Friday, 16 December 2016

Genius marketing behind Snapchat Spectacles

Snapchat Spectacles has been trending this past month for a number of reasons. For those of you that have not heard of them, I would recommend that you search them up right now -- especially if you are big on your Instagram game. In short, it is Snapchat’s first hardware product that they released initially on November 10 of this year.

They are a pair of regular sunglasses that acts as a normal pair with the addition of a one-touch recording camera on the edge of the frame that shoots in a circular video format. It is then synced to your phone through Bluetooth where you can upload the recording on your Snapchat account.

The product itself is a great move forward from Snapchat but for me, it is how they have been marketing and distributing them that is getting all my attention. The Spectacles aren't available generously at any given one time — but instead, you might have to travel half way around the country to get your hands on them. At this moment, Snapchat Spectacle is only available in the US. So what is making Snapchat’s rollout strategy so good?

Image source:

Artificial Scarcity

The US based company are creating artificial scarcity — everyone loves exclusivity and Snapchat is doing just that with limiting the supply of Spectacles to a specific location, one place at a time. The only place that you can buy Snapchat’s first hardware is through Snapbot, an interactive vending machine that pops up for 24 hours before it disappears — just like their snaps. You can track where the Snapbot is via a map on their website.

Perceived Demand

Minutes after a Snapbot location is shared, videos and photos of hundreds of people lining up for their spectacles emerge online — Followed by snaps of many happy customers but also disappointed customers that didn’t get there in time before the vending machine sold out. The $130 Spectacle then sells for thousands of dollars online, making it one of the hottest products on the market at the moment. It seems that we are clearing Snapchat’s warehouses of Spectacles, when in fact we are probably only buying a few dozen.

Earned Media
Not only are they getting free press from their users taking snaps of the enormous line at the Snapbot locations, but also from traditional media outlets — the press has covered all Snapbot locations to date.

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

Thursday, 15 December 2016

How marketing can help your next job interview

“In many ways, advertising is similar to applying for a job,” says Sharon Napier, CEO of advertising agency Partners + Napier.

As marketers, we’re all trying to sell brands to consumers in the hope that they’ll throw it in their “shopping cart”, ask friends about it, or engage with it online. Think about a job application — we market ourselves through our CV and cover letter. The consumer (i.e employers), asks our friends about the product (i.e us the job seekers) and engage with us online (i.e stalk our social media).

Both advertising and job application are all about the art of brand-building and smart persuasion. Say you’ve successfully marketed yourself through your CV, how do you prepare to market yourself when you’re in the hot seat (i.e the interview)?

First and foremost, you have to know your value proposition. You have to know your skills and talents that are marketable, who and what you’re all about professionally. Your value proposition is the promise of value that you’ll deliver to the prospective employers. This is basically the answer to the burning question “Why should we hire you?”. You want to convey what sets you apart from other candidates and how you would be a benefit to the employer.

Number two, you need to know your ‘target market’. Before walking in into that interview you have to know the company, the industry, and the person who’s interviewing you (stalk them back). Know their style and culture. You basically don’t want to create a campaign without knowing anything about your target market.

Number three, be the solution for problems the company want to solve. If you’re applying for a marketing job and the company’s having problems of ineffective advertising, prepare examples detailing how you’ll solve those problems and how you’ve solved similar problems in the past. This way you’ll avoid empty cliches by backing up your skills with relevant and specific stories.

Lastly, you don’t want to be a product that is all marketing and little substance. I’m talking about putting your best foot forward while knowing your strengths and communicating them in a memorable and persuasive way.

Now that you got all these in the bag, 

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

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Digital marketing is a job for the future

Digital marketing is a fun, creative and fast-moving sector in the marketing industry. It is also an industry that’s climbing up to the top as more and more businesses move to invest more in digital. Areas such as digital advertising are growing even through the economic downturn, and it is expected to continue to grow.


Would you believe me if we said that one of the most promising careers in the future is digital marketers and market analysts? You better do because it is. Here’s why…

1. Key to effective communication
They will be the key to effective communication in this digital age that we’re living in, accomodating businesses, organisations, even politicians connect with their potential “customers”. They are the ones who also innovate and develop digital communication while changing the way people do business through the insights of big data.

