Monday, 31 July 2017

The Whisper - with Linda McGregor

With so much data at our fingertips, nowadays as marketers, our job is to translate inputs about our target audience into true insights about their behaviour. Why is this so important? Well, understanding consumer behaviour presents marketers with the magic key that enables us to build a bridge between consumer need and brand offer.

Image source: Can You Whisper Your Way To Brand Love? Linda McGregor.

Essentially, in the end, the goal is brand love. Great marketing is the craft of whispering to our audience, rather than shouting at them, to guide them along a journey of brand discovery and brand trust; by applying deeper understanding so that you can influence their behaviour and trigger a need. The Whisper is something that we all can understand, but more often than not, we are so focused on results that we forget that brand love takes time.

Throughout our studies, first in Geoff Fripp's Evaluating Marketing Performance (EMP), then with Pennie Frow in Internal Marketing, and finally with Teresa Davis in Contemporary Consumer Behaviour, we have been familiarised with the Customer Migration Pathway. But seeing it in theory and using it in practice are two completely different things. 

Source: Geoff Fripp, Evaluating Marketing Performance, Session 2, Semester 1, 2017.

Who is Linda McGregor and what have horse whisperers got to do with achieving brand love?

Linda has spent her career working all sides of the business: marketing, advertising, strategy and business development. She has over 30 years of experience working on both the client and agency sides in the UK, Asia and Australia, before finally founding her own insight consultancy, All About Eve, in 2003. With decades of expertise in distilling insight into behaviour-changing strategy, Linda is well versed in the art of fashioning bonds between audiences and brands. 

The University of Sydney is fortunate to have close ties with Linda. On many occasions she has given her time to help inspire the future marketing managers of Australia; most recently at the Orientation Welcome Evening. Now, she has agreed to share her lessons with Marketing Matters, for the benefit of those who couldn't make it to the event. 

Linda draws upon her two passions in life - audience insights and her love for horses to explore how Horse Whisperers, the masters of distilling insight, are able to change behaviour and create bonds of trust. 

Image source: All About Eve. Linda McGregor speaking at Battle of the Big Thinkers, Vivid Festival, Sydney, 2017. 

Understanding the four elements of the craft. 

The analogy of the horse whisperer and the training ring is a stunning paradigm of the strategic manoeuvres used by marketers that are needed to develop brand love. As marketers do when approaching a strategy, the whisperer enters the ring with a vast well of behavioural knowledge and past experience up his sleeve. This knowledge is accessed reflexively as the circumstances of his relationship changed depending on the cues from himself and the horse - or consumer. 

Image Source: Can You Whisper Your Way To Brand Love? Linda McGregor. 

If you missed Linda's talk, don't despair because lucky for us, Marketing Matters was able to sit down with Linda and get an inside look into her practice. 

MM: As a marketing consultant, sometimes it's really easy to get bogged down on all the data. How do you go about selecting relevant data and then translating it into true insights about consumer behaviour?

Linda: Relevant data is all about focus. A good start point is a tight brief so you’re crystal clear on the audience that you’re trying to understand – and WHAT you are trying to understand about them. Build a picture or portrait of them so that they come to life for you, so you can see them as real people.

Then you look to do what we at All About Eve call 'the unpack': get past behaviour to triggers and need drivers. Think about it as getting past the symptom to a root cause. This is when you get to the real insights that will allow you to influence, and even change, audience behaviours.

It’s all about getting past the conscious mind and behaviours to the subconscious mind, where neuroscientists will tell you 90% of all decision making action takes place.

MM: You've spoken in the past about fashioning bonds between audiences and brands to achieve brand love. In your opinion, what is the most important difference in approaches between 'the push' and 'the pull' in marketing and where does 'the whisper' fit in?

Linda: Both push and pull have a place in marketing campaigns. For me, however, pull is the stronger one because you tap into existing consumer needs and use them to connect and bond the brand to her (or him).  That seems to be a clearer route to Brand Love building, because it taps affinity. 

The Whisper is the approach to how you achieve that effective pull. How you whisper to the audience’s inner need, instead of just yelling at them. Fundamentally by understanding, giving them time to know the brand offer then choose to come to the brand, freely.  The Whisper offers the benefit of building a stronger, deeper bond between the audience and the brand. A strong but silken thread that binds.

MM: For some, especially those who didn't hear you speak last week, the metaphor of 'the whisper' might be a little abstract to understand. Could you briefly explain what's involved in the four stages of the whisper?

Linda: Well firstly, I would say we should arrange another talk then, lol!

For now, here are the 4 elements (rather than stages, which infers they have a linear order), in summary: 
  1. The Insight Watch
    Gathering Qual & Quant info, translating to insight and unpacking to a subconscious level to understand the true triggers to audience behaviour - and hence how to influence it
  2. The Patient Pause    
    Counter-intuitively, not rushing to pull the consumer into the decision to choose your brand. Instead giving them time & space to build trust with, and of, your brand.
  3. The Consistent Offer  
    Taking a relevant brand offer then consciously & consistently delivering that in a message in the audience’s language. Demo-ing that brand’s 'talk' and 'walk' match.
  4. The Choosing              
    The resulting benefit of the other 3 elements of the whispering approach. By talking with the audience, not at them, you build affinity – leading to them choosing to join the brand
According to Dr Terry Beed, Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, In the context of our Business School, this is where our knowledge of consumer behaviour, drawn from the literature and other sources including “experience” and Big Data comes to the fore. It builds towards responsive adaptation in challenging (maybe dangerous!) circumstances. 

