Friday, 18 August 2017

The Storytellers’ Secret Weapon

Being able to understand the archetype of your brand, and that of your competitors, is a powerful tool in a marketers shed! It can be used to produce content, review branding, or understand competitor dynamics.

You may have heard a reference to archetypes being thrown around in different presentations, discussions or from Contemporary Consumer Behaviour back in semester 1. What a Hero. Typical Jester! That’s out of character! But what is it all about? What are archetypes, and how can marketers use them to better position the brand and communicate to their audience with a consistent approach?

What is an Archetype?

To the story teller or writer, consider Robin Hood as the outlaw, or Bart Simpson as the rebel. An archetype is basically a personality or type of character for the brand.

Archetypes stem from the work of psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. They were applied to marketing in The Hero and the Outlaw, a book by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson. In this book, they translate Jung’s work into 12 archetypes that are at work in branding.

Officially, an Archetype is outlined in the image below…

The 12 Archetypes

There are 12 Brand Archetypes mapped in the matrix below, which were identified by Mark and Pearson, operate in one of four quadrants.
  • Discovery/Knowledge: The Innocent, The Explorer, The Sage
  • Vision/Structure: The Creator, The Ruler, The Hero
  • Belonging/Care: The Lover, The Regular Guy, The Nurturer
  • Change/Risk: The Outlaw, The Magician, The Jester.

Let’s take a look at them in detail.

The Innocent
Goal: To be happy
Traits: Strives to be good, is pure, young, optimistic, simple, moral, romantic, loyal
Drawback: Could be naïve or boring
Marketing niche: Companies with strong values, seen as trustworthy, reliable and honest, associated with morality, good virtues, simplicity, can be nostalgic
Example: Dove soap, Coca-Cola, Cottonelle bathroom tissue

The Explorer
Goal: Finds fulfilment through discovery and new experiences
Traits: Restless, adventurous, ambitious, individualistic, independent, pioneering
Drawback: Might not fit into the mainstream
Marketing niche: Exciting, risk-taking, authentic
Example: Indiana Jones, Jeep, Red Bull

The Sage
Goal: To help the world gain wisdom and insight
Traits: Knowledgeable, trusted source of information, wisdom and intelligence, thoughtful, analytical, mentor, guru, advisor
Drawback: Could be overly contemplative or too opinionated
Marketing niche: Help people to better understand the world, provide practical information and analysis
Example: BBC, PBS, Google, Philips

The Creator
Goal: Create something with meaning and enduring value
Traits: Creative, imaginative, artistic, inventive, entrepreneur, non-conformist
Drawback: Could be perfectionistic or impractical
Marketing niche: Visionary, help customers express or create, and foster their imagination
Example: Lego, Crayola

The Ruler
Goal: Control, create order from chaos
Traits: Leader, responsible, organized, role model, administrator
Drawback: Could lack a common connection, or be too authoritative or controlling
Marketing niche: Help people become more organized, restore order, create more stability and security in a chaotic world
Example: Microsoft, Barclays, Mercedes-Benz

The Hero
Goal: Help to improve the world
Traits: Courageous, bold, honourable, strong, confident, inspirational
Drawback: Could be arrogant or aloof
Marketing niche: Make a positive mark on the world, solve major problems or enable/inspire others to do so
Example: Nike, BMW, Duracell

The Lover
Goal: Create intimacy, inspire love
Traits: Passionate, sensual, intimate, romantic, warm, committed, idealistic
Drawback: Could be too selfless or not grounded enough
Marketing niche: Help people feel appreciated, belong, connect, enjoy intimacy, build relationships
Example: Victoria’s Secret, Godiva Chocolate, Marie Claire

The Regular Guy
Goal: To belong, or connect with others
Traits: Down to earth, supportive, faithful, folksy, person next door, connects with others
Drawback: Could lack a distinctive identity and blend in too much
Marketing niche: Common touch, solid virtues, gives a sense of belonging
Example: Home Depot, eBay

