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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Marketing to Generation Z

Who exactly is Generation Z you ask? Up until a few weeks ago I didn’t know they existed either! The world has just got to grips with the term “Millennial” when along came Generation Y to supersede them.  Now we have an even younger category of consumers with a new buzzword to define them.

Although loosely defined, Generation Z are generally considered to have been born between mid-1990s to the early to mid 2000s. This puts the oldest of the generation in their mid twenties with the youngest in their early teenage years. But what really define this group are the characteristics that set them apart from their predecessors.

Generation Z are the most connected generation to have ever existed.  They are also the most highly educated to boot. The generation have become early adopters of new products and strong brand advocates. They are influential, particularly on social media and where they are leaders of popular culture. That being said, Generation Z lack brand loyalty with products attributes being more important than the brand itself. They are considered to be minimalists but will spend time seeking our products and services that are unique.

This new generation were born into a global financial crisis, threats of terrorism and a changing climate. They are living in a period of significant change and are expected to lead change going forward. Where Generation Y were considered to be passive, Generation Z are considered to be more active, progressive and even more socially conscious. They are ambitious and eager to make a positive impact on the world around them.


They have also grown up in a generation of Facebook, YouTube and Google, which makes them tech savvy digital natives. Social media is a fantastic way to connect with this audience through campaigns that are both honest and transparent. Successful brands will need to show they care about this generation by fully understanding their needs to garner their attention. This means connecting via multiple platforms in new and creative ways.

The brands that are able to express their personality in interesting and fun ways will be the most likely to catch the attention of Generation Z. Particularly brands that are able to get behind the social causes that really matter to this generation.  This has to be more than just on a superficial level to make deep and meaningful connections with these consumers with messages that break through the clutter.

It is important to take notice of this new generation of consumers who account for approximately 2 billion people globally. The key challenge for marketers is to find meaningful ways to connect with this generation who are considered more complex and cynical than previous generations.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Want to evolve your marketing? Social media is your answer.

A few years ago the job of social media was primarily given to the intern or dedicated to a single person in a business with very few resources supporting its functions. Today the Concept of social has matured and exponentially grown into an integral and utmost fundamental part of a brands marketing mix.
The evolution of communications marketing can be demonstrated by the use of social posts. Due to the complexity of todays social channels and posts it can be said that it is not longer good enough to draft a Facebook post or share an Instagram photo. Social Content has drastically matured over the years and is now generally the result of a businesses creative, editorial or digital team.

Whether or not we admit it, these departments play a huge part in creating the captivating content that you see across multiple social media platforms. In order to ensure this captivating content remains innovative and cut throat all teams must collaborate seamlessly, when they are unable to do so it becomes highly obvious.

For businesses and brands that feel disheartened or overwhelmed by the whole “social media situation” here are a few tips you can use to evolve your social practice. Firstly it is important to understand that the social channels and platforms a business chooses to advertise through can hold large amounts of data and insights. In order to market a brand/service successfully we must thoroughly understand our consumers, what makes them tick along with their behavioral patterns. All this data gathered from social media could be leveraged and used to add in an extra dimension to the traditional data sources generally used.
Another tangent businesses could potentially take is evolving their brand towards becoming a so-called publishing platform. Even though the concept of social media has been around for a while it is still a fairly new marketing tool. With the demand and increase in newer technologies the ability to learn about using social media becomes rather difficult as there are new platforms and channels introduced all the time.

In the early days social media was about ownership, establishment, and both operating and globalizing channels. In todays crazy world where the concept of time is but a mere memory of the past, the world of social media has shifted and is now about coordinating multiple channels with third parties and campaigns with a focus on quality over quantity.

Evolving your social practice might take the form of acting like a bridge between both creative and editorial. We are all aware that social media has expanded and is continuing to expand into content marketing. With this being said it also continues to require the innovation of creative together with the media savvy of editorial. In A nutshell, with a future that is rapidly evolving brands must start, continue and maintain seamless communication across all departments of the marketing mix to ensure innovation, success and collaboration.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 17 August 2015

My journey to the Master of Marketing

Having just begun my second semester at the University of Sydney Business School, I have started to reflect on my time spent enrolled in the Master of Marketing. Taking my very first class a little over six months ago, I already feel like I have acquired lifetime of learning!

But to really tell this story, I need to start at the beginning. My journey actually began whilst backpacking in Australia in 2003 when I first visited the University of Sydney campus. Although I did not know it for certain at the time, I always thought that one day I would study at this famous and prestigious University. Eleven years later, I was awarded with a Business Leader Postgraduate Scholarship from the Business School, which helped turn that dream into a reality.

Source: Hun Jung Photography
In February of this year I handed in my notice at work, sold my car and moved my life to the other side of the planet. Looking back now, I can see it was the best decision I have ever made. What made the program stand out to me was the opportunity to learn from marketers in industry who are at the next level, and to see how they operate within their organisations. Taking this knowledge, I could then actually implement those skills, tools and insights in my future career as a brand manager.

What attracted me to studying marketing at the University of Sydney Business School is the real life application of theory you learn in the classroom, applied to real businesses. As part of the marketing consultancy project, I am currently working with the youth hostelling association YHA. This has given me a fantastic opportunity to work with a real world company to help add value to their business practices using the frameworks and tools learnt during my studies.

I really enjoy the diversity of my fellow colleagues studying the Master of Marketing. My classmates come from Australia, India, New Zealand, China, Italy, Korea, Germany, Bulgaria, Indonesia and the Maldives to name but a few! With such great diversity, you get really interesting insights into marketing practice in different cultures. My favourite experience on the program so far was breaking the service model of a well-known Australian fast food chain by ordering items that were not on their menu. It was very funny, but also taught me about the importance of service quality in relation to marketing practices.

Source: Hun Jung Photography

The uniqueness of the program is not just the diversity of the cohort, but also the diversity of the curriculum in the program. My first semester consisted of four very distinctive modules, Internal Marketing, Evaluating Marketing Performance, Contemporary Consumer Insights and Marketing in a Global Economy. During the winter break I began my intensive Marketing Consultancy Project module. For the second semester I am enrolled for Decision-Making and Research, Regulatory Environment and Ethics, Integrated Marketing Communications and Innovative Marketing Strategies.

Each module I have studied has helped me to add to my overall understanding of the discipline of Marketing, and added another tool to my growing inventory of knowledge that will help my career continue to flourish.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 14 August 2015

Au Revoir Paid Media - Hello Modern Marketing

The Glitz and glam of television commercials represent the advertising of yesterday, however we all know times are rapidly changing and with this being said, so should the medium in which marketers choose to advertise. As consumer behavior continues to evolve, the value a great campaign holds becomes more challenging. All us marketers and advertisers can continue to debate the meanings and terms related to paid, owned and earned, however one thing that can't be is the crumbling value in broadcast and reach media. According to Forrester, more than 50% of purchases in today’s society are digitally influenced.