At the University of Sydney, the professors take pride in preparing their students for the ring so that when they get in there, they can respond and get results in the dynamic setting of contemporary marketing. Linda McGregor’s metaphor leaves her audience with a vivid impression of a different yet powerful kind of marketing model to draw upon.

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

Friday, 28 July 2017

New Semester, New Journey

August is nearly upon us, which means the end of studies for many students from USYD's Master of Marketing program. Not the end of the road per se, but the beginning of a new exciting chapter in their lives, careers and future projects. For the rest of us, the journey continues in semester two and we are ready to welcome many more new students into our MoM family.

New students, here's your chance to get involved. 

If you can dream it then you can do it. That’s why we’re all here, right? We’re here because we have a dream and we were gutsy enough to take control of our lives in order to make it happen. With this new semester about to embark, we have an opportunity to get the most out of our master degree. Sure, you can do the bare minimum and just come to class or you can get involved in the community. Our student cohort is full of bright, up and coming stars with a wealth of experience to learn from.

That’s why we can’t stress enough the importance of becoming a member of our student run Facebook group, ‘Master of Marketing USYD’, as well as the closed LinkedIn group by the same name - for students, alumni and industry professionals. You should already know that networking is important and all of these people want to help you achieve your goals.

Marketing Matters want to hear your voice! So if you have a way with words or an opinion to share, get in touch because there’s no better way to strengthen your personal brand or increase your online presence than to contribute to the Master of Marketing blog.

Add your fellow students to your LinkedIn profile, endorse each other for skills, share articles, job postings, ideas, videos ANYTHING! Just don’t waste your time here and sit by on the fence because one year goes incredibly fast and before the blink of an eye this amazing experience will be over and it will be graduation time and that moment may have passed you by.

But before you start thinking about graduation, I hope you will enjoy this welcome video made by current student, Bowie Chen, with tips shared by current students from Master of Marketing program.

Go out there and do amazing things. 

For those students who are about to finish their studies, we just wanted to tell you how much we have enjoyed learning with you. You have become almost like family over the last semester and we hope that you will continue to be active members of our community; sharing stories, experiences and opportunities. We only get out of the program what we put in and just because you have finished, doesn’t mean that you are now on your own.

Remember, no matter which path we choose, we shall never fear the roles we play now, nor those we will play in the future.

Finalists for the Marketing Consulting Project, Alice Xie Yifan and Sarah Homewood, along with the winner of the award, Jessica Farrell, presented their projects to the audience.

Be engaged with the industry. 

Honorary Associate Professor, Dr Terry Beed, reminded us on Tuesday evening that both the University of Sydney’s Business School and the Dean, Associate Professor Geoff Frost, place a great deal of importance on engagement with the marketing industry. The receptions held for incoming and continuing students, are designed specially for this reason, with leading executives and marketing professionals as well as alumni, often invited to provide opportunities for students to network. 

We believe that’s what sets the University of Sydney’s Master of Marketing program apart from other programs of its kind. We are the most connected and engaged program on offer for experienced marketers. 

MoM students: Chris North, Honorary Master of Ceremonies, and Alyce Brierley, Social Media Manager of Marketing Matters.

What you missed at the welcome reception. 

On Tuesday 25th of July, orientation began for the commencing students, many of whom attended the evening welcome event at the Abercrombie Business School’s Refectory. Acting as Honorary Master of Ceremonies for the Reception, the event was hosted by current Master of Marketing student, Chris North, who in keeping with his reputation for comical relief, had us all thoroughly entertained throughout the evening. 

The opening speech delivered by Honorary Associate Professor, Dr Terry Beed, and Associate Professor Geoff Frost who is also the Associate Dean (Graduate Business), as well as a special message from Pennie Frow, Program Director of the Master of Marketing. Explaining how the Master of Marketing program can ‘pave the way’ for students to excel in their careers, Pennie highlighted how successfully completing the program can take students to the next stage in their career, opening up new opportunities across a broad spectrum of marketing roles.

Professor Donnel Briley; Stephen Jenke, Guest Lecturer and recently elected fellow of AMSRS; special guest Ms Margot Priday, CEO of NewsMediaWorks; Andrew Baxter, CEO Australia and New Zealand for Publicis.

A number of the program’s professors and lecturers also attended along with esteemed industry leaders and special guests such as Linda McGregor, Founder and Owner of ALL ABOUT EVE. Linda’s speech on Brand love demonstrated how, as marketers, our craft is to translate input from our target audience into true insights about their behavior, which can in turn give us clues on how to influence it. Only then can we hope to build the bridge between consumer’s needs and our brand offering. To achieve the lofty, lucrative goal of brand love. By using the analogy of a horse whisperer, Linda demonstrated how to interpret consumers’ behaviour to create bonds of trust between customers and brands.

The University of Sydney's MoM students - past, present and future.

