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🎉 Gearing up for 2021 🎉 | Volume 12

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This past year wasn’t what we expected…

With new business challenges and increased separation from loved ones, there were many weeks that felt like days and many days that felt like weeks.

Though there were lows, I hope we all found ways to savour the highs and spread some happiness.

Little things can go the longest way in making someone’s day. To end the year off on a high note we sourced this beautiful Twitter thread uncovering the happiness of 2020, following Kelly Victoria, rather Sapphire the fairy, and her ability to step out of reality and change the year for a child and for herself. 

Have a read through the heartwarming story and take it as a reminder that doing something for someone else can be the best thing to do for yourself in times of hardship.  

Remember watching TV late into the night, as it slowly becomes background noise and your eyes start to close – dozing into a light slumber when, all of sudden, there’s an ad break and THE VOLUME PICKS UP SHAKING YOUR STEREO SYSTEM! 

Needless to say, it’s not ideal. It’s at this point that a business’s precious ad dollars become a point of anger from the viewer. Well, now there is a new powerful platform that is falling prey to the dilemma of unequalized volume. 

Before we get into that here’s a peek at what’s to come:  

  • Nostalgia is a powerful tool designed to appeal to the emotions of the buyer. 
  • Do people even use LinkedIn stories? Is it viable to spend on advertising through them? 
  • Last week we saw Robotaxis and this week we have machines printing cars. 

Podcasts Advertising Has Positive Payoffs 

I’d love to hear your favourite podcasts from the past year, tweet us at @FoundationIncCo with your podcast recommendations for 2021! 

To be honest, I am a recent convertor; I was never a fan of books on tap and found it hard to find an appropriate time to listen to podcasts. But now I am one of the 100 million Americans who listen to podcasts at least once a month. 

Okay, in the spirit of honesty I am not one of the Americans that make up this statistic since I am a proud Canadian – but the sentiment stands. 

Now more than ever podcasts are gaining in popularity and according to Edison’s Super Listeners 2020, 49% of listeners say that advertising through podcasts is the most effective way to reach them – increasing from 37% in 2019. 

From the same group, 54% say that hearing an ad on a podcast makes them more likely to convert.  Podcasts are shaping up to be the perfect marketing channel. 

But I have to break the bad news.

56% of the surveyed group have been upset due to an increase in volume when the ad plays. Which makes for an uncomfortable listening experience. 

Can’t you hear the eardrum-shattering sound from the ad above just by looking at the GIF? 

No… Just me then? 

In an attempt to combat the volume shift and to ensure the greatest conversion rate, the host of the show should be the one delivering the ad message. Rather than a pre-recorded sound bite. 

When the host reads off the advertisement, 33% of respondents from the Super Listeners survey said they pay closer attention to the ad as compared to other delivery methods.  

Because of this podcasts are quickly becoming crowded, yet there has been no reported uptick in consumer ad-skipping

Finally, market research firm Claritas, found that advertising over a podcast will lift brand awareness between 24% to 79%

Looking into 2021, podcasts should be an explored platform for your marketing efforts. Based on the show’s content you already know the target audience, and if you’re not able to get the host to read off and incorporate your message then it’s best to ere on the lower side as far as volume is concerned

Key Takeaways 

  • Even with a rise in saturation, listeners aren’t skipping through ad breaks 
  • Podcasts are popular amongst listeners and create boost brand credibility 
  • For the best effect, audio levels should remain consistent and messages are best received from the host

Nod to Nostalgia 

There are a few things we are all suckers for and nostalgia is one of them.

It’s why we love to look back on Google’s year in review – the long-awaited recap on search trends from the year – remembering what life was like back in January, February, March, and you get the point. 

But every once in a while, I feel like enjoying a real wave of reminiscence by looking to past years in review. 

One brand that leverages this nostalgic “look back” technique is Spotify, with its yearly “wrapped” which recaps users’ music and podcast streaming history and encourages them to share their top hits with their networks. 

Spotify’s particular service isn’t explicitly applicable to the business world, but it has set up a powerful trend. 

As a part of the “wrapped”, Spotify creates charts and infographics outlining different aspects of users’ streaming history. The release of this yearly recap from Spotify creates a stir on social media starting the week before the release as users get excited about the reveal. 

Spotify makes this content extremely shareable to social platforms as well, being released through the mobile app and displayed in story-friendly format, encouraging the already excited users to spread the word and inform their friends on what their top genre was. 

Each year the design for Spotify’s “wrapped” changes, but brands have been quick to scrub the content and create their own customized infographics based on the templates. 

Using these templates triggers the excitement and nostalgia felt from Spotify’s “wrapped” for the audience of the brands leveraging them to promote their own products. Instead of top songs, genres, and hours streamed, brands have filled in the fields with details around the benefits of their product. 