The Nurturer
Goal: To care for and protect others
Traits: Caring, maternal, nurturing, selfless, generous, compassionate
Drawback: Being taken advantage of, taken for granted, or exploited
Marketing niche: Help people care for themselves, serve the public through health care, education or aid programs
Example: Mother Theresa, Campbell’s Soup, Johnson & Johnson, Heinz

The Outlaw
Goal: Break the rules and fight authority
Traits: Rebellious, iconoclastic, wild, paving the way for change
Drawback: Could take it too far and be seen in a negative way
Marketing niche: Agent of change, advocate for the disenfranchised, allow people to vent or break with conventions
Example: Harley-Davidson, Virgin (Richard Branson)

The Magician
Goal: Make dreams come true, create something special
Traits: Visionary, charismatic, imaginative, idealistic, spiritual
Drawback: Could take risks that lead to bad outcomes
Marketing niche: Help people transform their world, inspire change, expand consciousness
Example: Disney, Wizard of Oz, Apple

The Jester
Goal: To bring joy to the world
Traits: Fun, sense of humour, light-hearted, mischievous, irreverent
Drawback: Could be seen as frivolous or disrespectful
Marketing niche: Help people have a good time or enjoy what they are doing, allow people to be more impulsive and spontaneous
Example: Motley Fool, Ben & Jerry’s, IKEA

How can Archetypes be used?

A brand archetype should be integrated into all aspects of marketing, and communicated consistently to customers.

Content creation
The way your brand speaks, writes and communicates should align with your archetype. If you are a
If Darth Vader were to make a joke about light-sabres, it would be out of character. This inconsistent approach would undermine his position. The same is true for brands.

Your logo, colours, font and imagery should also consistently communicate your archetype. Darth Vader wearing pink shoes? Yeah…you get the point! How your image comes across can re-affirm your position, or initiate a PR nightmare!

Competitor analysis
What does your category look like? The not-for-profit sector could be seen as an innocent category, but brands operating within that can align differently. Understanding the dynamic within your competitor set can uncover an opportunity, or allow you to exploit a weakness in their archetype.

So as you can see, brand archetypes can be a powerful marketing tool. Brands with a strong, clearly communicated personality are more likely to resonate longer with consumers. Understanding the position of your brand and competitors can produce more effective content and inform branding. 

Further reading

To learn more about building brands, take a look at The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes, by Mark & Pearson (2001). Slideshare looks at archetype groups more in detail in an Archetype Overview From The Hero And The Outlaw.

The research of Faber and Mayer (2009) is the basis for an analysis measuring participant attitudes toward popular brands by matching them with archetypal descriptions and explores possible correlation between product category and archetype. And for a cross-cultural analysis about Points of View & Brand Personality, go no further than Millward Brown.

Mike Joyce

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

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Privacy Trade-Off

What is privacy? And just what kind of price are consumers willing to pay for theirs? Web services such as Facebook and Google may be 'free', but the truth is that being connected does come at a cost. Targeted ads provide value for customers, but challenge the traditional need for privacy. So when the law hasn't yet evolved in response to the collection of big data, how do we know where to draw the line in the sand?

For users of social media, Facebook's free platform offers a way to connect with the world. Their ad platform exists so users don't have to pay, but even if they did, the network wouldn't be so comprehensive if there were costs involved. For Facebook to maintain what's called 'critical mass', every single user would have to pay dollars for their services. The thing is, what most people don't realise is that they are actually paying for it now. Not with money, but with their privacy.

USYD's Marketing Matters explores the concept of privacy and what it means in this day and age by exploring the learning from Terry Beed's guest lecture for Regulatory Environment & Ethics. Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren define privacy perfectly in their essay The Right to Privacy, stating that privacy is a right valued by civilised men-something that is essential to democratic governance and an integral part of our humanity.

We have the 'right to be alone'.

Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren championed the protection of the private realm as "the foundation of individual freedom in the modern age." Nowadays, marketers have the ever-increasing capacity to invade consumers' personal activity.

