AkzoNobel names creative partner for professional paints business


AkzoNobel has appointed MullenLowe Group as the new creative agency partner for its paints global marketing organisation.  Effective immediately, the new partnership aims to deliver on the growth objectives and business opportunities of AkzoNobel’s professional paints activities.

It follows last year’s appointment of MullenLowe Group as the global creative partner for AkzoNobel consumer paints.

“AkzoNobel has been providing painters with the highest quality paints for more than 200 years,” said David Menko, CMO of the company’s paints business.

“We have a clear requirement for a strong creative partner in order to leverage our global presence and further build our professional brands. We feel MullenLowe Group is the right partner to deliver against our growth ambition for these brands as we continue to lead the way globally via our innovation, disruptive communication, and our passion to make people’s lives more liveable and inspiring with our products, services and tools,” Menko said.

Nuno Pena, global marketing director for AkzoNobel’s professional and pre-deco activities, added: “We are thrilled with the appointment of MullenLowe Group as our global agency partner for the paints business. The agency is a great partner for our consumer colleagues and we have already achieved some outstanding results on those brands. I am looking forward to their team bringing to bear their experience with our organisation, and their creativity to drive business success for our professional brands – such as Sikkens and Dulux Trade – and for audiences around the world.”

Jose Miguel Sokoloff, global president of the MullenLowe group creative council, said: “We are very proud of our relationship with AkzoNobel and the work that we have produced for the consumer paints organization. We’re excited to put the power of our challenger thinking and creativity to drive an unfair share of attention for the professional side of the business.”


Uber, Mahindra Partner to Deploy Electric Vehicles in India

Uber, Mahindra Partner to Deploy Electric Vehicles in India

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) will team up with Uber to explore deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) on the cab aggregator’s platform in several cities across India, the automaker said Friday.

The company, which has already tied up with Uber’s rival Ola to build an electric mass mobility ecosystem in Nagpur, will deploy “hundreds of electric vehicles in Delhi and Hyderabad” under the new partnership.

Mahindra’s electric vehicles on the Uber platform will include the e2oPlus hatch and the eVerito sedan.

“Our collaboration with Uber is an important next step to help accelerate the large scale adoption of electric vehicles on shared mobility platforms and meet the nation’s vision for EVs,” M&M Managing Director Pawan Goenka told reporters in Mumbai.

As part of this collaboration, both the companies will also explore deployment of Mahindra electric vehicles in other cities.

On the tie-up, Uber Chief Business Officer, India and Emerging Markets, Madhu Kannan said the company aims to build a more sustainable future of mobility, moving more people requiring on-demand services with fewer, fuller, and more efficient vehicle trips.

“We see a key role for high efficiency vehicle technologies and therefore, believe that this collaboration with Mahindra, the pioneers in the electric vehicles space, will be truly beneficial not just for Uber, but for our driver partners, riders and the cities we operate in,” he added.

As part of the arrangement, driver partners on the Uber app can avail of a package that will include Mahindra electric vehicles at competitive prices, attractive financing and insurance premiums as well as comprehensive maintenance packages from M&M and its associates.

Furthermore, to make this model durable, M&M and Uber will work closely with public and private players which are in the process of setting up a common use charging ecosystem across multiple locations in the cities.

M&M will also support driver education and training related to various aspects of electric vehicles.


Media giants partner to develop ‘Blockchain Insights Platform’ for video advertising efficiency

Image result for Media giants partner to develop ‘Blockchain Insights Platform’ for video advertising efficiencyComcast’s Advanced Advertising Group, announced that it is developing a new ‘Blockchain Insights Platform’ that it aimed to improve the efficiency of premium video advertising.

The blockchain platform will enhance planning, targeting, execution and measurement across screens. Comcast has partnered with media giants NBCUniversal, Disney, Altice USA, Channel 4 (UK), Cox Communications, Mediaset Italia and TF1 Group (France) for the blockchain initiative.

The announcement was made at the Cannes Lions in Cannes, France and the Blockchain Insights Platform intends to formally launch in 2018. The company is also in discussions with other programmers, distributors, device makers and marketers from the U.S. and Europe.

“Television advertising is an efficient and effective way for marketers and their agencies to reach a large audience, yet today the way advertisers use insights to plan, buy and deliver advertising is limited,” Marcien Jenckes, President, Advertising, Comcast Cable, said. “This new technological approach would make data-driven video advertising more efficient and consumer data more secure. We’ll work with the participants in this initiative to improve ad planning, addressable targeting, execution and measurement, to ultimately create even more value for the television advertising industry.”

Blockchain Insights Platform characteristics include consumer privacy, where each blockchain participant’s data would stay in their own systems and they would continue to manage the protection and privacy of their users. The technology includes a series of encryption and rights management layers that would result in a system that lets blockchain participants in the platform ask questions of each other’s data without having to access or take possession of anyone else’s data to get their marketing questions answered.

