Thursday, 7 June 2018

Coca-Cola has launched its first alcoholic drink

Coca-Cola is the most iconic non-alcoholic beverages brand, which included refreshing cola, energy drink and tea, etc. It stayed away from alcoholic for 132 years, and it broken the tradition on 28 May. The company’s first alcoholic drink is Lemon Do, a lemon-flavoured Chu-Hi drink released in Kyushu Japan.

Chu-Hi is a local drink which contains 3% to 8% alcohol. Chu-Hi contains vodka or shochu with carbonated water that flavoured, such as lemon, grape, strawberry, kiwi and white peach. After visiting Japanese-style “izakaya” pubs, Coca Cola’s product developers found out the lemon-flavoured drinks are popular among the country. Lemon Do has three type of alcohol content, 3%, 5% and 7%, which target young female segment.

Japan is one of the most competitive beverage markets, where many companies such as Suntory, Kirin, Asahi. Also, Chu-Hi have increased in popularity in the local market. “Coca-Cola has always focused entirely on non-alcoholic beverages and this is a modest experiment for a specific slice of our market,” said Jorge Garduño, president of Coca-Cola’s Japan business. 

“We haven’t experimented in the low alcohol category before, but it’s an example of how we continue to explore opportunities outside our core areas.” Garduño said. However, customers outside Japan can’t have Lemon Do in coming future. Coca-Cola confirmed there are no plans to launch in other countries. “But I don’t think people around the world should expect to see this kind of thing from Coca-Cola. While many markets are becoming more like Japan, I think the culture here is still very unique and special, so many products that are born here will stay here.” So Lemon Do might be your new excuse to travel. 

Advertisement for Lemon Do (photo source: Lemon Do Twitter ) 

Original article: ‘Coca-Cola Has Released Its First Alcoholic Beverage and It’s Called Lemon-Do’, posted by Ad Week, 30 May, 2018

Coca-Cola launches first-ever alcoholic drink in Japan’, posted by Fox News, 29 May, 2018

Written by Peggy Lau 
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

How brands are getting involved in the Royal Wedding

The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has been the hot topic around the world. Even marketers are getting involved in the wedding of the year.  Marketing Matters have you covered. Here are some brands that have seized the royal wedding trend.


IKEA understands those single ladies’ are feeling heartbroken of the royal wedding. The brand posted a witty social media post with their Harry chair, “Don’t worry, Harry is still available”.  This simple post received over 10k reactions, 2.527 shares. IKEA’s spokesperson said the royal wedding has been a hot topic on everyone’s lips. It's an opportunity to mark the date and tell customers know that Harry (Chair) is still available in IKEA.

Source: IKEA

Moreover, IKEA had a post-wedding post to attract more netizens. A leftover wedding cake is in the Pruta plastic storage box with the caption “When you’re stuck with leftover cake from 600 wedding guests.”

Source: IKEA

Marks & Spencer

British retailer Marks & Spencer celebrates the royal wedding by renaming the brand to ‘Markle & Sparkle’ for three days. The brand characters, Percy & Penny Pig, had their wedding ceremony at the Windsor store on the day before the royal wedding as a kickoff.  M&S also changed the logo of the website and social media account; redecorated the store windows.

“As a quintessentially British brand we had to do something special to mark the royal wedding and what better way to welcome Meghan to the family than to ‘marry’ both our names together for the weekend," said Sharry Cramond, M&S marketing director for food & hospitality.

Source: Marks & Spencer

The official unveiling took place at the M&S' Windsor store. Source: Pretty 52

Original article: ‘3 brands that wittily rode the royal wedding wave this weekend ’, posted by Marketing Interactive, 21 May, 2018 

Marks & Spencer is renaming itself to celebrate the royal wedding’, posted by Marketing Interactive, 21 May, 2018 

Written by Peggy Lau
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Sleep Revolution by Somnium Lab

University of Sydney Business School students make a revolution to pillow business with the solution to neck pain and optimise sleep. Somnium Lab with the title of champion of the 2017 Student Challenge at Innovation Week has launched a Kickstarter for MuTu Pillow.

A former Bachelor of Commerce and Liberal Studies student Tycho Hugh and biomedical engineering PhD candidate Suri Susilo founded Somnium Lab. Winning the 2017 student challenge was a shot in the arm for them, “It was also a great step in further validating our concept and business model, which helped to keep us hustling every day.”

Somnium Lab founders: Miles Tycho Hugh (left) and Suri Susilo (right). Image source: The University of Sydney

Hugh now works as a tutor in Business School’s marketing faculty. He emphasises that listening and understanding customers is the key values of their Kickstarter campaign.  “Seeing that people actually want the product, and seeing that what we're doing actually provides value to people's lives, I know it's all been completely worth it,” 

He started the business in University and has been thankful for the experience. “The University of Sydney Business School is filled with so many interesting, high calibre people who have given me so much inspiration, help, and support thus far,” said Mr Hugh. He also met another co-founder, Suri, through a friend he made in his Business Capstone tutorial.

