Autonomous Trucks of the Future

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The age of autonomous cars is upon us and it’s not only passenger vehicles we can expect to change! The Volvo Autonomous Trailer AT404 explores what we might expect from the brand, known for making hardworking tractor/trailers, were they to develop an autonomous ground cargo shipping system.

The cabin, where before there was a driver, becomes an extra loading space. This is followed by not just one large trailer, but a group of modular containers that are held together via electromagnetic tech. Almost entirely autonomously, different containers can join, detach from, and be delivered to the destination with more efficiency, quickness and ease.

Designer: Daesoon Hwang

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The Social Media Content Management Plan for Success

Content is the lifeblood of social media. Unless you’re a famous celebrity with a huge following, you need to share great content to keep people interested. But what does that look like? Before you start randomly Tweeting and posting pictures on Instagram, create a social media content management plan to guide you along the way.

Having a plan in place will help you stay organized, plan ahead and scale your social media marketing strategy. As your company and social following starts to grow, you spend more time responding to Tweets and juggling multiple profiles. Build a solid foundation now so you don’t have to scramble to figure things out later.

Choose the Right Social Media Content Management Tools

Before we jump into the planning stage, we want to make sure you’re equipped with the right tools. Here are some pieces to include in your social media content management toolkit:

Sprout Social

First and foremost, you need social media management software. Sprout comes with publishing, analytics and engagement features that’ll help you with just about every step of your social media content management plan. You can try Sprout for free with a 30 day trial!

twitter listening

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo lets you see content that was highly shared on social media based on the keywords or websites you enter. You can use BuzzSumo to discover new content ideas and see what topics are popular in your industry.

Buzzsumo Search Results

Google Analytics

Hopefully your social media marketing efforts result in new traffic to your website. You can use Google Analytics to see how many visitors come from each social network, and even measure the quality of the traffic.

google analytics social referrals

Google Alerts

There’s more to social media content than sharing links to blog posts and broadcasting messages. You also need to be on top of the conversations going on about your brand. When people are talking about your company or products on social media, respond to them as quickly as possible to show you care about what your audience thinks. It can also help you earn new leads. Sprout is great for monitoring brand mentions on sites like Twitter, but forums, blog posts and other platforms all have a social component that you should monitor as well.

Google Alerts will send you notifications any time it finds a mention of your brand on a website. You might also want to add alerts for different variations of your brand name, popular products or other important brand keywords.

Google Alerts

This should be enough tools to get you started. You can also check out our huge list of 185 content marketing tools for more suggestions.

Now that you have your toolkit ready, let’s go over how to actually create a social media content management plan.

What Are Your Goals?

Every piece of content doesn’t serve the same purpose. Figuring out what your goals are before you create your content plan gives you direction on where to go.

You might not have the same goals for each network. For instance, you could use Twitter primarily as a customer service platform where you answer incoming questions. But then your goals for Instagram could be to build brand awareness.

Check out our guide on how to create social media goals for some great tips to get started with goal setting. The most important thing to keep in mind is to make your goals SMART:

Here’s a helpful worksheet from Marketing Land to help manage your goals.

smart goals template

With your goals in mind, the next step is to put together some content ideas.

Get Your Ideas Together

Think of this step as a rough draft of your social media content calendar. You don’t need to have the exact copy you want to Tweet or post to Instagram yet, just a general idea of what type of content is a good start.

For example, you might want to host a contest in February for Valentine’s Day, Tweet about fun hashtag holidays or live Tweet an upcoming industry event. You can jot down all those ideas, but don’t worry about crafting the exact posts yet. You’ll get more specific in the next step.

If multiple people work on your social media marketing, this is a great time to bring them together for a brainstorming session. Everyone can pitch in ideas for what you want to publish for the quarter and get the creative juices flowing. Once you’ve come up with some solid ideas, you can go through them all and put together something more concrete.

Organize Your Ideas into a Calendar

Now that you have all of your content ideas, it’s time to put them all into a calendar and plan out your publishing schedule. You’ll probably have a different cadence depending on the networks you choose, so your calendar will give you a bird’s eye view of everything in one place.

There are a few different tactics you can use to put together a calendar like a spreadsheet or even Google Calendar. However, we recommend using a social media content calendar. We have a calendar built into Sprout Social that’s perfect for scheduling your social content.

social media publishing calendar

You can see exactly which networks you’re posting to, which profiles you’re using, any targeting you selected and the content that’s being published.

