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The Book of Man: why ex-Shortlist editor is launching a platform to ‘reappraise’ masculinity

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Martin Robinson, former editor of free men's weekly Shortlist, has launched a bold new media title called The Book of Man in a bid to "redefine" masculinity and broach prominent issues like mental health, loneliness and suicide.

Robinson, who served as Shortlist editor for seven years having previously been NME's deputy editor, is now the chief executive, editor and founder of the new title. He told The Drum the site will seek to “reappraise” the definition of masculinity – a market niche he believes was not being served.

"The media depiction of men is generally still about being strong, stoic, six-paced, unbreakable. By questioning that and subverting it, we will give a voice to all the men who do sometimes feel weak, and afraid, and insecure. Which, we're betting, is a lot of men," he said.

The editor claimed the title will reject “the old way [of doing] men’s media” and “challenge the pressures being a 'man' brings”. To this end, it is launching with mental health awareness advocate and musician Professor Green as a columnist, with the rapper directing readers to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm) group.

Robinson added the title will look to shine a light on "dreadful statistics for men," such as suicide being the biggest single killer of men under the age of 45.

The online-only platform will host discussions on Facebook and operate an email membership scheme. Its launch will be enhanced via influencer partnerships, with many coming through the Calm network.

The commercial side of the brand will be led by chief revenue officer, Mark Sandford, and will offer to advertisers branded stories and shoppable editorial supported by a specially-built e-commerce platform.'

There are numerous Shortlist alumni on board at The Book of Man and Robinson claims their time at the print mag has helped prepare them for this new venture. He said: “That was someone else's vehicle we were driving. This is one we've built, and it's an incredibly timely and necessary launch into the market, and a different proposition to anything attempted in the men's UK market before.”

Based in the Bussey Building in Peckham, there is a team of six full-time staff at the moment, supplemented with contributors. Robinson concluded: "Expect stories on emotions like jealousy and the loneliness epidemic."

An ad campaign supporting the launch, dubbed 'Provocations' will run on social media, delivered by former Droga5 executive creative director Rick Dodds (see above).

Commenting on Calm's involvement in the launch, Simon Gunning, chief executive of the charity, said: “Calm aims to reach men in ways that feel natural and accessible. Working with The Book of Man allows us to do this and together we hope to raise awareness of the fact that suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, while also welcoming a new platform for discussion around masculinity and male mental health.”

Robinson opened up the title with an op-ed on Time For A New Masculinity?

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Havas breaks silence on Bolloré corruption probe as employee is formally investigated

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Havas has said it will fully cooperate with authorities after confirming that an employee of a French subsidiary is being formally investigated. It comes after Vincent Bolloré was charged by French police as part of an investigation into corrupt practices in Africa.

Vincent Bolloré is chief executive of the Bolloré Groupe the former chairman of Havas-owner Vivendi, and father of Havas chief executive Yannick Bolloré. It is alleged that he used Havas to finance the electoral campaigns of politicians, who once in office granted port contracts to the Bolloré' Groupe.

Havas’ global director of public affairs, Jean-Philippe Dorent, was questioned by police earlier this week. Havas declined to comment at the time, however, the agency group has today (26 April) said it is cooperating with investigators after he was put under formal investigation.

“Havas Group acknowledges that an employee of one of its subsidiaries in France has been put under formal investigation on Wednesday 25 April,” it said.

“Havas Group stresses that this employee benefits from the fundamental principle of presumed innocence guaranteed by criminal procedure. The Group will of course fully cooperate with the judicial authorities.”

It is alleged that managers at the Bolloré Groupe offered the services of Havas at a massively discounted price to help with the 2010 presidential campaigns of the Guinean President Alpha Condé and Faure Gnassingbé of Togo.

The agency’s involvement in the campaign is being linked to how the Bolloré Groupe then gained control of two container terminals in the ports of Lomé, the capital of Togo, and Conakry, the capital of Guinea, in the same year.

The Bolloré Groupe has denied that the agency did anything irregular.

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The changing face of retail: top trends and challenges

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If you were to believe the headlines, the death of the high street is imminent. Since the collapse of Woolworths in 2009 the UK retail scene has seen a wave of high profile administrations. For example, those Friday evening trips to the local Blockbuster are a thing of the past!

However, in reality, retailers are learning to innovate – looking at new ways to engage with audiences and understand the changing consumer dynamics that are determining the way they shop.

So here we have a look at some of the key consumer trends that have already impacted the way brands and retailers approach product positioning and marketing, as well as some of the new retail challenges and (and opportunities) you should be aware of now – before it’s too late!

