Thursday, 24 November 2011

A Visit to Smart

Hello everyone!

The Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School aims to have a balance of academic and industry knowledge to cover all aspects of marketing, in-house or agency based. At the beginning of semester two, we were given the chance to attend a re-enactment of a creative pitch Smart did for Appletiser.

Smart is a full service creative agency with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and Auckland and key clients include Coca-Cola, DrinkWise, Specsavers, Horticulture Australia, Betstar and the NSW, Victorian, Queensland and Federal Governments. Smart acquired The Foundry in 2010 and aims to become Australia’s biggest independent agency. This seems to be a growing trend and preferred business model in the marketing industry as seen in many case studies we came across in the Master of Marketing course.

An article about Smart on Mumbrella, Smart CEO Ben Lilley comments on this business model stating: "This marks Smart’s fourth acquisition in as many years (including Kindred in Sydney and Turner Sands and Logan Meo Walters in Queensland). We have now refined a mergers and acquisitions model that is proving very successful for our own business, our clients and the businesses we have acquired. This model is proving hugely effective in allowing the talent in each agency we acquire to realise the equity value in their companies, while allowing them to work on in an independent creative offering.”

The event was held at their cosy Sydney office near central station around 6pm. They provided light snacks and refreshments upon arrival, and the whole creative team was nice enough to stay back to attend the presentation.

We were greeted by the creative director Daniel Gregory - who is a part of the panel on Gruen Transfer (please read my piece on Gruen if you haven’t done so), and client services director Nicole Gardner.
in the concept being presented.

Daniel Gregory on the Gruen Transfer

Youtube link:

We were then introduced to the team and presented with the campaign as they would to the client, using graphics, animations and other visual tools to help us understand the concept. The presentation was casual and interactive, and we were also given a brief history of the agency and what they do to set the scene.

Question time was allowed at the end of the presentation and all the team members jumped in to answer questions related to their area of expertise. The presentation really highlights the importance of teamwork; everyone must thoroughly understand and believe.

The visit was not purely for entertainment purposes. We’re required to watch the presentation carefully, taking notes and asking questions to prepare for two assignments later. The first is an individual assignment which asks us to write a review for the pitch including a score card rating system by AANA. This assignment is analytical bases and focus on attention to detail.

The second assignment is a group assignment aimed to develop a marketing strategy to launch a brand new product in a specific category (which I will write about later). This assignment is more creative and strategic based, covering areas of product design, campaign design and marketing research to come up with the most suitable campaign for the product which appeals to the target market.

In the Master of Marketing program and evident in those two assignments, we are required to think ahead and review the presentation provided by Smart from both the client perspective and the agency perspective. This pitching presentation also sets the bar for the quality of work required at a professional level, which is useful whichever side you decide to work for in the future. These assignments are just one of the ways The Master of Marketing at The University of Sydney combines theory with industry knowledge and experience.

This marks the end of this blog post, hope you enjoyed reading it.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Qantas Corporate Spinning Failure Damages Brand Image Badly

Hello everyone. In my attempt to be “current” I have dragged Qantas into the water. Qantas is officially back in the air yesterday at 4pm, after Fair Work Australia ended the unprecedented two-day grounding of its aircraft sparked by a divisive industrial dispute.
Qantas’s recent attempts in reshaping the airline have become a PR disaster. This defective use of PR by Qantas is a perfect example of corporate spinning failure which greatly damaged the brand. Alan Joyce's problem is that no matter how hard he tries to beat the national icon drum, his customers know it's not true where it matters: service and efficient movement from Point A to Point B.

ATEC managing director Felicia Mariani says the industry has started assessing the damage the weekend's grounding of the Qantas fleet has caused and whether it has done more harm than the long-running dispute between the airline's management and workers.

Qantas spent $2 million buying wraparounds and full-page ads in the nation's newspapers to soften the fall. These are full page ads claiming to be building a ‘stronger Qantas’ while remaining in a state of denial over the management failures that have so badly damaged the carrier. Qantas management’s answer to dismal fleet planning is to cut 1000 jobs. But it hasn’t announced anything that will recruit new Australian customers, win back the lost legions, nor even keep those who have remained loyal. In addition, Qantas continues to damage its reputation by playing the blame game, accusing the Transport Workers Union of holding the airline to ransom and disrupting passengers and completely grounding it’s fleet.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has blamed Qantas for leaving thousands of passengers stranded in Australia and around the world, insisting the airline didn't need to take the "extreme" action of grounding its fleet.

Building a stronger Qantas print campaign
Qantas wrap around in the Australian
A group that co-ordinates a national response to major shocks to the tourism industry was assessing the impact of the turmoil at Qantas, she said. Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) boss John Lee sees the weekend grounding as a "forgettable event" which won't do long-term harm to the industry. Mr Lee said the swiftness of the Government's response to the grounding had given the tourism industry certainty and helped prevent lasting damage.

"It's not as long-lasting as the earthquakes in Turkey or the recent flooding in Bangkok, so in the eyes of potential international visitors this probably isn't going to last in their memories," he said. "This recent phenomenon we all have in our modern lives, with so much information through technology, will mean this will be a pretty forgettable event come Christmas."

Many travellers reflect they chose to fly Qantas because they consider Qantas to be safe and reliable, which they no longer do. As for Australians, Qantas’s betrayal to move off-shore will destroy their value of being an Australian owned brand, one of their biggest selling points.

Do you think Qantas have gone too far this time? Or do you think the union has been too harsh?

Also check out blog post by Sydney Uni Business School Marketing Professor Charles Areni @ the Big opportunity blog.