The biggest benefit of using a calendar like this instead of relying on spreadsheets or external calendars is you have the flexibility to make changes. For instance, if you notice you scheduled a Tweet at the wrong time, you can quickly swap it to the correct time all in your dashboard.

If you have a larger team, having a calendar like this is a major convenience. Everyone can see what’s being published for the next few weeks or months, so nobody’s left in the dark. Also, if you have newer team members scheduling posts, you can use the calendar to make sure they’re publishing at the right times and look over all the content before it goes live.

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A common question about scheduling is how far out should you organize your social media content management plan?

One of our social media managers, Darryl Villacorta, recommends scheduling quarterly. If you have brand specific campaigns that will extend beyond the three-month mark, you don’t need to schedule it all at once. Just have the copy handy and schedule anything outside of the three months later.

Scheduling your content quarterly also helps for posts with a limited shelf life. You don’t want to share stale content or miss an opportunity to post something timely.

Measure & Analyze

After you’ve had a chance to publish some posts and get some engagement, the next step is to analyze and measure the results. The goal is to figure out what works for your audience and what doesn’t. For example, you might notice the Facebook posts you send out in the afternoon aren’t getting any engagement. That could be a sign you need to adjust your posting times.

In order to track all of this, you need social media analytics tools. A lot of the metrics and stats you’ll look at will be based on your goals. You’re checking to see if you’re meeting your goals, where you’re falling short and also to spot any opportunities.

sprout social sent messages report

Start by measuring your results on a weekly and monthly basis. Measuring weekly will give you short-term social media data and the monthly results will allow you to see trends. Then you can measure quarterly to get an even clearer picture of how your content management plan is working out.

You can go beyond just the metrics you’re tracking, and look for opportunities to improve your overall strategy. That means finding your best performing posts and analyzing what made them successful. It could be:

Look for all the little details that cause certain posts to do better than others. Then you can move onto the final step in our process.

Make Changes & Improve

After analyzing your content, you should have an idea of changes you can make to get better results. Now it’s time to put it into action.

You don’t need to completely redo your strategy every month or quarter. Making a bunch of drastic changes all at once makes it difficult to see what works and what doesn’t. Instead, make small adjustments and measure the results.

Over time you’ll refine your strategy and consistently improve. If you notice you’re not gaining any traction after months of sharing content and making changes, then it could be worth making some bigger shifts in your strategy. Social media content management isn’t something you can (or should) set and forget.

As your audience grows and your brand evolves, so will your social media content management plan. Whether it’s publishing more frequently, experimenting with new platforms or sharing different types of content, never get stagnant or complacent with your strategy. Always look for ways to improve, even if its something as minor as Tweeting one extra time per day or trying a new headline formula.

Do you have a social media content management plan in place? Leave a comment and let us know your biggest tip for putting it together.

This post The Social Media Content Management Plan for Success originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Your devices, your data, your server, in your home!

If Hillary Clinton’s online data isn’t safe, I don’t know who’s is. That’s the problem with cloud computing these days, honestly. Everyone’s data is stored on one large server farm owned by an internet giant like Dropbox, or Google, or even Apple’s iCloud (remember the celebrity hacks in 2014?). All the data lies at one place… one attack and everything is compromised.

You could do one of two things to prevent this crisis from happening. Option A is to go completely off the grid. Delete your internet presence so that no further harm can be done. That’s a little extreme if you ask me, which is why there’s option B. Set up your own cloud server. Usually that takes some expertise, a hefty wallet, and a reliable power supply, but we don’t talk about usual here. We’re all about the unusual and the awesome and that’s what the Daplie is. One small unsuspecting cylindrical mass, the Daplie may be mistaken for a thermostat, or a Bluetooth speaker. It’s not. The Daplie is your very own cloud server that you can offload all your data on. Since it lies inside your house, your data is truly yours and safe from large scale attacks on servers owned by large internet conglomerates. Privacy also comes with peace of mind since the Daplie doesn’t rely on a monthly payment or subscription model. It’s your cloud server, in your home. Your data is yours to access (not even Daplie can access your data) forever, and for free. You can configure the Daplie to sync to your devices and storage drives and back up all your data to your own personal cloud and access it anywhere. You even get to choose who you want to share your data with, making the Daplie work just like your online storage service… just more secure, more reliable, and free (since you pay just once)!

