Keys to understand how digital communication will progress in 2020

Now that 2020 has arrived, it is time for predictive and trend analysis for this new year. Communication has been immersed in a process of change for years, first with the arrival of the Internet and the development of what came to be known as Web 2.0 (which was accompanied by the sucess of social networks) and now with the emergence of powerful technologies that are transforming different economic and social areas. In this case we are referring to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence or blockchain, among others.

The truth is that, for another year, communication is facing a series of challenges and a number of unresolved issues that have been dragging on for some time. The digital ecosystem is evolving rapidly and communication, especially corporate communication, must make the most of all the advantages that it offers without giving up perhaps more traditional but also highly contributing environments.

Following the basic rules of this type of analysis, we will now describe some of the keys that will mark the development of communication this year that we have just started.

More content. It is clear that the content boom will continue to be key in 2020. Within the existing formats, as has also been highlighted, video will continue to be the king and this has been highlighted by the latest studies. Some of these studies estimate that video consumption will account for no less than 80 percent of Internet traffic this year. There are two relevant characteristics that define the content: it is ephemeral content, hence the success of formats such as Instagram’s “stories”, and very short and agile content, since it is usually consumed in “micro- moments”. In addition, the mobile phone is a leader in content consumption. It is increasingly evident the growth of content consumption through mobile devices and what is called multi-screen consumption. This type of consumption will continue to mark the generation of content by companies and organizations.

Digital storytelling. In recent years it has become clear that it is not enough to offer quality content, it is essential that it is presented in the best possible way. Innovation and creativity are two factors on which the generation of content is leveraged today. Immersive content, stories in social networks … are the digital narratives through which companies and organizations can reach their audiences.But we cannot forget another component. Good content has to engage the audience, connecting and interacting with them. Storytelling is indispensable today. Although based on facts, stories have to reach the emotions.

The monetization of social networks, pending. There are two pending subjects in relation to social networks. On the one hand, its monetization, an aspect that continues to be a “must” for companies and, on the other hand, the increasingly exhaustive analysis of the digital community that revolves around an organization, which requires greater knowledge so that The company’s relationship with it is more effective. Companies and organizations want to meet their audiences in order to offer them the best content and the best products. Although steps have already been taken in this regard, there is still a way to go.

Branded content. In recent years there has been an increase in this type of advertising format in Spain. This is because the public is tired of traditional advertising formulas and looks for the most attractive alternative brands. It is reasonable to think that this trend will grow in 2020 and that brands will continue to look for ways to generate content of value and quality for their audiences. 

Fight against fake newsEveryone knows that the only way to combat misinformation and spreading false news, this is credibility and trust. Two values ​​that today are down in the perception that users have of brands and organizations. Recovering that credibility and trust is the way to fight fake news and there is only one formula for it: transparency. Organizations today must work incessantly to appear before their audiences as transparent and open to dialogue.     

Emerging technologies. There are many aspects that must be considered in this section. We could, in fact, dedicate more than one article to the effects of its implementation in organizations. However, we are going to stop only in two tools: big data and artificial intelligence. From the first we must say that the emergence of big data in the field of corporate communication provides enormous possibilities, among which the micro segmentation of the public to know them better and that of hyper personalizing the content addressed to these segmented audiences.

It is clear that both opportunities have a negative face in the form of challenges, because we must not forget that in order to carry out these tasks it is essential that companies opt for the hiring of professionals with the appropriate profiles to carry out the data analysis.

On the other hand, and in relation to artificial intelligence, it is necessary to comment that one of the great trends in this area is the use of software, robots or applications that allow companies to reach those audiences of maximum interest. In this sense, so-called bots or chatbots have been developed enormously, computer programs that assume repetitive tasks through the Internet, managing to extract relevant data from users and then use them in multiple decisions. It is at this point where you can find big data and AI. Algorithms developed from the analysis of massive data from users drive the consumption of content in the direction that organizations want. A clear example can be found on platforms such as Netflix, which bases content suggestions on data analysis and processing using algorithms. The power of these can even determine the preferences of the public at the time of consumer certain content or products.

