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: News.com.au. 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 news.com.au 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!

Join our Master of Marketing and study on a beautiful campus in one of the world's best cities!
Sydney ranks second on a list of the 50 best cities in the world. It’s one of the best places to live, work and study, scoring above even New York and Paris! The University of Sydney has also been named among the world’s top 10 most beautiful campuses.

The University of Sydney’s Master of Marketing program was developed by the Business School, with extensive advice from reputable business leaders to ensure that the course meets the real needs of contemporary business, making it one of the most cutting-edge, industry-relevant marketing degrees in Australia.

Bowie Chan
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.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Big Data Question

The waters can get quite murky when it comes to the ethical collection, use, and analysis of data. From 'Mad Men' to 'Math Men', one thing’s for sure, big data has unequivocally changed the way marketers target their audiences forever. While the limitless amount of personal data available continues to expand and sensors make their way into frequently used daily items, there are fine lines that separate the use and misuse of data.

Those current students who are doing the Marketing Consulting Project might remember guest lecturer Jo Nash Clulow’s talk on ethics. She brought up the key issue, reminding us that it’s not only our integrity as marketers that’s at stake. From a legal perspective, although offenses such as fraud are clearly unethical, questionable situations can arise throughout different stages of the data life cycle that could potentially expose their organizations to risks. This is why some companies follow ethical guidelines laid out by certain industry associations to ensure the ethical use of data.

From tracking lives to forecasting crime

When it comes to big data, the sky is the limit. Thanks to complex algorithms, our lives can now be tracked and turned into data which can be used for practically anything. From finding a cure to alzeihmers to fighting crime. With all the possible applications many wonder, will this make life easier or more complicated?

We all remember Minority Report, a not so distant future where a special crime fighting unit are able to arrest murderers before they commit crimes. It all sounds well and good in theory, but what if it the ‘predicted’ murderer were you? You might be thinking, yeah like that’s going to happen. Well guess what, it’s already happening! In 2011, police in Los Angeles and Manchester ran radical trials using a computer algorithm to try to predict where crime would occur before it was actually commited.

Nope, it’s not science fiction, the police unit found that by analysing large amounts of crime data, also known as 'big data', they could identify the behavioural patterns of criminals and make better use of their resources to target the areas the computer predicted crime would strike.The trials were performed across the UK, from Kent to Yorkshire, with results suggesting that predictive policing models actually work. In Trafford, Manchester, police noted a 26.6% fall in burglaries, compared to a 9.8% fall across Greater Manchester during 2011.

When data falls into the wrong hands.

'Big Data' analysts Cambridge Analytica were at the centre of debate last year when they played a key role in Donald Trump's successful presidential campaign - using psychographic profiling, social media surveys and highly targeted demographic data to build detailed profiles of almost half the voters in the United States. This raises the big question about the ethical issues of when a campaign becomes less about message, and more about demographics and targets?

Recently the sensitive personal details of almost 200 million US citizens was unintentionally exposed when the data was irresponsibly stored on an Amazon Cloud server. Anyone could access the data as long as they had a link to it. The 1.1 terabytes of data includes birthdates, home addresses, telephone numbers and political views of nearly 62% of the entire US population.

Besides political biases and personal details, the data also contained citizens' religious beliefs, ethnicity, all stored in spreadsheets that were uploaded to a server owned by Deep Root Analytics. The cache of data, which was exposed last week, seems to have been collected from a wide range of sources from Reddit to committees that raised funds for the Republican Party.

Well that’s embarrassing. So whose fault was it? And who is responsible in the company for mishaps like these? Dan O'Sullivan from Upguard called into question the responsibility of those in possession of such data in a blog post on the company’s website. He stated, "The ability to collect such information and store it insecurely further calls into question the responsibilities owed by private corporations and political campaigns to those citizens targeted by increasingly high-powered data analytics operations."

The end of privacy. 

Privacy breaches and hacks like these seem to be occuring on a weekly basis. And although it’s routine for political parties to gather data on voters, this is the largest breach of electoral data in the US to date and privacy experts are concerned about the sheer scale of the data gathered. Privacy International’s Policy Officer, Frederike Kaltheuner, said in an interview with the BBC, "You should be in charge of what is happening to your data, who can use it and for what purposes."

While people are worried about their data being acquired by marketers, there are criminals who could use this information for more sinister reasons, like identity fraud, harassment of people under protection orders, and the intimidation of people with opposing political views. "The potential for this type of data being made available publicly and on the dark web is extremely high," Paul Fletcher, a cyber-security evangelist at security firm Alert Logic told the BBC.

What does Big Data mean for the future of marketing?

And now, the reach of big data is beginning to extend to every corner of the marketing landscape. Just think about it! Why do the most influential marketing campaigns in history have in common? They seem to know what we want before we even know ourselves. Marketing a science that's fundamentally about human behaviour and in the most successful campaigns we find our deepest emotions and primal needs activated.