This shift to the now Digital Age has hit us fast and hard. For as many years as we can think back the concept and delivery of paid media has been the mistress for marketers and advertising agencies. The admiration television ads encompassed generally overlooked its accountability. In this day and age, clients are wanting more return on investment, more results and more value, and to top it off, they want it NOW! This sense of urgency has fuelled the technological age along with digital media to form new grounds for modern marketing, as we know it.

Today most of us either have an iPhone, iPad, MacBook, or perhaps all three, and to top it off, we have been conditioned to use all three at the same time, impressive no? Regardless of what it is, we as a generation thrive on technology and cant seem to live without it; pretty sad if you ask me, however, does it get the support it deserves?

The term “owned” as the name suggests, is but a mere asset; a living breathing investment. For those reading this article unaware of the term, the concept of owned media is defined as the communication channels a brand controls, including websites, blogs and emails. With this being said, it can be strongly argued that without a strong foundation and a so-called “digital ecosystem”, investment in paid media is pretty much wasteful.

Paid media only does a small percentage of the job. More importantly, we should be asking questions such as where the paid media is driving customers? What will they discover one they get to the destination? A campaign might be highly successful in deliverance, however, if the online experience is poor, what would the point of been? Technology has driven us marketers and consumers to consider speed, usability and simplicity as they key attribute. The concept of loyalty is now challenged more than ever, as even the largest of brands such as NIKE need to carefully ensure they don't let their consumers down.

A step in the right direction would be to continually ensure total consumer engagement. A prime example indicating how powerful the right platform can be would be to include companies such as Uber and Tripadvisor. It can be said that these brands have assimilated into how we live our life and in some instances, having spent nothing on paid media. Not saying paid media is not important, because it is, however, without the appropriate next step including the right platform ready to convert, “paid” media can end up costing more.

The plethora of digital marketing platforms has most definitely changed the game, however, what does that mean? All in all, our job as marketers should be to find strategies in which we can continue to create a connected experience, one of innovation and empowerment for the consumer where online and offline channels become an amalgamation of seamlessness.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 10 August 2015

Facebook launches VIP live-streaming video service

Early last week Facebook announced an exciting new live streaming video service for celebrities and public figures. This new feature called, Facebook Mentions, allows users to broadcast video to interact with fans in a very public way.

Currently this service is reserved only for the rich and famous, with Facebook already signing up Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Serena Williams, and Michael Bublé to name but a few. In a statement Facebook said, "We’re excited to introduce a new way for you to connect and interact with your favourite public figures on Facebook through live video." Nearly 800 million people are currently connected to public figures via their Facebook account.


The new Mentions app will allow Facebook viewers to comment, share and like the video they are watching with their friends. As the live video plays, users can view live stream-posting comments and can even catch up on feeds that they may have missed earlier in the day. Comments are staggered so they can be viewed at a steady pace, with a blacklist filtering out words or topics that broadcaster does not wish to discuss.

In March 2015, Twitter purchased the Periscope live streaming app that allows any user to broadcast live video via their account. This has opened up a whole range of potential marketing opportunities and ways for users to connect in an authentic way to their audience of followers. It is no supprise that the Mentions app has been designed to compete directly with services such as Perisope and Meerkat, that have already proven to be very successful in a very short time.

I feel that live-streaming video services have a great deal of marketing potential given the huge audiences that follow these public figures postings on social media. How long will it be before companies are added to the list of athletes, musicians, movie stars, politicians and other social influencers already signed up Mentions app service?

I predict there may be some backlash and resentment from the 1.49 billion monthly Facebook users who are unable to stream their own live videos through the service. However, the greatest resentment may come from the (not so VIP’s), who feel they deserve rights to the new service but are denied. In the big business of online advertising and brand promotion, the Mentions app has the potential to really put the cat amongst the pigeons!

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 7 August 2015

Emoticons take over Cokes latest “Share a coke” campaign

Droga5 Sydney, a New York city based global advertising agency, has taken the reins on the most recent take of Coke's “Share a coke” campaign. Launching in Vietnam and then aimed at running across Asia’s southeast, Droga5 has cleverly implemented the use of emoticons instead of names on the side of bottles.

Before we move forward, it is important to understand the impact emoticons and emojis have had on the way we communicate, especially in a time poor society where even character counts are decreasing. An interesting fact scientists have discovered is that when we look at a smiley face online, that same very specific part of the brain is activated as when we look at a real human face.

The video advertisement depicts a group of GEN X males and females expressing themselves by sharing bottles of coke with emoticons on the labels. Since being launched three weeks ago on YouTube, the video has gained over 1.7 million views.

Pratik Thakar, Head of Creative content across ASEAN, is of the idea that emoticons have become the perfect sharing platform, transcending the language barriers and have integrated into our society as a part of popular culture.

In the initial phase of the campaign, Coke connected with bloggers and local celebrities to bring forth the idea and product featuring the emoticon-tagged bottles, identifying the emoticons as the new language of youth. With this being said, Coke entered a partnership with both Facebook and zalo to ensure the campaign would spread.

After gaining traction from consumers on a global scale, Coke further encouraged the youth of Vietnam to share their own stories, enabling these cans and bottles of coke to be personalised at selected retail outlets. In addition to this, consumers will be able to customise their own stickers on platform Zalo chat, which for those of us who don't know, is Vietnams main mobile messaging app.

Stan Lim from Isobar Singapore, one of the four-agencies behind the campaign, mentioned the importance of personalising the coke product for consumers. By using this new so called emoticon language, Coke has created a product that “unifies both online and offline behaviours that travels across borders, that will live and grow in the virtual and in the physical world.”

As marketers, we are always reminded that the consumer is and will continue to be the most important person throughput the business cycle. Coke has cleverly used the language of this generation to generate a campaign that keeps the consumer at heart. This new form of communication will further allow Vietnamese teens a means in expressing how they feel and will also benefit the Coca-Cola company in increasing their volume.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Nike: End of an era for chairman Phil Knight

Earlier this month Phil Knight announced he would be stepping down as the chairman of the sports apparel company Nike. As one of the most influential business people in the world, the self made CEO has generated an estimated personal wealth of $25.5 billion dollars. Knight co-founded the company back in 1962, which at the time was known as Blue Ribbon Sports. Initially they operated as a distributor of running shoes for the Japanese company, Onitsuka Tiger. They soon began designing and selling their own branded shoes and changed names to Nike in 1978.

