80s Awareness – a message from Kevin Bacon

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Over the last decade, 80s awareness has been in very steep decline. Thank goodness that Kevin Bacon is supporting this important cause. Please give your 30 second attention span to help.

 

Candy Everybody Wants–Even Accountants

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Let me start with a confession.

Many years ago – a time lost in the mists – my first job was as an accountant. Actually, it was as a “trainee accountant” – I studied at night at worked by day. It was a hard slog – and it wasn’t a job that I loved. Eventually I ditched that work/study combo for the much more lucrative opportunity to make theatre and write under the auspices of a degree in the Arts (ahem). But I have always had a grudging affinity with accountants.

But I will be honest – it’s a conservative profession. So when it comes to social media and branding, accounting and accounting-related professions are behind the 8-ball. After all, we trust them with our money, our taxes and what we would consider our financial future – so we rightly expect a degree of decorum. Risk aversion. Security.

So when accounting software business, MYOB comes out with a sassy promo like this, you have to sit up and take notice.

What do you think? Are you loving your job this much?

It’s Gruen for Innovation – That Startup Show

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What is a startup? How is it different from a small business? And what role does innovation and/or technology play in a startup?

These are some of the first topics addressed by the new “entertainment startup” web-cast show, That Startup Show. Hosted by Dan Ilic and streamed live, the show takes a leaf out of ABC’s The Gruen Transfer – a smart, funny and insightful panel drilling into focused topics interspersed with clips and live pitch sessions.

Panelists Bronwen Clune, Alan Noble and Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, provide an industry perspective and Dan Ilic does a great job of keeping the conversation flowing. They take live tweet questions from the crowd and cover a vast range of topics in a very short time.

This first episode marks an important innovation in the development of the Australian startup ecosystem. It’s “StartupAus” beginning to tell its own stories at scale. And that can only be a good thing. Looking forward to Episode 2.

Tales of the One in Ten

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Disadvantage can shape an entire life. This short, animated film by The Smith Family called, David & the Big Heavy, follows the true story of a young boy struggling to cope with issues at home and school as his family adjusts to life in a new country.

But then something happens that he could never have imagined.

Watch and share and help change someone else’s story.

Hold Your Breath

Hassalien

Given that I have the lung capacity of a goldfish, this video of “freediver” Guillaume Nery, strikes fear into my heart.

Here he is diving into Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas. Watch in awe.

Guillaume Nery base jumping at Dean’s Blue Hole, filmed on breath hold by Julie Gautier from Umblu Liber on Vimeo.

And when you’ve finished, click on through to the Vimeo site and review the comments. One of the commenters explains that as the bottom is 663ft down, Guillaume is nowhere near the bottom. But the narrative, the frame and our own interpretation makes us believe that he did reach the dark, lonely depths.

So as you are planning your next campaign, storyboard or blog post, think about the story you’ll tell. Think about the depths that you want to trawl. And then take a deep breath and take us with you in your free fall.

Hassalien Hani Amir via Compfight

Michael Hill Launches Valentine’s Day with Shoppable Video

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I have been complaining about a lack of retail innovation – especially digital-oriented innovation – for some time. So it’s nice to see Australian jeweller / retailer, Michael Hill, taking on the challenge in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day.

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Using Brightcove’s video cloud, Michael Hill combine video content – in this case, behind the scenes footage – to allow customers to purchase items depicted in the video. As the video progresses, “shoppable” items are highlighted in the scrolling product list. Sure it’s a little clunky in terms of experience, but it works, looks good and it’s an experiment that Michael Hill and their agency will learn from. And that puts them streets ahead of most other Australian retailers who struggle with the web basics.

What if Google was a Guy. In an Office

Google Doodle

We’re so lucky that Mr Google doesn’t take things personally.

Google Doodle Trey Ratcliff via Compfight

Pungent Granularity – Penn and Teller take on the Anti-Vaccination Conversation

Hungry? [Explored]

Social media has a powerful ability to stimulate and create conversation. But when you are planning your communications, it’s essential to know your audience. And these days, “knowing” your audience isn’t just about mapping, analysing and researching. It’s about understanding their “pungent granularity”.

Pungent granularity and the social audience

To survive in a world where consumers expect one-to-one marketing and real time business responsiveness, we need to move beyond the simple targeting of our consumers. This means responding to:

  • The three forces of self-segmentation: Before we take an action, make a decision or puts our hand into our pocket to actually transact, we make a quick personal assessment. We self-segment according to our needs (does this “thing” solve a need state that I have), behaviours (does this “thing” reinforce, challenge or shift my behaviour) and attitudes (how does this “thing” make me feel?). Marketers must understand the nuances of this self-segmentation and bring this understanding to their efforts
  • What we already know about our consumers: Whether we capture “big data” or just quickly trawl the social web, we can quickly amass a detailed knowledge of our consumers. The challenge with this becomes not one of data collection but of frameworks for making decisions and taking actions. This is where I quite love Sam Gosling’s OCEAN framework. Moving away from the MBTI mappings, he suggests that Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism can be easily assessed via our digital footprints. And in doing so, we can plan our communications accordingly

When we pull together all this information, we get a deep sense of our consumers. We know not just what they say they “like” but how this influences their actions and decisions. We understand their connections, social graph and the way that they operate in a digitally-connected world. And deeply buried amongst all this is the “trigger” – what motivates.

