Thursday, 27 April 2017

18 Days and 18 Nights

Have you imagined living at home for 18 days without setting a foot out your door or dying of starvation?

Well, I have good news for you! Now staying at home is easier than ever. With the growing abundance of online home services, you can live happily in your own little cocoon without the stress of going outside, while at the same time maintaining a pretty high quality of life.

The Experiment

Don’t worry, the experiment was not based on the horror movie. The experiment that I’m referring to was recently conducted by QDaily in China. It’s purpose? To see what life would be like for a person to stay at home for 18 days, using only online applications and their services. Surprisingly, during the 432 hours, even with a power blackout and illness, the test subject successfully managed to avoid leaving the house even once. AND she had an exceptionally enriched life.

Here’s what the experiment involved:

- Trialling 103 online applications, and following 61 social media service accounts.

- Using 72 kinds of online home delivered services

- Total spending of $1000

- Without a reserve of groceries stocked in her pantry, friends were allowed to visit but not to bring any products through the doors

Forget boredom…

First, the most obvious need was for food, but with lots of home delivery apps, the test subject got sufficient groceries, food supplies, and even in-house chef services (similar to the CHEFIN in Australia).

Home delivered groceries                                             Dinner with in-house chef service
The next problem was housework. Because she was working from home, she didn’t have the time or patience to do housework herself. However, thanks to on-site services, she got a cleaner, a wardrobe repairer and a launderer to do the dirty work for her.

When she got sick, online diagnosis apps helped her to self-diagnose and self-medicate. Along with the help of medicine delivery services, her products were delivered to her door within the hour.
Delivered medicine
What about leisure time? Yoga trainers, masseuse and hairdressers all provided excellent services for keeping fit and staying beautiful, all from the comfort of her home.

   Hair dresser                                                  Yoga trainer
Still not enough to stave off boredom? She got roses delivered and even found a rental pet to play with for the day.

Delivered roses                                                Rented pet dog

After the 18 days were up, she was still healthy, energetic, well fed, with a clean and neat house that was even decorated with flowers. What’s more, some of the people who provided their services eventually became her friends.

This might sound a bit out there to you, but with the sheer number of digital apps filling up our lives, this is what our world has become. Even though many of don’t yet heavily rely on on-site services, most of us are using at least 2 to 3 apps every day. And that number is sure to only grow.

Online statistics show that the amount of internet users has doubled during the last seven years, and the average time spent online has gone through the roof. With more advanced technology and the abundance of online services available, users are able to live through the internet. Whether it’s to work, play or shop, consumers are able to make decisions simply by clicking buttons on a digital device.

This lifestyle trend has influenced all industries. Consequently, online business have thrived in recent years. New applications have flooded the app stores, and e-commerce companies are fighting to increase their delivery speeds. For example, several years ago in China, where the trend is way ahead of the western word, in most areas the average delivery time was one and a half days. Now it takes less than 24 hours. Some firms with specialised products are competing to deliver in under half a day and in some cases less than one hour!

More and more companies have joined the digital platform, which has in turn created a diverse online ecosystem. They have analysed customer migration pathways in detail and partnered with other firms to cover entire neighbourhoods. In order for the ecosystem to function, consumers have been saturated with ad exposure, attractive content, entertainment interaction, physical shops filled with tempting products and convenient delivery services.

With this level of convenience, coupled with the ever accelerating fast pace of life, it is altogether too tempting for consumers to further simplify their lives by integrating the real world with their digital devices. Let’s face it, you would have to be crazy not to!

Bowie Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.
Bowie has several years’ experience working in FMCG marketing, media, and consulting field.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Fresh in Our Memories

Happy Monday everyone! What’s so happy about Monday you ask? Well for one thing, tomorrow we get a day off because it’s a national holiday. But before you get excited, I should tell you that it’s not the appropriate time for celebration. 

In case you hail from other parts of the world, you might not know that tomorrow is ANZAC Day. Yes, ANZACs are a delicious biscuit that you might have come across in Woolworths, but although Aussies are more than a little eccentric, we don’t love biscuits enough to give them a national holiday.