The company was named after the Greek Winged Goddess who personified victory. Its famous swoop logo was commissioned for a mere $35 and shortly after the famous “Just do it” slogan was coined. After increasing success in the late 70’s, Nike began to loose ground to competitors in the mid 1980’s. It was at this time Phil Knight began to realise the importance of marketing and began to make changes that still resonate and are felt in the company today.

Rather than being simply just a product and technology orientated company Nike began to put the consumer of the product in the spotlight. When asked if Nike is a technology company or marketing company, Knight replied “We’ve come around to saying that Nike is a marketing-oriented company, and the product is our most important marketing tool.” Nike’s decision to put customers interests first turned the from a million dollar company to a billion dollar company. 

Nike’s consumers have played an important role in leading innovation over the years. They have also been able to collaborate with Nike in designing and customising shoes with NikeID launched back in 1999. One of the keys to Nike’s success has been their ability to understand and connect with consumers. Time and time again, Nike has been able to come up with new designs and target audiences and find meaningful ways to connect with them. By breaking their offerings into sub-brands Nike has been able to target everyone from elite athletes at the pinnacle of sport all the way to non-athletes who wear the apparel for fashion and not function.

After receiving significant criticism during the 90’s for their alleged use of child labour, Nike began to make significant changes in their commitment to corporate social responsibility. Being a marketing-orientated company, Knight realised that visibility is important and “It’s not enough to do good things. You have to let people know what you’re doing”. Marketing plays a critical function for Nike, not just in terms of getting their brand to market, but also highlighting the positive steps they have made to improve their environmental record with initiatives such as the Reuse-A-Shoe program.

With Phil Knight’s vision Nike have oozed creativity and innovation from the very beginning. Pushing the boundaries of technology in sports apparel has seen them benefit from superior products in the marketplace. However, in the post Phil Knight era, Nike must remember that its greatest ability comes from successfully connecting with their many customers.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A new take on a branch experience

To be a bank these days is by no means an easy job. Consumers hate them, shareholders have a continual haste towards them and regulators just can’t seem to figure out what to do with them. At the end of the day, a bank’s got to do, what a bank’s got to do - make money! However, the way in which they do this makes all the difference.

The Bank of Queensland is aiming to challenge consumer perceptions about banks through the national transformation of their branches in the hope to bring to life the concept that it is possible to love a bank. A big challenge if you ask me! Another key issue that sparked the idea of this re-design was the fact that the bank branch is no longer about the telling counter.

In today’s world, we are of the understanding that customers are increasingly using a multitude of platforms to make transactions. In order for the bank to move forward, it had to understand that if the less complex decisions and transactions could be made online, then the experience within the branch had to be shifted and focused on the more complex decisions, discussions and transactions.

The new branches are said to demonstrate an open plan focusing on enabling conversation and customer relations rather than transactions. Centred around a café like atmosphere, there will be large long tables that will drive more “side-by-side” discussions between staff and consumers with the added bonus of self-service devices. The success of this re-branding can be seen in the results of existing Bank of Queensland branches that have said to of doubled. The strategy to re-design the banks branches stems from the understanding that in order to succeed there must be a strong, stable relationship model between customers and staff members.

In relation to marketing we learn in most cases, successful brands sit apart from the rest by both telling a simple story that builds an affinity with the brand and sticking to a certain brand message. From its early stages, the brand message, the Bank of Queensland abides by is one of real partnership and relationship however their branches design and layout never really aligned with this ethos. Philippa Bartlett, General Manager of Corporate Network and Retail Transformation, mentioned that it was important that a physical presence was designed in alignment with customers loving a bank.

When delivering brand messages to your consumers, it is important to ensure you are being authentic to the brand. In an era where technology plays such a large part it, becomes easier and easier to become quickly exposed. The concept of authenticity within the branch was to be seen within the physical environment it resided. An important factor in the re-design of the banks branches was the idea that the customer should be in charge of any interaction within the branch. By removing the physical barriers, consumers are now able to have this side-by-side interaction that the bank labels a “partnership”.  

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 27 July 2015

The dark side of collaborative consumption

The roots of collaborative consumption are deeply entrenched in the idea of a sharing economy. The act of sharing is hardwired into humans, but can be more prevalent in some societies and cultures than others. However, almost all cultures value sharing from a young age, with children being taught that sharing is good and should be encouraged. The idea of a sharing economy is certainly not a new phenomenon. In fact, sharing is a fundamental element of our past and evident in activities such as market trading, hunting in packs and farming in cooperative groups. The term collaborative consumption is often used to describe people powered marketplaces. From a consumer perspective, it allows goods and services to be sold, swapped and traded to a wide community of users in an infinite number of ways.

As collaborative consumption becomes an ever-increasing part of consumer behavior, it will continue to become the norm as we move away from the hyper consumption of the 20th century to collaborative consumption of the 21st century. As new technologies serve to remove the pain of sharing with others, reputation within these marketplaces is vitally important. In fact, reputation is the distinguishing feature that sets one consumer apart from another and is a measure of how well they can be trusted. Reputation will allow consumers to differentiate their service from others and potentially charge higher prices to other consumers willing to pay for a better experience. Our reputation may one day be as powerful as our credit rating. Reputation is the social currency that allows trust between total strangers. The mindset of consumers is starting to radically change in regards to ownership and what we choose to own.

Image source:

While the benefits of a sharing economy are clear, particularly in terms of sustainability, there are disadvantages to collaborative consumption and conditions that can inhibit its occurrence. Looking at the example of the highly successful Airbnb that has grown immensely in the past five years, there are a number of concerns and issues with this type of sharing. In comparison with traditional hotel facilities, the accommodation may be unsafe and unreliable. It is argued that these services breach many rules such as insurance cover, fire safety regulations, public liability, development rules and, also the tax implications for individuals renting out their spare spaces. It could be argued that the success of Airbnb could have a negative knock on effect on those directly and indirectly employed through the tourism sector.

The utopian view of collaborative consumption paints a positive picture of a perfect world where there is little friction in the redistribution of goods and services. As trust plays such an important factor in sharing, there are examples of “collaborative consumption gone bad”. For example, using a shared Zipcar may not deliver the same level of cleanliness that you may expect from a vehicle you actually own. Physically owning something may increase the care that is taken to look after it. Also, sharing your possessions with others who may not treat them with the same level of care, may cause dissatisfaction for both parties. If you were to hire out goods with a high value and the renter breaks it, how liable are they to repay for the damage incurred?