It might be hard for new students to understand Brand Love from Linda at this moment. But, as we just mentioned, never let setbacks or fear dictate the course of your life. With the great Master of Marketing program at your fingertips with professional professors and lecturers from Master of Marketing program, all students will be guided by force, nurtured by expertise. 

If you missed out on attending this event, be sure to attend the End of Year Reception, which will be held mid to late November on a date to be announced. There will be awards for best performance in the program and some exciting guest speakers in the line-up for this event. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.

Notes on the special guests who attended the Master of Marketing Welcome Event 

Stephen Jenke is a Guest Lecturer in the Masters Program who was recently elected a Fellow of the Australian Market and Social Research Society.  He has held global roles with TNS and Kantor in the APAC countries for 10 years prior to returning to Australia recently. 

Ms Margot Priday is the wife of the late Dr Paul Priday a brilliant teacher in the Masters Program and contributor to the its design. Paul was one of Australia’s most respected Creative Directors before embarking later in life on a stellar academic career.  

Peter Miller, newly appointed CEO of NewsMediaWorks and former Global Head of Marketing Strategy for Adstream. Peter is an alumnus of the University of Sydney and a strong supporter of our Master’s Program. 

Andrew Baxter, CEO Australia and New Zealand for Publicis, a multinational advertising and marketing agency. Andrew is one of Australia’s most senior marketing executives and his wife Angela is a Tutor in the Discipline of Marketing’s undergraduate programs.

Alyce Brierley and Hazel Chen
Current students from Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Katy Perry To Witness Myer’s Comeback

Australia’s retail sector is in trouble. The $300 billion, over-crowded and highly competitive industry’s marketing strategies are getting more creative in order to secure top-of-mind awareness. It’s no wonder that retailers like Myer are partnering with superstar influencers to lift sales in the midst of a stale trading environment.

Fans set to Witness a change.

Perry, who released her fourth major label album, Witness, on June 9, stands as one of the biggest successes in the music industry. She has had huge international success, selling over 6.5 million albulms, had 14 Billboard hits, and even performed at the Super Bowl.

But the singer isn’t the same sugar-coated pop-start that she used to be. As a widely publicised supporter of Hillary Clinton in the US elections, Katy Perry has changed her stance in an effort to stand against misogyny. Not only her hair and music have changed, but also her message.

Change is also the theme of her new album Witness, an introspective, less pop and more dance vibed album that’s entirely different from her last two records, Prism(2013) and Teenage Dream (2010).

She has been accused of lipsyncing, being racist, homophobic and even mean (who can forget her all out feud with Taylor Swift). But that still hasn’t stopped the celebrity from garnering over 100m twitter followers, whether they be real or only bots.

Image source: The Australian (Renee Nowytarger) Katy Perry poses for selfies with fans yesterday at Myer’s Sydney flagship city store.
Katy Perry is Myer’s silver bullet.

Some would say that Myer chief executive Richard Umbers move to become the naming rights partner of popstar Katy Perry’s Witness tour is nothing short of bold. But for many years now, Katy Perry’s global reach makes her a key influencer.The singer has strategically secured numerous corporate sponsorships and ­celebrity endorsements with her ‘universal appeal’. Something which resonates particularly with Myer’s target audience.

In an interiew with Mumbrella, Michael Scott, Myer’s executive general manager of brand, marketing and loyalty, explained that the goal of the partnership is to boost the retailer’s bespoke and “special” offering to its customers.

“We are always on the look-out to partner strategically with brands which appeal and connect with our consumers,” Scott said.

Witness the new Myer experience.

The buzzword in marketing these days is experiential marketing. Perhaps that’s why Myer has heavily invested in in-store experiences to highlight the value of customer engagement. Live marketing schemes encourage consumers to participate nd interact with a brand on a personal level.

Myer boss, Umbers, who previously declared that retail’s not for the timid, stated that, “It is really about how does a modern retailer compete and the view is we have to be in destination retail, we have to have something that has a real experience theme to it, and this seems a very natural extension to that.

“We had the opportunity to present the Witness tour and we thought that would be a fantastic extension of our thinking around the importance of experiential retail,” Mr Umbers said to The Australian.

If experiential retail is the word, then Myer is spreading it like the gospel. Not only have they partnered with Perry, they have also erected an ice-skating rink for Myer’s Wonderland at its Sydney city store and a Tesla showroom at their flagship store in Melbourne.

Wonderland is another prime example of how Myer are investing big in experiential marketing.
A partnership made in heaven?

Image source: Katy Perry koala threat: Authorities warn marsupials to stay indoors.
In the Marketing Consulting Project we learned that when collaborating with stakeholders it is vital to consider all of the potential ethical issues that could arise from a partnership.

That’s why we really must question the wisdom of Myer partnering with the likes of Perry. Although highly influential, she has been known on many occasions top put her foot in it. Why should this time be any different?

Myer, who was initially thrilled to give their customers the chance to win free tickets to Perry’s Witness tour, was left embarassed when it came to an unfortunate comment by Perry. The campaign video with Myer, which is the sole naming rights partner of Perry’s Witness tour, offended viewers with Perry’s comment encouraging her pet dog Nugget to “chase some koalas”.

