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