But what are these primal behaviours that the best campaigns evoke in us - and how do they harness them? Do marketers manipulate our subconscious instincts and emotions - or simply hold a mirror to them? While we can all agree that big data can be used for good or bad, the big question still remains.

Even if the line hasn’t yet been drawn in the sand, is it still ethical to cross it?

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

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Vision to Communication

Pretty much everyone at some point has either heard of Vivid Sydney or come across the incredible displays scattered across the city. In case you have been living under a rock or live abroad and have no idea what Vivid Sydney is, it’s an annual 23-day festival of light, music and ideas. Unfortunately if you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve missed the boat because Vivid Sydney 2017 finished few days ago.

It’s a well-known event that attracts millions of tourists to the city. Last year alone, 2.3 million domestic residents and overseas tourists attended Vivid Sydney 2016, making it Australia’s largest festival event, and the largest event of its kind in the world. It features many of the world’s most important creative industry forums, a mesmerising free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures and installations and a cutting-edge contemporary music program.

Vivid Sydney is where art, technology and commerce intersect to offer opportunities for a huge number of artists, designers, and manufacturers who share updated information on their industries while looking for new opportunities and innovation.

Vivid Lights, Vivid Music, Vivid Ideas

Vivid Sydney is comprised of three programs, which demonstrate the cooperation across different functions. During the festival there are also competitions between professionals within their respective industries to display amazing visual images, live music and creative networking all in front of our eyes.

I wonder how many people know just how much creative process is involved in generating such a rich and diverse flow of ideas and creative discussion to support the development of Australia’s creative sector.

The University of Sydney is also a part of this momentous event, covering all these three programs. We have demonstrated our expertise across a number of fields for Vivid Ideas Exchange by sharing ideas and influencing decisions by supplying information from fashion and the arts to big data.

Graphic Design lights up our thoughts on creativity

The show didn’t just leave a colorful visual impact to promote our wonderful city, it also lit up our thoughts on creativity.

Consider all the aspects that jump out at us when we see an eye-catching advertisement or promotional product. When you think about it, the graphic design on labels or product logos have the same eye cathcing effect as Vivid Sydney.

Graphic design is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content. It known as communication design. The form of the communication can be physical or virtual, and may include images, words, or graphic forms. Designers have arranged type, form, and image on posters, advertisements, packages, and other printed matter, as well as information visualizations, and graphics for newspapers and magazines. What’s more, motion graphics are equally predetermined and crafted, but are meant to be experienced over a fixed time span, such as for the opening credits of a movie or an online video meant to accompany a newspaper article.

Light up Communication

As Marketing students, we might consider that graphic design is related to art, which is far from our major and what we supposed to be focusing on.

There are thousands of forecasts about the trend of graphic design each year. Graphic design, as a visual aid, serves as the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be read or looked upon. A definition which is intended to be very broad and inclusive. Expressed in terms of functions, or the tasks that graphics performs, the definition covers magical, illustrative, persuasive and informative graphics.

The visual communication of Vivid Sydney screams, ‘Sydney, you are beautiful!’ The makers of the event have figured out just how important it is to communicate this message to customers in the market with vivid visualization. Sydney is rapidly morphing into ‘Tomorrow’s Sydney’ and in case anyone missed that memo, Vivid succeeds at driving that message home.

Graphic Design, Art and Marketing tend to coincide with each other in the realm of decision making, encountering not only rational analysis, but also perceptual empathy. All are essential to influence potential customers imperceptibly, along with strengthening brand loyalty. So when it comes down to it, when it comes to marketing, in the end it’s often not what you say, but how you say it that is important.

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

Friday, 23 June 2017

How to Fight In the Complex Social Media Environment

According to the BBC, due to pressure from many countries Facebook has revealed measures to remove terrorist content. How are they going to do this? Well besides being akin to The Eye Of Voltron (pardon the Lord of the Rings reference), Facebook has mastered the use of artificial intelligence to spot clusters of fake accounts, pictures, videos and other content that’s related to terrorism.

The Social Media Environment Is Becoming More And More Sophisticated.

After the fake news issue from the US presidential election, criticism can be heard in many places challenging the information authenticity of social media. So it makes sense that Facebook are now fighting to find a balance between encouraging users to share ideas freely and suppressing fake news.

With this cutting edge technology in place, Facebook claims that they can use image-matching algorithms to block photos or videos that the system has matched previously with extremist content. This is a wise approach to stopping terrorism going viral, but the fact still remains that it is still controversial as some people regard this as another form of censorship. Using special controls to influence the media environment in the long term will gradually limit the users’ original freedom of speech in social media.

Do sponsored posts make you mad?

Apart from this, another rising concern in the social media environment is the increasing frequency of commercial advertisements’ popping up in our newsfeed and side bar. Contrary to the pure conversational platforms that they used to be, social media (i.e. Facebook) is now flooded with ads, the majority of which are even tailor-made, based on users’ personal information.