A spokesman for Myer said: “We are aware of comments in relation to Katy Perry’s Witness: The Tour advertisement and a particular reference made to koalas. We are currently removing the material which references koalas.”

In an interview with the Courier Mail, Claire Madden, who has worked at Australia Zoo and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, said that “This is just absolute ignorance from Perry and Myer, and inappropriate on so many levels” she said.

“Perry is a role model to so many young people, and this just destroys all the good work we do to try to encourage people not to let their dogs come into contact with koalas.”

Say what you will about her, Myer or their alliance. But one thing is for sure and that is that they are garnering attention in the press and on the world stage. It’s the first time that a department store has sponsored one of her concerts. If Myer’s falling market share increases with this gambit, then maybe it won’t be the last.

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

Friday, 21 July 2017

For When Life Doesn't Wait

Afterpay. Why pay now when you can pay later? Everyone wants to live in the moment and face the consequences tomorrow. It's a wonderful concept that delves right to the heart of what consumers want. But is it really what they need?

Previously Marketing Matters explored the future of Bricks and Mortar upon the ushering of a more sophisticated online shopping experience - something that is becoming increasingly more important, as outlined in Contemporary Consumer Behaviour. At the beginning, it looked as though the outlook for retailers were bleak. Traditional retailers were slow on the uptake of online, but now, many are augmenting their physical presence with digital strategies and payment innovations. 

What the customer wants, the customer shall have. 

Retailers who have thus far dominated the market have adopted a click and mortar approach, being neither exclusively online or offline. They've realised that they must respond to the customers' preference for a shopping experience that optimises both channels.

Image source: Afterpay review, The Wealth Guy

According to research carried out by Deloitte, 40% of retail sales are influenced by digital technology. Consumers today are highly informed, especially with high involvement purchases, seeking out product reviews, cost comparison, and recommendations from family and friends, both in-person and online, either at home and in-store via mobile. 

The new retail environment is adopting customer-centric innovations, with many traditional retailers investing not only in click & collect, but also in payment innovations. While click & collect makes shopping easier, allowing customers to purchase online and pick up in-store, it also provides the gratification of instant ownership. 

Image source: University of Sydney, Contemporary Consumer Behaviour (Teresa Davis)

But the real innovation is Afterpay. Brick and mortar retailers are leveraging the advancements in payment technologies to entice customers to purchase products they might not otherwise have bought. It encourages spontaneity in the decision making process and similarly to credit cards, Afterpay gives customers the ability to buy in store, take their purchases home immediately and pay later - except there are no fees or interest. 

Evolving spending habits and how this impacts the personal budget.

By August 2016, 140,000 customers in Australia had used Afterpay and a whopping 65% of those are repeat users. Only 1% of those users were failing to complete their scheduled Afterpay repayments, resulting in a net transaction loss rate of 0.9%. 

The structured repayment system allows consumers to keep their finances under control. Unlike credit cards, where consumers often spend more than they can afford. With this innovation in the decision making process, consumers are no longer inhibited by the barrier of debt and products with hefty price tags can be perceived as affordable. 

As a frequent user of this service, I've bought goods that I wouldn't otherwise have considered buying. Payments are manageable and there is the ability to make extra payments to speed up the process. Unlike making purchases with credit cards, Afterpay feels trustworthy and safe. 

Teresa Davis, lecturer of Contemporary Consumer Behaviour, explained the decision making process in detail. The types of decision rules that consumers apply include an evaluation of alternatives. And unlike purchasing goods with credit cards, the risks and barriers to purchase are minimised considerably. 

How does Afterpay work?

Image source: Afterpay review, The Wealth Guy 

Whether you have money or not, now instead of buying upfront, consumers have the option to pay off purchases - just like layby. But instead of having to wait until the purchase is fully paid off in order to take it home, consumers are instantly gratified, taking their purchases home instantly.

Either a debit card or credit card can be used for repayments, which means that sometimes purchases might not always get approved. Afterpay employs various metrics during the approval process, including location and even what model of phone you use. Unlike credit cards, purchases are 100% interest free but if a payment fails, there is a $10 dollar late fee, followed by another $7 fee if the payment is not made within 7 days. 

Afterpay isn't just for in-store purchases, in fact most of its success stems from online purchases. Online shoppers can go to checkout without filling in lengthy credit card forms, and once they have created an account with their first purchase, the payment experience is seamless. Goods can either be shipped express or picked up in store. 

Here's a recap of the benefits for consumers:

  • Afterpay is another way for a consumer to pay either online or instore. 
  • Merchants offer Afterpay to end-customers with a BUY NOW, PAY LATER offer.
  • End-customers pay for items in 4 fortnightly installments.
  • Afterpay does not charge consumers any interest, establishment or monthly fees.
  • After the initial Afterpay signup, no additional information is required at checkout. 
  • Afterpay pays merchants upfront (less Afterpay fee).
  • Afterpay retrieves funds from the consumer.

How is Afterpay delivering results for businesses?

Image source: Afterpay review, The Wealth Guy

Due to the barriers of shipping times, receiving below standard quality products and the risk of security, the rate of growth in online shopping has decelerated slightly. By June last year, it increased only 13.5%, down from 15.7% the previous year. 