The Iconic ANZAC biscuit.

Australians recognise ANZAC Day, 25 April of each year, as a day of national remembrance. It’s a time for our country to commemorate all Australians who served and died in war and on operational service. 

Around the country, millions of service goers get up early to attend commemorative ceremonies. I know this is quite somber and I apologise, but I am going somewhere with this.

While it’s still fresh in our memory…

In recent years marketers have tried to cash in on the day with disastrous PR consequences. Some may still remember Woolworths blunder back in 2015 where they called Australians to upload photographs of individuals affected by World War I to their "profile picture generator", which was then watermarked with the Woolworths logo and tag "Lest We Forget Anzac 1915-2015. Fresh in our memories".

Backlash from Woolworths ‘Fresh in Our Memories’ campaign.
I’m hoping that you might see how that could be construed as offensive. Sorry Woolies. You are still my supermarket of choice, but that wasn’t cool. Besides the fact that things will always get complicated when exploiting the loss of lives for financial gain, why would they want to have that kind of negative brand association?

While they are not alone, others have jumped on the bandwagon in a slightly more sensitive way. A spokeswoman from Coles said this year customers could support the Bravery Trust, which helps veterans and their families, by donating at registers or by purchasing a 12-pack of Coles Bakery Anzac Biscuits, Coconut Drops or Choc Chip Cookies.

The launch of the Raise a Glass initiative at the Kent Hotel in 2009. Photo: Darren Pateman.
Image courtesy of Canberra Times.
Back in 2009, Aussie beer giants, VB, took a different route and simply asked Australians to ‘Raise A Glass’ on Anzac Day to remember the Diggers. The ad featured General Peter Cosgrove and the campaign raised money for the RSL and Legacy. 

Who could forget the bugle bungle?

Channel Seven was forced to give an on-air apology, after the network accidentally cut to an advertisement during the playing of The Last Post ahead of the Richmond-Melbourne AFL game.

A bugler was 20 seconds into playing The Last Post for the Anzac commemoration, when the network cut to an advertisement for My Kitchen Rules.

Last year, the Anzac Day bugle tribute at MCG was cut short by ads, leaving viewers at home baffled and outraged.
Image courtesy: The Age
Negative Brand Associations
Besides being ‘one of the most dangerous days of the year for marketers to try to get involved in’, as pointed out by Ben Willee, of Spinach advertising firm, ANZAC day in Australia is a sore topic.

Poppies adorn a memorial shrine for ANZAC Day services.
Image courtesy SBS
Marketing consultant Adam Ferrier said to the Sydney Morning Herald that Anzac Day was a "tough day for retailers to get right as there is very little they offer which fits what Anzac Day actually commemorates.
"Therefore when brands do try and associate themselves with the day it comes across as forced and opportunistic. Most brands prefer to safely quietly revere the day, and leave it as sacred.’’ So fellow marketers, take this lesson and remember that there are other ways of providing value to customers without compromising ethics or harming your brand’s image. And sometimes that way, is to be silent and say nothing at all.

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

Thursday, 20 April 2017

5 Ways to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a nice long weekend! We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather to enjoy the Easter holiday break. But now, for many it’s time to go back to work and buckle down for exams. Life might seem bleak right now, but don’t despair! It’s probably just the post-holiday blues.

Take this quick quiz to see if this sounds like you.

1. You can’t sleep at night and can’t get up in the morning.

2. You have no interest in anything after holiday

3. You want to quit your job and lie on the beach everyday

4. You can’t find the will to exercise

5. You have no focus for the things you need to work on

6. You have become addicted to shopping, surfing the internet or playing video games

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, congratulations! You may just have the post-holiday blues (otherwise known as PHB). Welcome back to reality! Keep reading to find out how you can motivate yourself to open your lecture notes and get back into the swing of things. 

What are the post-holiday blues?

