Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Welcome to our New Students

Last Thursday afternoon we gathered at the University of Sydney Business School to welcome our newest students to the course. The evening began with a short introduction by Pennie Frow, Course Coordinator, and Ellen Garbarino, Chair of the Discipline of Marketing, followed by brief speeches by current students Duncan Bell and Marco Tomaselli.

As the evening wore on, and we all got better acquainted, it was great to see a very diverse group joining our existing cohort. We have students coming from China, Germany, France and the Philippines (among many other nations), and with varied academic and industry backgrounds. So in a bid to make the transition for our new students much smoother, this evening was also the inauguration of the very first ‘Buddy Program’ – an initiative involving current students providing ongoing assistance to the new cohort during the first few weeks of this semester.

Christine Drpich and myself, in particular, look forward to seeing how this program pans out as classes begin, and we hope that our new students find it beneficial. As mentioned on the night, a great advantage of the Master of Marketing course is that every student has unique experiences and skills to bring to the classroom, so it is very important that we all understand from the beginning what we can learn from each other, as much as from the material and lecturers in the course.

So although we’re soon to say goodbye to some of our existing cohort who are reaching the end of their Master of Marketing degree, we look forward to getting to know our new students, and seeing them in the classes that begin this week.

Salil Kumar
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 25 July 2014

And so the trending continues…

Out of all the travelling I’ve done, one of the most notable things I’ve seen has been the excessive amount of airplane or ‘flying pictures’ people post on the internet of the beautiful views from above. That being said, you’d wonder why some airlines haven’t been quicker to put their logos on the wing of the plane somewhere, as seen below in the Qantas and Delta shots:

        Qantas Arriving in Sydney, Australia                                        Delta Departing Bermuda, UK

The fact that these two major airlines don’t have logos on their plane wing tips is shocking because of all the Instagram, Twitter, and now even Facebook, photos people post that include trends, locations and tags. To run a campaign the same size as all this free advertising could otherwise have amounted to millions of dollars worth of promotional spend. So how can these airlines be more effective through the various social media channels mentioned above?

First of all, other airlines should consider RyanAir and Southwest Airlines. Below you can see the effectiveness of their wing tip advertising when a picture is captured of a rare view from above, even when the full logo isn’t in the picture! These airlines chose to spend money on applying additional paint to the wing tips of their aircrafts specifically to become a part of these unique shots. Passengers are now also seeing more full body paint jobs on planes, such as Southwest’s orca wale that regularly flies into Orlando, FL, USA.

Departing Costa Brava, Spain                                            Departing Albuquerque, NM, USA

These pictures often lead to posts containing trends such as #ryanair, #southwest, #viewfromabove, #amazingtrip, #jetsetter, #flying, and many more. When the airlines’ name is used in the hashtag or trend line for a photo, they all get collected on the same newsfeed for that channel of social media. The more trends a brand creates, the more popular it becomes; and if you’ve read previous articles on the Marketing Matters Blog, you’d realize just how crucial internet reviews and trends are in shaping future travellers decisions.

My only question now is to the airline marketing executives: how are you going to become part of these spectacular moments? Whether or not we’re allowed to use our phones during take off or landing, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of these photos.

Christine Drpich
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hashtag Marketing is in Vogue

In my last post I mentioned Virgin Australia’s newest campaign, which features a social media initiative involving, the hashtag #mealforameal. In an effort to capitalise on the growing activity on social media platforms such as Instagram, Virgin aimed to engage customers in a more personal, and more importantly, traceable way. Each time someone updates their social media accounts using this hashtag, Virgin is most likely able to view the post, and thus catalogue their engagement with the campaign.

Although using hashtags within tactical digital marketing strategies is becoming quite common, they have yet to really be used on a greater, and more mainstream scale – well until now anyway. Earlier this year for example, Calvin Klein launched a #mycalvins social media campaign encouraging their key influencers (bloggers and celebrities) and fans, to post pictures of themselves in their CK underwear. According to Fashionista, over 6 million social media users used this hashtag, and the campaign engaged over 200 million fans across 23 countries.

Given the success of this initial digital campaign, Calvin Klein’s latest campaign images (as seen below) features the hashtag, #mycalvins, much more prominently than the brand’s own name.

Source: (mulheresnofd)

As these images are likely to appear in print, digital and offline spaces, Calvin Klein is perhaps leading the way for a digital revolution of mainstream advertising. Although QR codes have been around for a little while, with many billboards and product packaging featuring these codes, there are notable barriers to customers scanning these codes, and thus engaging with these campaigns. The use of a hashtag, in comparison, simply requires an active social media account, and is able to be used across almost all social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and more recently, Facebook).

Whether Calvin Klein’s newest campaign will translate into sales, and an even higher rate of customer engagement, is yet to be seen. However, given the success of their previous efforts, it is no surprise that going digital is a strategy they are dedicated to see through in their campaigns.

Although I’m not an enthusiast for the excessive use of hashtags, it’s clear that they’re certainly having a ‘moment’. Only time will tell whether we’ve got another fad on our hands, but until then, hashtags are here to stay and are undeniably the newest stars of the advertising world.