 



Bárbara Yuste
Digital Communication Manager at Proa Comunicación

The CEOs Guide for the 2020s

Worldwide companies are entering 2020 after a decade of large-scale digital expansion and transformation, not forgetting the major changes and polarization of the political scene. “There are many uncertainties and concerns: we expect increased political and economic volatilities, growing social discontent and further slowdown in growth. Nevertheless, the opportunities are palpable in the atmosphere. Managers recognize that to take advantage of them, they and their companies must be open to changes,” notes Ramon Baeza, Managing Director & Senior Partner at Boston Consulting Group.

Increasingly, managers are being influenced by this change, especially from those whose companies are most prepared to be successful in the next decade. The six key issues on the agendas of top managers will be:

 

There will be no place for mediocrity
In the business world, fortune is uncertain. The speed at which a company moves from the top to the bottom has doubled in the last 20 years. The most audacious CEOs react by managing the risk of incurring losses (which involves resizing operations in declining businesses and maximizing cash flow) while investing with determination where it really matters. Investing to be successful in new areas often requires broad-based bets where focus, decisiveness and speed to scale are vital. There will be no room for second-rate teams in the future.

Seek opportunities to change the rules of the game
The best managers try to get a view of what’s coming. They look for the cracks in major trends to detect opportunities and materialize dramatic changes that have the potential to double, triple or quadruple the size or value of the company. Companies can use many skills to identify opportunities: they can build a future for themselves; innovate through a series of iterations; and analyze patent data in detail. They can look closely at trends in the venture capital industry and what new companies are doing, especially in less fashionable places such as the Greater Bay Area of China and Israel. The more adventurous managers also look for certain types of acquisitions, e.g. buyouts of loss-making or failing businesses that could complement the portfolio of a strong company.

All companies will be technological, independently of the sector
Most companies need to reorganize to take advantage of new man-machine opportunities, whatever sector they belong to. To be competitive in terms of speed, product and innovation, and to recruit and retain the most talented people in the market, companies will have to adopt a modular technology and data architecture in the back-end, combined with highly scalable processes and Agile equipment in the front-end. We know of financial services companies that are digitizing their mass sales and “relationship management through applications” businesses. Large industrial companies are working to become bionic and are creating units to develop software and technology platforms, while gaining value from their traditional assets. Let’s face it: all companies will be technological.

All business will remain people’s business

The mainstreaming of technology as an enabler is crucial for companies in all economic sectors. But at the end, it is people who will continue to make a difference. Transformation can only happen if most of the team is mobilized and trained, data and technology specialists are brought in, and the most talented employees are retained. In the end, it will be the people who must redefine and rebuild all the processes and business models. This will require motivated teams and a lot of enthusiasm – ensuring that the company is a workplace that attracts and retains the brightest people, no matter how traditional or analogue the industry.

Be more flexible in organizing and managing work

So many companies don’t know how to get out of their old ways of organizing work. They should all be faster at reorganizing work, exchanging teams (and leaders) and validating new developments quickly. Agile@Scale should be the way to go. The most successful companies are always making quick adjustments, rather than waiting and making big moves. Forward-thinking managers often wonder whether a company should own all its business units and functions. Perhaps one can be more agile, grow faster and increase profitability by segregating certain operations and turning them into independent businesses in which it invests through private equity firms or other external sources of capital.

Be multilocal and define a beneficial purpose for society
Successful companies are increasingly addressing local issues that are directly related to public policy and people’s lives. Think of the technological giants and the huge amounts of data they hold, and how data protection issues place these companies at the center of important and controversial political, legislative and social debates. The best companies will position themselves as local, empathetic and resourceful players in societies and communities around the world. They will leverage their unique capabilities to help governments, institutions and civic organizations achieve social goals, in addition to pursuing their own business goals.

 

“In resume, leaders who want to be prepared for the challenges of the next decade must be quick to change mentality and approach, independently of their current success,” concludes Ramon Baeza.

AI, a great revolution for businesses

Technology experts are convinced that artificial intelligence will be the most important lever for business transformation in the coming years. Nevertheless, they also point out that, in the Spanish case, despite companies being aware of the value of this revolution, are still quite cautious about implementing this technology in their organizations, staying in most cases in experimental projects or pilot tests.