2. Be in-demand
Digital skills gap is set to widen and the job market is bursting at the seams as more brands are putting more focus on digital marketing than ever before. With 150,000 digital jobs predicted by 2020 (by Digital Marketing Institute in Dublin) and not enough digital professionals to fill them gives those studying digital marketing a competitive advantage. Basically you’ll be gearing yourself up for a career where demand exceeds supply which is always a good move if you ask me.

3. The knowledge is new everyday!

Digital marketing is a job where you get to constantly learn as the industry is changing all the time. Everyday is different and challenging so for those who are passionate about the industry, it is a career with excellent long-term prospects.

So if you want to ensure your employability in the future, digital analysis, development and marketing are the top picks!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

How to make YouTube work for you

When you see YouTube stars like Michelle Phan and Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) bringing in billions of dollars through their channels, you would want to start your own too. As tempting as it sounds, captivating and growing a massive audience for a sustained period of time takes much more work than it looks. YouTube might have the step-by-step of how to create your own channel, but there’s no real tutorial on the ‘How To Make Your Channel Profitable’.

As a YouTuber myself (don’t forget to subscribe! ;) ) here’s some basic tips to keep in mind:

1. Get to know your audience and stay on top of the trends!
When starting your own channel, it’s crucial to know your market. There’s a reason why YouTube has a comment section and it’s not only for haters throwing mean (although sometimes funny) comments, they’re there so people can interact with what they watch. Phan once said, “if you know your audience, you know exactly what they’re going to watch.” This requires you to stay on top of trends and the broader social media zeitgeist.

2. Put in a lot of time and effort.
I used to wonder how some of the most trending videos on Phan and Kjellberg’s YouTube are usually around 8 minutes and when I started making videos I realised how an 8-minute video can take as long as three to four days shoot, edit and refinement.

It really is a lot of work! No wonder YouTube stars like Phan and Kjellberg both had to quit their pre-existing commitments (work and uni) to focus on their YouTube channel.

3. Make it authentic.
You know how it can be a bit annoying when you’re watching a video on YouTube and suddenly an ad comes up? Yup, we’ve all been there. Imagine how annoying it’ll be if your video actually sounds like an ad. If you want to communicate effectively, then the best thing you can do is to be authentic.

“The thing that has made YouTube so successful is that you can relate to the people you’re watching to a much higher degree than to the people you see on TV.” - Pewdiepie

4. YouTube is not Hollywood.
While caring about the quality is a good thing, don’t let the creation process bog you down. Viewers are not expecting a masterpiece, what’s important is to get a good content, put it out there and allow the viewers to get to intimately know you.

5. Create a brand for your channel
While this sounds very technical, creating a sense of familiarity to your channel is basically what branding here means. Keep your style consistent so that viewers know what to expect. Once you created your brand, you need to keep your content align with your branding.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Why marketers should think ‘selfish, scared, stupid’

‘Selfish,’ ‘scared’ and ‘stupid’ may not be inspiring words, but business strategist Dan Gregory claims these should be on top of marketers’ mind when they think about their brand, product or campaign.
Mr Gregory is co-founder of strategy and branding agency The Impossible Institute and co-author of the book Selfish, Scared and Stupid. He argues that three instincts--self-interest, fear and simplicity--guide human behaviour, and urges businesses to exploit these tendencies.
‘We tend to think of selfish, scared, and stupid as negatives… The truth is, they’re not,’ Mr Gregory said in a 2014 interview. ‘It’s actually a recipe for success. But because it doesn’t sound good, we tend to ignore that and pretend that we act in other ways.’
When businesses ignore human selfishness, fear and bias for simplicity, they ‘end up with strategies built around human ideals versus human reality,’ added Mr Gregory, whose portfolio includes top brands such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, News Corp, Vodafone and the NRL.


The so-called behavioural design strategy works not only with brands but also with ideas. It is easier to influence or persuade a target audience, Mr Gregory says, when statements are framed simply, answer the question ‘What’s in it for them?’ and address fear of loss or risk.
Mr Gregory, who is also a sought-after motivational speaker, is scheduled to give a talk during the University of Sydney’s End of Year Master of Marketing Reception on November 17, Thursday, 5:30 p.m., at The Refectory, 5F, Abercrombie Business School Building.
Besides Mr Gregory’s talk, the event will showcase presentations from the three finalists for the AMI Prize for Best Consulting Project for 2016 awarded by the Australian Marketing Institute, which accredits the University of Sydney’s Master of Marketing Program.

