Straight Talk with Nigel Hollis

Nigel Hollis Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst, Kantar Millward Brown

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

What nAIgel can teach us about artificial intelligence

What happens when you feed a cutting-edge, text-generation AI with two books and over ten years of blog posts? We've been exploring OpenAI's GPT-2 text generation model and it is impressive, but it still needs a lot of coaxing to get the results that we want from it. Sadly, I think it will be some time before it can write my blog posts for me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

City mobility needs a diet

Cities around the world are facing huge challenges, not the least facilitating the daily commute as roads become ever more congested. To change this behavior, municipalities may need to follow similar advice to that offered in the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come”.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

In a data-driven world, the Movin’On summit was refreshingly human

For those of you unfamiliar with Movin'On, it is a world summit created to develop sustainable mobility solutions and is often compared favourably to Davos or CES for its reach and influence. Here are my impressions from the recent summit in Montreal.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Are the 4Ps still relevant? You have to be joking.

The fact that a title asking, ‘Are the ‘4Ps of marketing’ still relevant?’ appears on a website like Marketing Week just points to the desperate state of marketing today. If you do not get the 4Ps right you might as well donate your marketing budget to charity. It will generate a far better return that way.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Has craft beer lost its cultural capital?

Ben Marshall referred me to this article which suggests the growth in craft beer consumption is largely the result of people seeking cultural capital. Consuming craft beer and decrying mainstream brands was a way to gain standing with your peers but which may now face a countervailing trend of “beer poptimism”.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Thank you, Professor Sharp. Yes, thank you.

Recently, Mark Ritson wrote a piece in Marketing Week titled, “We should thank Byron Sharp, not attack him.”  And I think Ritson is right, we do need to thank Professor Sharp. We do not have to agree on everything, but in laying out some fundamental truths about how marketing works Sharp is laying the ground for real progress in how marketing is practiced.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Is marketing a less reliable practice than finance?

As a panelist at Effectiveness Week in the UK the other week, I got to hear Patrick Barwise review some findings from his book, ’The 12 powers of a marketing leader : how to succeed by building customer and company value’. Barwise asserted that marketing sounds less reliable than other business practices because it mostly deals with the future. But is marketing inherently less reliable than finance?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Is it time to dust off the recession playbook?

A recent piece by J. Walker Smith, Executive Chairman of The Futures Company, reminded me irresistibly of a scene from the 2009 Star Trek movie. With the Enterprise failing to resist the gravitational pull of a black hole Kirk cries, “All she’s got isn’t good enough”.