Different countries and regions have different names for it. Some call it post-travel depression. In other places you may know it as post-holiday syndrome. Essentially this disorder is a type of psychological shift that occurs after coming home and returning to a normal routine after a relaxing vacation. PHB sufferers realise how boring or mundane his or her normal life is in comparison with the excitement of travel and adventure. 

Whether it’s tiredness, lack of appetite or energy or extreme drowsiness, PHB affects everyone in different ways. But the most important thing to get you through the darkness is the fact that you had an amazing holiday with your family/ friends and now you are re-energised to resume your regular life again. 

Ok, so how can we cope with the post-holiday blues?

Unfortunately there is no treatment for PHB. Old routines may feel heavier than the force of gravity after days of weightlessness- a familiar burden that suddenly feels harder to bear. But with a bit of effort and determination, you may find that your batteries have been recharged and in a few days you will feel full of energy to continue your life journey. 

If you are still feeling glum, here are some tips to help you bounce back even faster.

1. Start planning your next holiday in advance.

Look forward to your next trip and avoid the stress of planning last minute. Proper planning can help you and your family to enjoy your moments together and save time and MONEY.

2, Immerse yourself in culture.

Instead of travelling far away, tiring yourself out from driving or hiking, why not just take advantage of Sydney’s cultural scene. You could hang around in the street and explore the most talented buskers, go to a museum or attend a classical concert at the Opera House wearing your most elegant dress/suit.

3. Treat yourself to a spa day.

Daily pressure and fatigue results in low levels of blood flow, which could influence the metabolism of epidermal cells. So, indulging in a spa treatment or a massage are great options to take care of your skin after days of lounging under the torrid sun.

4. Confide in someone.

It’s not good to keep things bottled up. Confiding in someone you trust whether it be your father or mother can help you get issues off your chest. Besides, parents love drama. Apart from regaling them with anecdotes about your life, they should be glad for your company and are probably happy to hear about your life.

5. Stay at home.

Don’t feel guilty about not having the energy to leave the house. Sometimes the perfect cure is pyjamas, popcorn and a good series. It’s good to be a couch potato once in a while. As long as sooner or later you get back to work on the things that matter.

One last thing before I go. It’s not important how you suffer from post-holiday blues or how you cope with the fallout. You can always remember the enjoyable moments you shared with the people you love. Just let those joyful memories light up the road in front of you. You can do this! Open those study notes today!

Hazel Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Hungry for Health

How Consumers’ Power Can Influence an Industry

You may or may not have noticed, but here in Australia, we are a nation of fitness freaks. Think that I’m wrong? I’d wager that at around half the people reading this article would have some form of vitamin or dietary supplement in their home.

A study performed in 2015 by Roy Morgan Research shows that 8.1 million Aussies 14+ (or 42% of the population) bought vitamins, minerals and/or supplements in any given six-month period — a substantial increase on the 6.6 million consumers (36%) who bought them in the year to June 2011.

In Australia, the consumer health market has reached $6.5bn. Within the consumer health market the increase in health related issues has seen the consumer health market skyrocket worldwide. This is a rapid growing trend that is sure to only grow in the coming years.

Purchased vitamins in the last 6 months: men vs women. Source: Roy Morgan Research, Checking the health of Australia’s vitamin market, September 22 2015

What are the key drivers?

It may surprise you, but according to a 2016 Euromonitor Report the vitamins and dietary supplements market segment has gained a value growth of 6% in 2016, driven by booming Chinese demand for Australian-made vitamins and dietary supplements products. 

The insatiable demand from the Chinese market.

With increasing household incomes, raising concerns of the pollution of the local environment, and the growing need for better quality health products, Chinese consumers start to look at the broader market, and make their purchase overseas. 

So where better to shop than next door, in Australia? With our optimal environment and strict quality control over pharmaceutical manufacturing, Australia has become one of the key destinations for Chinese consumers to shop for their dietary needs. 