This year’s AMI Prize finalists are Lis Churchward, who focused on revitalising the brand of the Centre for Veterinary Education in the University of Sydney; Jessica Ratcliff, who developed an on-premise sales and marketing plan for Taylors Wines; and Maria Ignatia Gharib Andrigehetti, who drafted a new marketing plan for Tigerlily Swimwear.

logo_cve_0.png     Taylors Wines.png   opengraph.png

The consulting project is a key feature of the University of Sydney’s Master of Marketing program. It allows students to apply frameworks learned in class to actual business scenarios. The students’ clients and mentors have been invited and will take questions during the event.
The End of Year Reception is an opportunity for students to interact with faculty, lecturers, mentors, alumni and industry guests. Those who have received invitations for the event are requested to confirm their attendance before Monday, November 14.

Kim Patria
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Stepping up your Instagram game

A lot of people are still trying to figure out how to crack the photography code when it comes to Instagram. It’s a very interesting platform where all your photos are side by side, below and above each other. If you're someone that wants to get exposure through Instagram and not just taking Sunday afternoon shots with Nan, here are a few tips that I have learnt over the years.


Decide on your feed style and content

Before you post your first photo, you need to plan ahead and decide on the style that you want your feed to have. Whether it be black and white, over exposed, under exposed or flat lays, keeping your feed consistent throughout will be appreciated by your followers. Not only does the individual photos matter, but also how it looks side by side. Another thing you need to decide on before starting your Instagram game is the content. You might be into fashion and post photos of style and fashion of the day’s (OOTD) or you might be into culinary and take photos of food. Your followers will definitely appreciate this because users follow you because they like your content. If you’re posting all about food and one day you post something that’s irrelevant, they might question it or be put off by it.

Light is your friend

As a professional photographer, I know how important light is for a photograph. Lighting is key and arguably the most important aspect to a photograph. Without correct lighting, no matter how good the subject is, it will be very hard to achieve good quality images. So when there isn’t good light to light up the subject, walk around and find a spot that has good lighting before pressing the shutter!

Colours, shapes and lines

An image becomes engaging when it has strong colours, unique shapes or strong lines. Without one of the 3 in an image, it will look flat and become unappealing. So before opening your Instagram app on your phone, look around and try to find one of these elements to compliment your subject.

Likes or no likes?

This is possibly the most important thing when it comes to Instagram. Most of us get carried away with the amount of likes we get for an image. That shouldn't be the driving factor when you shoot photographs. You need to appreciate the fact that any type of art is subjective and no two people will be the same when asked whether they like it or not. Take photos not for the likes but because you love the images you produce. No matter how many people are following you, you know that those people appreciate your photographs.

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

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

To trendjack or not to trendjack?

With social media users producing engaging, shareable or viral content almost every day, it might be tempting to think that your job as a brand marketer is now much simpler. You no longer need to spark the conversation and engage an audience; social networks are already abuzz. All you need to do is join the trend—whether it’s a hashtag, a meme or a viral video.
This technique has given rise to a new buzzword: trendjacking, defined as hijacking a trend to promote your brand. Think of it as a modern word for ‘jumping on the bandwagon.’ Like all marketing approaches, however, trendjacking does not work all the time. That’s where you step in as a brand marketer. Here are some questions you should ask before hijacking a trend:
Is the trend relevant to your brand?
Countless topics trend on social media each day but not all of them will make sense for your brand. Some trends fit your brand perfectly. One trendjacking match made in heaven is fruit producer Dole’s hijack of the viral japanese video 'Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen' (PPAP) using a GIF posted on its official channels in Asian markets. Social media users have called it a case of advertising copy writing itself.
The PPAP craze is based on what anthropologist and ethnographer Crystal Abidin calls a blank canvas. ‘PPAP means nothing; it is nonsensical and void of distinct meaning. This thus presents PPAP as a template, a blank canvas onto which viewers can project meaning, and into which viewers can invest creatively,’ she writes. In other cases, joining a trend might be a bit of a stretch.
How long will the trend last?
When Pokemon Go exploded, businesses were quick to ride the trend. Lifestyle brands used the trend to promote outdoor gear. Establishments lucky enough to host the augmented reality monsters posted about them to boost store traffic. Restaurants and cafes scrambled to make their locations ‘Pokestops’ or ‘Gyms’, where players can go to collect eggs or to train their Pokemon.
Businesses that took advantage of the Pokemon Go boom did two things right: they moved fast and invested little. They wouldn’t feel bad now that interest in the game seems to be flattening out. (Read: Pokemon Gone?) We’re not saying you shouldn’t ride a trend that would die quickly, but knowledge of a trend’s life cycle should guide your decisions, especially when it comes to budget.
Do you understand the trend?
The Internet is a place where meanings evolve; not everything there is what it seems. ‘Netflix and chill,’ for example, sounds like a fun activity that involves lounging about and watching movies from the streaming site. If so, it’s a perfect opportunity to promote popcorn or pizza! Many brands fall into that trap, not knowing that among millennials, 'Netflix and chill,' is code for something else...
Jumping on a bandwagon you don’t understand could lead to a disaster. That’s why thorough research is necessary. Find out what the hashtag, meme or viral video is about. Try to anticipate the risks you expose your brand to by riding the trend. You must also understand that in the same manner that you are hijacking a trend, social media can also hijack your hijack of the trend.