The Millennial Market

The story of the millennial is only too familiar to readers of The Drum. Born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, these guys are digital natives who have grown up and matured with mobile technology and as such expect to be able to use it in every aspect of their life. Constantly on a variety of social media platforms to document their every move, and updating their profiles to project how they’d like to be seen by the world, the convenience of the mobile device is paramount to this group. And unsurprisingly the UK’s 14 million strong millennial population are more likely to start and end their journey on their smartphones than any other age group, who have started turning their mobile device into a handheld wallet.

Improving the payment experience through self-checkout kiosks and advanced digital payment technologies is essential to keeping the millennial shopper. The relentless focus on perfecting technology has set a new standard across the industry that millennials now accept as the norm. Retailers must be able to provide streamlined, user-friendly systems and processes in order to retain the millennial.

However, the challenge doesn’t end there for retailers, as a personalised retail experience is equally key. Whether this is online or in-store, millennials seek customer service professionals who understand their preferences and make recommendations tailored to their specific needs. Millennials want a customer-centric experience in which they feel wanted and valued. In order to do this, retailers need to closely examine what they’re currently doing with customer data, and ensure this information is being utilised to deliver a more personalised in-store experience.

The Conscious Consumer

Over the years, as manufacturers have looked towards cheaper and quicker ways of getting their products to customers, retail manufacturing practises have taken a serious toll on the environment. Second only to oil, the retail manufacturing industry is the most polluting industry on the planet. However, increasing awareness around these issues – thanks largely to the growing influence of the millennial audience (yes, those guys again) – has given rise to the conscious consumer.

Loosely speaking, being a conscious consumer means shopping and consuming with greater thought given to aspects of the product and business you’re buying from. For example, are they Fairtrade? Are their products responsibly sourced? And are they environmentally friendly? Ultimately this group aim to seek out ways to make positive decisions about what to buy and look for a solution to the negative impact consumerism is having on the world.

Another key concern for the conscious consumer is the way in which brands target audiences, both through advertising and the positioning of their products. As products and services expand to reflect the rich cultural makeup of the population, advertising efforts can be observed leading with non-centred perspectives that fall in line with a view to omni-culturalism, whereby effectively celebrating difference as the only norm. This progression demonstrates the need for brands to engage consumers around values less tied to traditional markers of identity such as race, geographic location and gender.

The Power of Omni-Channel

The omni-channel approach defines the new way in which consumers shop: by using all the options available to them. It could be suing a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, smart TV; they might go direct to a website to research a specific product or arrive through affiliate channels or email; engage through review platforms, apps, etc.

In the UK shoppers say that social media has an influence over what they buy – under 25’s – 60% and 25-34 – 50%, while conducting prior online research on the retailer’s own site or sites of other retailers led to 13% greater in-store spending among omni-channel shoppers.

Although not a retail strategy, it’s still essential to understand the multiple methods people use in their path to purchase as, ultimately, the more channels customers use the more valuable they are! A recent Google study found that omni-channel shoppers are three times more valuable to a brand, with Macy’s stating it is in fact as high as six times.

Geo-Targeting

With the rise of geo-tagging and GPS-connected applications, location-aware marketing becomes increasingly targeted. Engaging consumers by creating a more personalised form of brand interaction, location-based sharing taps into the tech-savvy demographics' desire to connect with their surroundings digitally. This omni-channel approach to consumer engagement denotes an evolution in how brands are targeting younger demographics.

Conversational Commerce

Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human and that 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen by 2020. ComScore thinks 50% of all searches will be voice searches by that point. Voice user interfaces (VUI) provide consumers with a more natural and intuitive way of engaging with digital technology. This combined, with the growing popularity of connected devices in the home and car, will have a profound impact on how we shop.

Apostolos Lambrianides is group marketing and PR manager at Lick Creative

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Indian government issues deadline to Facebook and Cambridge Analytics for misuse of data of Indians

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The Indian government has issued notices to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to probe on the misuse of data, following Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data protection scandal .

The Indian government has given the two companies a deadline of 10 May to respond to questions related to Indian citizens’ data. This is the second notice in this regard, as the first notice was issued to Cambridge Analytica on 23 March and to Facebook on 28 March according to Livemint.

In a letter to Facebook, the Indian government wrote: “What security architecture is proposed to be created by Facebook, on an urgent basis, so that the data concerning Indians is not pilfered or manipulated again for extraneous purposes including to influence the elections."

The government has also sent five questions to Cambridge Analytics for responses on the data breach.

Despite any reputational damage incurred in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the reemergence of the #DeleteFacebook campaign, Facebook is expected to capture around 18% of worldwide digital ad spend in 2018.

Meanwhile, Facebook's largest brand campaign vows 'to do more to protect privacy' as it posts 50% Q1 revenue surge.

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