Ever since the introduction of credit cards in 1950, retailers have been constantly searching for ways to entice consumers to spend more. Merchants will do almost anything to make a sale, with some paying as much as 3% of the sale value in fees to credit card companies. Some businesses pass these costs on to consumers, but in general this is a thorn in the side for businesses and consumers alike. 

The facts are undeniable, Afterpay users are 34% more likely to follow through with purchases than credit card users and their average spend is 25% more than the average customer. Depending on what side of the fence you are standing, this can be perceived as either a good or bad thing.  But the turh remains, Afterpay is getting consumers to part with their hard-earned cash and the shopping experience will never be the same again.

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

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

5 Ways To Improve Your Employability

While the holidays have been fun, and all of us at the University of Sydney’s Business School have all benefited from a well-deserved break from classes, now the semester break is coming to a close. That means we need to start getting serious. Not only about our studies, but employment prospects as well. 


If you’re guilty of slacking off over the semester break, don’t despair. There’s still time for you to get your brain into gear and your resume up to scratch. Here are five sure-fire ways to get yourself motivated and prepare for the next exciting step in your career.

1. TED Talks

Get inspired. Learn stuff. What’s not to love about watching TED Talks? TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design) has hundreds of topics and speakers. It really is the easiest way to learn without trying overly hard. It’s also the perfect way to stay up to date with disruptive changes in your industry. Not to mention learn about concepts that might otherwise be foreign to you. 

My pick of the week is ‘Linda Hill’s - Managing for Creativity’, but with thousands to choose from, there’s surely something for everyone. For those in the Masters of Marketing program, follow the link for a selection of the 10 Best TED Talks on Marketing That Will Blow Your Mind.

2. Free Online Courses and Webinars

Have you got some gaps in your learning? Well there’s nothing to gain from sitting on the couch. Since the proliferation of free online courses, there’s a huge range of free options that can supplement your studies or introduce you to subjects you know little about. 

Most of the free options don’t allow for full access to the materials, but there is a vast range of tutorial videos from lecturers at top universities like Harvard, Stanford and even the University of Sydney. 

Nothing beats the quality of a full university degree, but if you’re curious about learning about topics like data analytics, languages or communication, then it’s a great start.

Check out Coursera, Edx, and Open Learning to start expanding your horizons for little more than the cost of your time. 

3. Networking Events

Besides meeting other like-minded people, networking events are a wonderful opportunity to work on your social skills. Maybe you already have a job, but do you know how to work a room, interact casually with your superiors and navigate through the finer subtleties of face to face communication?

It may seem obvious, but networking allows you to get out of your comfort zone and talk to people with much more experience than yourself. People, who perhaps you would have never had the chance to meet outside the office context.

Besides events hosted by the University of Sydney, there are sometimes some held by the Sydney Marketing Society (SMS) and the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI). 

Coming up shortly is the Business School’s Marketing Welcome Function on the 25th of July at The Refectory, Level 5, Abercrombie Building H70.Hosted from 6pm to 8pm, the welcome will host a range of alumni and marketing professionals such as Linda McGregor from All About Eve. 

If you haven’t already registered, do so now by following this link

4. Conferences

Although it may not be affordable for everyone, going to a conference is a great way to network, broaden your mind, and get pumped off the energy of the crowd. If you’re one of the lucky few who get invited or paid to go by your employers, GO FOR IT! 

Success Resources organise events in Sydney frequently, boasting speakers like Tony Robbins, Lisa Messenger, and Sir Richard Branson. One of the best I’ve been to is the National Achievers Congress, who in the past has even welcomed past and present leaders such as Tony Blair, and Donald Trump.

If that’s over budget, the University of Sydney also organises a range of interesting lectures. While you missed out on John Howard On Trump last week, on the 26th of July there’s an upcoming seminar on Robots, Agriculture, And The Australian Economy for the bargain price of $79!

Keep an eye on the events calendar so you don’t miss out.

Where there’s a will there’s a way. Many conferences ask for volunteers to help out, and even give free tickets away in competitions. So if you really want a seat in the auditorium, there’s plenty of ways to get in there. 

5. LinkedIn

Last but not least, there’s LinkedIn. Think Facebook is important? If you haven’t already got LinkedIn, then you’re missing out. A highly underrated tool, LinkedIn is the social media platform of choice for any self-respecting professional. So while your scrolling your Facebook feed, watching videos of cats, the rest of your switched on peers are perfecting their personal brands, applying for jobs and extending their networks to enhance their employability.

It can’t be stressed enough. LinkedIn is so important. So if you haven’t already, get your profile up to date, get connected and start interacting. Both the Business School and the Master of Marketing both have pages to join and are active.

It’s not enough to simply have a profile and be done with it. You have to share articles, like others posts, comment, endorse others’ skills, and follow people. You may not know it yet, but LinkedIn is your most strategic tool as far as visibility is concerned.

Take it one step further and capitalise on the blogging function to start voicing your own opinions. As long as you keep it professional, you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Just remember to update your profile regularly because you should be always constantly growing and improving your skills.

So there you have it. That’s a great start to getting yourself ready for study and enhancing your job prospects. Just one last thing, whether you think you’re ready or not, stop procrastinating and log into the Career Hub or go to their office to talk to one of the counsellors. 