Kim Patria
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Pokemon Gone?

Many of you might remember the mobile game Pokemon Go. For those that don’t, it’s the game that made people stand still in the middle of the road holding their mobile phones up to their faces. “Charizard!”, that’s all you needed to say to get everyone's attention within a kilometer radius!

Pokemon Go is part of the Nintendo franchise released on July 6, 2016. Within weeks, Pokemon Go became the number one most downloaded game in the free-to-use app category. This app was such a huge success for Nintendo that it increased Nintendo shares by a massive 10%. Three months later and the hype is gone. I personally have not heard of a single person in my social circle talking about Pokemon Go recently. The stats also back this up: By mid-September, revenue dropped from USD16M to USD2M and daily downloads declined enormously from 27 million to just 700,000.

This raises questions on why it dropped so drastically in such a short time and what other gaming companies can learn in order to retain its consumers.


Have a clear path and capitalise quickly
When Pokemon Go was released, there was a limited number of things you could do within the game. It was repetitious and a lot of features were lacking, such as not being able to interact with real life players and shallow game mechanics when battling other Pokemon. This isn’t an issue if the aim of the brand is to get as many players to sign up as possible, but it is an issue when trying to keep them interested.
The developers didn’t release new features quickly enough to keep consumers interested. Although they have released a Pokemon Go wearable a month ago, something that I find interesting, I feel it’s a little too late to retain all the lapsed consumers.

Do your research on what consumers want
It’s bad enough that the game was repetitious and had shallow game mechanics, but the developers then went on to removing a feature that was actually received positively. This was the Pokemon Tracking, which enabled players to find Pokemon based on proximity. As you came closer to finding the pokemon, the tracker would indicate that you are on the right path.

After an update, the Pokemon Tracker was removed and players were forced to walk around in the dark (some players literally played during the night, me included) to find Pokemon, only to realise after half an hour trying to find Charizard that you found Dodrio.

So moving forward, how can Pokemon Go stay afloat? I personally think that it’s a little bit hard for them to recover. Too much damage has already been done and there are too many lapsed consumers. Maybe a potential option for them is to increase social events to raise awareness about the changes that they have made with the game to try and appeal to new, current and lapsed consumers.

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

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Appealing to independence or interdependence

A concept in psychology that is often borrowed in marketing is the dichotomy of the independent and interdependent selves. Campaigns that appeal to independence highlight how a value being promoted can help make individuals feel unique, while those that pander to interdependence focus on membership in a community.

The ‘Army of One’ recruitment campaign of the U.S. Army, which underlined the individual benefits of becoming a soldier, is a classic example of an appeal to the independent self. ‘Even though there are 1,045,690 soldiers just like me, I am my own force,’ said a soldier in the ad. It contrasted with traditional marketing slogans the U.S. Army used, such as ‘Join the People Who've Joined the Army’ in the 1970s, which took a more interdependent approach.

