Author: Ben Davis

Ben Davis

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at or follow at @herrhuld.

12 things Google Glass will destroy (with 13 apps)

Google Glass for the majority is a long way off. In fact, if you go to the ‘MyGlass’ app page on Google Play, you’ll see, for those without Glass:

..there's a picture of a puppy in pyjamas. So not a total waste of time after all.

Puppies aside, Google professes Glass (like all G products) was built to break down barriers. The idea is to make things easier and more seamless; to free up hands and time.

Here at Econsultancy, the high-falutin’ Editorial team has some philosophical concerns. Our Head of Social, Matt, was quick to point out that Glass will essentially create a simulacrum of the world, a sort of 1:1 map that is neither real nor artifice (I direct you to Borges’ On Exactitude in Science).

Whilst we’re fans of Google, we’re sceptical about just what third party developers will come up with for Glass

There’s arguably never been such a product; a piece of hardware that fundamentally alters perception and interaction with the world. Even smartphones are a false precedent for Glass, but perhaps do offer a dirty window on our increased device reliance (dare I smush these words together and create ‘deviance’?).

Even with well-intentioned developers, might third party apps add unwanted lustre to our already homogenous cityscapes?

In this post I make some philosophical predictions, as seen through some nascent apps. Of course, it’s a lot more fun to cast concerns with a negative spin; forgive the hack approach!

Here’s what Google Glass will destroy…..


Social CRM: what does it actually look like?

The more digital we become (define and measure that how you will), the more advantage we can gain from being ‘human’ in our communications and sales approach.

As community and privacy is eroded, social skills and the ability to network become high-value attributes, where once they may have been called soft skills. 

Manchester United

How Manchester United uses Facebook, Twitter, Sina Weibo and Google+

Manchester United has only been active on Twitter and Sina Weibo for one month, and Google + for less than a week. 

But with MUFC website traffic, in the last month of the 2012/2013 soccer season, at 67m page views, it's obvious there's plenty to work with here.

Along with a well-established Facebook page, MUFC has a foolproof and rather well executed strategy, best summed-up by the first G+ post.

Here you'll find a steady stream of iconic imagery, behind-the-scenes access, in-depth analysis and succinct storytelling about our club's rich history.

With Facebook adding many opportunities for MUFC to harvest email addresses from competitions and the like, and G+ a promising prospect for the same, there’s much to be cheerful about. Growing a big sports brand on social media is the equivalent of hitting a cow’s backside with a banjo.

City Index Trading Academy

Content marketing case study: City Index and The Trading Academy

It’s always refreshing to see companies in old-school industries ploughing a load of money into content marketing.

When I say old-school, I’m talking about companies that have traditionally been fairly forward-thinking in terms of IT and tech, but not necessarily in backing marketing with anything other than straight ad spend on paid media.

City Index’s recent Trading Academy series and campaign was quite a departure, and serves as QED as far as ROI and content marketing is concerned.

Check out the campaign, which won an Econsultancy 2013 Digitals Award for best in financial services.


Crowd Sauce #2 - Siri, flash mobs and daschunds

Hello all readers and welcome to the second edition of our new thing, 'Crowd Sauce'.

No doubt this shabby pun is in use in many places on the internet, but here it denotes a round-up post, potentially replacing our weekly infographic, where we can relax and share some fun or interesting stuff (caveat: mostly pointless).

The categories will likely differ each week. Let’s go…

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Amazon Collections: 12 questions raised by the 'new Pinterest'

Amazon has recently begun testing its new built-in Pinterest imitator, Collections.

The service went live earlier this month and it looks nice and simple. Some are surprised Amazon has so brazenly taken on a competitor, but it certainly feels like a good addition to the well-established Wishlist and 'You might like' features.

Will this new personal aspect add some needed character to Amazon's marketplace? Will Pinterest be unaffected? I take a look at the new feature and ask some questions.

Augmented reality annuals

Pedigree teams with Zappar for augmented reality children's annuals

We all loved The Beano, or Bunty, or The Bash Street Kids, or Girl’s Own, or Jackie, or Diana. We all loved them.

Now the annual has evolved, with Zappar and Pedigree books working together. Sonic the Hedgehog, Angry Birds, and others (admittedly not Desperate Dan) will have 20% of their pages embedded with content that can be seen through the Zappar app.

The content will include extended character profiles, extra stories and activities such as colouring, mazes, puzzles and a ‘make your own poster’ feature.


The sharing economy: 40+ peer-to-peer start-ups

Peer-to-peer services are starting to mess things up for real.

Which industries are next to be disrupted by the sharing economy? Will we cease to ‘own stuff’?

Whether you’ve only just heard about Airbnb, or are actively sharing your pride and joy via RelayRides, this is a disruptive business model that is expanding every quarter.

As Rachel Botsman eloquently puts it, many are learning to

  • Trust in strangers.
  • Value access over ownership.
  • Value experiences over owning stuff.

If you want hard numbers, Forbes magazine has estimated total revenues across the sharing and P2P companies could reach $3.5bn by 2014, with growth exceeding 25%.

So, here’s a decent sized list of companies focused on collaborative consumption, along with some warning shots, or notes of opposition from more traditional quarters. Once you’ve scrolled to the bottom, you’ll realise just how many of these companies there are.


Six delicious YouTube channels from food brands (and two yucky ones)

Like takeaway food, online video can be consumed pretty much anywhere.

Engaging video, with its heritage in television programming and advertising, is eminently sharable through social media, and can be staggeringly successful, or altogether lacking in umami.

So, which brands are using video, and YouTube in particular, to great success? How have these brands approached the creative in shareable content, and who has yet to nail it?


12 social customer service tips for beginners

Social customer service gets more interesting by the day. Increasingly, customers demand it, and brands can benefit from answering questions publicly.

Our Social Times recently published some reflections on social media monitoring for customer service. I've taken some of the tips from Ronan Gillen, Community and Social CS Manager at eBay, and listed them below for your convenience.


Asia: how are companies approaching digital change?

At Econsultancy Singapore, we recently had a good old discussion about the change necessitated by new digital technologies.

I thought I’d allow you to stick your finger into the prevailing winds of this discussion, by listing some of the take-homes.

To keep you interested, at the close I’ve added a couple of brands that seem to be agile and are moving with the marketing times, embodying many of the 12 pillars of the Modern Marketing Manifesto.


Crowdsauce #1: Batman, bunnies and bees

Hello all readers and welcome to our new thing, 'Crowdsauce'.

No doubt this shabby pun is in use in many places on the internet, but here it denotes a round-up post, potentially replacing our weekly infographic, where we can relax and share some fun or interesting stuff (caveat: mostly pointless).

The categories will likely differ each week. Let’s go…