About MuTu

As the world’s first pillow, MuTu can be customised 66 unique sleep positions through air suspension technology. Unlike other pillows, Mu Tu is free from filler that prevents the accumulation of dust or bacteria. The technology also allows MuTu to keep its shape overnight and absorbs pressure while sleeping that allows for a better sleep.

Image source: Somnium Lab

MuTu Pillow is available for per order on Kickstarter. 

** Original article, ‘STUDENTS KICKSTART SLEEPY BUSINESS’, posted by the University of Sydney, 3 Apr, 2018 **

Written by Peggy Lau
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

In the Age of Digital Content is King

In the digital age, there’s a saying that goes, ‘Content is King.’ And you know what? It’s not wrong. Besides from social and and online ads, which have both grown by around 70% in the last year, content has also seen a increase in use of 62% and is predicted to only grow in the future.

So besides being a key aspect of digital marketing, having the skills to write content or a blog will definitely help you in your career.

The importance of blogging goes without saying. Am I right? Unfortunately for the Master of Marketing program, our very own Marketing Matters blog is now captainless! This means that from now on, the blog will be kept afloat by students and contributors. For marketing students, this provides the opportunity to learn practical skills in a professional context and allow them to publish their blogs, gain exposure and enhance their employability.

Source: Australian Marketing Institute

If you have no idea how to write or manage a blog, don’t panic! I’m here to guide you on the ins and outs of effective blog writing. Pretty much anyone can write a blog if they have the magic formula. So that’s precisely what I am going to give you.

The Right Tone

Blogging is a completely different style to academic writing. It’s likely that your audience is reading your post on public transport, during a coffee break, or while they are waiting for a friend to arrive at a bar or café. They probably don’t have a lot of time to read a lot, so try and feed them the information in bite-sized pieces. Keep it conversational and easy to read and think short sentences rather than long. Break the information up with headings and don’t forget to accompany the sections with relevant images.

TIP: Even though you may be an expert in your field, it’s always good to write in layman's terms – as though the reader has absolutely no background in the subject matter.

Generating Leads

First up, what are leads? Well in the University of Sydney’s Master of Marketing program, the Marketing Matters Blog serves to generate leads to a number of stakeholders: prospective students who are researching marketing courses; employers seeking to employ top level marketing graduates, industry professionals who may be interested in providing guest lectures or joining the teaching faculty, etc. The list goes on...

Without the blog, MoM really wouldn’t have a way to demonstrate how talented its students are, the quality of the program’s design, and the high standard of teaching at the University of Sydney Business School.

So how exactly do you generate leads? Well, depending on the type of blog, you might decide to use backlinks/hyperlinks or weave keywords into the metadata. Take Marketing Matters for instance, if the audience wants to learn more about the program, the information is easily available for them. They just have to click on the link, get taken back to the program page and then they are free to explore the course structure, fees, and application process.

Leads ‘lead’ to actions, which is pretty much what content is all about about. Being able to research, write and edit effectively will always be valued and once learned, students can take these skills and apply them to their their own roles.

Written by Alyce Brierley
Graduating student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

What the Cambridge Analytica scandal teaches marketers about data privacy

What do customers’ needs mean for marketers? Marketers rely on data to target users with ads. Does that mean your customers want targeted advertising rather than their privacy? The Cambridge Analytica scandal reveals that data leakage has become a marketing practice.

Mark Zuckerberg appears before the committees of the US Congress (Image source: The Guardian)

Professor Mark Ritson reminds us that customers’ needs are not what marketers think. According to YouGov research, 55% of British viewers hate personalised advertising, but don’t worry, this doesn’t mean marketers cannot use customer data. YouGov's research categorises the British adult population into two segments: ‘Customers who believe that ads helped them decide what to buy’ and ‘Customers who accept targeted ads to some extent’.  ‘Personalised Pioneers’ is the one segment which likes to engage with targeted ads, meaning that we can target this group of customers.

Image source: Marketing Week

Privacy is about respecting customers. We should explain to consumers in detail instead of hiding the terms and conditions. Here is a great reminder from Steve Jobs eight years ago. At the D8 Conference in 2010, he stated, “Privacy means people know what they are signing up for… I believe people are smart and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of you asking them. Let them know exactly what you are going to do with their data. That’s what we believe".

Current Apple Chief Executive, Tim Cook, also emphasises that marketing does not need a personalised data mountain for the future. Indeed, we should change the focus on improving customer satisfaction in innovative product design rather than targeting customers.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal alerts marketers to focus on customers’ real needs. It’s a time for us to review the marketing practice and reinstate our relationship with data privacy.

Original article: 'Mark Ritson: This is a critical point in marketers' relationship with data privacy', posted by Marketing Week - April 3, 2018.

