Last week, we saw a lot of talk about ad blocking software and what it means for digital advertising. In the social media world, Twitter unveiled a new advertising platform, the Twitter Audience Platform, which will let advertisers drive users to view their videos or engage with their Tweets.  On the Percolate blog, we mused about Google’s Alphabet as a brand management exercise, and illuminated the changing brand-agency relationship. Here’s a roundup of some of last week’s top stories in brand, marketing, technology, and culture.

Brand

Honda’s Marketing Offensive: Honda is on a “product offensive”, launching its highest number of product innovations this year. It will focus on digital advertising to pull in a younger audience but will continue TV ad campaigns. Honda prioritizing innovation over sales targets is a sign that companies are rethinking what drives brand. In an age where highly innovative companies are considered thought leaders —and legacy companies are catching up (think GE Garages)—it’s crucial to think tactically about budgeting for innovation both internally and externally. There’s a strong business case to be made for CMOs investing in in-house creative expertise as a way to drive commerce and brand reach.

We’ll be talking with Forrester this Wednesday, August 26th, about the new buyer journey and brand-building strategies to match it, in our webinar, “The Shift from Content Marketing to Customer Acquisition”.

Technology

The Buzz About Ad Blocking: The New York Times argues that ad blocking software “could end up saving the ad industry from its worst excesses. If blocking becomes widespread, the ad industry will be pushed to produce ads that are simpler, less invasive and far more transparent about the way they’re handling our data — or risk getting blocked forever if they fail.” With consumers having access to a wider range of filtering tools than ever before, brands need to ensure their marketing messages can scale above the clutter.

Marketing & Communications

Game on: Social Media versus Messaging Apps:  Pew Research Center released its 2015 report on mobile messaging and social media last week. Growth at five of the largest social media platforms has slowed or plateaued, but messaging and ephemeral app usage (like Whatsapp and Snapchat) is increasing. Consumers are shifting to more refined, private forms of social media, where spontaneity is key. The challenge for brands? Crafting messages that fit within these more private modes of communication, and making an impact in a shorter time span.

Culture

Consumers Care About Culture, Too: The critical picture of Amazon painted by this New York Times exposé made headlines, and founder Jeff Bezos personally responded to the piece. This was a reminder that culture is equally important to potential consumers as good marketing —this columnist argues that “These days, the public communication of your work culture now can be just as important as your marketing efforts.” In other culture news, here’s a case for CMOs to work closer with Human Resources to better align employees with the brand.

If you’ve got any comments or news that might make next week’s round-up, we’d love to hear from you on Twitter.