With reputation becoming such an important factor, there is also an increased emphasis on the digital footprint we leave behind. This in itself raises privacy concerns, although generally people have become more willing and open about the information they share. Generation Y are growing up with an increased sense of sharing which has been dubbed, the culture of WE rather than the culture of ME. From sharing information via social networks, to music files and even experiences such as flash mobs, these new generations of consumers are fundamentally reinventing the art of sharing. While I am a strong supporter of collaborative consumption, it is important to remember both the pains and gains experienced in the new sharing economy.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 24 July 2015

Wrigley’s Extra and ‘The Bachelor’

Wrigley’s Extra has become a major sponsor of The Bachelor, whilst undergoing a global rebrand.

Wrigley’s Extra has decided to hop on board to sponsor The Bachelor as part of their global rebranding strategy for its main gum brand, Extra. The new look for Extra will incorporate aspects of pop culture and dating conversation through the new business relationship with Ten's The Bachelor Australia.

This new look for the brand is said to feature a shield with a glint, along with the television campaign starring Ashton Kutcher that has been airing for several months. Supported with secondary media, their decision to sponsor the well known dating series forms part of a multi-million dollar campaign that aims at targeting consumers during their daily routine.

Wrigley Pacific is relying on the mass appeal of The Bachelor to educate consumers that the role of Extra in dating is “to rescue you in moments when you want to impress”. Marketing Director, Tami Cunningham, stated that in order to build up Wrigley’s brand salience in a fun and engaging way, a mass integrated campaign would be an ideal way forward. Taking part of the sponsorship deal, Extra will also have a presence across the show's social media platforms to extend its presence.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Co-creation takes over at LEGO

One of the best recent examples of co-creation is LEGO, and its IDEAS website which allows customers to create new designs. The website was set up for LEGO enthusiasts who can both create, vote and give feedback on new projects. The projects that receive over 10,000 votes go into a review phase where senior LEGO employees decide if the product is viable for production. If the product is approved, the creator will receive 1% of the net sales of that product.


Consumer insights are now a core part of the LEGO strategy that enables staff to make consumer led decisions. The ‘LEGO Friends’ play set was designed through the process of co-creation, and came from the insight that young girls prefer designs with bright colours and environments that have emotional connection. The Senior Director for insight generation, Laura Post, conducted 13 research studies over a four-year period, which involved their target market creating new products in collaboration with designers. The insight lead to one of the biggest commercial successes in LEGO history, with a new product range that attracted new customers that they had previously not been able to connect with. 

Co-creation is quickly becoming an established feature of marketing practice for many successful firms. It is a relatively new approach to innovation that allows customers to add value to an organisation. This enables companies to differentiate themselves from competitors by encouraging collaboration with customers by putting them at the core of the business. The value of the insights generated by co-creation can be beneficial for both the company and the customer. Today’s customers are better-informed and actively take interest in the companies that they desire to connect with. They are no longer passive consumers and have become active creators of content and opinions. With the popularity of social media and the increasing number of websites with feedback mechanisms, customer’s voices can be heard louder and clearer than ever before.


One of the primary factors driving co-creation is the vast access to information that customers now have. Considerable pressure is being placed on organisations to reinvent themselves for the millennial generation by adapting their products and services. Co-creation is an opportunity for customers to become even more integral to the company by helping to shape its future business practices.

To gain the most meaningful insights, companies must play the important role of a moderator who can help to facilitate discussions rather than lead them. The customer may not always be right, but they should always be listened too. Opening up does involve some risk that must be managed, especially for big brands with valuable reputations to protect. Involving the customer into these areas will help to create brand loyalty and long lasting relationships between the company and its community. It will also allow companies to become more consumer-centric in their approach and easier to act upon customer feedback. New product development can be both costly and time consuming for companies, but successful co-creation can help speed up this process and bring products to market faster.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 17 July 2015

Nike takes female empowerment on a trip to Moscow

The empowerment of Russian women has been influenced by Nike’s most recent marketing campaign “Real girls of Moscow”. In April this year the United States saw the launch of the Nike women “Better for It” motivational campaign. Due to its success, the Powerhouse Nike itself has decided to expand the campaign to Moscow with their ‘Real girls of Moscow’ campaign.

The campaign aims to demonstrate the determination and strength Russian women use to overcome touch challenges they may encounter. The campaign aims to empower women to become active through platforms such as video, street art and GIF’s.

Undergoing a more dramatic and intense composition, the campaign takes the angle of looking into the inner-thoughts and processes that Russian women go through in overcoming adversity. Another key factor giving consumers the ability to resonate with the campaign is the use of professional athletes such as former world champion, Thai boxer Katya Izotova.

Nike has also designed outdoor murals of athletes that can be seen all across Moscow. These features work alongside a series of animated GIF’s that use geo-location enabling people to find the actual mural on the streets.

David Smith, the creative director looking after this campaign, pointed out that he wanted to give this work a “lasting sense of legacy” compared to the campaigns today that are about that one-second moment. Smith states, “So we broke the usual parameters of advertising and created a series of giant outdoor murals. “The scale and beauty of the photography really gives these girls the heroic stature they deserved.”

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 13 July 2015

Coca-Cola fighting prejudice by removing logo in the Middle East for Ramadan

Coca-Cola has long been known for their fantastic use of marketing to connect with their audience. Earlier this week saw one of the best campaigns I can remember from them in a very long time. Coke cans in the Middle East have been stripped of the famous Coca-Cola logo. This will run throughout the holy festival of Ramadan, which is observed by Muslims worldwide.

The new blank cans still have Coca-Cola’s iconic colouring, but with all references to the brand name being removed. On the other side it simply reads, “Labels are for cans, not for people”.  This strong and powerful statement from Coke is encouraging people not to judge each other based on their appearance.

Alongside the visual changes to the can, Coca-Cola has also created a short online film that has already had over 46 million views since it was uploaded last week. It begins with a group of six strangers who have been invited for a dinner. But this is no ordinary dinner party, as the strangers will have to get to know each other in the dark. After spending time getting to know one another and chatting about the things they have in common, the lights are finally switched on for the big reveal.

The striking thing about this advertisement is the diversity of the all male group of Middle Eastern men which contains men in traditional Arab dress, a man in a business suit, another man in a wheelchair and a man with facial tattoos. The group were at first shocked but had learnt that they had seen each other in another light. 

Afterwards the group is asked to pull out the Coke can from under their chairs that reads, “Labels are for cans”.


The advertisement carries a very strong message that we should not judge others based on their looks before getting to know them. Shortly after the film launched, Coca-Cola released a statement saying, “In a time when equality and abolishing prejudices is a hot topic for discussion around the world, how does one of the leading brands like Coca-Cola join in the conversation? In the Middle East, during the month of Ramadan, one of the world’s most well known labels has removed its own label, off its cans, in an effort to promote a world without labels and prejudices.”

