“Australia” is Australia’s Largest Brand on Facebook

Social media can seem to be all about “me me me” – with plenty of commentary on “personal brands”, “citizen journalism”, bloggers, Twitter celebrities and the like, but some brands understand the broader trend of which social media is an enabler. With the right approach, some brands can actually use social media to bring their customer-centric strategy to life – demonstrating that social BUSINESS is about “you you you”.

Recent analysis by analytics platform SocialBakers.com reveals that a massive 25% of total Facebook users reside in Asia. And that in Australia, fashion and eCommerce (yes, more fuel for my Social Retail crusade) are the clear winners – with one exception. Australia’s most popular Facebook page is See Australia with just over 3.3 million fans.


Selling the Vision Not the Technology

I have worked in technology marketing for many years – but I also worked in FMCG and QSR marketing – and the same holds true for any initiative. You have always got to veer away from telling the story of HOW.

The story of HOW is attractive for marketers because “how” is often the greatest business investment. In technology companies, the “how” is your sunk costs – investment in the development process, the computer hardware and the partnerships that you needed to create your new product. And because the bill can reach many millions – or even billions – very quickly, there is much riding on it.

But the story of HOW is an internal story – at least at first. And in the sales/marketing process, it’s a “convincer” – most effective during the consideration or conversion phase of the marketing funnel.

But people – and by people, I mean “your customers” – don’t buy HOW. They buy WHY. If you are not focusing on the WHY story, then you are not inviting your customers into the conversation (and by conversation I don’t mean a hashtag) – it’s the vital first step. Just watch Simon Sinek’s riveting video on the subject.

That’s why I love the way Google have been positioning Google Fiber – a different kind of internet (100 times faster than today’s average broadband). It’s only available in Kansas at present, but if you click your heels three times, you may well find it appears in your city too. Of course, here in Australia, we are patiently waiting for the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

Make no mistake, I am a fan of the NBN. It is vital infrastructure that will allow Australia to compete with global, connected markets well into the future. And no, no matter how beefy your antennae are, wireless WILL NOT cut it. But so far, when it comes to the NBN, we’re getting an awful lot of HOW and WHAT but almost no WHY. It’s like the marketing is stuck in 2nd gear – watch the first half of the Google Fiber video clip below.

Until NBNCo changes gear, they will find it slow going.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

Some weeks there are plenty of great blog posts to read and to select for this article. Other weeks, there is hardly anything that seems to leap out at me. This week is one of the former.

I have avoided any articles related to the Olympics – there will be plenty of analysis available on brands and sport in the coming days/weeks … so I will let you seek that out yourself. I have, instead, focused on non-sport topics.

And these five posts really tell a powerful story in their own right. Be warned … they are so good, you may have to skip lunch just to savour them. Bon appetit!

  1. I have friends who are hardcore Liberals. And I have friends who are union-supporting lefties. Some are passionate Greens supporters and (I believe) others may even be communists. It’s part of the great rich tapestry of my social life that enriches me and feeds my soul. But do political leanings change the way I feel about them? Does it matter? Not to me. Olivier Blanchard feels the same way – explaining eloquently and passionately why politics, careers and haters are irrelevant. Awesome read.
  2. On this theme – the challenge with social media is not disagreeing, but disrespecting. John Haydon explains how you walk the fine line and keep the panda happy.
  3. Do you have a Facebook presence? Is it working for you or your brand? Nichole Kelly asks whether Facebook is anti-ROI for brands. And she may have a point.
  4. Do you know what it’s like as a business to have everything on the line? Can you handle the heat? Do you crave it or run from it?  Jye Smith shares some lessons from CrossFit and what it taught him about creativity and innovation.
  5. One of the first elements of a social media program is “listening”. But what does that really mean – and how much listening does social media listening really offer? Danny Brown gives it some thought.

Correct Sizing for Your Social Media Images

I must admit to being a little lazy when it comes to changing the images on my social media profiles. My avatar on Twitter has been the same one for well over a year. And LinkedIn … about the same. I can’t really be bothered with Facebook and the various size options for the timeline – for whenever I try something, it seems to crop unexpectedly or just look plain wrong. What I really need is a reference for all the social media platforms in one place. Now thanks to Original Ginger, I have what I need.