Peggy Lau
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Five Step Blog Formula

Masters of Marketing students have now been charged with the running of the Marketing Matters blog. It’s a daunting task for many, but it doesn’t have to be so scary! Writing a blog is easier than you think.

Simply follow these five steps as outlined in this magic formula and you will be on your way to being a seasoned blogger in no time!

Step 1: Know your audience
Before you start to write, have a thorough understanding of who your target audience is. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? 

Step 2: Choose a topic and working title
Before you even write anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start with. For example, my topic for this post was very original. I called it ‘Blogging’. Since then I’ve had a number of working titles that I’ve changed from, ‘How to Write a Blog Post’, followed by ‘MoM’s Guide to Writing a Blog Post’. I will probably change it five more times before the end of the article. You just have to feel it as you go.

Step 3: Write a captivating introduction
The most important thing is to grab the reader's attention. The first few sentences are paramount because if you lose the reader in the first few sentences, they will stop reading. Writing captivating introductions is quite simple. Telling a story or a joke works really well, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic. Then describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address your reader’s problem and help them improve their work/lives.

Step 4: Organise the content
The main thing you want to avoid is information overload. That’s why it’s necessary to organise the information so readers are not intimidated by the length of the content. This can take multiple forms -- sections, lists, tips, whatever's most appropriate for the type of blog post.

Step 5: Stop procrastinating and start writing
For novice bloggers, probably the hardest step is actually writing the blog post. You may feel inclined to spend hours researching but to be honest, you need to set yourself a limit and just write.

Write about what you already know, and if need be, do additional research to gather more information to support what you have already written. Like examples, images, and data to back-up your points, providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources - for images too! You don’t want to accidentally plagiarise, do you?

All this being said, it’s important to remember that everyone has their own style and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Just don’t forget what the goal of the blog is and of course, the most important thing - your audience!

Alyce Brierley
Graduating student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

5 Infallible Steps to Self-motivation


Believe me when I say that procrastination is your worst enemy. Students in the Master of Marketing program find out pretty soon that with the intensity of the program, there’s simply no time to waste if you want to balance study, health, family, social life and work.

To be classified as a procrastinator, one must master the art of systematically postponing urgent or less pleasurable matters for activities which provide immediate satisfaction. Sound familiar? Well it doesn’t have to be this way.

If like me, you are in remission after years of battling with procrastination, you will understand perfectly the constant struggle to stay on task. Keep reading and find out five infallible steps to self motivation and kick that procrastination habit for good.

Step 1: Know your weakness

It may surprise you to learn that we’re programmed to procrastinate. A psychological study performed by Walter Mischel showed direct links between anxiety, perfectionism, impulsiveness and self doubt in relation to procrastination.

The first step to kicking the habit for good is to identify this weakness and make a conscious effort to see things through to the end. Easier said than done though right? Think of it this way. You wouldn’t go about curing a disease without first getting a diagnosis. 16 Personalities have come up with a free comprehensive personality test to help you learn to understand yourself, others and how to harness your true potential.

Step 2: Set goals

'What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.’ - Henry David Thoreau

Now that you feel all enlightened and ready to take on the world, it’s time to set some goals. Realistic goals, mind you. Start small and write ‘To-Do’ lists each day and take pleasure in ticking off each task as you finish them. The feeling is so addictive, soon your lists will become more ambitious and you will gain the confidence to set some well defined goals.

The best sorts of goals are those you can work towards. According to Locke's goal-setting theory goals should be clearly defined, challenging but not overly difficult, attainable and relevant, have regular feedback and respect task complexity.

Step 3: Self evaluate

Never underestimate the value of self evaluation. It may seem like a waste of time but it is an immensely powerful tool for your personal growth. Take a closer look at your achievements and identify what made them a success. Know your strengths and weaknesses and understand how you can build upon them. Try to get feedback as often as possible and don’t lose confidence if you don’t succeed. For every time something goes wrong, there is always a valuable lesson to be learned.

Step 4: Inspire and be inspired

‘Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in life, it’s about what you inspire others to do.’ - Terry Wildemann

The best way to build confidence within yourself is to help inspire others. Collaborating with others and sharing your own brilliant ideas and experiences will give you the confidence to believe you can succeed.

The world needs more leaders to inspire others to be greater than themselves.  So take what you will from this. The truth is that inspiring other leads to purposefulness and self assurance.

Step 5: Reward yourself

It’s simple really. Just as we are programmed to procrastinate, our brains are also wired to seek rewards. Studies show that one specific neurotransmitter that plays a role in motivation is dopamine. Dopamine impacts the body’s motivation, memory, behaviour and cognition, attention, sleep, mood, learning, and pleasurable reward centres.

You can’t fight science. Whether your reward is tangible or intangible, something small like a cigarette or something big like a holiday. Reward yourself.