Internet marketing brings forth a myriad of privacy challenges. And for the new breed of marketers who use targeted, behavioural marketing, without regulatory enforcement, the increased data available on the web could lead governments, companies and criminals alike to exploit consumers' rights.

Privacy is a concept in disarray. 

In Daniel Solove's essay Taxonomy for Privacy (2006), privacy is described as being 'a concept in disarray'. Solove writes, "Nobody can articulate what it means. As one commentator has observed, privacy suffers from 'an embarrassment of meanings'."

The Taxonomy For Privacy is a framework for understanding privacy in a pluralistic contextual manner, which explores the fear of what happens to private information. These fears are grounded in:

  1. Collection: surveillance and interrogation.
  2. Processing: aggregation, identification, insecurity, secondary use and exclusion. 
  3. Information Dissemination: breach of confidentiality, disclosure, exposure, increased accessibility, blackmail, appropriation and distortion. 

Privacy regulations are more than just guidelines. 

In countries, such as Germany, tough legislations exists to fight against the systematic erosion of privacy rights. In Australia, the AMSRS has outlined a code of conduct for marketers, and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) is currently being ammended. 

In 2006, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) commissioned a review of privacy and found that the overwhelming message was that Australians care about privacy, and they want a simple, workable system that provides effective solutions and protections. 

Source: ALRC

A similar study by the OAIC found that there was a 15% increase in Australians willing to divulge personal information; a number that rose from 43% to 58%. However, 50% were more concerned about providing their information over the Internet. 

"Australians believe the biggest privacy risks facing people are online services - including social media sites. Almost a half of the population (48%) mentioned these risks spontaneously. A quarter (23%) felt that the risk of ID fraud and theft was the biggest, followed by data security (16%) and the risks to financial data in general (11%). Young Australians were most concerned about personal information and online services, with six in ten (60%) mentioning this as a privacy risk."

See the full breakdown below: 

Reluctance was the biggest barrier, with most consumers signalling that they felt that organisations often had no right to know their personal data, or the fact that it might lead to unsolicited direct marketng. Interestingly enough, they were less concerned with financial loss due to scams.

More recently, the ALRC considered legal liability for data breach in its inquiry into remedies for serious invasions of privacy. The 2014 Report, Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era (ALRC Report 123), concluded that regulatory responses, including mandatory data breaches, are a better way to deal with data breached than a civil action for invasion of privacy. 

What this means for Australians is that instead of being blasted with headlines touting 'the end of privacy', we will soon be ushering an era of 'privacy protection'. 

The privacy market is a big business. 

Businesses value Facebook's billions of users, as much as their ability to use targeting services to reach the right audience. As the technology advances, this form of advertising will become more intrusive. For example, did you know that Facebook already has the right to endorse sponsored posts without your permission?

You see, what makes this form of advertising so successful is a little thing called 'retargeting;. By using tracking pixels, browser data is stored in what's known as cookies, which assist in improving the shopper experience. 

In the EU, websites recieve 'informed consent' when using cookies and users are notified when accessing the sites. While privacy concerns are legitimate, cookies are nothing more than pieces of data. 

The ultimate trade-off. 

There are some benefits to sacrificing privacy. For example, recommendation engiones help consumers discover great products that they might actually be interested in, which greatly enhances the online shopping experience. An app developer can analyse your behaviour to fix bugs that they may not have otherwise known about. 

Additionally, these benefits are no longer limited to digital - target marketing is beginning to migrate into bricks and mortar. Until recently, digital billboards are nothing more than slideshows. Now a company called Clear Channel Outdoor has introduced billboards featuring dynamic targeting advertisements that are programmed to target specific locations. 

One of the hurdels that could possibly impede further advancement is the consumers themselves. Consumers will need be acclimatised to changes gradually in order to help alleviate their fears over how their information is used. 

No matter what the future of technology and digital marketing brings for consumers, companies and their stakeholders, to an extent, it will always be important to respect privacy. However, at the rapid pace of technology evolution, regulation can rarely keep up with the change. So it is up to us to trust ourselves to do what is right and not add to the erosion

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

Friday, 11 August 2017

MoM Student Survival Guide

Are you feeling a little out of touch? Don't know which way is up and which way is down? In the last post, Marketing Matters covered the Marketing essentials necessary to get by this semester. This time, MoM asks some current and graduating students about how they've survived university life so far. 