In an article published in the financial journal Expansión, the partner responsible for BCG Gamma in Iberia, Llorenç Mitjavila, who explains that in Spain there is a positive circle for the development of artificial intelligence. ” The access to talent, the consolidation of Spain as a technological and innovation hub and an eminently positive media coverage contribute to a generalized optimism for artificial intelligence”.

It also highlights that not only are many large Spanish companies investing in AI solutions, but there is also a start-up environment based on these technologies that are managing to attract quite significant investments.

 

Access the full article (PDF)

Running across Picos de Europa

Oscar Sebrango, Picos Xtreme CEO, explains what the Picos Snow Run is about. It takes place in a unique location in the Picos de Europa. It is the only race of this type in the north of Spain, giving it an exclusive and innovative approach.

La Cama Sol, publisher of fine books

Javier Santiso, founder and editor of the club and the publishing house La Cama Sol, details in a new video of PROA Comunicación what the project consists of. As they define themselves, “La Cama Sol is a memory of the future: a publishing house of beautiful books, founded in 2017, with a dozen books published. They were inspired by a dream, twenty years ago, in the streets of Paris, to make quality and unique books. They enjoy working with poets, painters and sculptors, to develop special and exclusive collaborations. Sometimes their books also include magnified reality, something pioneering, blending the modern with the beauty”.

 

This is how an effective cybersecurity plan is developed

In order to have an effective cybersecurity plan, first of all one must know what assets need to be protected, whether they are tangible or intangible (buildings, computers, programs, data…). Once known, one must investigate the possible vulnerabilities in order to determine the risks. What is the purpose of the plan? To prevent, avoid or eliminate those risks.

In the first half of 2017, many computers around the world were affected by a harmful program called “WannaCry“, which once executed on the computers encrypted the data in such a way that it prevented the normal execution of the programs. And users were forced to pay in bitcoin at a hidden network address. Once the payment was made, they received the key to decode the data, and were able to return to normal, if such an abusive situation could be called that, when both individuals and employees received an email simulating a known company and ran an attachment.

Why were both individuals and companies affected? Because the course they followed until they fell into the trap was easy and simple, since in both cases they had received an email simulating a company known in the market and they executed an attached program starting the process, becoming unstoppable. Could the previous situation have been avoided?

Collaboration, intentional?

Nowadays, we know that there are many people in the world dedicated to understanding the vulnerabilities of operating systems, whether for large corporations or for security services, even sponsored by countries, which could make it easier for this group to carry out intrusive cyber-attacks on computers. But to this specialization we must add how important is the collaboration, intentional or not, of people who receive or use emails. Some additional questions arise: does everyone need to have access to the internet? can everyone enter or extract data by clicking on an external hard drive, (pendrive) or similar? which employees can have open communications? are the access keys used secure? If we have equipment in our charge, do we apply the security policies that software manufacturers recommend? It has been observed, and it is well known, that even though the vulnerability is known, many companies do not apply the appropriate policies.

All this leads us to think about how many resources, in time and money, should be devoted to cybersecurity and how far to go. Questions that everyone has to answer in one way or another. Finally, in order to avoid cyber security being taken as an activity that prevents the daily development of any business and to live it as an ally that allows working in a safe way, even if certain processes and procedures have to be followed, we must have a proper communication policy.


Manuel García Ramírez
MGR Consultants IT y Security Manager

The sale of sports rights: a shot in the foot by the promoters?

It is a fact that television audiences, as a general trend, are falling in the world of sports. Are we simply in a transition period from analog to digital models, or the “mandamases” of the various competitions, guided by the short-term money from the sale of rights to payment platforms, are creating damage from irreparable consequences?

At this time, there are usually annual awards ceremonies for many sports competitions and federations and the typical run-run of the conversations, they often revolve around the same theme: There are no sponsors. And unless there is going to be like this, keep it up! -it is added quickly as a postscript -. ¿ Why not get sponsors? Because there is not enough audience.

This type of conversation lately results in the most usual sports forums and is a consequence of the alarm lights that are jumping in the marketing departments of the companies, thinking with much less joy than in the past the investment in sports sponsorship. However, if you continue to believe in sports sponsorship as an ideal tool for the promotion and communication of your company, the return on investment before television audiences and digital environments well below the usual / expected expectations begins to be questioned.