I believe this very bold and brave advertising by Coca-Cola will win them a lot of fans regardless of their religion. It reminds us of a very important moral, but also highlights that large corporations too need a moral conscious. By boldly standing behind these values Coca-Cola, has made itself stand out. The goal of the advert is promote open-mindedness and tolerance, but will no doubt win support for its product.


Ramadan is celebrated in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar where the tradition of fasting is commonplace. The ending of Ramadan is celebrated with the Eid al-Fitr festival.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The modern age of globalisation – What does it mean for brands?

In today's world, nothing is considered “local” anymore. It is clear to say that every local action taken by brands now has a global reaction. No matter what scale a brand takes on, whether it is global or local, it must begin to delve into deeper meaningful relationships, developing thorough culture networks and knowledge along with maintaining a consistent and edgy media presence. 

It is important to understand that there is no such thing as a one-way conversation anymore. What I mean by this is that brands can no longer avoid the culture in which they are entering. There is much talk about a term called “globality”. We as marketers are moving towards a world that encompasses and embraces this term more than ever before. Globality can be seen as the bridge between global and local. It aims at spreading a brand, product or service in a “multi-market” capacity which actively enriches the receiving culture.

It is of the view that the old way of viewing the world through so called regions including APAC and EMEA is on a very fast declining spiral. With reference to Roshni Hegerman, Planning Director of McCann Sydney, Hegerman suggests that instead we should be tapping into our pattern recognition skills to effectively reveal shared cultural behaviours between countries across key universal human truths including love, success, connection and purpose.

One of the prime benefits to living in this so-called connected world is the capacity to learn about other cultures, however its greatest downfall is that half of the globe cites that they experience loss of local culture.

For Australians this can be felt greatly as we are currently battling an internal identity crisis; in other words, we are still trying to define who we are as a nation. For example, in relation to the technological and vehicle industry we say we would like to support local businesses, but we still choose global brands.

So what does it mean for brands? This idea of globality for brands means that greater relationships must be made with people and consumers. Relationships that involve knowing what unites us as human beings, knowing where people get their information from, along with understanding how a brand earns its way into peoples lives. We should use this deep cultural local and global knowledge to better the lives of consumers and to benefit our brands.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Why pay for something you could otherwise get for free?

Earlier this week I was shopping in my local supermarket when I noticed a customer loading up a trolley full of bottled water. Upon seeing the customer loading case after case of water into the trolley, one thought instinctively crossed my mind. Why on earth would someone pay for something that you could otherwise get for free?

You only realise you are truly a marketer when instead of taking every day things on face value, you begin to question everything! I must start by saying that personally I do not buy bottled water unless absolutely necessary, so this is a biased perspective. 

According to Ibis World, the bottled water industry in Australia is worth a staggering $681m and is predicted to grow by 2.8% in 2015. In fact, the industry has seen steady growth for the last five years with shifts in health conscious consumers seeking healthier alternatives and an increasing need for convenience.

Buy why exactly do people buy bottled water?

Brands such as Evian are extracted from natural sources and springs, which can act as a point of difference for the product. Many bottled waters are actually just plain ordinary tap water that has been filtered. By and large, there are actually very few differences between the H2O coming from either the tap or bottle. The health arguments for bottled water are often overstated, although there can be some differences in taste.


The major difference between bottled and tap water is the price. A typical branded bottle of water comparatively is more expensive than petrol and more than 1000 times more expensive than water directly coming from the tap. Would you really consider paying over 1000 times the standard price for any other product on the market?

It is also important to consider the incurred cost to the planet, which is often overlooked.  The bottling of water has many negative environmental impacts caused by its extraction, production, transportation and ultimately ending up as either litter, or even worse, landfill. The story of how water is produced is brilliantly explained in the story of stuff project at

Have we all fallen for a big “water con” or are we simply purchasing bottled water as a way to exercise our freedom? The natural and pure images often conjured up by major brands marketing water is something we all identify with. You only have to look at Evian’s “Live Young” campaign to really get a sense of how they are looking to market to our desire for youth and vitality.

As a responsible modern day marketer I am fully aware of the ethical, social and environmental implications of selling bottled water. Bottled water does have a use, particularly in parts of the world where there is a lack of access to clean water sources.

So, next time you are considering buying a bottle of water, please remember that Australian tap water is clean, safe and the most sustainable option. While the packaging of many brands promotes nature’s beauty, it is actually the natural world that is ultimately paying the biggest price.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 26 June 2015

Collaborative Consumption Takes Over

An emerging trend, the idea of “sharing economy”, otherwise known as collaborative consumption, will greatly impact the society in which we live. As consumers, businesses and companies move away from private ownership of assets, we are slowly moving towards sharing assets.

What exactly is collaborative consumption? According to collaborative lab, collaborative consumption is an economic model based on sharing, swapping, trading or renting products and services, enabling access over ownership. It is reinventing not just what we consume but HOW we consumer.

Many established brands are implementing this model into the structure of their business, taking on a collaborative lifestyle. A prime example would include Airbnb, where global consumers have the opportunity to reinvent the idea of sharing through renting out their homes and apartments, giving world travellers the opportunity to “belong anywhere”.

Another prime example would be eBay, in which their use of collaborative consumption can be seen through the redistribution or “transfer or ownership” of new and pre-owned goods. Lastly, the third main form of collaborative consumption can be seen through the idea of a product service system such as Zipcar, where consumers pay to access the benefit of a product versus needing to own it outright.

A key driver pushing the growth of collaborative consumption is the ever-evolving Internet, and the many technological platforms, along with the multitude of social media channels that are becoming easier and easier to use. From this we can see the introduction of more “share platforms” that allow consumers to share things from the click of a button.

Perhaps another driver impacting the move towards a shared economy could be peoples' need to connect with others in a meaningful way. This idea of sharing goods and services is not new. Many of us can trace the use of borrowed tools and equipment, hand-me-down clothes and shared babysitters back to our parents and even our grandparent’s generation. The only difference is that this is the first time that we can see a joint shift in consumption patterns, ones that have very little to do with marketing or retail accessibility.

If we were to sit back and try to predict where consumers and their consumption patterns are going, the simple answer would be “they are taking the consumption model into their own hands and controlling when, how and why.”

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Business of Fashion with Collette Dinnigan

As an avid follower of all things business and fashion, I was thoroughly looking forward to hearing Collette speak about her success as a Fashion Designer in a very global industry. As the first Australian Designer to have been invited to show on the official schedule of Ready to Wear Paris Fashion Week in 1995, her legacy has always been about breaking boundaries, but at the same time, she’s managed to maintain consistency across her brand, and really hone into who her customer is and what they want.

