claims have been further undermined by social media which applies the scrutiny of the crowd. We have entered a new era where marketing succeeds when it is totally transparent – conveying only facts coated with emotion rather than untruths wrapped in fiction. Marketers are further challenged by consumers who are now trying to have real time conversations with the brands that they love. Gone are the cosy days of throwing a few TV spots to the braying masses during the year.Now they all want to chat directly – one-to-one.
Why I won't be at Cannes Lions this year
A few years ago, we rented a 100' motor yacht called the Accama (see above). It came stocked with unlimited Champagne and Rosé. We shared it with the most interesting and influential people we could think of and soon realised that most of them could have just as easily been found in Soho House. We all had a marvellous time but, in spite of the hedonism, we came away feeling that the Ad industry had lost its mojo. Before selling it to WPP, I used to own an Ad agency. It was a wonderful business. We worked for technology companies and, in our small way, helped to give birth to the internet. Back then, our knowledge of communications and our skills architecting brands was deemed highly valuable. Particularly by the entrepreneurial engineers who ran most of the tech firms.