The Storynomics Seminar takes a New Approach to Marketing: Storytelling

If there’s one thing we know that works when driving a brand message, it’s storytelling. Storytelling is something we talk a lot about in marketing, and are very aware that the right narrative can take your brand from ho-hum to resonating with an audience of thousands.

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In an effort to expand my storytelling skills and knowledge, I will be attending the Storynomics masterclass with acclaimed film and TV project consultant and author of Story, Robert McKee. After years of creative success, he’s taken his storytelling approach and adapted it to a set of teachings to help marketers transform their stories from interruption to entertainment. In addition to the hands on training McKee will provide, Tom Gerace, CEO of Skyword will also be presenting on how to use storified messaging to achieve marketing and brand goals.

I’m looking forward to attending the seminar and embracing the learn part of Walker Sands’ three pillars, learn, support, do. If you care to join me on March 29 in Chicago, register here using code WALKERSANDS.

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Can’t make the Chicago seminar? No worries. You can also find Storynomics in Los Angeles, New York and Boston.

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Friday Five: 2/13 – 2/17

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Happy Friday! Before you head into the weekend, check out some of the top tech headlines from the week:

Facebook is about to launch a standalone TV app – Business Insider

Facebook’s newest app is strictly for television and allows users to watch videos from friends or pages they like in addition to the top trending Facebook Live videos. This television app will have features similar to YouTube and Netflix where videos are recommended based on what users have already watched. The app is expected to be available soon on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs.

Microsoft open sources a simulator for training drones, self-driving cars and more -TechCrunch

Microsoft created a beta version of a virtual training world for AI and other robotics technologies where they learn how to navigate real-world situations. This machine learning environment allows robots to encounter real-world situations that are potentially confusing such as reflections, shadows and sun glare. Microsoft claims their simulations are highly-accurate, aiming to provide an effective system for educating autonomous flight technologies.

Amazon launches Chime, its own Skype for Business – Mashable

This week Amazon launched its own video-conferencing service, Chime, in effort to deliver frustration-free meetings to companies. Chime allows users to join or “run late” to a meeting in a single click, and the solution also suppresses background noise of any meeting participants. Amazon’s service allows for internal and external meeting communications.

Apple tiptoes into producing original video but plans to pick up pace – New York Times

During the Grammys this past Sunday, Apple aired a trailer for its first original show, “Carpool Karaoke,” a spinoff of James Corden’s late night sketch. This is one of two shows Apple plans to release via Apple Music. The future of Apple in the video streaming space is also to include scripted dramas such as Planet of the Apps, a reality TV series following iPhone app developers.

You could soon make a phone call from your Amazon Echo – Fortune

Amazon and Google are bringing back “landlines.” Both companies anticipate rolling out calling capabilities this year for their Amazon Echo and Google Home devices. This means the ability to make or receive calls via the AI devices. The companies foresee roadblocks such as privacy and telecom regulation concerns in addition to issues switching from speaker to handset when a user attempts to leave the house.

Did you come across any interesting tech news this week? Tweet us your favorite story from the week @WalkerSands!

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Andrew Cross Partners with Lightswitch to Kick Off 4-Part Innovators Video Series

Video plays an important role in marketing, and has gained momentum in recent years. One scroll through Twitter and Facebook and it’s apparent that videos are resonating with consumers.

As a B2B marketing company, we understand the potential for success in videos for our clients. To reflect this, we’ve grown our video service offerings and partnered with outside parties, like Lightswitch, to bring the best in video technology and marketing into our agency.

To kick-off a four part video series with our video partner Lightswitch, Andrew Cross, VP of Public Relations, weighed in on the positive business implications we’ve witnessed with video on B2B marketing. In the first video of the series, Cross notes that more and more companies are investing in video content to tell their story and provide added value to prospects. Likewise, they see ROI in having owned video assets.

With video technology on the rise, we’ve made strategic moves to swiftly join the ranks of other agencies offering video services. Our comprehensive in house team works with clients every step of the way to create videos that share their stories and great work with the online world.

Take a look at our robust video content library here and find the first video in the four part series here. Stay tuned for the next three videos in the series!

