data driven Volvos

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The problem at V.W. caused by the scandal of emissions testing shows just how far car manufacturers have changed from being mechanical and electrical engineering companies to being software companies. A modern car is now a moving computer emitting data like a Boeing 747.  V.W. leadership are all great mechanical and electrical engineers but they just didn’t quite understand software and data, and hadn’t made the transition in organisational culture , systems processes. Hence the problem that crept in through the corporate governance.

Car companies will need to retell their brand stories to customers and become part of customers’ own stories.

One company that has started to tell its “brand story of safety” consistently to customers using data and technology is Volvo.

‘Volvo on Call’ allows Volvo owners to control their car through their phone. The app allows the driver to perform a range of checks and commands without having to be near the car, such as: check the cars maintenance levels, create and track a personal driving journal which can be transferred into an excel format as data, identify the car’s location, lock/unlock the car, call an operator for roadside assistance using your GPS location.

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Volvo are also using data to improve road safety for drivers, introducing a new system that warns drivers of potentially hazardous road conditions ahead. This is achieved through pulling data from wheel sensors to detect the presence of black ice. When this happens, the car transmits a GPS location to the Volvo Cloud platform, which sends the data to other vehicles nearby that are equipped with the system. These cars then see an icon on their dashboard warning them of the risk. Similarly, sensors are attached to Volvo cars’ hazard lights to detect when they are activated. At that time an alert is sent to nearby cars, warning them of a hazard ahead.

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Icy road data gathered during the pilot was shared with road authorities so they can improve road safety through gritting or public announcements. Using data and technology as an integral part of the brand story and customer journey / customer experience is a critical skill organisations will need to build. The implications for Insurance companies will be significant, as the risk factors will significantly change from who I am, where I live , and what i buy to more how and where I drive….. one to watch.

Data driven Aussies

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Players always say that when it counts the most, fans and supporters can represent the force of an extra player in the team. the “Unfair Advantage”

Competing against three other football codes in one of the most crowded sporting markets in the world, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has used data to harness that Unfair Advantage.

Data has become a crucial battleground at Rugby’s top level with every aspect of a match and a player’s performance analysed over and over to find that competitive edge. The Australian Rugby Union also use data to create a community at grass roots playing and grass roots supporters. They learnt from the 2012 Olympics in London and went back home and built a bottom up connected supporter community.  

As Bill Pulver, ARU CEO, states:   “The fundamentals of running a sport are pretty similar to running a business, the difference being you have this thick layer of passion over the top. “

Unlocking Fan Force with Rugby Link

Rugby Link is the platform through which the ARU engages every member of its community – “from the age of 5 right through to the age of 75”.

According to Bill, the Australian Rugby Union have a digital platform for omnichannel one-on-one communication on  that is relevant to a fan or player’s historical engagement with the game; as well as enabling a customised future with the game as well.  

A good example that Jade McAuslan, CRM Manager, describes is how the platform allows the ARU to understand when fans and players renew their seasonal membership, and as a result, time and personalise their outreach accordingly. The way that the data and metrics inform that personalised connection is critical to keeping people more engaged than with any of the other codes.

In the modern, professional era of Rugby Union, teamwork and communication are fundamental to success on the field. But also increasingly it is the cohesion and strength  of the entire organisation behind that team, all the way down to the 5 year old touch rugby player, that provides that edge to keep the national teams winning again and again. With Rugby Link,  the ARU has secured an Unfair Advantage in that international contest.

It can help them get to the final… but didn’t stop them against the mighty All Blacks

Predictive analytics running shops

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Energy usage accounts for 60% of the operational carbon costs in running shops. In with its 2020 vision for sustainability, Sainsbury’s set in motion a series of CSR strategies. A revamped refrigeration strategy prioritised carbon reductions, although not necessarily reduced costs.

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Fridges and freezers were all fitted with devices to monitor performance (primarily energy usage and temperature). This information, pushed every 15 seconds, provided an alarm strategy so that any unit that strays from its optimal temperature can be identified immediately. This systematic approach ensures that all food types are kept at the right temperature for as long as possible, so that customers always receive the freshest goods.