Although there were numerous insights Collette shared about her journey as a Designer, it was her thoughts on the business side of things that were the most compelling. From a retail perspective, it was really interesting hearing her talk about her relationships with key retailers over the course of her time in business. Anyone with a good understanding of branding knows the value of the right associations, and it’s very clear that Collette’s pursuit of overseas opportunities with retailers like Barneys New York and Harvey Nichols was what really set her up for success.  Later down the line, she has sought more mass market partnerships with UK department store M&S and Target Australia, in an effort to expand her business, and has now partnered with cult women’s clothing and accessories retailer Anthropologie, as she begins to re-surface her brand in the marketplace.

Putting her business model aside, Collette also had some amazing advice for emerging business leaders. I couldn’t help but jot down a particular quote as I sat there in the audience, and it’s one I feel that reflects greatly on her work ethic, and approach as a business leader; “When you’re passionate about something you want to keep going. Nothing’s ever good enough”.

As an aspiring business leader in this industry, I couldn’t help but feel a little awed after hearing her speak, and her unwavering passion for her brand was more than a little infectious. Whatever happens in my career, it’s good to know that hard work will get you somewhere, but at the same time, it’s being business savvy and having a clear understanding of your brand and industry that will set you apart.

Salil Kumar
Alumnus of the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Jurassic World: Product placement at its best!

What do Merdedez-Benz, Beats by Dre, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Samsung, Starbucks and Margaritaville have in common? They all recently made a starring appearance in the blockbuster Jurassic World!

In its second week, Jurassic World has made a whopping $981.3 million at the worldwide box office. But the ticket sales won’t be the only profits generated for the movies' producers. Product placement has become part and parcel of big Hollywood movies and a major source of revenue. Mega hits cost mega bucks so its no major surprise as to why these products find their way somewhat inconspicuously onto our screens.

Call me a cynic, but these days I can’t seem watch a movie without looking for the product placements. Starbucks was the most obvious offender in the movie, with the leading female character noticeably drinking from their iconic cup. Less noticeable was Chris Pratt sipping on a Coca-Cola while fixing his bike. The movie itself even seemed to poke fun at the idea of product placement and mocked the idea of creating a new sponsor themed dinosaur named “Pepsi-saurus”. I have to admit, I did laugh at that one!


Did anyone else notice the man running away with two margaritas in his hands when the dinosaurs began to attack? That was none other than the American singer-songwriter and owner of the restaurant Margaritaville. The small cameo was a really great way to gain some subtle promotion for the restaurant chain.

Corporate tie-ins have become an increasingly valuable tool for marketers to promote products. Blockbuster movies have mainstream international appeal and will be replayed for many years to come. The danger is featuring the product too prominently, risking the films integrity and the product's genuineness.  Everybody knows James Bond drinks his Martini shaken and not stirred. Yet in the movie Skyfall, he is clearly seen drinking from a green Heineken bottle. The beer manufacturer reportedly paid $70 million to feature in the film.

On the whole, I thought the product placements in Jurassic World added to the movie's authenticity and helped the park feel like a real place. For the most part, the brands found a way to be part of the action of the movie rather than detracting from it.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Art of Storytelling in Marketing is to be “Ruthlessly Consistent”

In the transparent age in which we live, marketers need to become more ruthless when delivering consistent brand messages. However, with this being said, they have been warned that messages lacking validity and authenticity may backfire.

In most cases, successful brands sit apart from the rest by both telling a simple story that builds an affinity with the brand and sticking to a certain brand message. On the other end of the spectrum, those brands that are deemed not as successful or just mediocre are unable to articulate what they stand for and thus, struggle to get cut through with consumers says, Rowena Millward, Director of Partnerships at Seven West Media and a partner at marketing agency, Morgan..

“When you think about the brands that continue to be number one, and you look back at the history of their communications, they are ruthlessly consistent about their story,” Millward said. “Brands that succeed tell their story simply and consistently at every touch point.”

Much of what Millward speaks about revolves around the notion that when delivering brand messages to your consumers, it is important to ensure you are being authentic to the brand. In an era where technology plays such a large part it, becomes easier and easier to become quickly exposed. 

A prime example of what happens when companies’ stop becoming authentic can be seen with Woolworths regarding the Anzacs. Not only this, but it is important to keep in mind that brands are generally part of a larger corporation, so if disconnect between stories becomes evident, there will be a larger impact on how your brand story is understood by consumers.

Nike has successfully maintained their brand message for 25 years, depicting people overcoming adversity. Their success lends itself back to the notion of  “gelping you win when the odds were against you.” Even though Nike is a brand that breaks the rules, it still maintains to deliver the same message each time in multiple ways.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Oculus Rift: Virtual Reality the next big game changing platform

If you have read any of my posts on the Marketing Matters blog, you have probably worked out one thing about me. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!

So it will come as no surprise that I am incredibly excited to try the new Oculus Rift headset! What’s Oculus you say? Well I’m glad you asked, because soon it will be changing your life forever.

Oculus VR, otherwise known as “The Rift”, is a virtual reality head mounted display currently in development. Virtual reality really isn’t a new thing. I can remember as a teenage going to the arcade and playing VR games. But do not mistake “The Rift” for this same primitive and clunky technology of the past.

OK…I sense you're not yet sold on the idea of virtual reality.

Well, the Oculus team only began prototyping their concept in 2012 after raising $2.4 million from a kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Fast forward two years and Facebook paid a whopping $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook stock, plus a further $300 million subject to conditions.

I am pretty sure I have your attention now! The Oculus team certainly were able to grab Facebook’s attention drawing that much money for a two-year-old project.

News broke earlier this week that in early 2016 we will finally get to see the first consumer version of the headset available for sale. The VR of the new headset is a completely immersive experience. It is quite unlike anything you will have ever experienced before and is like stepping into another world. This is not a gimmick like 3D TV’s; this is very much a game-changing platform.


The implications for marketing are going to be unbelievable. This is a new platform with a new way to connect with consumers. So, I guess with a statement like that I should give some bold predictions to what we could expect in the future. I am going to preface this by staying that all new technologies usually take at least two generations before they become widely adopted. That being said, here are some things to consider:
  1. VR is going to be huge in the gaming community. I can see this headset being popular with hard-core gamers, but it will quickly become mainstream. In fact, Xbox maker Microsoft have already teamed up with Oculus to support Xbox-to-windows game streaming.
  2. Death of the cinema. Or at least as we currently know it. Who is going to want to watch 2D or 3D films anymore? When you can be transported into a new augmented world rather than simply watching it.
  3. University teaching will change. How will classes be delivered? The Universies who do best will be the ones who embrace this new generation of technology and integrate it seamlessly into the learning experience.  
  4. Doctors will use VR as part of standard medical practice. They already spend small fortunes on simulators and headsets for performing surgical procedures.
Mark Zuckerberg said that virtual reality is the next major computing platform. With a budget the size of Facebooks supporting this aim, we would be foolish to think differently. I look forward to looking back at this blog in five to ten years time and seeing how many of these predictions I got right.
Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 12 June 2015

The future of marketing as we know it

Where does the future of marketing lie? What changes must we implement in order to better market our discipline?