So there you have it. Five infallible steps to self motivation. But what it all boils down to is having the confidence to truly believe in yourself. You have all of the tools to achieve your goals and become successful. You are confident, capable and ambitious. The only thing left to do is start now.

Written by:
Alyce Brierley
Graduating student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

10 Key Insights from the 2018 Senior Marketer Monitor Report

In March, Colmar Brunton, in collaboration with the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI), presented their findings from their annual study of Australia's senior marketing professionals. Since 2009, this study has provided insights into the minds of marketers; enabling a deeper understanding of the sentiments, priorities, challenges and channels used today.

The University of Sydney does its best to equiMaster of Marketing students with the skills to thrive in their careers, but with the ever-changing face of marketing, it’s important to keep up to date with trends, especially when it comes to starting off in a career.

Keep reading to find out the key insights from the report and learn how the Australian marketing industry is shaping up for 2018.

1. Marketing in Australia at a glance.

2. Total budget expectations are expected to increase.

The main budget drivers were said to be linked to challenges with leadership, tightening of purse strings, and a shift to a more technical focus means that marketing is seen as an optional spend, whereas relationship building is more of a priority.

3. Getting the message across to the right audience at the right time is a bit of a challenge for commercial marketers.

4. Commercial marketers don't really know what to do with big data and many are ill-equipped to manage high priority challenges like innovation, measuring effectiveness and integrated campaign measurement.

5. For government organisations and not-for-profits, marketers feel ill-equipped to manage trends, strategies, measure integrated campaigns, acquire new customers, calculate ROI and be innovative.

6. Commercial priorities are to increase sales and customer acquisition, whereas for the government and not-for-profits, the top focus is centred around building a community and enhancing the customer experience.

7. Internal marketing and product development are not so important, right now.

8. The transition to the digital era, a focus on brand and market changes are major change drivers.

9. Communication channels like social, online and content are dominating the market sphere.

10. The digital age has put customers at the centre of a less traditional approach to marketing.

Click here to read the full version of the 2018 Australian Senior Marketer Monitor Report conducted by Colmar Brunton and the AMI.

Alyce Brierley
Graduating student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Christmas Shopping Frenzy

While confidence about the Christmas shopping season has fallen among many Australian retailers, for online consumers, Monday was the busiest online shopping day of the year. The orders rained in during the hour following lunch; as the peak time to find gifts via a computer screen, according to new eBay research.

I’ve been putting off my Christmas shopping this year, not because I’m selfish, no. It’s because this time of year is always the most chaotic; with work deadlines, a Masters of Marketing Consulting Project, a burgeoning social calendar combined with the beckoning sun’s call to go to the beach all day instead of navigating through the hoards to find the perfect gift… to be honest I just haven’t had time. Well not time for that anyway.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? Well, apparently we’re not the only ones.

Bricks and mortar retailers are less than optimistic.

Each year, Deloitte conducts the Deloitte Retailers Christmas Survey. Released on Sunday, the results showed that 70 percent of Australian retailers expected Christmas sales to beat 2016's result, which was a six per cent drop from last year. This is yet another body blow for the nation's struggling retailers after a series of disappointing sales figures whereby the growing cost of living keeps consumers' wallets shut.

The annual Deloitte's head of retail David White said it was a worrying result for the nation's embattled retail sector.

"A number of retailers haven't survived the year and there is a concern amongst respondents that weakness may continue throughout Christmas 2017," White said.

"With so many new and expanding competitors in the market combined with price deflation and rising electricity costs, it will be a challenge for retailers in the apparel, footwear and department store sectors to maintain margins over Christmas in the face of these headwinds.

Image source: Huffington Post AU. CHARLES PLATIAU / REUTERS. Shoppers are getting frugal this Christmas.

But the online retail landscape is thriving.

Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association, said research showed online purchases would jump 3.96 per cent this Christmas, with the majority being made this week. Along the same lines as Ebay’s research, the Australian Retailers Association has also forecast that the majority of their gifts bought this season will be bought online.

It may be that retailers are less than optimistic about the holiday shopping season, however, Australian shoppers are expected to spend more than $50 billion over the Christmas period, starting on November 15, according to the ARA and Roy Morgan Research.

This year, online shopping grew 8.3 percent, according to the National Australia Bank, with consumers spending $23.65 billion in internet stores over the year to October, representing 7.6 per cent of spending in bricks and mortar stores.

More than 2.7 million Australians were expected to visit Ebay on Monday. According to eBay Australia’s Chief Financial Officer, Gavin Dennis, the peak shopping period had been pushed one week later this year due to Australians postponing their Christmas shopping.

“This year we’ve seen the busiest online shopping day pushed out to the second week of December. Gift shoppers are becoming more confident they can order online later, and 70 per cent of our shoppers are now coming from mobile devices so you don’t necessarily need to be at home, on the laptop, shopping, you can be wherever the inspiration grabs you.” 