And so the Health Industry reacts…

In acknowledgement of this lucrative business opportunity, the health industry in Australia has actively changed their strategies to embrace this consumer trend.

Swisse, one of the largest vitamin and supplement manufacturers in Australia, has grabbed the so-called bull by the horns, setting up a Chinese language version of their official website, with clear segment drives traffic to a Chinese e-commerce platform and Chinese social media. 

Furthermore, clear and well-organised displays can be observed in Australian stores, with detailed product information in the Chinese language in order to provide a better understanding of the products for Chinese consumers. 

What are the retailers’ approaches towards the trend?

Amcal, one of the largest pharmacy chains in Australia, is attempting to meet the Chinese appetite for Australian-made products. Going so far as to launch a new version of their e-commerce platform in Mandarin Chinese language.

What was their aim? To break the culture and language barriers between Australian pharmaceutical companies and their target market- Chinese consumers, with the added bonus of offering the convenience of direct shipping to China.

The end-users transition to acting as distributors.

With record growing numbers of social media users in China, students have started to interact in the health community to play the part of Daigou. Daigou are influencers who sell products through their personal network, some making such killing, they often ship a staggering thirty to fifty orders per week to China. Many have been so profitable they have even quit their day job to make this as their principal form of business.

Consumers hold the power.

These days we are witnessing a growing trend of consumers influencing entire industries. The subtle marketing relationships between these interwoven segments means that if the demand from one of these segments changes then a domino effect could see the entire market shift. 

Now that’s what I call influential.

Bowie Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.
Bowie has several years’ experience working in FMCG marketing, media, and consulting field.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Five Golden No-No's of Personal Branding

Chances are, when you're looking for a job, you're probably going to want to try and impress whoever it is that's reading your resume.

As Master of Marketing students, we have a pretty good idea of what to do when it comes to personal branding, but how many of us know what not to do? It might seems tempting, but it’s important not to fall into the trap of branding yourself as ‘the best USYD alum, Disrupter, Content Marketer/ Relationship Manager/Office Administrator/ Professional/ Part-time Surfer in Sydney’.

Forbes writer, Liz Ryan, maintains that, 'Praising yourself is beneath you. Let other people praise you. That's not your job! (read the original article here). Keep reading to find out about some of the personal branding choices to avoid before you end up branding yourself as a moron.

1. Branding yourself as a "guru", "mogul" or "expert"

Honestly, it's best to just stay humble. Using praising adjectives like "savvy", "strategic" or "visionary" isn't going to impress anybody. In face, besides landing your CV in the bin, all it's doing is wasting space where you could have written something meaningful. It's much more compelling if you describe yourself in a down to earth manner and not with an inflated view of yourself.

So what if saving you are an expert get you an interview? As soon as you open your mouth, the interviewer will either think you are full of yourself or wonder who wrote your resume. Confidence is great, but unless you really are a guru, mogul or expert, you are just going to look like a phony.

2. Overusing corporate jargon

‘Results-driven Marketing Specialist skilled at evaluating data, making strategic decisions, leading cross-functional teams, driving revenue and adding value by developing game changing marketing initiatives.'

What are you? Are you a human being or a robot?

Using corporate and institutional language is boring. And more importantly, it's very impersonal. Stand out from the crowd and tell your own story with your own words, not a generic template.

3. Boasting

'Elite USYD graduate and alum of McKinsey, PwC and Deloitte.'

Roll out the red carpet! Now you've made it clear that you are elite enough to get into the University of Sydney and work for three big league consulting firms, is that all you amount to?

What's more impressive is to explain how you added value to each of these organisations. What did you contribute and what can you now bring to the table?

4. Blowing your own horn

'I'm the best, the one, the only.'

Calling yourself the 'Best Digital Marketer in Sydney’ or the 'Greatest Marketing Specialist in the Southern Hemisphere’ is a pretty amateur way of branding yourself.
And let's face it, just a little obnoxious too.

The problem with touting yourself as the best is that it shows that you lack the confidence and originality to talk about your career accomplishments in human-speak.