The “trigger” is the kicker

Take a look at this fantastic video featuring “illusionists and entertainers”, Penn and Teller. It’s on the subject of vaccinations. It’s forceful and NSFW (with a few F-bombs scattered throughout). The language is direct, the message clear and in your face.

But will it achieve what it is intended to do?

Unfortunately, I don’t believe it will. The motivation here – not of the creator – but of the viewer is triggered by the same level of frustration shown by Penn. Those who are pro-vaccination will be keen to share and validate their own position. Those who are anti-vaccination will reject the facts, figures and approach outright. The frame is out of focus for the second group – and the argument will be based on the framing of the data as a way of disputing what is “true”.

This is why wheeling out big data will also be challenging. While the Mayo Clinic clearly states:

“Vaccines do not cause autism. Despite much controversy on the topic, researchers haven’t found a connection between autism and childhood vaccines. In fact, the original study that ignited the debate years ago has been retracted.” Mayo Clinic – Childhood Vaccines: Tough questions, straight answers (here)

… many still view this sceptically.

But if there really is a desire to change the point of view (or point of belief), behaviours and attitudes of anti-vaccination folks, there is a need to more deeply understand them.

Hungry? [Explored] Riccardo Cuppini via Compfight

QUT Staff Think About the Future with Staff Giving Program

Chaired aloft a sea of dancers.  Mobile Clubbing, London Victoria Station concourse, 4 April 2007.

Employee giving programs are a powerful way of maximising your personal charitable giving. Charities gain reliable, regular funds and by making pre-tax donations to charities through workplace giving, the impact of your donations can go much further. In fact, with employer matching in place – where every dollar that you donate is matched by your employer – the economic impact of every dollar can be be multiplied by up to a factor of FOUR.

So, for every dollar you donate, your favourite charities can be four times better off.

  • Employer matching doubles your contribution
  • Charities traditionally spend up to 25% of their income on fundraising, so you are saving them acquisition, retention and marketing funds
  • Regular, bulk payroll donations reduce administration costs and allow for more effective planning

But despite continuing growth in workplace giving, many organisations have yet to put a formal program in place. The Australian Charities Fund explains that these programs have massive impact – not just on charities who receive the philanthropic funds – but also on employers and individuals. For example:

  • Individual worker philanthropy: People are more confident that their donations make a difference, feel more involved with their community and benefit from the tax effectiveness of their donations
  • Corporates: Employers can build effective and useful community partnerships and boost employee morale. Workplace giving programs are low on cost and administration and simultaneously help attract and retain quality talent

But how do you have a genuine, engaging discussion about staff giving?

The Queensland University of Technology took an innovative approach and tapped their own school of performing arts to create a flashmob during staff Christmas celebrations. The aim was to get people to think about the future – the future of students and of the university. Not only were students involved, so were lecturers, tutors, professors and heads of schools. There was wide engagement across all stakeholder groups.

This is important to note, because if you want a lasting impact, you need to move beyond talking, to doing. Your ideas have to have a life and an impetus to drive participation. And while we all love the idea of conversation, we also know that talk is cheap, and at the beginning of a new year, perhaps we should all be looking towards a new future.

Chaired aloft a sea of dancers.  Mobile Clubbing, London Victoria Station concourse, 4 April 2007.

Image: Chris Beckett via Compfight

#WhipIt–Pantene tackles workplace perceptions of women

Change - Its A New Year

When I was a teenager I felt that my generation was going to be the one to combat all the issues of injustice that plagued the world. As I got older, I realised that almost every teenage generation thinks the same way – that they can, armed with fresh insight, a new perspective and abundant energy, change the world.

But changing one person’s mind is hard enough. Changing the world … well, you see where I am going.

We are a great mass of inertia – and it takes a lot of effort to mobilise our thinking and to push us to take action. That’s why it’s important to keep challenging “what is”. It’s why it is essential to call out unacceptable behaviours and “old” notions of thinking. Because in challenging these things change can happen one heart and one mind at a time. But no change comes without drawing a line in the sand. Which is why I love the way that Pantene has framed this ad. It’s calling out the often unspoken attitudes that continue to prevail in many of our workplaces.

It’s a great ad. It may not change the world, but it may inspire the drawing of a few more lines. And that would be a great, good thing.