A weekly digest of new and noteworthy industry happenings. Or just cool stuff we like. Brought to you by CO-OP.
NatWest, a UK based financial institution, has introduced Cora, their new animated, humanoid interface (emphasis on the ‘face’). Cora was developed to answer simple questions for customers, allowing ‘human tellers’ (never thought we’d have to make that distinction of a teller being human or not) to handle and advise on more complicated queries. This pilot program leads an interesting trend, that is even present and growing here in Canada as well. Many financial institutions have activated ‘chat bots’ to communicate with customers via Facebook Messenger, whereas ATB Financial out west has even developed an in-branch robot assistant named Pepper. It is becoming more and more interesting to see how this vast implementation of AI will affect the financial institution landscape; is banking heading towards a human-free service? With banking technology as accessible as it has become over the years (you can literally deposit a cheque by taking a picture of it) it will be interesting to see how consumers react – better yet, interact – with the Cora’s and Pepper’s. If I can already deposit a cheque from my phone, I am probably going to a branch for the sole reason of speaking to a teller; an actual person.
Strategy magazine’s March feature article revolves around a concept that may be new to many, but a foregone conclusion to others (COOP Advertising). The title reads, What it takes to brand an agency – and goes on to list some barriers or rationale as to why some agencies, although masters of branding when it comes to campaigns and client based work, often overlook how their own brand lives. The article stems from Sid Lee’s new logo redesign, a strategy to not only redesign, but redefine. One of the main reasons cited in the article (applicable to ad agencies in general) is the fact that much of the branding created by agencies is intrinsic to the creative produced, and therefore is led by a collaboration between Creative, Accounts and the Client. But as the article raises, what happens when that Creative Team leaves the agency, or switches over to another client with a different need, different vision; how is a consistent brand voice (on behalf of the agency) maintained?
This is a problem that is negated by COOP’s model, where the agency does not have to worry about Creatives leaving and taking their ideas with them – each creative is individually sourced based on their own strengths and expertise for a specific project/ campaign, with the direction being COOP driven, based on COOP’s intrinsic vales and approach. Regardless of the revolving door effect, COOP’s culture and values are here to stay.
Spirit Leaf is going all in on design in hopes of becoming the next “iconic Canadian brand.” The Calgary company, predominantly based west of Ontario, is looking to franchise a ‘community-focused retail model’ that it hopes will lead in redefining the perception around cannabis and cannabis use. The main goal here, is for Spirit Leaf to create an identity for not only its brand as a retailer, but each location as a design piece – these won’t be your local dispensaries. Drawing inspiration from current lifestyle and wellness retailers, Spirit Leaf will construct retail locations heavy in distressed wood and metal accents to project a rustic feel for consumers. With artwork and signage that looks to tell a story in each location, Spirit Leaf looks to rewrite the narrative surrounding cannabis sale and use. It will be interesting to see how effective interior design is at not merely having to create and reaffirm brand identity and culture but rewriting it all together; especially in communities that are opposed to cannabis’ legalization.
“sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad” tweeted Kylie Jenner in response to Snapchat’s new interface re-design. And that’s all it took; less than 140 characters for Snapchat’s stock value to plummet. As the old proverb goes, “talk is cheap” – except if you are Kylie Jenner, of course; then talk might be worth quite a lot… to the tune of $1.3B as Snapchat quickly found out. Snapchat recently rolled out a new interface redesign for their popular social media app, to the discontent of millions of users. While many users took to varying social media platforms to voice their displeasure, the negative feedback seemed to be inconsequential to the multi-billion dollar social app. Until Kylie, the Queen of Snapchat, chimed in. Not only did Snapchat see its own stock value go down 6%, Kylie’s tweet had the adverse effect on the stock of their main competitor, Instagram; seeing a rise in value of $13B.
Social media giants have a habit of telling consumers what’s best for them. Rightfully so to an extent, most of the popular apps have been able to capitalize on dormant demand – providing services and applications consumers did not even know they needed – until they needed them. It seems now that Snapchat may need its users more than its users need it… now more than ever.