You never know what job opportunities you might find. If nothing else, a professional can have a look at your resume and give you some interview tips. It’s time to get serious. 

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

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Halo Effect of Coke

For many, the concept of the Halo Effect isn’t new. But who would have thought that the phenomenon where we assume that ‘because someone excels at something, then they will be good at doing another’ could be applied to Coca Cola. 

Last semester, in Marketing in the Global Economy, Catherine Sutton Brady stressed the importance of multinational brands conducting thorough market research before entering a new product into foreign markets. And until now, it seemed that Coca Cola could do no wrong.

That was until last month, when health-conscious soft drink fans around the nation were geared up for the launch of Coca-Cola ‘No Sugar’. The new sugar-free Coke tastes like classic Coca-Cola without the added calories. Australians and New Zealanders will be the first in the world to sample the new beverage, and consequently, it is they who will determine whether the new product lives up to the ‘classic taste’ hype.

With the launch of Diet Coke in 1983, Australia enjoyed its first ever light version of sugar free Coca-Cola. Then came Coke Zero, launched with great success in 2006, followed by Coca-Cola with Stevia. Their newest beverage is the biggest product launch in a decade and will replace Coca-Cola Zero from early next year.

The Power to say NO

One would think that nothing could stop Coke. However it seems that Woolworths, the biggest retailer giant in Australia, has decided to say NO to Coke No Sugar, as reported by News.

On July 7th, Woolworths revealed it won’t be stocking Coca-Cola’s highly publicised new variant, No Sugar, on supermarket shelves. 

Founded in 1924 in Sydney, Woolworths was floated on 19 May 1993. Currently it has more than 3,000 stores across Australia and New Zealand in categories such as food, liquor, petrol, and general merchandise. With a 32% value share, they were named the largest player in the grocery retailers channel in 2016.

The reason for their refusal to stock Coca-Cola No Sugar is due to the already saturated market of sugar-free soft drinks, according to IBISWorld.

With that in mind, it is no surprise that Woolworths has the power to say NO to Coca-Cola.

But why say NO when you can say YES?

While Aussies love the taste of Coke, the demand for soft drinks keeps dropping as consumers’ health awareness increases.

Source: Business Insider, ‘The Woolworths decision on the 'No Sugar' Coke is all about market saturation of sugar-free drinks’.

A spokesperson told said that bottled water sales were soaring, while soft drink purchases continued to decline — meaning there just isn’t enough room on the shelves for another similar product.

According to Soft Drinks Global Overview: Key Trends in 2017, there are three key global trends shaping soft drinks:

  1. An era of heightened regulatory scrutiny and economic instability in key markets.
  2. An older and more urban consumer has evolving beverage needs.
  3. Healthier consumers are changing their beverage habits and demanding more functional benefits.

It’s clear that health is the key element people are concerned with. Consumers now are migrating to higher value brands that offer products with added health benefits. They are increasingly willing to pay a premium for functional benefits, fortification, and authentic, natural ingredients that can improve health. As a result, natural, flavourful and functional ready-to-drink coffee and ready-to-drink tea are growing rapidly, along with added-value water and hydration drinks.

According to a report by Business Insider, IbisWorld predicts that in addition to rising health awareness, an expansion of private-label offerings could also stimulate industry growth, as consumers either shift to lower value products or alternative beverages.

Can private labels improve consumer perception?

In order to compete with private label products from rival Coles and from discounter Aldi, Woolworth has announced a new private label strategy, including the Select brand to improve consumer perception, as well as a way to compete on price and quality against other brands. While the Essentials label is positioned as a budget brand, the Woolworths label falls within a mid-priced range.

Woolworths Ltd (Australia): Private Label Portfolio

No one can be certain of whether or not Coca-Cola ‘No Sugar’ will lift sales of no-sugar varieties. Perhaps the brand will benefit from a halo effect and deliver a boost in sales across the entire Coca-Cola range.

The question remains to be if Woolworths’ decision will pay off or not. Will Woolworths face challenges from their competitor Coles? The challenger not only stocks Coke No Sugar but they are actively promoting the brand at half-price ($1.42 for 1.25 L or $14.10 for 24 375 mL cans).

We know that a product launch involves proper planning, clear strategies and an overview of the whole market, which are essential to brand strength and maintaining a competitive position in the market. I wonder, did Coca Cola do the research before plunging head first into an already saturated market? Or were they relying on their halo effect to influence people’s opinions of their newest addition to their product range?

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

Monday, 10 July 2017

7 Marketing Trends That Are The New Black

When the digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, strategists constantly have to stay on top of trends to keep their brands visible in the social media arena. From Facebook and Instagram to Snapchat and Instant Messaging, these are the marketing trends that are changing the cyber world we live in. 

1. Live Stories 

If we're being honest, as a user, I never really saw the appeal of live stories. But when you think about how curated most social media posts are, this format gives us a new way to be our authentic selves to a select audience without worrying about the permanence of traditional social publishing.

While Snapchat pioneered live stories, Facebook has successfully applied the concept to Instagram. Since then, the photo-sharing platform has grown into an even bigger marketing powerhouse with over 200 million active users since April.