The Daplie comes in two parts. One’s the Cloud component, a slick, aluminum and white plastic disc that you can place anywhere in your house. Plug a LAN cable and a DC cable and your Daplie comes to life! Now for storage, Daplie comes with 1Tb storage discs that stack over each other like cylindrical bricks. You can layer storage on top of one other to create up to 4Tb of cloud storage! That’s enough to back up all your devices and data for nearly a decade!

So much better than going amish and stepping off the grid, right?! The Daplie is the best solution to your data storage and security woes. In a world where freedom and privacy are so often compromised, Daplie provides you with the right to own and access your files anywhere, anytime. Because your data, your memories, they belong to you and you alone.

Designer: Daplie Design Team

Buy It Here: $200.00 $329.99

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Save the Data: How to Marry Your Figures With Your Customer Profile

The data revolution is both a blessing and a challenge for the Modern Marketer.

On the one hand, we now have access to more information about our prospects and customers than ever before. On the other, we are confronted with huge volumes of data that have to be properly collated, attributed, and analysed if we are to extract any marketing value.

The end of the linear customer journey

One of the many reasons for this explosion in data is that customers and prospects are now everywhere. People interact with brands from multiple devices, across different channels and in different ways. 

From email to social media, from real-life sales transactions to clicking of a programmatic ad – this plethora of touch points spells the end of the simple linear customer journey.

Instead, we have a fragmented picture of disparate interactions which, on the face of it, looks like a recipe for confusion. But this data doesn’t have to be confusing – quite the opposite.

With the right approach these insights are hugely illuminating.

Data is worthless without being harmonised

The big push today for marketers is to bring together all the various data points generated during interactions, and link them to specific customers. 

The eventual goal is to create a complete (or near complete) and consistent customer profile, holding all the information available to you about where and how that person has interacted with your brand. This includes second and third-party data, as well as your own sources.

Marry your figures with your customer data

Data management platforms are systems designed to aggregate and make sense of all that customer data, bringing together insights gleaned from across different channels, devices, platforms and transactions.

A good data management platform will give your team the power to harness all the potential presented by big data today, by doing the tough job of harmonising and collating it under specific customer profiles.

Break down those silos

In the data-driven marketing world, one thing holding companies and teams back is the perennial problem of data silos. Are your organisation’s different departments holding information about the same customers and prospects, in different, unconnected data stores? The same person may appear on marketing’s list of leads, the sales books and the customer service records.

Kept apart, this disjointed information is a problem - it’s inefficient and often sees duplication. Breaking down the silos means combining all the knowledge into one holistic hub for everyone to access and exploit.

When it comes to data, think big!

Basic attributes like name, industry and location should be the least of what you know about your customers and prospects. Profiles must extend far beyond these simple descriptors to incorporate a much wider online digital footprint.

This involves analysis of online behaviours including search activity, social media engagement and device usage. Data management platforms collect all this and more data, enabling you to more cleverly segment and target your audience with campaigns.

    Takeaways:

Discover how your data can give you more information on your customers, download The Data Driven CMO now. 

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Cutting Edge Cool Audio

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The Rezo speaker was designed for mobility inside the modern home. Not only technically adapted to provide high-quality audio, it features a tasteful fabric front/back cover and a high gloss white finish that blends perfectly to your house’s interior.

Constructed from medium-density fiberboard (MDF), its material combination achieves ideal sound resonation. To further enhance the audio’s low frequency response, each speaker driver has its own dedicated port in a single enclosure to resonate low frequency bass.

Designer: Waseem Chothia

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Reviewed: New Identity for SAS by Bold

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New Identity for SAS by Bold

Established in 1946, SAS (originally an acronym for Scandinavian Airlines System) is the flag carrier of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, making it the largest airline in Scandinavia. With a fleet of more than 160, SAS travels to 119 destinations in Europe, the U.S., and Asia, carrying over 28 million passengers last year. Over the course of this year, SAS has been rolling out a new identity -- logo remains the same-ish -- designed by Scandinavian firm Bold.

Based on data collected by what drives sales we identified and focused on a new target group, the Scandinavian frequent travelers. Meaning those who travel 5+ times per year. This group represent only 12% of the market, but are responsible for a staggering 70% of the airline's overall revenue. To increase willingness to pay in this group would be extremely profitable for SAS, and that became one of our main goals.

We named our new target group "The True Travelers" and the primary purpose of the new identity was to attract them, by creating a brand and community they would like to be a part of. To succeed the brand needed an upgrade in every sense. We needed to make SAS more premium, aspirational and adapted to our digital age. The new visual identity has helped transform SAS to be perceived as a premium and credible brand whose community the target group want to be a part of. Since launch this has meant an increased willingness to pay by 26%, equivalent to a brand value increase of 167 million Euro.