Another View on Retail – Rohit Bhargava’s 12 Big Ideas

Over the last couple of weeks I have been writing and thinking a lot about the future of retail. I’ve been interested in exploring the state of Australian retail and understanding why a sector that was once driven by innovation now seems so bereft of it.

In many ways, the seeds of the current retail malaise were planted during the dot com boom. At the time I was working in the IBM eBusiness Centre and can recall many meetings with retailers. There was confusion, hype and hubris (obviously a bad combination). eCommerce was still in its infancy – and was expensive to implement – back then we didn’t have the online shopping plugins for WordPress, shopping cart modules or “cloud based” online commerce providers that we do today.

Effectively the problem was one of technology.

And as the dot com boom came and went, it seemed that most retailers breathed a sigh of relief. Talk of the “death” of the bricks and mortar shopfront had been over exaggerated, and in the washup, retailers felt justified and went back to business as usual.

But innovations never rests … and the retailers took their eye off the ball. And in the background, new innovations were sweeping the global marketplace. Recommendation engines, social proof and social networks were transforming our notions of trust and technology was becoming more robust and secure.

Those retailers with an eye on the future and a toe in technology experimented, learned and innovated. They created new markets and corralled new audiences. And the whole game changed.

Now here, in Australia, after decades of neglect, condescension and bloody mindedness, the scramble is on. It seems there is a belated recognition that “online” is somehow connected to “in-store”. But it’s hard to catch a market that has been evolving and experimenting for 20 years. What can be done?

Rohit Bhargava shares 12 trends that might just provide some direction.

Vibewire’s fastBREAK – like TEDtalks for young people

At Vibewire, where I serve as honorary president, we have a vision of inclusion and leadership for young people. We say it’s about ensuring young people participate in the “conversations that matter”.

A great example of this is our monthly fastBREAK event (last Friday of every month). It showcases the passions, ideas and often very personal motivations that inspire our young artists and innovators. Produced in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum, fastBREAK has become a vital event in Sydney’s cultural life – connecting young artists, innovators and entrepreneurs with like minds from the government, business and creative industries sectors.

Last month we had a stellar line up of speakers:

  • Luke Geary, managing partner of Salvos Legal
  • Annalie Killian, director of innovation at AMP
  • Nic Newling, youth mental health advocate with Bite Back
  • Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney
  • Marita Cheng, inventor and Young Australian of the Year

You can watch last month’s speakers in action using the playlist below (it will take about 30 minutes all-in-all). Or better yet, come along to the next event live. You’ll leave inspired, well-fed (thanks to the Black Star Pastry folks) and feeling part of a vibrant community. I hope to see you there!

Conscious Consumption – Andable and the Future of Retail

When What’s Mine Is Yours – the groundbreaking book on collaborative consumption launched, it was at the crest of a newly emerging movement. Combining an awareness of our under-used or under-appreciated assets with online networks for managing reputation, collaborative consumption not only disrupts business models but creates new markets.

The poster child for the movement – AirBnB – showcased how the tourism/hospitality industry could be inverted – allowing travellers to stay in private accommodation and for individuals to create an income stream from by renting out their spare rooms.

Collaborative consumption, trust and human connectivity

One of the most interesting aspects of the collaborative consumption movement is that it impacts behaviour on both the buyer and vendor side of the equation – the thin veneer between public and private that we experience due to social networks becomes membrane-thin when you invite someone into your home. But the same holds true for the visitor. Think about it …

  • Can you trust the visitor?
  • Can you trust the owner?

Fundamentally, there is an intention to trust – or a willingness. And there is also a conscious decision to act. As Rohit Bhargava says, “in a world where we don’t trust institutions around us, the only real metric for trust is human connections”.

So what happens when you put a focus on this conscious decision – to purchase with a clear intention, but to do so with purpose?