Working hard, or hardly working?
Who says you need to go shopping to buy presents? With the convenience of not having to leave your desk, many Aussies are now becoming more confident that they can get away with buying gifts while on the job. EBay predicted that computer users would purchase the greatest number of items between 1pm and 2pm on Monday, while they were still at work.

“There has been a change in peak desktop purchasing period,” Mr Dennis said.

“Historically it tended to be in the evenings. Now we’re seeing shopper behaviour change and that desktop sales are peaking around lunch time. On Monday, everyone is going to be busy on their lunch break, shopping online.”

Interestingly, buying gifts has now gone mobile; with purchases made with a smartphone now outnumbering eBay purchases on a computer. For shoppers multi-tasking in front of the television before bedtime, the peak times being between 9pm and 9.15pm.

So, if you, like me, have been stalling your Christmas shopping then don’t forget that there other options. You could give the gift of your ‘presence’, but that’s kind of stingy. Don’t be a scrooge, try shopping online instead. Just don’t leave it too late or your gifts mightn’t arrive on time and then you might have to just brave the crowds after all.

Alyce Brierley Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Monday, 4 December 2017

The Meghan Effect

Move over Kate Middleton. There’s a new royal fashion icon on the block. Since the announcement of Prince Harry’s engagement to American actress, Meghan Markle, fans and royalists have become obsessed with the soon-to-be royal’s wardrobe. 

Prince Harry, who is currently fifth in line to the throne, will marry Meghan next spring, making her a duchess. Meghan and Harry had their first public engagement in Nottingham in Friday. The couple appeared to have coordinated their outfits wearing navy and sand, greeting well-wishers as they moved along the crowd. Meghan’s £455 Scottish-designed Strathberry tote sold out instantly.

The visit sought to raise awareness of HIV/Aids and efforts to tackle youth crime but it also presented the opportunity for Harry to show off his fiancé.  For the lucky brands that Markle was wearing it was the opportunity to become known as the royal brands of choice. Not to mention send their sales through the roof.

The Halo Effect of Meghan Markle.

Master of Marketing students at the University of Sydney’s Business School learnt about the effects of cognitive biases. In marketing, the term halo effect is used to explain customer bias toward certain products because of favourable experiences with other products made by the same company. In the case of Markle, brands can leverage her fame, beauty and the royal engagement to their advantage.

A specific type of confirmation bias, the halo effect has the ability to influence feelings and thoughts about that entity's character or properties. Previously, the term was originally coined when referring to people, however, its use has now been expanded to the area of brand marketing.

Pretty much anything Markle wears enters the domain of sell-out success. 

Founded four years ago by husband and wife team Guy and Leeanne Hundleby, Strathberry is based in Edinburgh. With no background in fashion, the Hundlebys quit their jobs to create Strathberry after realising Scotland was lacking a standout international, luxury leather goods brand. Mrs Hundleby worker in the financial sector and her husband ran a production company and now thanks to Markle, it looks as though their brand is on-track to become a worldwide sensation.

Earlier that week,  Markle announced her engagement to the prince wearing a Line belted coat, a P.A.R.O.S.H. green dress, Aquazzura heels and Birks 18-karat gold earrings. Line has worked with Meghan’s stylist Jessica Mulroney to help Markle with her style choices in recent years. The white $750 Line coat sold out within minutes. According to president and cofounder John Muscat, the style has also been renamed the “Meghan” in honour of the incoming royal. 

Image Source: Open News Windows. Sales increase for Line thanks to the Halo Effect of Meghan Markle.

Muscat was surprised by Meghan’s choice to wear the coat for the announcement. “I don’t know how you’re supposed to react to that. I was surprised that she chose to wear our coat for such an incredible announcement. I was really honoured and touched that she did that. She’s bringing a little bit of Canada with her to London,” Muscat said. “She particularly loves this coat. She has it in every colour so that makes a little sense. She wears it like a second skin.”

Following the aftermath of Monday’s announcement, Birks saw a 50 percent increase in website traffic by early Monday afternoon, said Birks brand chief marketing officer and vice president Eva Hartling. “We’ve also had a lot of inquiries from stores mentioning that clients either called or walked in asking to see the $780 18K gold Opal earrings from the ‘Les Plaisirs’ collection,” she said.

Image Source: The Daily Mail UK. Markle with Prince Harry on their first outing since the engagement announcement.

Megan Markle’s fashion choices are a boon for luxury brands wishing to be associated with the royal. And while many have noticed that she leans heavily towards Canadian brands, her taste is not exclusive. Markle is in a position to buttress designers and retailers whom she wishes to help. Whether it’s through her own exclusive fashion blog or by designing her own fashion lines for womenswear retailer Reitmans, Markle is leaving her mark on the fashion world.

Alyce Brierley
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Is Online Privacy Beyond Our Control?