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Friday Five: 2/6 – 2/10

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Happy Friday! Read on to catch up with this week’s tech and social media hot topics:

Smartwatches Grow Up – Wall Street Journal

The smartwatch celebrates its third birthday, but Apple isn’t the only one invited to the party. This week, LG debuted two new watches, starting at $250. And Samsung has also released Gear S3, an Android watch with a round face, boasting a classic spinning dial that rings up at $300. However, it will still be a while until smartwatches go mainstream. For now you can find them on the wrists of fitness and digital enhaustists.

Twitter posts big revenue miss for Q4 2016 despite user growth of 4% – Venture Beat

Twitter’s Q4 earnings missed the mark. Investors are still hopeful though. Twitter reported that it had 319 million monthly active users at the end of the quarter, up 4 percent year-over-year and up from 317 million in the previous quarter. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, made a statement explaining that 2016 was a transformative year. But analysts remain concerned about the company’s plummeting ad value. 

Snap will spend $1 billion on Amazon cloud services, amended filing shows –TechCrunch

Snap Inc. revealed that it expects to spend $1 billion on Amazon’s cloud services. This news comes after the company had also committed to spend $2 billion on Google’s cloud infrastructure over the next five years. The cloud services will be used for computing, storage, bandwidth, and other services. Snap also noted that that it may choose to build its own infrastructure in the future to reduce costs.

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4 Tech Trends that Will Dominate the News in 2017

2016 brought exciting technology developments that dominated headlines. Apple made a splash by ditching the headphone jack on it’s latest iPhone model, Snapchat reignited excitement over wearables with their new smart sunglasses, Spectacles, and Oculus Rift finally launched its VR headset.

So what will 2017 bring? Many tech analysts and enthusiasts- Walker Sands included- are already speculating over what innovations will emerge. As we make our way into the New Year, it’s worth taking a look at how the always evolving tech industry will shape our culture and dominate headlines in 2017.

  1. Augmented Reality (AR) Explores the Enterprise. The Pokemon Go craze catapulted AR to the mainstream in 2016, and we’ll likely only see more AR applications in 2017. With “augmented reality” virtual images and information are displayed on top of the physical world. While the success of Pokemon Go created a huge appetite for AR games, expect more enterprises to look for targeted applications of AR with devices like Microsoft’s Hololens. Microsoft is already exploring how the device could improve the construction industry.
  2. Virtual Reality (VR) Gets Real(er). VR is predicted to grow into a $30 billion market as early as 2020. Last year, we saw major strides in the VR space with the launch of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive’s, Samsung’s Gear VR and PlayStation VR. 2017 will likely see a major push in the development of better VR content including video games and film. As VR picks up steam amongst consumers and media companies, we’ll likely see more brands try to incorporate the technology into their marketing efforts.
  3. Mainstream AI and Machine Learning. The success of Amazon’s Echo brought renewed attention to the potential value of virtual assistants. To compete, Google launched Google Home, it’s own smart speaker, and Mark Zuckerberg even built his own AI personal assistant, Jarvis (voiced by Morgan Freeman, no less!). Not to beat, Apple announced it would open up Siri to third-party apps, signalling it will likely integrate the virtual assistant into other devices. Expect chatbots and AI virtual assistants to be integrated into even more devices and applications in 2017.
    As businesses look to drive digital innovation and create business value, we’ll also see more mainstream instances of AI in 2017. Industries ranging from to banking to retail will start using machine learning to create more personalized and efficient customer experiences.  
  4. Autonomous Cars Makes Strides. With nearly every car manufacturer, including new players like startup Faraday Future, as well as transportation service providers like Uber and Lyft aggressively pursuing autonomous driving, we can expect to hear even more about this trend in 2017. At this year’s CES, nearly every car maker showcased their self-driving car technology in an attempt to build consumer excitement. While we may still be a few years away from a fully autonomous vehicle, this year we’ll start to see more of the building blocks that could turn this long-time fantasy into reality. Discussions related to the ethics around self-driving vehicles, the impact on the sharing-economy and what the future of in-car entertainment will look like will also grow.  

Time will tell just how much these four trends actually advance in 2017, but one thing is for sure. Tech innovation, whether from established players like Apple or a new unknown start-up, will continue to upend our lives in exciting new ways. And oftentimes, the most influential technologies are the ones we never expected.

What tech trends do you foresee dominating headlines in 2017? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @WalkerSands!

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Visit the Walker Sands website. We specialize in PR and marketing services for technology solution providers and B2B companies. Walker Sands Digital offers a wide array of digital marketing solutions and helps firms to get the most from their online presence.
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