Time and time again you come across people who don’t really understand what marketing is and don’t really quite get what marketers do. So with this being said, what can marketing do to market itself better? An odd question you might think, however, it’s a no-brainer: launch a new campaign, improve social media, host a extravagant event, plant a couple media stories, hire a new marketing manager, devise a digital content strategy, set up an online community…the list goes on. Surprised? Don’t be, this is not too dissimilar from how marketing is perceived by many today.

At the other end of the scale, there are academic talks and papers circulating matters on marketing leadership, which has said to have revolutionised the way marketing is perceived. Mahesh Enjeti, Managing Director of SAI Marketing Counsel, mentions a paper based on the future of marketing, named “Six Visionaries Speak”. One of my favourite visionaries, Seth Godin, advises today’s marketers to create things that matter. What does he mean by this? The term “things that matter”, refers to a creation or innovation that generates a buzz amongst its targeted audience, opposed to marketers being stuck on creating the buzz itself.

Unilever’s, Marc Mathieu, reiterates a quote which resonated with me, stating, “Marketing is no longer about creating a myth and selling it, but finding a truth and sharing it.” A quote so powerful, yet simplistic, stresses the importance of sustainability, transparency and trust within our discipline.

If we as marketers are meant to progress from our roles today and lead the aspirational future, we must start to look beyond the confines of our own discipline, because “marketing will cease to be a strait-jacketed function and will soon assume the mantle of a facilitator and fountain head.”

 “Six Visionaries Speak” interestingly discusses how the future of customer needs will revolve around the notion of well-being, and sustainability. “Research will investigate how products and services actually fit into peoples lives. Metrics around market cap of brand value will be talked about in the same breath as brand health. Market segments will make way for channel and hour of day clusters, and so on.”

So then what? The important challenge for us is being able to manage this transition, so others who are practicing marketing, as it exists today, will be able to lead the business of tomorrow built on completely new models.

This is a time where influential groups such as the Australian Marketing Institute can lead exponential change. Through a continual learning of the marketing discipline, organisations such as AMI can start to prepare marketers for a future where their roles within the discipline could be completely transformed, enabling them to perform more efficiently within their roles and begin the initial steps for change.

We all have to learn how to speak the language of both profit and purpose, bridging the gap between art and science, whilst at the same time promoting a culture of customer intimacy across the discipline. The 4Ps as we have been taught in the many marketing subjects at university may take on a new significance as those in the profession “pursue marketing careers and networks, perform to their peak, progress in their roles while enabling their businesses to prosper”.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Your Instagram feed is about to change: paid advertising on the way

My morning routine pretty much starts exactly the same way every day. Open my eyes, turn off my alarm and then spend the next few minutes browsing through my friend’s photos on Instagram. But my routine this morning was a little different. As I scrolled down the stream of new content, a video that happened to be automatically playing caught my eye. This video wasn’t from one of my friends, but from the drinks company J2O!

My initial reaction told its own story, “What’s this doing in my newsfeed?” I mumbled to myself with my eyes half open, wondering if I was still dreaming. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-advertising. Well-positioned and targeted advertisements can be a fantastic way to grab your potential customer segments attention. But why was J2O advertising in “my” newsfeed? I don’t even drink orange juice!

Source: Robert Brunning

In 2012 Facebook brought Instagram for $1 billion dollars and had kept the platform relatively free of advertising. But last week the company announced new plans to open up Instagram to advertisers to target its 300 million users. Tests have also begun on adverts that will allow users to purchase online items including downloading paid-for-apps and content.

While the service is currently only for large brands such as Levi, Burberry and Lexus, it will soon be available for anyone who wishes to advertise. In the official Instagram blog, the team wrote, "Advertisers also want to target their messages in more effective ways and reach people not just because of their age, location and gender, but because of the people, places and things they love."


With Facebook cashing in on Instagram’s popularity, one can only begin to imagine how much profit the company will make with its change to paid advertising. However, they must be careful not to oversaturate the users' feeds with advertisements, or risk disrupting their satisfaction. They must tread lightly and take a cautious approach to the adverts that allow. The appeal of Instagram is viewing visually beautiful imagery, so the prospect of “ugly” ads could greatly dissatisfy the end user.

My feelings on advertising through Instagram are mixed. From a personal perspective it feels like an invasion of a “sacred” place that should be left alone. However, from a business perspective I think it could be incredibly successful given the large amount of data users are willingly sharing with Facebook. Mobile platforms offer the potential for incredibly lucrative advertising space. That being said, these advertisements need a high level of targeting if they are going to be effective.

So, my morning routine will continue as usual for now, but I still won’t be drink orange juice!

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Corrupt FIFA ruining the world game: Where does this leave the sponsors?

It’s been quite a week for FIFA with their reputation falling to an all time low. The football federation is the governing body of world football (soccer), and responsible for organising major international events, most notably the World Cup. 


Last week saw Swiss police interrupting FIFA’s annual meeting arresting six high-ranking senior officials on corruption charges leading from an FBI investigation. This comes after months of allegations of money laundering, bribery and corruption charges for the bidding process of the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cup. Three days after the arrests the President, Sepp Blatter, was re-elected for a historic fifth term as president of the organisation.

With his position becoming untenable amid the corruption scandal, Sepp Blatter called a press conference at FIFA Head Quarters on Wednesday to announce he is stepping down as president. “I will organise an extraordinary congress for a replacement for me as president and I will not stand,” said Blatter.

As a not-for-profit organisation, FIFA is responsible for championing the idea of “Fair play” and using football as a vehicle for uniting and educating the world. FIFA’s World Cup Sponsors are some of the most powerful multinational companies in the world. The reputations of McDonalds, Adidas, Visa, Budweiser and Coca-Cola are very much at risk in their response to this crisis.

In the aftermath of the corruption investigation last year, both Sony and Emirates opted against signing new contracts, while Castrol, Continental Tyres and Johnson & Johnson also chose not to renew their sponsorship agreements. Looking back at the events of last week, this may have been a very wise decision. Visa has already made a statement expressing their disappointment and concern with FIFA and informed the organisation that they will be reassessing their sponsorship. Coca-Cola said, “This lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup and we have repeatedly expressed our concerns about these serious allegations.”