Salil Kumar
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 18 July 2014

Tourism: ‘Word of Mouth’ and Review Advertisements

As our July winter holiday comes to a close after next week, I’m sure we’re all going to be missing our warm tropical getaways; but we’re also going to be telling absolutely everyone about our travels! These vacation recaps with our friends may truly be where companies in the tourism industry make their money, because you don’t want anything but the best on your next trip.

It is crucial for tourism companies to have honest reviews on the internet because it can seriously effect other guests’ experiences. But have you ever heard of a company actually being honest about the type of advertisement they want from you? It was actually quite a surprise to be asked to participate in a ‘word of mouth’ campaign when the friendly crew aboard the Reef Experiences cruise in Cairns, QLD asked us to go “tell all your friends about the great time you had!”

Well guys, here’s your advertisement! It was extremely effective to be honest and tells us tourists what you want us to do; other companies would have put a logo on every photo, or made you jump through hoops just to get a 5% discount on a food voucher or something. This family owned business really operates with sincerity and it shows through their services, their crew and the safety of guests.

Additionally, even when there isn’t any ‘word of mouth’ advertising taking place, the internet and trip advisor act as a second opinion, and a very prominent one. ‘Word of mouth’ advertising is aided by the reviews because now you don’t have to know the person to find any information you want, instead, it is all in one place where you can sift through many experiences.

So the next time you get asked to fill out a survey to get a discount or end up with a silly logo in the bottom of your overpriced photos, remember this company and the honesty that’s required to have a successful following through ‘word of mouth’ advertisement.

Christine Drpich
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Virgin Mobile Australia – ‘Making Mobile Better’ Ad

Although yet to go live (it’s part of a three month campaign that begins this week), Virgin Australia will be launching a new national campaign targeting ‘anti-social’ mobile phone behaviour. Fronted by American actress Jane Lynch (of Glee fame), the first campaign ad shows Lynch poking fun at the activities that many people are guilty of using their phone for; including taking ‘selfies’, texting in the company of friends or during meals, and generally playing with their phones when they should be paying attention to what’s happening in front of them in the real world.

I will admit that I found the first ad by itself not that convincing, but after further research into the campaign, it turns out that part of Virgin’s efforts in ‘making mobile better’ is that they will donate to a food rescue service (OzHarvest) every time someone posts a picture of their food on social media using the hashtag #mealforameal. Aside from benefiting a great case, the campaign attempts to tap into some of the rising consumer trends in mobile phone use, and attempts to leverage them into positive actions. So instead of just ‘sharing’ a picture of your meal with your followers on social media, through Virgin’s campaign, you can now share a meal with someone who is in actual need of it.

It will be interesting to see how this campaign performs over the next three months, and given its feel good nature, I’m inclined to hope it does well – not only for Virgin, but also for OzHarvest, which annually feeds around 2 million Australians relying on food relief. We’ll be sure to come back to this campaign as it rolls out, but in the meantime, let me go get my phone and share something that will actually matter!

Find out more about the 'Making Mobile Better' campaign.

Salil Kumar
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 11 July 2014

Watch what you say…

Cat got your tongue? No, no, no….that’s not quite right. CAUGHT RED HANDED: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines trying to make a sassy tweet that has since caused some serious backlash in one of the countries they service daily. Being the oldest airline in the world, still operating under its original name, having obtained that name from the Dutch Royal Air force, you think they would have known better….

Based on the screenshot of the tweet seen above, clearly they didn’t know any better; especially with the addition of the sombrero and moustache to the departure sign. It’s one thing for two countries to stir up some serious rivalry in the FIFA World Cup, especially when one gets eliminated in a very emotional penalty kick round, but bad sportsmanship is distasteful. And, bad sportsmanship that could affect all of their marketing efforts, prestige, and reputation, is even worse.

It’s well understood that airlines are often major financial supporters to their nationally and internationally represented teams, however, sometimes it is best to know when to keep your thoughts to yourself. The Dutch airline already has some harsh reputations and stereotypes of their own to overcome ever since their involvement in the collision at Tenerife in 1977. It was a well-known conclusion to the investigation that some ignorance in the cockpit might have been to blame for the miscommunication, and some people out there may attribute that ignorance to a cultural attribute.

Having a very close personal relationship to the airline and its operations, this news was kind of shocking. I wouldn’t have pegged them to be so inconsiderate in their social media presence. Their marketing and reputation comes from what is supposed to be one of the more thorough and long-term oriented marketing plans, especially since it involves a tight relationship with other SkyTeam partners. You can say sorry all you want, but when you make fun of stereotypes that hit an emotional chord, it’s going to be pretty hard to forgive and forget – especially when you need business to keep your operations afloat.

Christine Drpich
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

SMS Mentoring Program 2014 – Launch Event

Last Wednesday I had the opportunity to visit the University of Sydney Business School CBD Campus for the launch event of the Sydney Marketing Society’s 2014 Winter Mentoring Program.

The Sydney Marketing Society (SMS) is a not for profit student society based at the University of Sydney that looks to connect talented young marketers with leading employers in the marketing sector. The Mentoring Program is a recently launched initiative by the society, currently in its second year, which matches student mentees with mentors from the industry. The aim of the program is to provide students with an opportunity to gain an insight into the real working environments of their mentors, as well as build strong professional networks during their studies.