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New Identity for SAS by Bold
A sampling of the old look.

Although the image above is probably messy on purpose to exacerbate the lack of consistency in the existing communications, there was no real connecting thread to the SAS brand, even though they were using a custom sans serif. As you will see, this project is about establishing a consistent identity across all materials. The logo pretty much remains intact other than taking it outside of the box, which allows it to be bigger, smaller, bluer, whiter, and more freely used.

We let the wordmark out of its box, letting it roam free - just like our travelers. It also allowed us to use more of the primary blue color.

The world of a traveler isn´t simply blue. We created a new color palette including several new shades of blue that allows SAS to works towards taking ownership of the color blue through working with a blue-on-blue color concept.

Bold project page

New Identity for SAS by Bold
Logo color options.

I love blue monochromatic palettes and somehow this brings the best out of the logo, giving it an elegance that the default white on blue doesn't have.

New Identity for SAS by Bold
New Identity for SAS by Bold
Updated Scandinavian custom type family.
New Identity for SAS by Bold
"SAS Sky Gradients" created in collaboration with photographer Erik Wåhlström.

These gradients come into play later in the project but it's great to see an analog approach to creating them with the "retro" use of a film camera and developed in a dark room.

New Identity for SAS by Bold
Icon set.
New Identity for SAS by Bold
Graphic elements.

One of the downfalls of airline communications, specially online, is putting prices and alerts on things where photographs of pretty places end up looking like a breakfast cereal box. The elements above, with the sophisticated color palette, will help mitigate (not completely fix) the problem.

New Identity for SAS by Bold
New Identity for SAS by Bold
Stationery.

Now we start getting into some applications with a simple, almost old-school approach to stationery. I bet if there is a corporate guidelines document specifying this look, it will get a Kickstarter reissue in 30 years. I really like the introduction of the kraft paper as a contrasting color to the blue and white. (The same tannish hue that can be seen in the graphic elements.)

New Identity for SAS by Bold
New Identity for SAS by Bold
Livery.

The previous/still existing livery wasn't particularly inspiring but at least the tail of the airplane benefited from a small logo that can be tucked in it. In the new livery, the logo remains in the same place, but the gradient that flows into the fuselage makes it feel looser and less confined. I'm not sure about the red turbines; almost feels like a regulatory color enforced by someone.

New Identity for SAS by Bold
Food packaging. The food patterns "were inspired by cyanotype, a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print."

I'm not a huge fan of the x-ray food -- I do appreciate another analog approach -- but at least it's definitely different and unique. The gradients on the cups and the middle thing (barf bag?), on the other hand, look amazing.

New Identity for SAS by Bold
Menu.
The We Are Travelers campaign was the launch of SAS new strategic position as the choice for the experienced travelers. Broad and proud media was prioritized with a specific focus on clarity, distinctiveness and premium associations.

Bold project page

New Identity for SAS by Bold
New Identity for SAS by Bold
"We Are Travelers" campaign.
TV spot. Charming ad but I think they oversold that flight.
New Identity for SAS by Bold
General ads.

I don't comment much on ads usually but these are really stunning, specially the ones with the oversize "SAS" and the heavy white frame. The typography -- also apparent in the menu -- has a great, bold presence that makes it feel corporate but with a slight edge to it.

Print and digital ads.
New Identity for SAS by Bold
Website.
Summary of everything above (and some more) in video form and with narration.

Overall, this is a fantastic identity redesign that unifies beautifully all of the multiple communications and does so efficiently across mediums, from digital to print, all while infusing it with some personality and establishing a precedent for taking the route less traveled with different approaches like the gradients and food cyanotypes.

Many thanks to our ADVx3 Partners

The Most Convenient Cornflakes Ever

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Milk & Flakes is a cleverly designed packaging solution that makes it possible for kids to have a tasty breakfast treat anywhere from home to school!

Ready to go, right off the shelf, the playfully geometric box is divided into 3 distinct compartments: one that holds milk, another for the flakes and a smaller one in the center that contains a spoon.

All kids have to do is separate the compartments, pour the milk onto the flakes, and enjoy! Great for parents who don’t have a ton of time to prepare breakfast and even better for kids who are crazy for cornflakes!

Designers: Ozge Celebi & Gozde Celebi

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