Omnichannel is a real thing after all – Nielsen

It is becoming increasingly difficult to capture the attention of customers nowadays, but short-attention spans and multiple screens might turn out to be an advantage.

Omnichannel marketing and experiences are up there with the buzziest of buzzwords, and while some might believe it is nothing more than a consultant’s invention to justify their existence, there might be some substance to it after all.

According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, more US adults are engaging content on multiple devices simultaneously. In fact, 45% responded to the survey stating they always or very often have a second device on the go while watching TV. This might sound like a disaster for cash-conscious marketers, though the savvy ones could use it to their advantage.

In terms of what people are doing on the second device, 71% said it was related to what had been viewed on the TV, 41% were messaging friends or family about the content, while 35% said they were looking up a product or service which had been advertised on TV. It is very difficult to link TV advertising back to direct opportunities and revenues, though this research suggests there is some credibility to this omnichannel buzz.

And despite smartphones and tablets evolving to mini-cinema screens with their image quality, the TV is still king.

Nielsen Graph

While the smartphone and other digital devices are clearly having more of an impact on our habits, these trends have not been prominent enough to drag us away from the TV in the living room. Some marketers might prefer the more accountable digital routes to reach customers, but the TV is proving to still be one of the most effective ways to get the message across.

It also suggests that while the landscape is rapidly shifting and evolving, some things never change; 9pm is still the best time to get your brand in front of the consumer.

It does seem there might be some credibility to this omnichannel engagement strategy; sometimes the marketing consultants do get it right, even if it is slightly unpalatable to say.

Xiaomi apologises for misleading UK consumers

Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi says an apparent £1 smartphone offer was meant as a raffle, blaming marketing message lost in translation.

At its launch event in London, Xiaomi announced that for a limited period, users would be able to buy Mi A2 and Mi 8 Lite,  both launched earlier this year, for only £1 from its web-shop. When the time came however, social media was flooded by complaints from frustrated hopefuls who have failed to scoop the jackpot.

Some users decided to take the matter into their own hands. Phil Williams from Stockport managed to dig out the browser script as well as checked the online shopping platform’s developer page, and shared his findings on Twitter.

It turned out that the script was written in the way that as soon as a user clicked “Buy Now”, the browser would return an “out of stock” message, without going through the loop to check the inventory status.

Tweet on Xiaomi stunt 1

Tweet on Xiaomi stunt 2

Tweet on Xiaomi stunt 3

Xiaomi’s official response came in three days later, claiming that it was a lost-in-translation blunder. The so-called “flash sale” in essence was a raffle draw, and only ten smartphones (five pieces of each model) were made available for the lucky ones across three days. Xiaomi explained that “Of the thousands who clicked ‘buy’ simultaneously, our system will randomly select the winners”. However on the Terms & Conditions page linked to the promotion, it was spelled out clearly under “£1 Flash Sale” that “Products available under this sale are limited in quantity and are given away on first-come, first-serve basis.”. Xiaomi has not responded to’s request for clarification of the contradiction.

There are potentially two issues surrounding this case. At the launch event we never heard any mention of lucky draw type of “flash sale”. Rather the message given was very similar to a “Black Friday”-type of “deal”. The misleading promotion message could fall foul of the Advertising Standards Agency. A more serious issue relates to GDPR. All those entering the raffle needed to log in with their Mi account. This would mean that Xiaomi should not keep their data more than the raffle period if the accounts were created specifically for this purpose. It would be interesting to see if this rule is being followed.

Vodafone has one of those gratuitous brand repositioning exercises

Few things seem to illustrate corporate folly more than blowing tons of cash on brand positioning, but that doesn’t stop them persisting with it.

The latest to take the plunge is UK-based operator group Vodafone, which has embarked on its first major brand spasm since the introduction of the ‘power to you’ strapline in 2009. This time some expensive brand consultancies have helped the company come up with the idea that technology ‘…will play a positive role in transforming society and enhancing individual quality of life over the years ahead.’

To represent this digital utopia Vodafone has gone for the new strapline: ‘The future is exciting. Ready?’. The ‘Ready’ bit seems to be especially important, so much so that Vodafone is going to force the English version on all its markets regardless of their spoken language. So in Spain, for example, it will be “El futuro es apasionante. Ready?” as opposed to “El futuro es apasionante. ¿Listo?”

“We believe there are very good reasons to be optimistic about the future as emerging innovations in science and technology begin to have a profoundly positive impact on society,” said Vodafone Group Chief Commercial Operations and Strategy Officer, Serpil Timuray. “Vodafone has a long and proud history of bringing new technologies to hundreds of millions of people worldwide, enhancing quality of life and transforming the workplace. Our new brand positioning is intended to embody Vodafone’s mission and purpose to help our customers and communities adapt and prosper as these remarkable new trends reshape the world.”

To back up this wide-eyed optimism Vodafone commissioned some research that concluded people are really optimistic. Vodafone is also doing a minor tweak to its parenthesis logo, which was first unveiled back in 1998, but the brand timeline video below serves mainly to illustrate how little it has evolved since then. Lastly there’s a video ad that Vodafone plans to inflict on us before long to hammer home the message.