Andable – retail with a social purpose

Sydney-based startup, Andable, are tapping this conscious consumption model with a globally unique online marketplace. Over the last few months, the Andable team have been working out of the Vibewire Innovation Lab in Sydney’s Ultimo, so I have had a number of opportunities to hear their story, understand their approach and see the site develop.

Andable_Founders Featuring a wide variety of products across over 80 categories from independent retailers and individuals, Andable is allowing consumers to securely purchase while also supporting an overseas entrepreneur through micro-loan marketplace, Kiva. With each purchase 10% of the price is invested into a Kiva micro-loan.

So not only are consumers able to purchase directly from independent retailers (who often cannot afford the time or money, or do not have the confidence to create online shopfronts), they can do so in the knowledge that 10% of the purchase is performing a social good in another part of the world.

The nice thing is – is that Andable guarantee the repayment of the 10% in three months – so the vendors are not out of pocket. It’s just a slight deferral. And there is minimal risk on Andable’s side, after all, Kiva experiences a current  98.99% repayment rate for loans with all partners.

When business gets personal, consumption becomes conscious

The idea behind Andable is simple and was inspired by personal experience. The founders, Rupal Ismin and Melissa Dean, with backgrounds in media and advertising had a sense that online shoppers were wanting something more from their retail experience.

The 10% mission was inspired by Rupal’s grandfather, who, despite growing up as an impoverished boy in India, always donated 10% of his income to charity. By putting this mission at the heart of the business model – consumers are offered a conscious choice in the purchasing process.

And as the walls between our public and private identities continue to collapse, and as we continue to choose about where to invest our time, our consumption and our attention, a marketplace that offers a social and feel-good experience delivers a new dimension to our retail experiences. After all, we all want to do something good in the world – now perhaps we can have our cake and share it too.

I Know What You Did in the Last 60 Seconds

Our actions can come back to haunt us – as movie makers, novelists and storytellers the world over remind us. But what happens when the time between action and reaction reduces. What happens if we don’t have a whole summer to forget about what we did, why we did it and how it happened?

Welcome to the world of social media.

Following up on this infographic on the volume of data and activity that takes place across the web each and every minute, I thought it might scare/intimidate/excite you to know that happens to that data. The folks at Baynote have pulled together this infographic that goes some way towards explaining how your data, information and behaviour is mapped against a series of business outcomes:

  • Target advertising
  • Location based services
  • Notifications
  • Lead generation
  • Account authentication

But the big question for brands and for marketers is not even “what did you do”. It is “are you ready to be held to account for your actions”. It seems that despite our personal use of social media technology, precious few companies are ready for the social web at an organisational level. How about you?


Every Minute on the Web: Statistics to Amaze You

Remember when we used to think about how many “messages” people were exposed to during the day? Some would say hundreds, some thousands. Some of these messages would be subliminal – some would be “in your face”. Many of these would be difficult to recall – others would stand out, be unforgettable. Fewer still were remarkable.

But then along came the web with its banners, text ads, affiliate links, sponsored tweets, branded content, apps and dedicated websites.

The big difference between the pre-web and post-web world is not just measurement. Sure we can capture the number of actual impressions and clicks from online advertising – but we can capture so much more. We don’t just know how many, we often know who. We know when. We know what happened before you clicked and where you went afterwards. We know who you know and what you like.

It’s called “big data” and there’s a whole lot of behavioural information trapped in the clicks and links that we all make each day on the web. The challenge we face as marketers is to sort this data in ways that are meaningful for our businesses.

But what can all this data tell us? This infographic from business intelligence platform Domo explains what’s happening with each and every minute.


Via theCuriousBrain.

Social Media Explained by Donuts

SocialMediaDonuts Months ago I saw this very clever in-workshop snapshot explaining social networks … and I have had it sitting open in one of my thousands of browser tabs ever since. Every now and then I happen upon it and still smile.

And in the interests of closing one additional browser tab, I thought I’d publish the picture here and embark on a browser cleansing ritual.

But what about you?

Do you have a favourite explanation of social media? Is there something that you use that really resonates with your audiences? Does it include donuts?