A more recent attempt to target both interdependent and independent selves can be seen in the slogans used by U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The interdependent-targeted ‘Stronger Together’ appears in almost all her campaign materials and is even sprawled on her campaign jet. On social media, the slogan ‘I’m With Her’ is used more prominently and repeatedly, banking on the inclination to refer to oneself when posting online.

It may be argued, however, that although ‘I’m With Her’ asserts a choice, and thus appeals to the independent self, it also points outward rather than inward. Clinton becomes the central figure whenever the slogan is used. It appears that a more effective slogan with an independent slant is one that has been coined not by the Clinton campaign but by her rival, Republican candidate Donald Trump, during their third and final debate on October 20.

‘Such a nasty woman,’ Trump said as he interrupted Clinton’s answer to a question on her policy on Social Security and Medicare funds. He was responding to a jibe Clinton made: ‘...we need to put more money into the Social Security Trust Fund. That’s part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it…’

Within hours, thousands and thousands of women in the U.S. and all over the world have used the hashtag #nastywoman. The taunt-turned-slogan seems to drive home the gender narrative that the Clinton campaign has been developing. Clinton has called Trump out for sexism in the first two debates, and her team has been amplifying this messaging on social media. All they needed was a slogan that sticks.

It is interesting to note that research suggests a relationship between the independent-interdependent clash and gender inequality, at least in the workplace. Stanford psychology professor, Hazel Rose Markus, claims that career success is often linked to qualities of independence. This benefits men, who are socially expected to be independent.

Women, on the other hand, tend to be punished for seeking independence. ‘For example, a woman may be judged “aggressive” or “cold” if she acts independently. A man acting in a similar fashion is unlikely to face the same reaction, because he is valued for his independence,’ a Stanford University blog on gender noted, citing Markus.

Following this logic, it may be argued that when Trump called Clinton a nasty woman, what he did was put out in the open the social penalty women otherwise hoped to avoid. Women took this as an opportunity to proudly display their independence: Instead of cringing at the taunt, they owned it. Clinton has Trump to thank for a marketing strategy for independent women.

Kim Patria
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

How Apple can teach us about brand equity

So the iPhone 7 has been out for roughly a month now and reception has been overall positive. In Apple’s Keynote event back on September 7, the tech giant released the two iPhone variants with the initial release to 28 different countries. This means the lucky people in these countries get to have the iPhone in the first round of release. Here in Australia, we were in the first round of release with the top of the line iPhone 7 Plus 256GB priced at AUD 1569. For countries like Indonesia that aren't in the first or second round of iPhone releases, iPhone lovers in the country have to find alternative ways to get their hand on the phone.

Many people would travel to Singapore — a part of the 28 countries in the initial round of release — and bring multiple phones back to sell back in Indonesia. Because of the effort they have gone through and also the want to gain profit, they would sell the iPhones at a price premium. Prices as high as Rp 25,000,000 (AUD 2520) have been seen on the market and received positively with sticks selling out instantly. This trend happens in Indonesia each year after the release of the new iPhone.  


This is a very interesting case where brand equity plays a significant role to a business. Here are the factors that affect brand equity:

Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is possibly the first factor to build brand equity. With consumers knowing that your brand is out in the market, they will understand what your brand is all about. With no brand awareness, consumers will disregard your brand as it has never come across their mind. Apple didn’t start out as big as they are now. They started in a small garage calling investors up to make them aware that their brand existed. Over time as people start to realise and know your brand, that’s when it becomes a “Top-of-mind” brand.

Brand Loyalty
It would be useless if consumers were to trial the brand and never come back for a second time. Customer retention and brand loyalty is essential to what keeps your business running. In the case of Apple and their iPhones, they have a very loyal customer base and as mentioned above, would pay almost twice the price to get their hands on the phone. We guess that’s how “Apple Fanboys” emerged!

Perceived Quality
A customer’s perception of the quality of the product that you are selling is crucial. No one would purchase goods that they feel are of low quality. Quality is something that you need to have from the start, especially when you are new to the market. There are many boutique brands that are out in the market today which have high quality. When you are new in the market and have little to no brand awareness, one of the things you can do to stand out is to have good quality. When you have a product of high quality it is only a matter of getting consumers to trial your product. Apple iPhones are renowned for their quality. Consumers can see and feel it, with time this gets them to trust the brand and lead to better brand equity.

