Total Business Magazine

This Week’s 5 Must-Read Stories You May Have Missed

Global brands dominate the media (aside from Brexit) this week as Google officially begins shutting down Google+, Starbucks reveals a new employee initiative and the BBC takes control of UKTV.

We caught up with our columnist, business transformation expert, author of The Interim Revolution and founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley, Pat Lynes, to discuss the biggest news stories you wouldn’t have wanted to miss last week.

1. LinkedIn reveals the top 10 most popular companies

Amazon leads the charge as the most desirable company for British people to work for in LinkedIn’s 2019 ‘Top Companies’ poll. The list, which also features JP Morgan, Sainsbury’s, GSK and Bupa, revealed that despite the top spot being dominated by the tech giant, there was a strong preference for Brits wanting to work for UK-based companies within traditional industries.

Additionally, the research found that job seekers are keen to work for organisations with long histories (founded over 100+ years ago) and larger companies (with 50,000+ employees). It’s great to see positive responses to older and larger companies, however, we can’t forget that the world is still changing and in turn employees needs are ever evolving. People want more flexibility and purpose to be part of something bigger and if these companies don’t deliver that, the poll could look very different in 2020.

2. Google closes the chapter on Google+

Google officially shut down its failed social network, Google+ last week, after years of attempting to compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

Since its launch in 2011, Google+ was unable to gain the momentum to catch up with the already established market leaders, despite achieving a fairly large user network. Following a data leak in October, which exposed the personal information of over 500,000 users, Google decided it was time to close the door on its failed venture.

What we can learn from this closure is that even successful and powerful companies such as Google aren’t invincible. If businesses aren’t listening to and fully understanding the marketing, then innovating for the sake of it won’t deliver the desired results.

3. Starbucks offers to pay tuition fees for UK staff

Starbucks increases its employee offering by agreeing to pay tuition fees for UK staff wanting to get a degree. The course, which will be taught online by Arizona State University, was in response to employee feedback that expressed concerns on the financial constraints of obtaining a university degree.

This opportunity, which has already seen success in the US with over 18,000 employees enrolling, follows continued warnings that Brexit will cause recruitment problems within coffee chains across the UK. For a company that strives on putting its people first, it is great to see Starbucks stepping up and positively addressing the negative challenges Brexit is throwing to many sectors.

4. BBC takes over UKTV

BBC Studios has taken control of UKTV, which is owned by Discovery, in the most expensive deal in its broadcaster history. Costing around £180m, which includes £70m of debt and Discovery receiving £10m of UKTV dividends, its a bold move by the BBC in a bid to help soften its looming £745m funding gap.

The deal, which will see the BBC taking over seven channels – Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, Yesterday and W, will also allow Discovery to launch a new on-demand video service for specifically the BBC’s natural history and factual programmes.

As the current media landscape is shifting and evolving, it is causing a continuous threat of disruption to media houses such as the BBC. It is apparent that this acquisition is another stepping stone for the BBC to tackle this level of disruption and try to stay ahead of the curve.

5. April fools roundup

It was hard to miss the April Fools stories flooding the media on 1st April, so it seemed fitting to roundup in my opinion, the best three campaigns.

Hot off the Brexit bandwagon, the Daily Express revealed that Britain’s Eurovision song contest days may be laid to rest, due to a ruling by L’Institute de Eurovision Song that it may face a permanent exit. Of course, this received a huge backlash from Eurovision superfans.

As we’re living in an age where tech is continuously evolving, it wasn’t too hard to believe Drones Direct story that dog owners would be able to get drones to walk their pets for them. The best part – that due to mishaps with its prototype, reports that a Yorkshire Terrier was seen over Gatwick before Christmas were left unconfirmed. A clever stunt to also tie in a news story that dominated the media in December.

Oxford University claimed to have developed a new AI program – a bot which was so sophisticated it could beat even the best human at the timeless card game, snap. The university even got on board lead author Professor Joanne King, from Oxford’s Department of Computers and Related Decision-tree Systems to give the story an air of credibility. If this story was in fact true, it would seem that AI won’t be taking over the world anytime soon!

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