A report conducted by the Digital Rights and Governance Project from the University of Sydney has revealed that Australians are very concerned about their digital privacy, especially when it comes to government and corporate violations. The findings showed that 67 per cent of Australians attempt to protect their privacy online and 61 per cent change settings on social media, but only 38 per cent feel in control of their privacy.

The survey of 1600 Australians explores attitudes to online privacy, surveillance, digital disruption at work, and online freedom of speech, while prompting urgent questions about rights issues in four areas: privacy, profiling and analytics; government data matching and surveillance; workplace change; and freedom of expression and speech regulation.

“Our results provide a snapshot of the nation’s attitudes and behaviours in the digital world and show Australians’ clear concerns about how their information is being used and accessed by governments, social media platforms and corporations,” said co-author Professor Ariadne Vromen.

Future transformative impacts. 

One of the top ten countries globally for internet use, the digital landscape of Australia is rapidly evolving as new technologies redefine our lives. In the Master of Marketing Consulting Project, students at the University of Sydney’s Business School are encouraged to consider the ethical issues of digital disruption. The ethical and legal challenges surrounding digital, networked technologies prompts debate surrounding the future impacts on business practices and society on the whole.

Image source: IAB Australia

“Australians’ personal and professional lives are being transformed by digital disruption, while lawmakers, technology elites and corporate boards fail to keep up. Data hoarding and seemingly opaque decision-making has given rise to community concern and an urgent need for our digital rights to be clearly laid out by the government,” said report co-author, Professor Gerard Goggin.

According to the report, almost 80 per cent of Australians want to know what information of theirs is being accessed, by whom, and how to report and correct inaccuracies.

“There is a meaningful desire amongst the community to be better informed and empowered about personal data. The recent Uber data breach emerged after our research was complete, but it nonetheless shows digital privacy concerns are often well-founded,” said co-author Professor Kimberlee Weatherall.

Key Areas of Digital Rights 

Internet Freedom 

Since its creation, the Internet has raised issues about digital rights. There is a concern about consumer’s effective access to Internet, and the threats to Internet freedoms. These include shutting down or disabling access: service blocking, denial of service attacks, content filtering, and the undermining  of “net neutrality”, where all Internet traffic is equal, rather than giving preference to speed and quality to some “premium” or business services.

Intellectual Property (IP)

Central to digital rights, IP concerns new kinds of controls for rights holders. Copying and sharing digital information raises issues surrounding the rights management and because new areas of information, media, and communication have become part of the digital realm, raising new issues of ownership and rights. Copyright laws impact the digital economy and culture, sparking debate about downloading and sharing of digital content, copyright protections on e-books, ownership of information and user-generated content on social media.

Internet Governance

Internet governance emerged along with mechanisms and cultures to assist with the development and coordination of the technical and social operation of the Internet.  It deals with issues in policy analysis, governance, and regulation are essential to understand alongside, or as building blocks of, digital rights.

Digital Citizenship

Originally conceived as a form of political participation, digital citizenship recognises the need for internet literacy and an understandings of networked social relations. The European Digital Framework for Citizens (European Commission, 2016a), mandates the development knowledge and skills in information literacy, communication and collaboration, content creation, safety and problem solving in order to fully participate in society.

Digital Rights for Different Actors

The rights issues for digital citizens must be considered from different perspectives, especially those who may have been overlooked. Privacy can be specific to a range of factors: cultural context; age, class, gender, sexuality, race, disability, and other categories such as income and occupation. The inadvertent release of such information through hacking or the use of information gained from social media raises concerns about safety, security and potential harassment.

Summary of Key Findings 

  • Some 47 per cent of Australians worry about government violating their privacy;
  • A large majority (78 per cent) want to know how social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are using their personal data;
  • Some 79 per cent say retention of phone call information is a breach of privacy;
  • A majority (58 per cent) oppose a metadata retention scheme, but support lifts when this policy is framed as a law enforcement, security, or terrorism measure;
  • Australians are divided about freedom of speech online. Some 37 per cent agree with being ‘free to say and do what I want online’, but 30 per cent disagree, while the remaining 33 per cent hold reservations about absolute freedom of speech online.
  • Half believe they have the right to anonymity online, but opinion is divided on whether people should be free ‘to say and do what they want’, with 36 per cent agreeing and 30 per cent disagreeing with this statement.
  • 39 per cent of Australians have been affected by mean of abusive remarks online, and 27 per cent have had personal information posted without their consent, 20 per cent or fewer have been affected by more serious types of attack – such as racist remarks, unwanted sexual communications, and cyber-bullying.
  • A third of parents (37 per cent) have advised their child to reduce their social media use due to the behaviour of others, while almost a quarter (24 per cent) have advised their children to delete a social media account due to bullying.
*Digital Rights and Governance is an interdisciplinary research project based at the University of Sydney and funded by the Sydney Research Excellence Initiative (SREI) 2020.

**Original article, ‘Majority of Australians say online privacy beyond their control’, posted by The University of Sydney, 27 November 2017.