The case of Repsol is relevant, sponsor for two decades of the Honda team in MotoGP, which gave a warning at the beginning of the season about the unsustainability of maintaining a sponsorship in a sport that just four years ago gathered 5 million people in front of a television and at present, it rarely congregates more than 300,000 from its passage from open television to pay platforms. That this happens in Spain, in an absolutely sweet moment with Marc Márquez’s dominance in the category and the spectacular nature of his careers, only deepens that concern and questions the approach.

The situation in the field of four wheels is not much more encouraging, where despite the spectacular season of Carlos Sáinz Jr. in the McLaren team, there do not seem to be many Spanish companies willing to support the young Madrid driver, except in the case of Estrella Galicia beer, which has compensated with excellent sponsorship activation, very low audience figures (compared to when it was open TV) by Movistar TV.

The problem is that worldwide the situation is similar, suffice it to say that in little more than five years, Formula 1 has lost about 125 million TV viewers in the more than 625 million that had in 2012. As in Any business when customers begin to lose massively, are looking for reasons of the most varied, so as to avoid getting to the bottom of the problem, which in my opinion in this case is that a lot of arrogance in general has been sinned by both of the promoters of competitions as of the managers of the payment platforms. To think that where you could see something for free before, now the pay- per- view followers would come in droves because ‘the quality was greatly improved’, has shown the time that they were forecasts far removed from reality.

As I said, this is not an exclusive Spanish case, because in the European continent we can see the difficulties that the untouchable (until now) and almighty football have, to match the audience figures that not long ago enjoyed, because having its disaggregated vision on various platforms depending on whether they are League, Copa del Rey, Champions, or Europa League (or even selections), the total numbers of the sport may not go far from their best times depending on cases, but category by category the descent has been inevitable.

Let’s go to the data, such as those offered by the ‘Global sport fan survey ‘ of the company CSM Sport & Entertainment. The 2018 study tells us that there is in Spain and the United Kingdom about 20% of the adult population very interested in following both ‘La Liga’ and the ‘Premier’ respectively. Without a doubt they are very high data, but nevertheless, if in the same sample you are wondering about what is your favorite sport, in “soccer” butt countries such as Spain or Italy, it is surprising that only approximately 50% opt for football as a favorite sport and if you look at countries like France and the United Kingdom, this figure drops to just 35% of sports fans.

If we continue to deepen the sport-to-sport data later, we see that among sports fans other than football, such as motorcycling, tennis or cycling, there are about an important 25% who claim to be simply sports fans in general, that is they are delighted that the sport they put on TV, but come on, they are not ‘fanatics’ enough to follow it on a paid platform.

If we continue to search through the data, they will confirm more and more what we already suspected and that is that in the end the payment platforms, they are only able to attract the very fans of their sport and leave the fans to others sports that as we see are many. Fans, that although it is not their favorite sport, if they made it easy (in general TV on the open to understand us) if they would follow. In the end, the very sport-to-sport fans together can add up many, but the numbers are quite disaggregated.

Payment platforms

When promoters are asked about the negative effect that the step to pay per vision has for sport monitoring, the answer is usually ‘that it is very cheap’ and that payment should therefore not be the reason. To some extent they may be right, but the fact that a football fan, who at the same time likes to follow motorcycles, tennis, golf, etc., is not going to be paid at the same time to Movistar TV, to DAZN, to Canal Golf et cetera and so on with all the necessary platforms to follow your favorite sports. In the end, you would need more or less to make an excel sheet of receipts and places of emission to clarify where everything is, where before it was (and free) only the zapping of general television.

Do not forget also that in difficult times economically speaking, the first thing that is cut is this type of expenses, even more considering the amount of entertainment available today through the Internet completely free. The result is that you cancel all your subscriptions or at most you stay only with what you consider essential for your hobby.

Independent of this phenomenon, a result of the proliferation of payment platforms and the consequent increase in supply entertainment at all levels with Netflix, Amazon Video and other, more beyond the sporting arena, is also known for some years, by part of the promoters aging their fan base.