Apple is a “top-of-mind” brand that everyone recognises. They didn’t achieve this overnight and it took endless hours of blood, sweat and tears to become what they are today. Stay persistent and hopefully these 3 factors can help you get that little extra edge to gain brand equity.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Marketing yourself on social media

As a marketing practitioner, you have probably been at the forefront of at least one brand’s move to social media. But have you started building your personal brand on that social space you have almost come to master?

Research suggests that in the same manner that you have taken to social media to recruit customers, more and more human resource practitioners are also using social media to recruit new talent. LinkedIn and Facebook have particularly proven helpful in scouting potential workers.

For professionals like you, however, this phenomenon can either be a boon or a bane. You may thrive in interconnectedness but falter if you overshare. Here are some tips on making sure your social media profile will help you land a job or, at the very least, make you look professional.

Be on social media. Start with LinkedIn, a platform built specifically to connect employers with potential talent. We also recommend being present on Facebook, the go-to platform for most users, including brands, because of its simplicity.

Of course there are risks to being on social media. But the alternative is worse: Researchers say absence from social media is “virtual identity suicide,” and may lead to suspicion or misunderstanding on the part of the recruiter.

Know your market. Once you are on social media, you may begin to develop the image you want recruiters to see. Doing so involves both keeping and sharing information, and tailoring such information to fit your target audience. Which companies would you like to work in? What positions are you interested in?

Feature accomplishments in your profiles, but be sure to highlight the ones most relevant to your most desired career path. Make sure that you list down results, and not simply job descriptions. Also remember to customise your posts’ privacy settings, especially on Facebook, if you really want to publish that beer pong photo.

Know your strengths. Suppose you have a burning desire to work for an international nonprofit, but you have been working for a telecommunications provider for almost your entire career. You’ve done your research, and you know you have what it takes to thrive in that role and organisation. How will you convince recruiters?

Human resource practitioners tend to look at the transferable skills of applicants for vacant positions. Therefore, in preparing your social media profile, think about the skills you have gained in your past and present jobs that will help you function in the job you want in the future.

Generate content. It’s not enough that you publish your profile, customised specifically to impress the recruiters you are targeting. You also need to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise you claim to have. There is no better way to do this than to generate original content.

If you are confident about writing blogs, both LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to do so in a few easy steps. Short but carefully crafted status updates or comments on links about your area of expertise can also be adequate signals that you know what you are doing.

Building your personal brand on social media is about projecting your best possible self, but this projection should match the knowledge, skills, and experience you have. Besides, if you pretend to be who you’re not, chances are you will not be successful.

Kim Patria
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Can Snapchat pull businesses and consumers closer together?

When Snapchat was released in 2012, many social media users stayed clear from it because they didn’t get it. They thought it was used mostly for inappropriate things due to the nature of the app--that is sending a snap or video for no longer than ten seconds. Now, four years later, more netizens understand the app. Business are also starting to utilise its unique nature. Over 400 million snaps are sent every day and there are 26 million users in the U.S. alone. The core audience are aged at 18 to 25 and 70 percent of users are women. So for companies targeting this audience, Snapchat can be a useful tool.

What exactly about the app makes it unique and worth exploring?


Connecting on a personal level
Businesses can become distant from their consumers and ultimately lose them if they don’t break the barriers. With Snapchat, businesses can utilise the impromptu nature of the app and engage more on an “everyday” level that the audience appreciates.

Raw and non-sterile
As mentioned, Snapchat can be candid and spontaneous. This unique type of social engagement can be more effective than “sterile-type” advertisements on other media such as television. An example of how a huge company like Coca-Cola can utilise Snapchat is by snapping their staff working in their factories. This takes the brand closer to consumers by allowing them to view the products and the process from an entirely different perspective.

Time sensitive
Snaps last in your “feed” for only a maximum of 24 hours. Businesses can benefit from this as it creates urgency for viewers to engage quickly. If a business were to come out with a limited time offer in a snap, viewers would go crazy and engagement would peak. When businesses have sound footprints on Snapchat, they can expect audience retention to be strong as they would be willing to view snaps as soon as possible.

Nowadays, more and more people are using social media and businesses need to adapt to different social media platforms. Social media is still in its early stage, and its growth doesn’t show signs of letting up anytime soon. Businesses must therefore adjust the way they market to consumers using social media, and Snapchat is a good way to start.

