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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Future of Voting--Millennials and Politics

Who will lead next? My team compiled this handy infographic that points the way. It's the hand out for a non-partisan policy retreat I'll be speaking at next month. Hard to see? Go here and download the PDF.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Trending: Millennials Still A Moving Target

The behaviors and preferences of Millennials fascinate us because they are the future. Lately, we're paying close attention to what they adopt and shed to see more enduring trends to separate fad from frontier.

Millennials appear to shed a channel or platform that becomes too intrusive, too commercial or just too clumsy to use. Ease and freedom rule. Branded environments need to offer special incentives or utility. Facebook is losing Millennials. Twitter is keeping them.   AirBnB and Cowbird are growing them. Vine micro-videos get shared by GenY, but not produced nearly as often.

This snappy info graphic from last year is like a "Where's Waldo?" of the Millennial adoption curve. See if you can spot what's still trending and what's been shed.

OMG: Getting Inside the Millennial Mind
by threestepsahead.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Best Stories from the Web

We spent most of February buried by snow storms. But it gave us plenty of time to read. Here's our list of favorites articles from last month: 

The Brain’s Inner Language
--Includes a round up of innovations in brain research, and paints a picture of how collaborative efforts will improve our understanding of how neurons process visual information. The implications are far-reaching. Quick read.
Artist Uses Google Glass to Interact with Museum Visitors
--Raise your hand if you want to live in augmented reality. I do. Through the lens of Google Glass an art museum goes meta. Very cool.
Big Data, Big Business, Big Brother? --Our fellow “futurist” Gerd Lionhard offers his take on some of the memes and implications of big data for marketers.

Happiness Is a Warm iPhone
--A bittersweet rif by Charles Yu who reflects on how technology is changing our humanity as it becomes more accessible and more mundane.

The Science of Solitary Confinement
--Although the science of human connection has long been under-valued, this story helps us appreciate what happens in the absence of it. A quick take on the effects of long-term isolation on inmates in U.S. prisons.
Publishers Withdraw More than 120 Gibberish Papers In an age of link farms and faux content, it’s not surprising that computer-generated nonsense can be published so easily in conference proceedings.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Future Brands: How to Communicate Brand Personality

I’m fascinated by the rising power of brand personality in marketing. What used to be a frill is fast becoming a must. Brand personality is escalating in importance with social technologies because just like the rest of us, brands are “always on.” Brands are being evaluated 24/7 in countless ways, across mass and niche networks, alike. That’s why in a digital age, brands will need to behave like people to succeed--through their values, gestures and attitudes. But how? What are the rules of engagement? Best practices?

I have an idea. During 2014, I'll take up brand personality as a key theme here at Culture Scout. As usual, I’ll be scoping out the big picture, while the pragmatist in me will point out best ofs and bloopers (hopefully fewer) to spark your thinking. 

Here’s one you might like. Last week, while hurtling across the Internet in search of a data point, I slammed into a 404 page over at Slate. Frustrating, right? Not in the least. I laughed. Using a wry voice, Slate pulls an emotional u-turn by using a wry voice, and leverages a simple 404 message to deliver brand value. Boffo!
Check it out--
"You probably entered the URL thinking you were going to a witty, counterintuitive take on some current news topic. Instead you find yourself disappointed to be reading this 404 page, which means our system couldn’t retrieve the article you sought.
But this is actually great news. Did you really want to read whatever it was you were looking for? Let’s face it: Whatever article you thought you were going to read, you had probably already anticipated the arguments in your head. Instead of reading it, you can just imagine what it was going to be like and get back to work. Look at all the time you’ve saved!  In other words: you’re welcome.
Of course, if you want to find some other interesting story to read, you can go to and see what else we’re dishing up."

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