Interested in invoking the same feelings among your audience? 

Provide a look back over your brand’s success coupled with nostalgic messages of what was happening in the world – no template required. 

Look back over the past year or even the past ten years and comment on the yearly number of subscribers to your service, or discuss big moments for your brand and highlight how far you’ve come with the support of users. 

Perhaps your product hasn’t been around for the longest time, so one approach you could take is to play off pinnacle past moments in time and add commentary around your product making a difference. For example:

“Remember back in 2008 when meetings happened face to face, and you couldn’t attend conferences without taking a plane?” 

[Insert a clip of Zoom and make a lasting impression on how the times have changed but the feelings of connectivity remain.]

Reminding users of where you started and what you’ve become will generate a sense of trust and longing for the good ol days. 

Nostalgia is a powerful tool and many brands have leveraged it and/or have leveraged brands’ throwback marketing campaigns re: Spotify’s year in review to leverage their nostalgia feelings. This makes viewers feel good and creates an emotional response as it triggers a sense of connection and comfort. And who wouldn’t want that connection with their audience? 

Key Takeaways: 

  • People like to look back on better times 
  • Nostalgia creates a warm and fuzzy feeling that humans gravitate towards
  • Seeing the growth of a product is a fun way to promote improvements and unveil product updates or features 

LinkedIn Beta Testing Story Ads

LinkedIn unveiled stories a few months ago and we covered the release, the steal from Snapchat, and the opportunities it presents for brands on LinkedIn. 

And now the social networking site is levelling up their story’s role by beta-testing ads in their stories.

So could this be the new frontier for SaaS and B2B companies looking to get their product in front of business professionals? 

It’s too early to know how many users are watching stories, but with the success seen across platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn is testing this out. 


As you may have noticed from the screengrab above, LinkedIn is testing out a shockingly similar layout to Instagram’s swipe up ads, which is a good sign that the UX of these ads will pay off. 

Since September there have been three million stories posted on LinkedIn, 20% of those stories were posted by brands, businesses, non-profits, and other organizations. So although it is early to have hard stats on viewership, we can see that LinkedIn stories are becoming popular amongst users. 

Above placing ads within their story reel, LinkedIn is also bringing an analytics tracking tool that will display a story’s effectiveness against in-feed ads.

The closed beta tests have rolled out across 600 advertisers and 1,000 campaigns in Europe and Latin America with the plan to unleash them to all in 2021.

When LinkedIn had unveiled this new feature, it was no surprise that monetization was right around the corner. Now as we crest into 2021, we are seeing the platform perfect and prepare for the rollout.

Key Takeaways 

  • LinkedIn stories have taken off amongst organizations 
  • It’s too early to know the view rates and success of stories
  • Inspiration from Instagram is promising for the UX of LinkedIn stories
  • Beta-testing is underway to improve and prepare LinkedIn for the 2021 rollout 


🤖 Hyundai has bought a controlling interest in the robotics company Boston Dynamics which will help them expand due to Hyundai’s manufacturing economies of scale.    

📈 As companies grow past the ability to manage it all on spreadsheets, Pigment is stepping in to support data modelling and has raised $29.5 million in Series A funding

👩‍💻 Solving the issue of long health appointment wait times, a predictive analytics SaaS company LeanTaas has created the solution iQueue and so far has raised $130 million


3D printing is starting to make a name for itself within the automotive industry.

Here, we can see a 3D printed McLaren 720S ready for the streets. It drove successfully up to a speed of 80 mph, without a piece falling off, but they haven’t yet tested the vehicle up to its highest speed of 212 mph. 

And we are seeing a similar story with Desktop Metal, who recently merged with the blank check company Trine Acquisition Corp to go public with a $2.5 billion valuation

Desktop Metal is a 3D printing company that specializes in printing metal pieces. They have applications across the automotive, heavy equipment, consumer goods, manufacturing, and education industry. But we are seeing an uptake in printing automobile parts and it’s an interesting path forward in streamlining the production process while reducing costs. 

Within Desktop Metal’s partnership portfolio sits the likes of Ford, Nissan, BMW, Renault, and more. What a wild thought, one day we could all be driving cars that have come out of printers. …We’re going to need a lot of ink…


Snowflake and the BHAG by Invest Like the Beast


Best of 2020 playlist by Digster Canada (Best Track: Diamonds by Sam Smith)

Originally Sent Out Thursday, December 17, 2020. Stay up to date with all of our latest findings by subscribing to our newsletter today. Signing up also gives you early access to Ross’ Tuesday essay full of exclusive industry insights.

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