What do you wish you knew about the course before you started studying?

Mitha, graduating MoM student, Digital Marketer at Glass Financial.
Time flies. 1.3 years will go by so quickly without you even realising it. So make sure to maximise that time. Don't isolate yourself, make the most of what the university can offer - from colleagues, experienced tutors, business-based clubs, events, and even resource access in the library that you'd usually have to pay thousand bucks for if you didn't have the free access from uni.

Ayesha, current MoM student, Director of Training at ILSC Sydney. 
The most important thing when it comes to this course is time management. It may look like the assignment is due in 7 days but trust me, next thing you know you only have 7 hours left! If I knew juggling work, family, and full time studies would be that hectic I probably would have considered things differently. So please do not underestimate the time and effort it consumes to get a distinction. Take things step by step. Maybe it seems daunting initially, but once you get in there you will surely enjoy the journey! Just know that we are all here for each other, so please reach out if you need any help!

What is the most rewarding thing about the Master of Marketing program?

Kevin, graduating MoM student. 
The most rewarding thing about the Master of Marketing program for me is being able to gain and share knowledge from aspiring and/or experienced marketers all over the globe. It's the most notable reward for me because not only have they helped me grow as a marketer, but they've also become friends that I will cherish for life.

Donna, graduating MoM student. Marketing Manager at Bridge Climb, Sydney. 
The Masters really gave me insights into many areas of marketing which i didn't have a great deal of exposure to. Global marketing, for instance, was something that interested me. Looking into ways to market to different cultures and create thoughtful and indepth strategies that are aligned. This will certainly assist me in my new role. Also, the opportunity to work alongside amazing like-minded people and bounce ideas off of others was extremely beneficial. Marketing to me is all about "what's next?" and asking the question of "how can we better engage with our customers and continue to improve what we offer them?". It was a breath of fresh air to be among people striving to do the same.

How has the degree prepared you for your career?

Nicole, current MoM student. Communication Coordinator at Institutional Analytics and Planning, University of Sydney. 
This degree has prepared me for my career by covering all facets of the marketing world. It truly opened my eyes to the different aspects of marketing that give grads a competitive edge. Performance reporting, internal marketing and the hands-on experience of working as a consultant are only some examples of what provides a relevant well-rounded experience regardless of the position you obtain post-graduation.

How do you balance the study load with work, family, and friends?

Ashleigh, current MoM student. Healthcare Professional and Expert Sales Representative at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
In regards to work life balance - I think the main thing is being extremely organised with your study plans and preparations, and set times and goals for doing assessments. Also try and work with others who have similar work ethic so you may find it easier to stay on track. Ensure to always have study breaks and try and do something fun and with family and friends at least once a week. Go outside - you can study and get some vitamin D too.

Daniela, graduating MoM student.
Overall, one of the most important things I've learnt during my experience was to manage time efficiently. Everyone is capable of accomplishing anything they want to but time is a key player to achieve those goals. Being under pressure during hectic situation makes you become adaptable and quick thinking in any circumstance. My advice is to fill the schedule as much as possible because having free time ends up in procrastination. Instead, if you designate a set time to any task, you can accomplish so much more.

What tips do you have for students commencing the Consulting Project?

Kim, graduating MoM student. Current Marketing Manager at Get Craft. 
The ethics approval is a tedious process that takes a really long time. So I recommend submitting it as early as possible when you get to part two of the Consulting Project. My client was the University of Sydney's Centre for Continued Learning, so it was a low risk category, but it still took two months to receive the response after the initial application. It can take even longer if you need to do research with children.