Comcast’s Advanced Advertising Group has developed platforms and technologies in order to create simplified solutions that benefits Comcast Cable, distributors, programmers, agencies and advertisers from the U.S. and Europe. The company will collaborate with other media giants to develop the Blockchain Insights Platform.

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

There was heavy snowfall in and around Seattle for the first time in years, but the weather-watch didn’t stop 50-plus attendees and 10-plus speakers from engaging in Microsoft Partner Network’s 100 Days to Cloud workshop.

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

The future of technology as a whole, and IT is in the cloud and the workshop was geared to help individuals and companies align themselves with the shift in market.

Organizations are more than aware they need to transition to the cloud. ‘We need to get on this cloud thing’ can be heard from conference rooms across the country, coupled with a collective shrug to the question of ‘how.’

We know what we have to do, but how do we get there?

That’s where the Microsoft Partner Network comes in, fully equipped with the infrastructure and mentorship to guide an individual’s/company’s transformation to the cloud.

What’s cloud ready? What needs to be cloud enabled? Are we dealing with any cloud-native applications? What do we currently have that’s definitely not cloud ready?

Simply put, it starts with a self-assessment to understand where you’re at.

“Start with the assessment. It’s what they had me do and I was fortunate to gain an objective view of where we’re at currently,” said Sujit Ghosh, owner of 3S Global, who went on his 100 days to cloud journey in 2016. “Cannot go where you need to be if you don’t know current state.”

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

According to a report released by Bitglass in November 2016, there’s an incredibly high rate of adoption happening for cloud applications in general. This report found that over 59 percent of organizations worldwide either use Microsoft’s Office 365 or Google Clouds’ G Suite.

Why’s this 59 percent figure significant?

It’s over a 10 percent increase since 2015 (48 percent), indicating a rapid growth in deployment.

From the very first segment of the workshop, the goal was clear: not only understand what it takes to reach a certain level, but also how to be successful there. As Todd Nelmes, Karen Fassio, Sharon Lee and other Microsoft employees alluded to, companies have had proven success following the cloud-readiness model offered through the Partner Network. Complex ideas and processes — like this one in question about steps to cloud readiness — get broken down and laid out in an easy-to-follow manner, with other Partners’ journeys acting as the cornerstone of a growing ecosystem.

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

Peer Mentorship

With the figures and trends all supporting rapid growth, the only hesitation lies in the individual’s willingness to take the leap and adopt.

Friday’s #CloudReady workshop featured six individuals who had gone through Microsoft’s 100 Days to Cloud transformation, essentially acting as guinea pigs to gauge the efficiency and quality of the program.

A job ‘well done’ would be an understatement.

The individuals — equipped with real life examples from their own journeys — provided highly-valuable tips and information to help break down any doubts about the journey to cloud adoption.

“You’re not selling Power BI, you’re selling a solution,” said James Farhat, CEO of ACTS, Inc., and tech visionary. “Today’s the day an individual can build a business around all of this.”

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

Local Impact

What stood out specifically about Friday’s workshop was the focus on Washington state’s local economy, aimed primarily at helping smaller-to-mid-sized business to become cloud ready.

In the current infrastructure, it’s approximated that 37 percent of small businesses (US SMBs) are cloud-ready; that figure is projected to be at 78 percent by 2020.

Inspired by the Ignite Washington presence at the workshop, a portion of Friday’s discussion honed in on making sure smaller local businesses are taking advantage of the shifts in technology. Whether it was a specific on banking, or inquiries about HIPAA-related processes, the conversation allowed for these individuals to have their voices heard and solutions presented.

As Chaitra Vedullapalli of Meylah pointed out, it’s not just a matter of building on the cloud. 98 percent of small business are not mobile ready; 70 percent cannot transact online.

Those not grouped in with the 78 percent by 2020 will be left out of the stitches in this solution fabric that’s being developed.

Pitch Competition

Quite possibly the most rewarding aspect of the workshop was the cloud-ready pitch competition near the end of the day. By discussing one’s company and pitching its potential IP, individuals were able to not only get real-time feedback and guidance, but also receive five hours of free consultation directly from Microsoft’s technical consultants.

Attendees were given some time to jot down notes and highlight what makes their IP a true solution to a problem in the market. By having an open forum to discuss ideas — all received without judgement, but plenty of critique — attendees were able to properly understand what ultimately makes someone successful in the cloud.

“I don’t care if I win or not, I just want the chance to share my idea with you,” one attendee said before sharing an idea for his company’s IP. “To feel like the dream is alive again.”

The dream is more than alive; it can be a reality in the cloud with a little bit of guidance from the Microsoft Partner Network.

This article was co-developed with  Rohit Ghosh. Rohit has been working with IT Staffing for four-plus years, based out of Los Angeles, and is a content consultant for a variety of industries including IT, tech and sports. He has worked with major outlets including Yahoo! Sports, CBS, and Time Warner Cable.

Storm Photo via Shutterstock

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