Stanley Ritz Kurniawan
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Twitter wars: Political marketing lessons from Colombia

Colombia’s recent rejection of a landmark peace accord between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is viewed as a letdown, considering how widely applauded the deal had been globally. No outsider who watched videos of the dramatic treaty signing ceremony would have thought that Colombia remained divided over the question of ending the five-decade insurgency. Yet when Colombians came out to vote, 50.2 percent rejected the government deal with the FARC; 49.8 percent supported it.

Analysts now say a key figure in the no vote victory is Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe, a close ally-turned-archenemy of the incumbent Juan Manuel Santos. The current government of course had the upper hand in terms of funding, influence and machinery, but Uribe was not to be outplayed. As soon as the Santos administration and the FARC had struck a deal, Uribe ramped up what the Washington Post in 2015 described as “a one-man Twitter war” that painted the peace accord as an “Agreement of Impunity.”

“We have an opportunity to stop the mockery of the FARC victims,” Uribe told his Twitter followers in Spanish after the treaty had been signed September 26. He was fuelling an already burning sentiment among Colombians that the FARC had to be prosecuted for the atrocities they have committed. The armed struggle between the government and the FARC has left some 250,000 dead and displaced some six million.

In marketing terms, it appears that the Santos government had a weak value proposition for the wider population who needed to approve the peace agreement. Santos knew that he had to appeal to swing voters—those whose sentiments about the FARC rebellion are not strong enough to make them decide just yet between a yes and a no vote. Still, he focused his campaign on the not-so-appealing “transitional justice,” a framework that will allow FARC rebels to run for office and grant them amnesty depending on the gravity of their crimes.

Uribe, on the other hand, made sure that Colombians who did not understand what the FARC deal offered knew what it took away: the opportunity to bring to justice rebels viewed as perpetrators of the war horrors Colombia had to suffer. Uribe consistently pushed this theme on Twitter, where he posts four times more frequently than Santos does. (Uribe has tweeted some 51,000 times since July 2009, Santos some 12,100 times since August 2009. They have about the same follower size: Uribe has 4.55 million; Santos, 46.2 million.)

Photo: Screengrab from the Twitter profile of former Colombia President Alvaro Uribe
The case of Uribe’s Twitter storm against the Colombia peace deal bolsters Twitter’s relevance in political marketing. “Politicians are always looking for ways to get their message across without having it filtered and potentially altered by others, such as news media,” John Parmelee and Shannon Bichard wrote in their book Politics and the Twitter Revolution. Citing previous research, they added that although Twitter’s reach seems limited in size, it is high on impact, because its users consist of opinion leaders—both on the Internet and offline.
Twitter’s role in shaping the political landscape is apparent not only in Colombia, but also in the U.S., where a Twitter war rages between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The heated exchanges arguably peaked in June, when the Republican bet Trump said, “Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama – but nobody else does!” Clinton replied using three words, “Delete your account,” a popular Internet retort for posts too preposterous or despicable to directly respond to.
It may be said, however, that Trump has been getting more media value from Twitter—that is, more of his tweets make the news. On September 30, the media reported heavily about how Trump took to Twitter early in the morning to assail Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe who Clinton cited as a victim of Trump’s sexist and racist behaviour. News outfits also carried the views Trump tweeted about the vice presidential debate on October 5. Whether or not the media coverage has been to his favour, of course, is another question.
Twitter’s negative impact on a political figure is more discernible in the case of the Philippine’s newly named ambassador to the United Nations, who has run amok online. Teddyboy Locsin, a former congressman and a popular broadcaster, has been widely criticised for spewing expletives on Twitter against users who question Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent war against drugs. He was recently hit for an old tweet which said “the drug menace is so big it needs a final solution like the Nazis adopted.” He has since deleted his tweet.
“The evolution of marketing in politics has reached a critical stage where politicians can no longer rely on a loyal party following but must be prepared to use any tool necessary to respond to unexpected events in a world that is changing every day,” Bruce Newman wrote in his book The Marketing Revolution in Politics. Twitter allows politicians to put out their messages quickly, directly, and widely. The fact remains, however, that social media is simply a channel; sound strategies make them effective political marketing tools.
Kim Patria
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School