Rebecca, current MoM student. Project Manager.
For me the most challenging aspect of the consulting project was the amount of time it took putting together the transcripts. It takes about 3 times the length of the recording to type it out and then additional time to correct typos and formatting. You also have to listen to your own voice in slow motion for hours and hours! I ended up having two interviews transcribed professionally and it cleared my head to focus on the project. It's around $1.40/minute, but it can add up quickly. For example, one of my interviews was 48 minutes long. I wish I'd put money aside in advance because it was worth it. There are phone apps out there, but I didn't really trust them to do an accurate job.

Do you have any other helpful tips for commencing students?

Lizette, current MoM student. Community and Events Manager, Incubate, University of Sydney.

  1. In regards to class, learn the basics. Don't expect everything you need to be taught in class so prepare to allot time outside of the classroom to study; this is a master program after all. 
  2. Prepare your meals properly because you'll end up eating junk food if you don't plan
  3. If you're working, make sure you inform your colleagues and people around you about you class commitments ASAP. This becomes highly important during assessment time when you have due dates.
  4. People wise, be smart about who you work with; this is your career so manage your team wisely. If team members don't pull their weight with work, pull them into line. The most stress I've gotten was mainly from group work.
  5. What makes good friends doesn't necessarily make good colleagues. In the university environment, you're looking for colleagues
  6. The university offers lots of opportunities on campus. Think about what interests you the most. You'd be surprised about all the different areas you can get support. A lot of MoM students also work on campus, and they'd be happy to give you a recommendation or referral to someone who might know more. 
  7. On the other hand, don't be afraid to try new things, there's no better place than uni to do that! Attend a meetup or society outing even if the activity is something you've never done before. 
MoM students interviewd by Alyce Brierley
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Monday, 7 August 2017

MoM: Marketing Essentials Survival Guide

Going back to student life after spending years in the workforce can be overwhelming at the best of times. For those joining the Master of Marketing program in semester two, well I understand that it might be a shock to the system. But don’t worry! MoM has got you covered with this handy semester survival guide for all your marketing essentials.

Before you start feeling defeated by the heavy workload and lack of social life, just remember that we’re all here to help each other succeed. The University of Sydney has loads of workshops for maths, excel; while the Library’s Pat Norman holds workshops for using the databases; APA Referencing - there’s even a workshop on how to use Endnote if you haven’t already signed up.

But for now, let’s get you up to speed on the marketing basics.

5Cs Analysis 

Source: SMS

The 5C Analysis is one of the most commonly used frameworks, perfectly suited to understanding the internal and external environments, as well as identifying the key problems and challenges facing the company.
  • Company: Explore existing and potential problems with the company's business; the vision, strategies, capabilities, product line, technology, culture and objectives. 
  • Customers: This situational analysis involves knowing the target audience, their behaviours, market size, market growth, buying patterns, average purchase size, frequency of purchase, and preferred retail channels.
  • Competitors: A competitor analysis is crucial to understanding the external environment in which the firm operates. This involves knowing the competitors' strengths, weaknesses, positioning, market share, and upcoming initiatives.
  • Collaborators: Collaborators are otherwise referred to as external stakeholders with a mutually beneficial partnership. Understanding the capabilities, performances, and issues of agencies, suppliers, distributors, and business partners helps to better identify business problems. 
  • Climate/Context: This is the evaluation of the macro-environmental factors affecting the business. A PESTLE or PEST analysis framework can be used to analyse the economic, social/cultural, technological, environmental, and legal scenarios.

STP Targeted Marketing 

Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning, or STP, is a three-step process used in targeting marketing plans, and after SWOT is one of the most commonly applied models in practice.
  1. Segmentation: Identify potential market segments you could target in a marketing campaign.
  2. Targeting: Customise marketing campaigns and communication channels that appeal to each segment. 
  3. Positioning: How a brand or product is aligned within the target market. 

PESTLE or PEST Analysis 

The PESTLE/ PEST frameworks are used to explore the external environment of a company, providing an in-depth understanding of specific trends of the market from a macroeconomic perspective.
  • Political: Laws, global issues, legislation, and regulations. 
  • Economic: Taxes, interest rates, the stock markets, and consumer confidence.
  • Social: Lifestyle and buying trends, media, major events, ethics, advertising, and publicity factors.
  • Technological: Innovations, access to technology, licensing and patents, manufacturing, and global communications.
  • Legal: Legislation - both current and potential.
  • Environmental: Local and global environmental issues, and their social and political factors. 