It is a fact that the younger public decants today by tracking other very different sport traditional options such as video games or channels YouTube or Instagram. It is logical that they are worried about it and that they take measures to approach them and seduce them with offers more adapted to their tastes, but in my opinion, they have generally launched into a career quite suicidal to attract the young public, neglecting completely and not spoiling to that bulk of followers between 45-65 years who are considered ‘old’. They forget, that if you do not make it very complicated for those ‘old men’, they would continue to watch their favorite sports on average general TV for at least an average of 20 years. Two decades!!

It is perhaps spoken therefore, with too much disdain of general television forgetting that on weekends, when you are away from home, on vacation or simply at any time of the day in your own homes many people do not want to go crazy with different platforms and They want to simply see ‘what goes on TV’. Much disdain with these people, but beware, that home to home, bar to bar, were those who ended up giving those millions of followers that once were so attractive to companies, when investing in sports sponsorship. Not everyone is as ‘tecchie’ and digitally active speaking as managers often assume from their offices. Here we have a clamorous example of the famous trap in which one can fall for the lack of correlation of market studies with the harsh reality.

Sports promoters, in my opinion, have not considered either, that in addition the model of payment platforms offering such exorbitant amounts for the very low rights and subscription fees are not sustainable in the long term. It is logical that platforms do in order to gain market share affiliate as more quickly as possible, but probably guided by a short – sighted view of the huge sums that have put them on the table, promoters and why not say it with the support of its participants have opted for the most crude mode of ‘bread for today and hunger for tomorrow’ have gone unchallenged one after the other towards this pay-per-view model.

It reminds me that no less than twenty years ago I had the opportunity to participate in sports broadcasts of what was then called Digital Satellite Channel and I did not hear anything around me that “this is the future”“conventional television is dead” and similar comments. Well, be very careful with these dinosaurs, because sometimes they resist “dying” much better than expected.

In this sense, it is very illustrative that in the United States, a paradigm in all this type of audiovisual and sports issues, the great traditional sports such as football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey and Nascar motorsports, are also suffering a lot with the audience drops.

Entertainment oversupply

The FOX, ABC or NBC sports platforms have a cost per affiliate much less profitable than expected, as a result of disintegration and especially entertainment oversupply. The one that is leading it best is ESPN, the Disney sports channel, which opts for a different syndication model with a presence on many Comcast or DirectTV- type platforms and consequently ends up having much more arrival and better tracking and economic numbers. 

It is also very significant that the biggest sporting event in America, such as the American Football Super Bowl (NFL), hit the audience ceiling in 2015 and is the first time since there are records that chained three consecutive years of falling audience. This year it picked up a bit (it is said as a consequence of the legalization of sports betting in many states), but it is admitted since it will be very difficult to return to the great figures of yesteryear and, as a consequence, the sponsorship rates and the Number of companies interested in sponsoring will certainly go down.

In short, in an environment such as the current one of an enormous offer of audiovisual and digital entertainment, I think it is not a good idea to put barriers to your traditional followers with payment platforms and difficulties when it comes to the general monitoring of sports. I have always believed that the ideal model for sponsorship money to reach the sport is to make both models coexist. Create enough difference in quality so that the ‘fanatic’ subscribes to the payment platform and the ‘occasional’ can continue watching it through the general TV.

In the background, it comes to business as usual. No magic recipes, but compromise solutions.

 


 

Pablo de Villota
Director of Sports & Entertainment at Proa Comunicación

 

“Communication companies need to facilitate dialogue.”

Casimiro García Abadillo, the Independent’s director, exposes the situation of journalism and the journalistic occupation at the present time, reviewing also the evolution of the press as a mechanism of power. He also shares his vision of the payment wall as the future of the digital press and highlights the link between social networks and journalism. Finally, he gives his opinion on the role of communication consultancies and their relationship with the media: “communication companies need to facilitate dialogue”.

Physical Exercise and Brain

The brain, like muscles, can be atrophied when is not trained. Physical exercise is antidepressant, anxiolytic and releases endorphins producing elevates self-esteem, well-being, positive thoughts and is a poly-pill that prevents many diseases. The physical exercise produces the liberation of the factor of growth similar to the circulating insulin in blood, that enters the brain to contribute in the production of new neurons in the hippocampus, necessary for the new memories. Most of the circulating IGF is of hepatic origin and according to some studies, in the event of lack of physical activity, they die within 21 days.

