Are Maps For Self-Driving Cars A Public Good?

A public/private organization in the UK thinks so. Zenzic, a UK government and industry self-driving vehicle organization, believes that the country needs a standard map for all self-driving cars, not a different map encoded in each car manufacturer’s machine. The battle for “HD maps,” which purport to help cars know where they are within a few centimeters, is raging. But unless the maps are completely standardized — and certified by somebody we all can trust — the variation in how a self-driving Tesla decides when to swerve and how a self-driving Mercedes decides when to turn on the turn signal could prove chaotic at best and catastrophic at worst. If you care about the efficacy and safety of self-driving cars at scale, read this report.

Understanding, Measuring, And Managing The Enigmatic Brand

Walter Landor is widely regarded as one of the early giants of branding, known for his work with some of the world’s iconic brands, such as Singapore Airlines soon after Singapore came into existence as a city state. Walter once said that “products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind,” a mantra that has been equal parts gratifying and equal parts vexing to brand marketers. The idea of brand as intangible goodness reflecting, to quote JetBlue’s CEO, “how we feel” resonates with most marketers, yet the inability to pin it down with a financial calculus continues to frustrate. And marketers must answer to a higher power holding the purse strings that, writes Bobby Calder at Kellogg, requires “an objective test of the brand’s actual contribution.” To help marketers navigate this murky space of brand value, we’ve put together a 60-page PowerPoint slide deck that provides a pragmatic perspective on understanding, measuring, and managing brand value. It won’t make you a mind reader like Walter Landor, but it will provide you a comprehensive guide (frameworks, tools, processes, people, and more) to connect brand value to financial value.

Social’s Popularity In Ad Mixes Grows Despite Concerns

Social media Q2 earnings calls dominated attention last week, with Snap, Facebook, and Twitter all reporting. Unlike financial analysts, we approach these calls with clients’ strategic interests in mind. We look for: 1) growth in attractive segments and time spent; 2) investment in new ad formats, safety, security, and frictionless buying tools; and 3) partnerships for new content, data, and advertiser solutions. All three companies showed growth in users and ad dollars, signaling continued commitment to social advertising despite privacy, security, and election meddling concerns. Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine was a mere blip in the conversation. While testing of 23 brands for Instagram’s social commerce promises to “close the loop” between ad and conversion, marketers should avoid faulty last-click attribution assumptions. Twitter finally understands its value proposition in driving conversations and not being the next Facebook — unlike Snap, which still can’t seem to entice segments beyond its younger demographic.