View the full Digital Rights in Australia report.

Alyce Brierley
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Do You Have Soft Skills To Be In The Workplace Of The Future?

As the workforce moves deeper into a the age of automation, why is it so hard to find the right candidates with the right skills? While many graduates have adequate technical skills, a large percentage lack soft skills like innovative and critical thinking, change and stakeholder management, and a drive for results. 

As graduation approaches for Master of Marketing students at the University of Sydney, for many, finding a job that’s the right fit has become the number one priority. According to research from recruitment company Hudson, when it comes to hiring for technology and digital jobs in 2017, almost half of the job market is open to new opportunities. Even more  sobering for employers is the fact that only a quarter of employees are content to stay in their current roles. Do you see a connection?

PwC reported in their 20th CEO Survey that when seeking value, there must be a stronger focus on a business’ ‘human system’, because it’s the human skills that can’t be automated, such as emotional intelligence, creativity and adaptability.

Similarly, PWC’s Workforce of the Future report noted that in an ever increasing automated world, human skills will still be valued. “Businesses are advised to strengthen innovation, creativity, empathy and leadership capabilities in your business alongside critical technology skills”.

Do you know what are soft skills are?

Soft skills relate to your personal characteristics and traits, and also have a very important role in the company’s decisions who to hire for a particular job position. Unlike hard skills, soft skills are much more difficult to measure and quantify. Good examples are communication, leadership, adaptability and problem-solving abilities, but they can also be things like conflict management, human relations, making presentations, negotiating and team building.

As the hard skills are much more evolved, it is easier for the companies to compare job candidates according to their hard knowledge and abilities. Both hard and soft skills are equally important to employers, so it’s important to communicate all of your qualities, certificates and other documents that prove your hard skills. Here is a handy infographic comparing the most common and valuable soft vs hard skills required in a wide number of job descriptions:

Is there a connection between soft skills and value?

This is a serious hiring challenge for recruiters when it comes to finding candidates with the right technical skills, who fit the organisational culture and who also possess the relevant soft skills. It’s not always easy to find the right people, especially when you consider the competition. According to Hudson, 90% of hiring managers are recruiting to either maintain or grow their headcount.

Image: Hudson

On the other side of the table, candidates are looking for a good working environment, work/ life balance and a role that is also challenging. If for some reason these needs aren’t met or sufficient value isn’t provided by employers, employee job satisfaction falls. 

Developing soft skills for success. 

A good work ethic, optimism, high emotional IQ and the ability and willingness to collaborate with others are just a few of the soft skills that employers look for when hiring. So if you think that these are a few areas  you need to work on, look no further than TED Talks.

Amy Cuddy’s "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are"

Cuddy explains how your body language affects not only the people around you but yourself as well. By striking certain stances or making certain gestures, we can make ourselves feel confident or passive, happy or sad. Cuddy’s talk will help with your non-verbal communication skills.

Julian Treasure’s “5 Ways to Listen Better”

“We’re losing our listening. This is not trivial. Because listening is our access to understanding. Conscious listening always creates understanding.” -Julian Treasure
Treasure teaches us that if we listen closely to each other, we can understand each other better. Soft skills—particularly listening—creates mutual respect. We respect those who respect us. If you respect people by listening to them, they will in turn reciprocate. 

Tali Sharot “The Optimism Bias”

Optimism can change your mindset and body. It can affect real life outcomes, keep you motivated and lower stress levels. In this talk, learn to develop the soft skill of remaining optimistic. 

Kelly McGonigal “How To Make Stress Your Friend”

In her Ted Talk, Kelly discusses how to turn stress into a positive, opening up the conversation of “looking for the silver lining”. Stress can be seen as a positive thing- a moment of courage that can help with productivity and positivity. 

Just like hard skills, soft skills can be learned. Developing these skills can help in all parts of your life, both professional and personal. So if you think you are someone who is lacking in these areas, don’t tell yourself that they don’t matter. When automation in the workplace becomes ‘the norm’, chances are, a little bit of humanity will go a very long way.

Alyce Brierley
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 20 November 2017

Australia says, ‘YES!’ to Same-Sex Marriage!

I’ve never been so proud to be an Aussie. After a hard slog of heated debates and intense rallying, finally the postal vote survey results have given LGBTI+ Australians the right to same-sex marriage with a majority vote of 61%. As a student in the Master of Marketing Program, my mind automatically wonders, ‘What’s next?’. How will same-sex marriage affect people’s perceptions of brands? What will be the effect on the economy? And will there be changes in the workplace environment?
Image source: ESSA

At the University of Sydney, students are encouraged to ‘unlearn’ old thought processes and open their minds to a world of openness, empathy and tolerance. Finally, Australia has decided to take a similar stance by choosing to ‘unlearn’ the previous notion of love. An incredible, 80 per cent of adult Australians participated in the voluntary postal vote that started hitting Australian letterboxes back in early September.