Sainsbury’s then transitioned from active management to predictive management. With the data being produced by refrigeration units, it was possible to identify which types of cabinet performed best, which refrigerants are most efficient, and to predict which units would need to be serviced and/or have parts replaced. In this way, Sainsbury’s could stay ahead of the curve and react before technical failures caused serious losses.

Data and digital technology is being used to deliver solutions to business problems making it Better for customers ( more environmentally friendly and always available fridge and freezers) Simpler for colleagues in store ( central predictive control means fridges are never down and have to be emptied and repaired) and Cheaper for the organisation ( less energy, better refrigeration contracts less stock wasted)

a reputation that preceeds you

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It’s 6pm, still thirty minutes to go before Bubbledogs opens its doors for dinner. The line snakes down the street and around the corner. A few people have bookings for tables of six or more, but not many, most are walk-ins who know that if you’re not dining with a bigger group and have no reservation (house rules), then you need to get there early. Bubbledogs reputation precedes it.

There is clearly no time for the management to worry about what the dozen other restaurants within walking distance are doing and no urgency to allocate resources to traditional marketing campaigns.

Like the Bubbledogs team every one of us has a choice. We can spend the majority of our time either managing our reputation or keeping pace with our competitors or we can deliberately create the reputation that precedes us.

What’s the story you want customers to tell about your brand?

[Take time to write it down].

How will you make that happen?

Obama- in the subscription business

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The Obama presidential campaign 2008/2012 created a step change in how data was used in political campaigning. Obama campaign mobilised  a team of experts to give him an unfair advantage against the other candidates. It could be seen as very sophisticated but in reality they were just applying all the simple skills that data-driven Direct Marketers have been using for decades, but doing it with discipline, at scale, and speed.

Obama’s team focused on making sure that Democrats voters would come out to vote on election day, and built a machine that enabled people to be involved and donate their money, time and energy to the cause.

Obama campaign was in “the subscription business”

Obama had clear purpose, but also ran a political campaign in a professional business like manner. he had clear data-driven targets, reviewed daily. Obama built an excellent customer experience that micro-listened so they could target with precision to maximise the impact of communications. They built an engagement ladder to move through in a monitored way from aware, to supporting to donating or actively volunteering.

All messaging was A/B tested to maximise the effectiveness of targeting for different groups. They know that an email from Michelle Obama would appeal more to one group, or from a local Oklahoma name in Oklahoma would work better for a different group.

This enable mass fund raising and mass engagement of grass-roots supporters, and blew away the Republican Party candidates twice.

The rest is history…. until 2016.

a very female community

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Now I’m not one into female fashion ( just ask my wife) , nor do I hang around the shops but I do love how Tamara Hill-Norton has used data to create a passionate community with Sweaty Betty since she set up the first boutique in Notting Hill in 1998 . Initially targeting “yummy Mummies” but now broadened out to connect fitness and fashion.

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Sweaty Betty is a British retailer specialising in active wear for women, featuring in 30 UK stores and 2 new ones in New York and selling significantly digitally. Sweaty Betty aims to ‘inspire women to find empowerment through fitness’.

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Sweaty Betty distinguish themselves from the competition by moving beyond traditional retail practices to focus on building an active community. This is achieved through regular Sweaty Betty fitness classes that are actively promoted to its customers. These classes range from yoga, run clubs and boot camps right through to Pilates, and are held in Sweaty Betty stores around the world. For those who can’t attend in person, there are also online fitness classes.

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Sweaty Betty was very clear on their purpose and had a very clear story that was developed starting inside the organisation, and building out into their community. A data driven approach to brand building and creating community, loyalty and interaction meant people starting telling the Sweaty Betty story themselves.

Sweaty Betty leverages a broad range of data-driven social tools – Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are all used. They also created ‘brand ambassadors’ and allowed customers to have a conversation, helping to underline the sense that Sweaty Betty is a ‘fitness community rather than just a sportswear retailer