Source: Slide Model 

S.W.O.T. is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is used to investigate the internal environment of the company based on its products and services. 

Strengths and weaknesses, such as patents and reputation, are internal to the company’s reputation. Whereas opportunities and threats, like competitors, developing technologies and legislation, are part of the part of the external market.

The Marketing Mix - 7Ps and 4Ps

Source: Marketing Mix

Traditionally known as the core 4Ps of Product, Price, Place and Promotion, the 4Ps were designed at a time where businesses sold products rather than services and the role of customer service in helping brand development wasn't so well known. Nowadays, the extended ‘service mix P’s'- People, Physical environment and Processes is more commonly used when reviewing competitive strategies.

Competitor Analysis 

A Competitor Analysis framework helps to identify competitors and evaluate their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses. This critical aspect of any marketing strategy first identifies competitors, determines whether they are direct or indirect, categorises their products/services, profitability, growth pattern, marketing objectives and assumptions, current and past strategies, organisational and cost  structure, strengths and weaknesses, and market share.

The simplest way to make comparisons with competitor’s products and services is to make a competition grid which will clearly illustrate how your company fits into the market.

Porter's Five Forces

Source: Mind Tools

Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter published this business strategy tool in 1979, to aid with the analysis of an industry's attractiveness and likely profitability. This framework goes beyond analysing competitors by examining other factors that could impact the business environment. These five forces that make up the competitive environment, are those which could possibly erode the profitability of a company.
  1. Competitive Rivalry looks at the number and strength of competitors in terms of quality. Fierce rivalry can induce aggressive price wars and high-impact marketing campaigns. Saturated markets allow suppliers and buyers to go elsewhere if they don't perceive enough value. 
  2. Supplier Power is determined by how easily suppliers can increase their prices and how expensive it would be to switch from one supplier to another
  3. Buyer Power looks at how much power consumers have to drive down prices or switch to a rival. It is better to have many customers then only a few who you rely on.
  4. Threat of Substitution refers to the likelihood of your customers finding a substitute product or service. A substitution that is easy and cheap to make can weaken your position and threaten your profitability. 
  5. Threat of New Entry concerns how a company's position is affected by the people's ability to enter that market. Strong and durable barriers to entry allow a company to preserve their position in the market.

Value Proposition 

Finally, the most important of all is the value proposition. It is a concise business or marketing statement that a company uses to summarise why a consumer should buy a product or use a service. With aspects relating to the core and augmented product, it communicates how a product solves pains and needs, communicates the specifics of the added benefit (augmentation), and states the differentiating aspects. 

Still confused? Sign up to any of these USYD workshops to get you up to speed:

Learning Centre
For English skills as well as other topics such as note-taking, time management, etc.
Location: Level 7, Education Building A35
Maths in Business
For Maths and Excel skills.
University Library 
Make use of the library resources and find the data you need.

Career Centre
Get help applying for jobs, writing resumes, etc.
Location: Level 5, Jane Foss Russell Building

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Understanding How AI Is Disrupting The Decision-Making Process

Debate concerning the future of artificial intelligence (AI) was brought to a head this week when Facebook shut down their AI that had developed its own language. As the debate heats up over ethics and regulation, Marketing Matters looks at the potential of machine learning and how it will change the decision-making process. 

Tuesday marked the first class of the semester for the students of the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney. No time was wasted on introductions with Colin Farrell, the leading lecturer of Decision-Making and Research, delving straight to the core of bias in the decision-making process. 

Source: University of Sydney, Decision-Making and Research, Colin Farrell (2017)

While terms such as selective perception, confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance may be foreign; everyone can understand that our brains are naturally wired to create patterns to help us deal with our understanding of the world. But how will this process change when AI takes the lead in the decision-making? 

