Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

New Business Bulletin: TikTok, Cognizant, Unilever and many more

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TikTok has been announced as Official Fans of both the Guinness Men’s and Women’s Six Nations Championships. The new deal will give the TikTok community a unique window into the 2024 Guinness Six Nations while also raising awareness of TikTok’s online safety features through its #SwipeOutHate campaign. Running throughout both the men’s and women’s Guinness Six Nations, Swipe Out Hate aims to protect rugby fans on TikTok from anyone who seeks to spread hate and division, and educate the community about TikTok’s range of reporting tools to prevent harmful behaviour on the platform. In the UK and France, Swipe Out Hate will be spotlighted during the Championships in a large-scale advertising campaign across out-of-home, print and social media, and on-demand streaming services, with additional TikTok in-app activity in all six countries involved in the Championships. As part of the partnership, the TikTok community will also have access to a wealth of bespoke content from rugby’s greatest Championships, capturing everything from match highlights and training clips, to fan reactions and creator videos. This will be available via TikTok’s official #SixNationsRugby Search Hub, a one-stop-shop for Guinness Six Nations action throughout both the Men’s and Women’s Championships. TikTok’s talented creators are set to play a bigger role in 2024, taking the incredible atmosphere of a Guinness Six Nations match from European rugby stadiums to TikTok’s Search Hub and For You feeds around the world. Creators will be giving the TikTok community an insight into the full matchday experience, complete with pre-match build up, live reaction and everything in between.

Cognizant has announced its collaboration with Microsoft on the launch of the Innovation Assistant, a generative AI-powered tool built on Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, which will augment Cognizant’s internal innovation program, Bluebolt. The Innovation Assistant is a pioneering tool designed to assimilate enterprise knowledge and enable greater creativity and innovation among teams of Cognizant employees working to solve client challenges across industries. The launch exemplifies Cognizant’s commitment to transforming human-machine collaboration through AI and advancing knowledge and innovation by leveraging the company’s vast technical and industry knowledge.  

Unilever has partnered with the accessibility app specialist Be My Eyes, the developer of accessibility solutions apps that connects people who are blind or low-vision to a world network of volunteers and AI-powered virtual assistance, to expand their use of AI technology to add powerful new tools to the cooking experience of their products for shoppers who are blind or have low vision. The new partnership builds on addition of on-pack Accessible QR (AQR), developed by computer vision specialists Zappar, to Unilever’s Persil and Colman’s products in the UK last year and is part of Unilever’s global connected pack strategy, which includes using new digital experiences and technology to evolve and differentiate the way shoppers interact with and use Unilever’s products. Unilever is initially trialling the Be My Eyes technology in the UK through their Colman’s Singapore Noodles Meal Maker, with the intention of rolling it out across more brands in 2024. Scanning the AQR code on the front-of-pack, shoppers can now be directed to the Be My Eyes app for free and connected to either a volunteer to read and describe cooking instructions or to a virtual AI-chat bot which uses Chat GPT-4 capabilities to address recipe or cooking questions.

Vodafone and Microsoft Corp. have announced a new, far-reaching 10-year strategic partnership that leverages their respective strengths in offering scaled digital platforms to more than 300 million businesses, public sector organizations, and consumers across Europe and Africa. Through the partnership, the companies will collaborate to transform Vodafone’s customer experience using Microsoft’s generative AI, hyperscale Vodafone’s leading managed IoT connectivity platform, develop new digital and financial services for businesses, particularly SMEs across Europe and Africa, and overhaul its global data center cloud strategy. Vodafone will invest $1.5 billion over the next 10 years in cloud and customer-focused AI services developed in conjunction with Microsoft. Additionally, Microsoft will use Vodafone’s fixed and mobile connectivity services. Microsoft also intends to invest in Vodafone’s managed IoT connectivity platform, which will become a separate, standalone business by April 2024. The new company will attract new partners and customers, driving growth in applications and expanding the platform to connect more devices, vehicles and machines. The digital services generated by the new partnership will use the latest generative AI technology to provide a highly personalized and differentiated customer experience across multiple channels. They will be built on unbiased and ethical privacy and security policies under Vodafone’s established framework for responsible AI.

The Pipeline Growth research has launched alongside the news that Integrate, a B2B marketing demand management platform has launched Pipeline360 into the UK market. Pipeline360 incorporates what was previously known as the Integrate Lead Generation Marketplace with multi-channel, full funnel, global campaign management, including real-time analytics, lead validation and standardisation, and enhanced segmentation. In ‘The 2024 State of B2B Pipeline Growth’ report published by Pipeline360, 80% of B2B marketers report getting new qualified leads is mission critical or an urgent priority for 2024, yet 53% are not able to meet their pipeline goals. Additionally, 46% feel the quality of their leads is low to neutral and 42% feel their lead quality is insufficient. As B2B marketers strive to fill their pipelines, they increasingly face budget and resource constraints, rising scrutiny around data privacy, alongside ever higher performance expectations. The urgency and necessity of lead generation requires marketers to orchestrate and execute often complex multi-channel, account-based strategies to meet these challenging goals.

ManhattanAssociates Inc. has announced significant enhancements to its Manhattan Active® Point of Sale (POS) application designed to meet the dynamic needs of modern store associates. The refreshed store app includes embedded clienteling capabilities to convert sales and enhance service, ultra-fast checkout, and the ability to work offline without requiring an in-store server. With a commitment to continuous innovation, Manhattan continues to partner with its customers to make sure store associates are well equipped to maximise their store’s potential. Part of the industry leading Manhattan Active Omni suite of unified commerce solutions, Manhattan’s new store app seamlessly blends the four critical elements of Customer, Catalog, Cart, and Fulfilment to empower store associates to maximise sales and service.

Mangopay announces its partnership, with London-founded fintech innovator Storfund, to offer marketplace sellers payment on the day of sale; removing the standard 10-30 day wait time. With this partnership, Mangopay will enable marketplaces to offer sellers on their platform an opportunity to unlock immediate payment for sales, improving cash flow for marketplace businesses. The standard 10-30 day wait for payment, can deprive sellers of essential funds for operating their businesses, which in turn can have a knock on effect on business growth and innovation In fact, a recent report found that late payment times hit a three-year high in September 2023, and 24% of small business owners said they are unable to pay company bills and overheads as a result, while 13% had to renegotiate payment terms with suppliers. The collaboration between Mangopay and Storfund provides a solution that empowers sellers to effectively expand their enterprises and boost turnover, at a time when other marketplace operators are upholding the standard wait time.