5. Listing everything

It also puts people off from wanting to work with you. Remember, there is no 'I' in team.
I really like lists. But listing all your skills and accomplishments isn’t really the ideal way to describe yourself. It may be a common branding choice, but that doesn’t mean you should do it! Do you really want to brand yourself based solely on the tasks you can perform?

Take this for example:
"Communications, Marketing, Relationship Management, Office Administration Professional Seeking New Challenge."

Besides the fact that there are a few organisations that post jobs of this description, this brand is extremely poorly positioned. Someone who brands themselves in this way is telling the world that they still don’t know what they want to do with their life so they're just putting it all out there.

Who are you? I mean who are you really, what do you want and where do you fit in the market?

Personal branding is easy when you just be you. And with that I'm going to leave you with a quote from the wise author and philosopher, Dr Seuss, "Today you are you, that's truer than true. There's no one alive who is truer than you." Wiser words have never been spoken.

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

The Beauty of the Bottle

How do you like to start your morning?

A kiss? Sun streaming through your window? An espresso?

Don't answer that question just yet. Stretch with me first!

Do you hear that fizzing sound? Chances are, somewhere right now someone is probably opening a bottle of Coke, juice or water.

Does that sound like a great start to your day?

Do you ever think about what a single bottle could deliver to you, apart from the contents?

Around 80% of the amount of money we pay for each normal PET plastic beverage bottle only covers the cost of packaging. So the next time we purchase something to quench our thirst, maybe we should eat the bottle instead of drinking the beverage? Ok, that was a joke. However, it's really important to note that in the future, packaging will be essential when working in the FMCG industry.

According to Karine, a Senior Packaging Analyst,

'Beverage packaging enjoys a healthy outlook, with retail volume sales set to reach 1.3 billion units by 2018 on the back of a 3% CAGR. Emerging regions will, to a large extent, fuel this global growth, with Asia Pacific accounting for 64% of additional unit volumes. PET and liquid cartons will see strong volume growth in soft drinks, while glass and metal will expand in beer and carbonates. And yet, against a challenging economic backdrop, brand owners will need to work harder still together with their packaging suppliers to innovate in order to meet consumer demand for good value and convenience, as well as stand out on crowded shelves.' (Dussimon, 2014)

A prestigious worldwide competition, called Pentawards, was founded to help brand owners be more creative and to stand out from the crowd. Pentawards, which is exclusively devoted to packaging design in all its forms, was created in January 2007 to increase the stature of packaging design, designers and to improve the overall customer experience.

Each year, in different cities in Europe, Asia, or the Americas, an official ceremony is held to host hundreds of designers from around the world. The goal? To provide a unique opportunity to meet, exchange ideas, and to strengthen the reputation of their professions. (Pentawards, n.d.)

Several Pentaward recipients

How do we understand the product at a glance?

We even don’t need to understand the language on the label. But we are able to interact with the product directly by the image that is presented to us. That’s the beauty of the bottle and the art of design.

It sounds simple, right? Umm, well actually a lot of collaboration was necessary to conceive 'the bottle'. As an example, take the above orange juice from Orangina, a French beverage producer.
This is a limited edition drink for the summer season. The full sleeve label design is on trend for premium juices in the market. Why? Well, to avoid suspended solids being found by customers while purchasing from the shelf. The 'sweating peeling' label and 'orange shape' bottle represent the purity and freshness of the product.  Such innovative design inspiration had originated from customer feedback, brand owners' expectations and the design agency's experience. They all serve as stakeholders, driving this product successfully.

As to what we learnt thus far from the Internal Marketing course:

“Co-creation offers firms and their network of actors significant opportunities for innovation, as each actor offers access to new resources through a process of resource integration.” (Frow, Nenonen, Payne, Storbacka, 2015)

It is all about collaboration to enhance the value of the brand and to improve the perspective of shareholders themselves.

So finally, what gets you going in the morning?

Maybe just a simple word on the label of a bottle.

Hazel Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.