Source: University of Sydney, Decision-Making and Research, Colin Farrell (2017)

How is AI already creating value for companies?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is finally starting to deliver value to some early-adopters. Online retailers are utilising AI-powered robots to manage warehouses and inventory. Utilities forecast electricity demand using AI, and the automotive industry is beginning to harness the technology in driverless cars.

Source: Mckinsey, How Artificial Intelligence Can Deliver Real Value For Companies.

Yes, it’s true that computers are now more powerful than ever, algorithms are more sophisticated, but AI’s advancements wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the billions of gigabytes of data collected every day. 

McKinsey Global Institute recently released a discussion paper titled, ‘Artificial intelligence: The next digital frontier?’  Of the 3,000 AI-aware companies around the world, of whom most being in digital frontier, AI was used in the core part of the value chain to increase revenue, reduce costs, and have the full support of the executive leadership

Can AI replace executive decision making?

For the moment, no. Current cognitive technologies, while great at finding patterns and making data-based predictions, have their limitations. One of which being that they are only able focus on simple problems that still require human input. As time goes on, cognitive technologies will absorb the easiest aspects of executive jobs; liberating executives from the mundane and providing them with more time to use more creatively and productively.

However, while AI adoption is imminent, executives using AI technologies are only employing it for tasks such as predictive analytics, automated written reporting and communications, and voice recognition/response.

Source: ZDNet, image rights (Bloomberg Beta)

The age of AI is upon us.

Well it’s not exactly here yet. There is a huge difference between voice-enabled digital assistants like Siri - a web search and voice interaction tool, and the level of intelligence of machine learning artificial intelligence like IBM’s Watson.

Source: IBM Innovations 

Once AI reaches a certain level, their advice would be way more accurate than than the average human’s, which means that people may defer more and more decisions to AI. Unfortunately for us humans, this means that we could gradually lose the ability to perform those tasks and make decisions by ourselves.

Is there a risk?

Earlier this week, researchers at the Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) found that their chatbots were communicating in a new language developed without human input. As amazing as this sounds, there are profound implications for AI.

Source: One Poll

Although AI isn’t sentient yet it could still be considered dangerous. Scientists and technology innovators such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steve Wozniak have previously warned that AI could lead to unforeseen consequences. Stephen Hawking foretold back in 2014 that AI could even mean the end of the human race; stating, “It would take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded.” 

Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, at the Recode’s Code Conference 2016 cautioned, “If you assume any rate of advancement in AI, we will be left behind by a lot. We would be so far below them in intelligence that we would be like a pet,” he said. “We’ll be like the house cat.”

More than 8,000 people, including top AI experts, have signed an open letter urging research into ways to ensure that AI helps, rather than harms, humankind.

Five of the potential risks identified include:
  1. Loss of Privacy
  2. Development of AI-powered weapons
  3. AI Causing Harm Unintentionally or even indirectly, 
  4. Computers Turning Malevolent
  5. Robots replacing humans as the rulers of the planet 
Ok, so that last one was a worst-case scenario, but wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?

Ethics and AI. 

Concern over the development of AI has led to the creation of organisations like Open AI and Partnership on AI. Their goal being, "to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return."

Partnership on AI, with founding members Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft, seek to support research and recommend best practices, advance public understanding and awareness of AI, and create an open platform for discussion and engagement.

Source: Reddit

In conjunction with the 2017 Asilomar conference, experts have agreed on a core set of principles to govern AI development. A key principle, for example, demands AI be developed in accordance with human values; something that will be very hard to put into practice. Another principle stipulates that the economic prosperity created by AI should be shared broadly, to benefit all of humanity. But what does that mean? 

Should we fear AI? Perhaps, but not just yet. While the risk of information overload, selective perception and confirmation bias are diminished significantly with AI, it is still possible to make bad decisions about what machine intelligence is permitted to build.

With Moore’s Law stating that processor speeds will double every two years, could computer’s intelligence eventually surpass humans? Will they succeed in eliminating bias? Or will they, as with humans, develop biases of their own?  Fortunately for us, until they are able to feel emotion or think creatively, we have nothing to fear.

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

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.