From the business perspective, it is a valuable channel for companies to build their brand exposure, while providing a platform to talk to the consumer directly. However, performance of advertisements is in decline due to too much noise online. According to Hubspot, 40% of users now click dislike on Facebook ads- and that’s not good news.

Statistics from VIEO design shows that people have a negative attitude toward online ads:

- 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than 2-3 years ago
- 87% say there are more ads in general than 2-3 years ago
- 79% feel like they're being tracked by retargeted ads

As the development of social media environment is impacting the users’ attitude and behaviour towards it, marketers should be wiser while using the social media, and make sure their strategy is fitting with consumer’s preference.

Here are some tips for online ads from VIEO design:

1. Don't set up videos to autoplay.

It's interruptive, annoying, and downright rude.

2. Don't mislead people.

Luring consumers in with something that sounds hyper-relevant to what they're reading or watching, but ultimately isn't. Baiting will not convert visitors into leads... but it will turn them off.

3. Dumb is just as bad as misleading.

Fifty-six percent of consumers say, "most online ads these days are insulting to my intelligence," which contradicts the idea that you need to write for the lowest common denominator.

4. Ads need to—and this is very important—not look tacky or amateurish.

That may seem obvious, but when 63% of people say "Most ads I see online don't look polished or professional". Consumer's standards are likely higher than you think.

5. If you do use pop-ups, be judicious.

The ads most resented by consumers are, surprise-surprise, pop-up ads, with a 73% disapproval rating. But if you do use them, before you interrupt their browsing, give people time to find value in what you're providing.

6. Retargeting requires some finesse.

About 79% of people say, "I feel like I'm being tracked because I've seen ads for items I've bought in the past. Making your potential customers feel like they're being stalked is definitely something that you try to avoid.

With built-in advanced technology, social media possesses a super power which enables it to differentiate itself from traditional media. Social media is global, ubiquitous and cheap. It provides an opportunity for individuals and groups to start up conversations and share ideas. Furthermore, consumers can also be producers in the social media context, an evolution that has lead to content spreading world-wide in record time (The power of social media).

In the age of social media, the increasing concern about the social media environment is something that marketers should be paying attention to. So while we continue to try to reach and target consumers through this widely used tool, it is essential to maintain a healthy social media landscape for a long term business perspective.

So that leads us to the question, how can we get the best from social media and at the same time operate and manage it in a more ethical way?

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, 20 June 2017

Brace Yourself

“Winter is coming” is probably the best reason to brace yourself, which is also the first episode of the HBO medieval fantasy television series, Game of Thrones. But we are not here to talk about the Stark family or who will sit on the Iron Throne next season.

The chill might be from the pressure after this graduation season - the empty room left for students to pursue their career path.

According to the report Job Seeker Trends 2016: Increasing Global Mobility, which was released by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), out of all the job seekers around the world who found new work in 2015, 64% were interested in working abroad, while 7% had already moved to a different country to work. Some 76% expressed an interest in working on a freelance basis, including 23% who were already doing so.

Apparently there’s never been a better time to jump on the bandwagon and explore a new frontier. These findings highlight the growing flexibility of the labour force around the world and how willing than ever job hunters are to move abroad or to juggle multiple jobs. It has been emphasised how critical it is for companies to enhance their competitiveness to be able to attract talent effectively, not only from their own country, but from other countries.

Interestingly, the report also finds that the internet is taking a great approach to job searching. 44% of job seekers now believe that the internet, including both internet job sites and social networking sites (such as LinkedIn), are the most effective and important means of finding new employment.

The global workforce is increasingly mobile

In comparison to the respondents from non-English speaking countries, there was a higher percentage of respondents from English-speaking countries: US, UK, Canada, India and Australia who showed a greater interest in working abroad or have already moved to another country for work. Japan, in contrast, has the lowest level of interest in working overseas.

The interesting thing is that respondents are more focused on the benefits for themselves when considering the opportunity, such as living in a different cultural environment (25%), but when it comes down to actually deciding to leave, they think more about their family situation and those who will be left behind. 

The growing flexibility of the labour force

The average number of respondents for the 13 countries who have some interest in working as a freelancer was 76%, with 23% having actually started working as a freelancer. Different countries have different results, while Japan still holds the lowest acceptance level on freelance work.

However, the number of freelance workers will begin to rise sharply in near future, which increases the uncertainties of global mobility.

Challenge but opportunity

Online job sites and applications are widely used and serve as an important channel regardless of age. Such platforms offer thousands of options for us to judge and make decisions before and after graduation.

You may feel the competition from international students surrounding you, the pressure of different cultures like Japan and the challenges of leaving your friends and family behind. No matter the case, please never underestimate your ability. Winter is coming, but brace yourself to keep warm. Finally, you will find your own journey under the enormous storm.

Brace yourself because you are strong and brave!

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