The following few weeks should bring some new insight into the direction of the sponsors. As key partners, it is vital that they have a say in the reform of the organisation or risk negative backlash from customers.  Leaving the sinking ship of the FIFA regime would make a big statement. However, they could be walking away from the biggest mainstream exposure that is the phenomenon of the World Cup. With sponsors contributing at least $1.5bn to FIFA every four years, they will have a big say in the direction of the organisation. Ultimately, I believe the sponsors will be the ones who play a major role in the reform the organisation going forward.

Upon Blatter’s resignation, Coca-Cola released a statement saying, “We believe this decision will help FIFA transform itself rapidly into a much-needed 21st century structure and institution”.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 29 May 2015

Lend Lease has taken the plunge and finally rebranded!

This global property and infrastructure powerhouse has replaced its twenty-year old logo with a fresh organic green mark, joining its iconic name to a single word, Lendlease.

This vibrant new look has been designed to reflect the company’s new strategy, positioning themselves within the market as a contemporary, diverse and international business. The new logo can be described as the organic and versatile “fold”, suiting Lendlease’s range of projects across industries and countries.

Another reason for the companie's re-branding lends itself back to the concept of designing for the future. Lendlease understands the need to provide their customers with a unique identity that goes from “consumer to business, enterprise to government partnerships and local to international markets”.

The new branding and strategies Lendlease will implement will take place over the next year. It will run in accordance to the “run down and expire” strategy which will systematically change brand assets according to project's stages of development.

CEO, Steve McCann states, “We have emerged out of our five year strategy to hold a strong market position and believe we have re-established the leadership position of this great organisation. As a result, the time is right to evolve our brand.”

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 25 May 2015

A week without Internet: Are our basic needs changing?

Oh what a week!

University deadlines, group meetings, work commitments, moving to a new apartment, building furniture to name but a few. I would have to say this week has been my busiest since joining the Master of Marketing.  It took a whole week without any Internet connection in my new apartment to realise just how important a commodity it is to my daily life.

The Internet meme of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with ‘WIFI’ scrawled underneath the base came to mind on many occasions as I pondered life after the Internet. No Facebook, No Instagram, No Podcasts, No Skype and No Blackboard for my assignments - nothing, nada, zip!


After a whole week of thinking time without the Internet, here are my two thoughts I would like to share.

Firstly, have our basic needs changed? We will always require the physiological needs of food, water, shelter and warmth, as these are all basic functions of the body. So where does Internet fit in to the picture? It has become a commodity I now regard a utility in the same way I would electricity or gas, and without it, my life becomes infinitely more difficult to navigate.

I don’t believe it is a basic need or a desire to be safe and secure in the knowledge that the basic needs will be fulfilled in the future. But for me personally, having Internet access unquestionably plays a role in every other category. Tools such as video chat with family and friends can certainly fulfil a sense of belonging and love. The next stage of the hierarchy is all about social recognition, which could be argued, is one of the key drivers of Facebook. The final stage at the top of the triangle is self-actualization, which is a sense of fulfilment. This means that you are doing on the planet what you are meant to do, to ultimately be happy in life. Without Google, how can I search for what I am meant to do in my life? If like me you can remember life before Google, you will know just how hard it was to find information.

My second thought was about Maslow and his theory of motivation. I remember having just started high school when I was first introduced to this mysterious pyramid of human needs, yet today, as I study at Masters level I am still looking at the same pyramid. I think that is testament to the strong influence that a 70-year-old theory still has on the world.  As a marketer, one of the insights I have gained is how we can shape the conditions that create peoples' aspirations. The model proposed by Maslow is able to explain this very complicated idea in a very simple way. In the years since it was first published, the Maslow triangle has been flipped upside down, pulled apart, chopped up into numerous diagrams, but again still remains today in many textbooks as it did in 1943.

So as much as my life wouldn’t be complete without the Internet, my understanding of human behaviour wouldn’t be the same without Maslow and his hierarchy of needs.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 22 May 2015

Gucci Online – Where tradition meets modern digital marketing

Despite the fact a French company owns Gucci, the notorious global brand is still seen as the epitome of “Italian luxury”. Looking past the opulence the brand radiates, Gucci has been able to successfully combine old world tradition with a profound understanding of modern technology and marketing techniques. In relation to the digital capability of companies in the luxury market, Gucci was ranked number one and labelled a “fashion genius”. The development of their online presence through the use of e-commerce, social media, digital marketing and the integration of a smartphone app puts them in an advantageous position.

Lets take a step back and think about why a global company like Gucci, rich in heritage and richer in reputation, feels the need to be skilled at digital marketing and social media.

These days consumers are using the Internet along with other browsing platforms to research the products prior to purchasing their “must have” luxury item.  While a marginal 5% of luxury sales take place online, the 'digital browsing' signifies the birthplace over almost 50% of sales. In more recent times, the profit aspect for Gucci has been on a decline as “high-end” customers are switching to brands they perceive as more exclusive. Even with Gucci’s pursuit to find wealthier clients, their sales continue to decline.

Gucci was one of the first luxury brands that saw the significance of having a well-defined and well-branded digital presence. Part of Gucci’s success lends itself to their belief in providing all customers with a “Gucci Experience”, in both the real world and the virtual one. Gucci has achieved this presence by providing a broad selection of products both in its boutiques and its online store. Taking advantage of future growth, Gucci has further felt the need to invest in their e-commerce infrastructure. Even though Gucci’s digital commitment has not yet improved its global revenue, it has definitely enhanced its profile. In addition, the smartphone app has provided users with a customized experience, resulting in a 150% increase in online traffic.

The digital marketing strategy Gucci has implemented involves a
multi-faceted approach using a variety of social media platforms. In the past, Gucci has been known to combine their excessively opulent window displays with beautifully designed online video advertisements. Gucci has cleverly tied promotional campaigns to the anniversaries of some of it's iconic products. A prime example was the 60th anniversary of its legendary “Horsebit” loafers, when famous fashion bloggers were asked to show off the celebrated shoes. A large percentage of the success of these cross-promotions lends itself back to the involvement of consumers on social media, which can be seen in the size of Gucci’s online community.

As consumer trends continually change, even global companies such as Gucci need to start looking into how they can adapt, acquire new customers and potentially enter new markets. Gucci’s partnership with Fiat began with bringing out a limited edition version of the popular ‘Fiat 500’, all ensconced in trademark Gucci leather. However, it should be known that Gucci is extremely discriminating when it comes to working with others. “Partner carefully,” warns Nicole Marra of Gucci, and so they should I say! Gucci’s aim in maintaining constant conversation with its customers, as well as its marketing partners, at the end of the day all relies on their digital strategy. Whilst digital marketing campaigns and projects are important, so are building long-term relationships.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School