In response, Snapchat introduced SnapMaps to let you check out stories from across the globe, while Instagram has made their own version of Stories more marketing friendly.

2. Live Video 

As with live stories, live video offers the ability for users to share an experience moment-by-moment with a large audience. This is the perfect tool for brands to interact with their community, and invite them to comment and participate in real time.

3. Mobile Video

With more and more people engaging in social media while on the go, it isn't surprising since 2015 mobile video views grew six times faster than desktop views. Can you remember the last time you checked out Facebook or Instagram feed? Chances are that 95% of it is video content.

Videos are more likely to go viral than any other form of media, making 2017 officially the age of mobile video. It's time we embraced it.

4. Mobile First Strategy 

It doesn't just end at mobile video. When you consider the internet traffic is now being driven more from mobile devices than desktops, it's easy to see why marketers are saying that the future is mobile.

It's so much more than just optimizing content for mobile. With users' lifestyles being so on-the-go, marketers also have to ensure content gets integrated so that it doesn't feel like ads are being pushed on them. Everything, from content and ads to online experience should be conceived particularly for mobile users.

5. Interactive Content

If a picture says a thousand words and a video speaks to millions, what is the power of interactive content? Content you can interact with is beginning to gain more and more popularity, especially with Gen Z. 

As a millennial, even I admit to taking more than my fair share of Buzzfeed quizzes. Think about how this particular type of content gets readers actively participating instead of passively consuming. Interactive content can include things like quizzes (such as the classic Cosmo Quiz setup), polls, surveys, infographics, brackets and contests.

6. Native Advertising 

It might be hard to believe, but sometimes consumers get tired of consuming, and many are getting wise to the tricks of advertisers. The line is pretty thin; it’s becoming harder and harder to retain their attention and earn their trust.

Native advertising seems to be much more effective. It’s all about integrating advertising into content that already provides value to readers and viewers. Content writers are finding more ways to weave products and offerings into a larger narrative, instead of just bombarding their audience with ads.

7. Micro-Influencer Marketing 

Last but not least there’s Influencer marketing. And while not exactly a new trend, it is on the rise, which makes sense. Don’t people tend to trust recommendations from people they respect?  The right influencers can establish credibility through each social media post or advertisement.

Then comes micro-influencers with around 100K followers or less. Whereas celebrity influencers charge anywhere from $3000 to $100,000 for a post or campaign, micro-influencers generally cost much less. With more engaged audiences than bigger influencers, investing marketing funds into micro-influencers can give you more bang for your buck. Some only ask for a few hundred dollars or even just a freebie of your product.

So there you have it, these are seven of the season’s must-have trends that you need to follow now. Just remember, trends come and go so you need to stay up to date unless you want to be left behind.

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

Friday, 7 July 2017

Are Bricks-And-Mortar Fad or Fashion?

Online business has entered onto a stable stage with a broad range of products on a number of platforms, including Amazon online delivery, Alibaba B2B and B2C business model. However, as pointed out by some consumers, despite the apparent convenience it offers, not everyone is enthusiastic about shopping online. 

Online vs Offline

So why are some hesitant to jump onboard? Teresa Davies from Contemporary Consumer Behaviour pretty much summed it up last semester when she stressed the importance of the in-store customer experience. It’s true that online lacks the sense of sensation you get when you touch the texture of a fabric, the thrill of trying on an item or seeing it bagged up at the register, it even misses the post-purchase satisfaction of when you hand over your credit card. 

Bricks-and-mortar businesses still exist and continue to be ingrained in our daily lives but few people have realised that it also plays a main role in retailing. Although e-commerce is growing quickly on a global scale, nowadays physical stores will continue playing an important role in omnichannel retailing systems. However, is the existence of more and more physical stores popping up on busy streets a fad or fashion to attract customers?

The two go hand in hand.

Recently Louis Vuitton failed dismally when they opened their Supreme x Luis Vuitton pop-up store in Bondi, with customers waiting in line for eight hours on Monday morning from 3am, only to be told at 11am that the popular collaboration had sold out after just 10 to 12 people had been in. Besides waiting out in the cold, with no food, security and the general disorder of the set-up, customers were also told on Instagram by Louis Vuitton Artistic Director Kim Jones that they could pre-order the items he wanted from the menswear range at the George Street store. However when one unhappy customer went into the store, he was told he could only make an expression of interest, and says he then wasn’t even notified about the details of the pop-up store, but had to find out online.

One might imagine that multi-nationals such as Luis Vuitton would know better than to let their brand be negatively impacted by offering such a harsh customer experience. With better co-ordination and the convergence of online and offline, perhaps the fiasco could have been avoided.

Get ready to experience the future.

According to Tom Birtwhistle, senior manager in PwC’s digital strategy division in Hong Kong, “Bricks and mortar being dead is wrong. It just needs to evolve, into small-format stores, for example, and embrace in-store digital technology.” 

While it is true that shopping in physical stores might be done less frequently in the future due to the influence of digital, physical stores themselves will become more experiential and social with the benefits of technology development. This is how Amazon and Alibaba exist on the market with The Experience Economy.