As a Master of Marketing student with a background in accounting, my exposure to the marketing industry has been very minimal to date. I was therefore very eager to participate in SMS’s mentoring program, as it was the perfect opportunity to learn more about the industry, and seek guidance from someone who has been working in a field of Marketing (digital) that is of great interest to me.

Since having met my mentor, I am greatly looking forward to the next 8 weeks of the program, within which I will be visiting his place of work, possibly shadowing someone from his company for a day, and learning as much as I can within this timeframe!

I am aware that a few other students from our course are also participating in this year’s mentoring program, so watch this space for further updates on our progress in the program, and our thoughts on this experience.

Salil Kumar
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 4 July 2014

Deception Studies

All over the internet you’ll find everyone is just discovering a deception study conducted by Facebook in 2012 in conjunction with Cornell University and the University of California, San Francisco. As a previous psychology student, this is nothing out of the ordinary, and to be honest, you can’t be mad about what information gets used from the internet because you choose to put that content out there, especially on Facebook.

The procedure of the study basically included shifting certain internet codes associated with designing newsfeed posts specific to every Facebook user. This was done for the purpose of studying emotions associated with positive or negative posts by an individuals’ friends. The point was then to see if the individual being studied would make his or her own positive or negative posts based on the tone of their friends posts. This is a typical psychological deception study, minus the preliminary consent for a non-harmful study and a post-study debrief.

Although many people are only finding out about the study two years later, and many people are angry, Facebook has seemingly abided by all the policies agreed to by users upon activating their Facebook accounts (yes, they probably had good lawyers write their terms and conditions of use). This shouldn’t be alarming to users because it would be important information for psychologists to understand about human behaviour and internet usage patterns. Additionally, you can manipulate the items you see on your own newsfeed by making certain page views or privacy settings; its not like Facebook actually manipulated any of the content that was posted by any of its users who merely saw certain emotionally charged content posted by Facebook friends.

From a marketing perspective, it is always important to understand your clients’ behaviours in order to better accommodate them and make changes based on those behaviours. Additionally, in order for Facebook to write better algorithms and internet coding for its Facebook accounts and users, they need to figure out what users like, and what will better predict their behaviours, needs, and wants, as well as who they follow and what they will post because of that. Managing content and connections are all part of the important information Facebook needs to continually improve. Facebook users, don’t be afraid, they’re just trying to understand you better.

Christine Drpich
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A New Realm in Digital Advertising – VidCon 2014

Young content creators at the YouTube convention VidCon  (Source: Los Angeles Times)

As someone who has created popular content on YouTube in the past, I am always keeping tabs on the changes in the landscape of this online community. Over the past few years, one of the notable differences that I’ve observed (as both a creator, and viewer) is the number of blue chip brands (Coke, Veet, Revlon etc) sponsoring the videos of big name YouTubers.

For years, brands have been sending Internet bloggers free products in a bid for them to eventually talk about (and review) them in a blog or vlog post. However, it’s only recently that they have been investing what I assume to be big money in actually requesting a YouTuber to dedicate a whole video to their brand – either demonstrating the use of their product, reviewing it, or even just conveying the brand’s message to their viewers. Part of what makes it so worthwhile for the brands involved is that they have direct access to an existing community of viewers that have similar, or all the characteristics of their target market.

It is therefore no surprise that CNBC reports that YouTube invited over 100 brands to attend its annual online video convention, Vidcon, over the weekend. This is apparently the first time that such a large number of brands have become directly involved with this convention, with the likes of Kia, Penguin Books, Cannon, Taco Bell and even Samsung sponsoring the event. And with over 18,000 fans, and some of YouTube’s biggest creators in attendance, it is no doubt becoming an important, and almost necessary platform for brands to connect with the new wave of influencers and opinion leaders in digital media.

Attendees at VidCon interacting with Cannon photography equipment (Source: Los Angeles Times)

As mentioned in the same CNBC article, Fullscreen (a company managing YouTube talent and advertisers) CEO George Strompoloss is noted as saying that “brands are creators too. The brands want to create more content to touch consumers, and ultimately want to find ways to reach audiences, and particularly young audiences.” What brands seem to be recognising is that younger generations are engaging less with traditional touch points such as TV, or magazine advertising, and instead are curating their own viewing content on platforms like YouTube.

In saying that, although there is great opportunity for brands to connect with consumers through this platform, they still need to understand that part of the appeal of YouTube is the control viewers have in choosing, and viewing content they are interested in. When brands start to interrupt the viewing experience of these consumers, especially by directly sponsoring video content, there is a chance that it may actually disgruntle viewers, instead of inspiring them.

So the real challenge for brands interested in this new advertising activity, and in YouTube advertising as a whole, is to create relevant and interesting content that viewers don’t mind being interrupted to watch. Whether it is extremely engaging ads being played before a video, or sponsoring content that viewers will have a genuine interest in learning about – the opportunities are endless, and no doubt the world’s biggest brands are starting to see this.

Salil Kumar
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School