When muscles are exercised with moderate intensity, they produce irisin, a brain protection factor. It improves memory and, increasing oxygenation of the brain tissue, produces greater mental agility, better balance. We have no doubt that it is the best anti-ageing pill. This is the deleterious effect of sedentarism on people’s intelligence. And the preventive effect against mental deterioration. Brain stimulation and its maintenance in humans would be achieved through different stimulating experiences: learning new things, studying, writing, establishing human relationships, emotional balance, sustained mental activity… We know the mechanisms through which exercise has a direct chemical action on the proliferation and survival of new neurons.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) studies have reported changes in the blood flow of the toothed gyrus when exercising. The latest research has indicated that moderate regular exercise may improve the immune system. Various mechanisms contribute to this, such as the increase in the number and functionality of NK cells (lymphocytes, natural killers), and the number of dendritic cells, the fundamental axis of our defenses or the anti-inflammatory effects of regular exercise. The NK (Natural Killer) cell is a lymphocyte, and a component of the innate immune system for the defense of the organism. It intervenes in the destruction of already infected cells and cancer cells, as well as regulating immune responses. This shows how exercise prevents and cures.

There is also evidence of the relevant role played by serotonin and learning and the exercise of memory. During exercise and afterwards serotonin is produced, as well as in a good diet of our intestinal flora that also produce it. Birds before their migratory movements segregate serotonin that impels them to form a group and start the route. The antidepressants can increase the volume of the hippocampus that diminishes in the depressions sustained in the time. Depression has to do with inflammation of the hippocampus.

Due to atrophy damages produced by sedentary life, routine, impoverished environment, so predominant, so promoted, and contrary to the thought and cultivation of the mind. A report has been presented in Spain by the Centre for Sports Studies of the Rey Juan Carlos University which concludes that physical inactivity is responsible for 13% of deaths. It takes up to 52,000 lives.

Important to mention, is the huge amount of money that we spend on traffic dead but we do almost nothing for this problem. Some say that we will not be able to pay pensions in the future and we deny that we will not be able to deal with the expenses that obesity will cause either. Before we die, we spend millions on the treatment of diseases that cause this life without exercise. According to projections, 80% of men will be obese in ten years and we will spend three billion on keeping them alive.

The role of vitamin D

The daily exercise improves the pulmonary function, the transporter efficiency of the oxygen in the red blood cells, protects against all types of cancers. If we want to prevent vascular diseases and keep the heart in good condition, let’s prescribe physical exercise, Mediterranean diet and sun without skin protection in the first hour of the morning or the last hour of the afternoon, also in the same way in children. Is recommended ten minutes of sunbathing and if we can’t, we have to test our blood to check the level of vitamin D.

If we do not have the right level of it, in the first year of life, during pregnancy or lactation, or from 45, the body will activate the parathyroid glands that extract calcium from our bones and babies will result in poor bone formation, (osteomalacia) and in adult’s osteoporosis, related to their lack with inflammatory diseases. It acts on the immune system and on the proper functioning of our brain. The vitamin-hormone D we will get from fish, egg yolk, dairy products and in no case from vegetable drinks that, in a pointless way, have been imposed as substitutes for an essential food such as whole milk that we need for its contribution of calcium without which vitamin D will not serve alone.  The daily physical exercise of impact and moderate force is a bone generator and activates the endocrine function of the muscles that, among other substances, release irisin as anti-aging, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetes.

We are not shocked by the gradual death that so many thousands of people that try to die because of this mentality of denying and not perceiving the damage that we are doing ourselves with sedentarism, bad food or to our own planet, to our language with the trivial use of English, to our culture and our history, to our social health and to everything that fragments the cohesion that is so important at this moment.

*This article is part of my next book “The brain we have. With which we will not go very far”.

 


José Antonio Rodríguez Piedrabuena 
Specialist in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. Specialist in management training, group and couple therapies.

Marketing and Communication in Consulting and Professional Services Companies

Roberto Bodegas, KPMG’s partner in charge of Marketing and Communication in Spain, participates in a new video for Proa Comunicación’s tenth anniversary. As a member of the management committee of KPMG, he has answered questions related to the evolution of marketing and communication during the last decade, the profile of Director of Communication in a company like KPMG and what he considers essential in a communication consultancy, as well as valuing the development of KPMG in recent years.