Amazon, the online retail giant, has been in the bricks-and-mortar retail segment since 2015 when they opened up shop in Seattle in the form of bookstore. Now, there are 7 Amazonbooks stores in the US and another 6 stores are on the way. Besides book shops, Amazon is planning to open 2,000 Amazon Fresh grocery stores across the US within the next ten years. 

The retailer understands the role that physical stores play in building its brand in ways that it cannot online. Amazon will leverage the stores to showcase its own hardware products that are not sold by many other retailers; such as the Amazon Kindle and the Echo. 

Alibaba has invested in Suning, a partner with Bailian group in recent years on retailing. In early 2016, Alibaba has launched Hema Market in Shanghai focusing on e-commerce cashless-experience supermarket. Its branch Hema Fresh has bitten into China’s grocery market, trying to connect online and offline hands in hands by emphasising the physical store experience.

With physical stores, retailers could tightly control their brands and help customers understand how the products work. The benefits could bring their physical stores into the higher evolution stage of deep brand propositions.

So you tell me, are bricks-and-mortar fad or fashion? The answer relies on the business strategies of the retailer. The store could be stale without innovation for years, or it could be sensitive to the scent of model trends, opening up new opportunities and untapped potential. The fashion sense will enhance brand experience and build customer relationships for retailers for decades or centuries.

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

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Embrace the Changes, Our Nation of Nations - 2016 Australian Census

In case you missed it while you were buried under your uni assessments, data from the 2016 Australian Census has officially come out and the results are quite surprising. One thing is clear, however - Australia is changing.

To start with (and there’s no surprise here), we are getting older, less religious and there are far more same-sex couples. Our nation has never been so multicultural, and all the latest facts leave hints about how Australia’s population has developed over recent years. Not only in terms of origin, age and gender, but also how where we are headed in the future. This demographic shift leads us to embrace the business opportunities with these evolving market trends.

Let’s take a look how gender is shaping up.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics discovered that the population now consists of 50.7% women and 49.3% men. Women are continuing to surmount men.

Coupled with the women’s empowerment trend and marketing becoming more inclusive and also more politicised, this implies that the “she-economy” is still in play - something that presents a huge opportunity for brands.

This semester, in Contemporary Consumer Behaviour, you might recall Linda McGregor, the founder of All About Eve, who explained how women have strong buyers’ power due to the fact that they are typically the family’s “director”. Women have both the power of deciding on or strongly influencing more than 80% of purchases. What’s more, they are expected to make up 50% of main income earners by 2019.

Households are changing.

The number of families have risen by roughly one million to just over six million. The typical family is still a standard couple with children, but this number decreased to 45% in 2016 from 54% in 1991. It probably doesn’t shock you that nowadays people are less willing to have kids, with numbers slightly increasing from about a third to 38%.

According to the Daily Telegraph, there are more same-sex couples, with a jump of 39% or 47,000 in the past five years. This change in the structure of the household unit will influence household purchases and consumer behaviour. For marketers, this is an important trend for businesses in the children’s category to look into. This, along with developing a better understanding of the sub-culture in Australia’s LGBT market, will enable us to provide more value and better products and services.

Age is just a number.

People are getting older. It’s a fact we can’t ignore. In Australia, the median age grew to 38 years in 2016; rising from the median of 37 years that’s been recorded since the 2006 Census. Although some might argue that this is correlated with the healthcare industry boom; others would say that more and more baby boomers are just getting older.

While our mum and dad’s grey hairs don’t qualify them for their pensions just yet, the grandparents will be relieved to have some more bingo buddies. The proportion of the population aged 65 years and over rose to 16% in 2016 from 14% in 2011.

I said ‘Do you speak my language?’, but he just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.

It is revealed in the 2016 Australian Census that over 300 languages are spoken across the country! Here are the top five languages below.

Australia is more and more multicultural, with 26% of the population born overseas. These are the top five countries of birth as seen on Business Insider.

The numbers don’t lie. Australia’s rich, multicultural population makes it an international country with countless different sub-cultures. Companies should remember these essential facts when conducting consumer research to aid with deciding language choice in ads. The message must be clear if you want to target customers who speak languages other than English.

We’re bringing home the bacon.

Good news! People are more wealthier than ever before! The median personal income grew from $577 per week in 2011 to $662 in 2016 with the household income rising to $1,438 as well.

When considering Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, such income growth might benefit industries which provide products and services that suit consumers’ higher level of needs such as entertainment, dining out and retail therapy.

Large Cities’ Population Growth 

Sydney, the largest city in Australia, is fast approaching five million residents. The population has been rising rapidly - increasing by 1,656 people every week since the previous Census. Melbourne is catching up - growing by an average of 1,859 a week according to the Business Insider.

With so many new residents all clamouring to live close to the city centre, people are living in apartments instead of houses. 7 News Sydney reported that urbanisation trends have been key drivers for infrastructure growth in the city. 

With change, follows opportunity.

Census Australia has shone a light on Australia’s changing consumer landscape. The evolving demographic is a key driver for growth across all industries, presenting numerous business opportunities for those who can reach their audiences.

But with so much noise and confusion, how you use this information will determine whether or not your brand will stand out from the crowd.

Watch the Official Australia Census 2016 video to find out more!

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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.