Now the future of LGBTI+ Australians is in the hands of the federal parliament and will require federal politicians to agree with the voice of the majority of Australians. So with the battle won and the fight still far from over, will the greater society choose to accept this change in culture? And will brands choose to change along with them?

Photo source: Bandt. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (middle) with two Marriage Equality supporters in Prince Alfred Park.

Supporting the cause is set to pay off.
During the campaigning, many brands who decided to publicly show their support can now rejoice because they aligned themselves with the winning cause. Prominent ‘YES’ supporter, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, gave the keynote address at a results reveal party in Sydney’s Prince Alfred Park, asking Malcolm Turnbull to “get on and do it”. The Irish-born Joyce said, “I was so proud of Ireland when they were the first country to vote for marriage equality, but today I’m proud of Australia its an amazing outcome.”

Qantas has been a staunch supporter of marriage equality for some time, going all out by furnishing the exterior of a plane in rainbow regalia for Mardi Gras. Joyce even personally donated $1m to the ‘Yes’ campaign.

Image: The official Qantas Twitter page

The benefits of the pink dollar.
There’s no doubt that marriage equality will do wonders to boost the bottom line for brands who supported ‘YES’. But what about the benefits to the Australian economy? The economic activity that will be created by gay weddings is sometimes called the pink dollar. From increased spending in the Australian economy, improved labour productivity to betterment in social and mental health, not to mention expenditure on weddings, the new legislation will bring a range of positive benefits.
Image: Facebook

The proof is in the pudding. Just look at the USA, where same-sex weddings resulted in a boost of $111 million over five years in the economy of the American state of Massachusetts alone. If only 50% of same-sex couples choose to tie the knot and then half of those couples get married within twelve months of the marriage equality legislation being passed, ANZ calculated that expenditure on weddings alone could add at least $500 million to the economy. Assuming that a wedding costs $51,000 on average, expenses include; venue hire, catering, waitstaff, alcohol, decorators, dress and suit shops, photographers, receptions, wedding planners and florists, just to name a few.

Cherelle Murphy & Mandeep Kaura, Co-head of Australian Economics & Economic statistician from ANZ, take a more optimistic view of the benefits to the economy, claiming, "If half of the population of same sex couples chose to marry within one year, the benefits to the economy in the first year of the legislation would be over $1bn."

Image: A wedding cake with Lego men was part of an advertising campaign pitched at Australians wanting to get married in New Zealand. 

In addition to the benefits for a wide range of industries, state governments will also receive a new source of revenue with more marriage licence fees and secular wedding ceremonies.

In fact, all the local businesses that have previously missed out on earning the pink dollar due to same-sex marriages being conducted overseas will now be able to share a piece of the pie. Commonly, Australians who are in a same-sex relationship often go abroad to tie the knot. Now we should see a drop in Australians travelling overseas for marriage purposes, giving way to a rise in reinvesting funds into industries at home.

Is this the end of irrational social discrimination in the workplace?

The knock-on effects of marriage equality could also benefit Australian businesses through increased productivity, higher talent attraction and decreased chance of consumer backlash. Marriage equality is a step towards overcoming irrational social discrimination against LGBTI+, which according to UBS economist, Paul Donovan, acts as an inhibitor to increased labour productivity and labour potential.

“At least part of the growth of income inequality in recent years has been about the higher rewards to higher skills — the market place more value on maximizing skills than in the past,” writes Donovan for Australian Business Insider. “This is why any form of prejudice is bad economics. Irrationally discriminating against a section of society will deny an economy the full value of that group’s skill set.”

“Legalizing same-sex marriage is a means of reducing prejudice and through so doing should help to raise productivity in an economy,” concludes Donovan.

According to Donovan, legalizing same-sex marriage helps to promote trend growth in the following three ways:
  • It removes the limits on labour mobility that come with states not recognising gay marriage. If someone’s marriage is not recognised in a certain state, then that person’s desire to move to that state is weakened by the prospect of economic and legal disadvantages.
  • It helps to overcome the problem of “irrational” social discrimination — specifically at work. Since marriage is as much a social thing as it is a legal institution, denying this social rite-of-passage to one group suggests that that group is somehow socially inferior. In the workplace, this nurtures “irrational discrimination,” according to Donovan.
  • It helps overcome the problem of economic underperformance resulting from the mental strain of being an inferior group. Donovan writes that there’s strong evidence that creating an “inferior class” negatively impacts the economic performance of that group.
Considering that 1% of all couples are same-sex couples in Australia, the passing of this legislation is huge in comparison. There is no price that can be put on the economic benefits, decrease in discrimination, and overall improvement to the lives and well-being of same sex couples. I hope, with all my heart that with the results in, this bill can be passed quickly so that we can leave all the ugliness of the debating from the last few months behind, working together to build a better future for all Australians.

Alyce Brierley
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School