I don’t want to buy on price shop assistants!

I want a bloody amazing shopping experience!

Spiral to the bottom

In Australia it seems that retailers are spiralling to the bottom. Every shop assistant I come across, whether it be in fashion, hardware, kitchenware or giftware seems to open with a discussion about a cheaper product.

Sinking feeling


Here’s a quick story about one experience I endured last week.

Our kitchen sink cracked so it was time to shop around. After a bit of Googling and comparing  products I was off to Hardware and General to look at a few.

I asked the obligatory naive questions about the evolution of sinks and why it was so hard to find a twin tap option. But soon ended up finding a perfect ceramic option in cream.

Yet I literally had to talk the shop assistant into buying it as she kept offering alternatives that were lower priced.

Price wasn’t the issue I kept explaining. I wanted it to match our old fashioned, wooden kitchen, and look better than the cheap stainless steel options.


And then I was off to look at taps at a store across the road.

Again the assistant tried spiralling me into cheaper products. She was stunned when after listening to her spiel I simply said, “Great I’ll take the first ones you showed me.

“But they’re a little more expensive that what I’m showing you now”, she said.

What a drip she was.

Far out <insert expletives and sighs>


I just want a pleasant shopping experience. One where assistants understand the power of digital media and how consumers do their research prior to entering - as well as in the shop.

And one where assistants get to know you, your tastes and desires, and match products to what you are actually looking for. And not perform nervous acts of insecurity and hence throw a cheaper option at you straight away.

Retailers are to blame – not the retail environment

Have retailers gone mad in reaction to tough times? Or are retailers causing the tough times by simply forgetting about good old fashioned salesmanship?

1) Get to know your customers and make them feel special!

2) Create a real shopping experience rather than a desperate plea for business!

It’s simple.

Maybe Myer could learn this, given it’s poor recent profit announcement, rather than blaming everything else but their poor customer management!


Anyone else experiencing poor retail service and price, price, price only discussions?




WARC, TrinityP3 & King Content are now bringing ‘How to be an Effective Content Marketer’ to Singapore

Kicking off on August 15, we’ll explore how Content Marketing is changing the way businesses and brands go to market.

Content Marketing may not be new, however it’s the buzz word on every marketer’s lips.







Ed Pank, WARC, will take you through the Content Revolution.






I’ll join a panel of experts to probe the realities of pursuing a Content Marketing strategy.








Darren Woolley, TrinityP3, will explore managing Content Marketing for successful outcomes.








And Todd Wheatland, King Content, will demystify the culture shift required to develop an effective organisational approach.


6 new innovations in customer experience

I have been working on innovation dimensions for a few clients recently, and want to share some of the more interesting things that I’ve stumbled across throughout my journey.

Have you seen the “world’s first multi-sensory bar”?  Diageo launched the ‘sensorium’, an experiment in London’s SOHO district to prove the role of senses in enjoying a product or service.

You may or may not know that the leading virtual reality headset maker, Oculus Rift, has been purchased by Facebook for $2b – however will these new headsets finally transform the retail shopper experience?

Retailers have also struggled to integrate loyalty marketing strategies into their store environment without having to rely on POS technology (ie: the shopper at the check-out). Whilst various technologies have been tested, what do you think of Apple’s iBeacons?

They’re location based transmitters that use Bluetooth signals to deliver customized and personalised communication and offers to shoppers via their mobile as they browse around a store. Are they creating a truly enriched customer experience or will they fall by the tech wayside?

Here’s an innovative use of iBeacon technology in the Antwerp Museum

Have you experienced surface technology yet? Check out the adiVerse Virtual Footwear Wall.

And here’s an interesting test of  an electromagnetic dot display

And to finish off, how could I ignore wearable tech. The enterprise tech juggernaut, Salesforce.com, has entered the wearable tech market from a workforce productivity perspective – check out Salesforce Wear

Well there you have it. Just some of the innovations that I’ve stumbled across.

I wonder what innovations you’ve seen recently? Care to share?

Want to become a more effective Content Marketer?

Join me in Melbourne as TrinityP3, WARC and King Content present a half day seminar on “How to become an effective content marketer”.

Content Marketing

1 – 5 pm, Friday 23 May, ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne

Booking essential. Only $25. Details here: trinityp3.com/business-events

Case studies from innovative leaders at the AANA & WFA Global Marketers Conference 2014

I attended the AANA & WFA Global Marketers Conference 2014 (aana.com.au/gmc2014) with Darren Wolley and fellow Senior Consultants at TrinityP3.

There were some great speakers including Martin Riley, CMO, Pernod Ricard; Marc Mathieu, Senior VP Marketing, Unilever; Michelle Froah, APAC Senior Regional Marketing Director, Kimberly-Clark; Ed Sanders, Director of Marketing, Glass Google; and the legendary Sir John Hegarty, Founder and Creative Partner, Bartle Bogarty Hegarty to name drop a few.

Like most events I go to these days, I tend to feel that we’re all talking about the same topics as we pave our way through this new era of business and marketing.

Brand advertisers have woken up to realising that they’re “not just digital marketers, but marketers in a digital world.” And people-centric, purpose-driven marketing is finally taking centre stage from product features and an all out focus on profit.

In addition to the networking opportunities, I also tend to pick up some great new case studies. I’d love to  share TEN of them with you.

So… in no particular order:

1) Durex creates Funadaware – vibrating underwear controlled by an iPhone App

Read more here: durexperiment.com

2) Huggies Giggle Factory – the first ever delivery of baby giggles

 3) Axe Apollo Space Academy – sending people into space

Read more here: space.com/19199-axe-apollo-space-launch-contest

4) Project Sunlight from Unliver – creating a brighter future

Read more here: youtube.com/user/ulprojectsunlight

5) Hudson Urban Bicycles, 365 life-cycle experiment

6) The Most Interesting Man In The World

Stay thirsty here my friends: dosequis.com/Videos/dos-equis-commercials

7) Johnnie Walker and Sons’ Epic Voyage of Discovery

Follow the story here: jwsvoyager-odyssey.com

8) Desire – a film collaboration between Jaguar and Ridley Scott



9) YouTube Symphony Orchestra – Play Your Part – a crowd sourced orchestra!


10) A retail space called STORY – a retailer that regularly revamps its store offering based on customer themes/narratives

Story Retailer


Are digital marketers getting off their Face….


No, this post is not about alcohol-fueled violence and the one-punch legislation. It’s about the trend towards people getting tired of social media, in particular the juggernaut that is Facebook.

Off Facebook

For marketers, it has been a wild, roller-coaster ride over the past 6 or so years as they’ve tried to determine how to leverage social media for business.

Some brands have passed with flying colours (eg: National Geographic with over 21M Facebook friends; Lorna Jane with almost 1M fans, and of course Red Bull and Coke to name a few).

However there have also been some epic #fails (eg: BP Oil Spill, HMV firing staff, Cheerio’s getting involved in foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and the list trails on with a long tail).

Digital detox

I’ve recently had a two week break from all social media. A digital detox of sorts. Have I missed it? No. Did I have the urge to check it? Yes.

It’s funny how social media has become ingrained in our life. And like any drug, it’s hard to quit.

Let’s look at some of the Facebook stats:

There are currently over 1.23b active users on Facebook globally

In late 2012 and early 2013, we read a lot about Teens dropping off Facebook. In the US Facebook endured a 29% fall in active users among U.S. Teens from Q4 in 2012. That’s big when you consider that 79% of US Teens were on FB!

And from 2011 to 2014, approximately 3,000,000 Teens left Facebook representing a 25.3% decline in Teen usage.

Teens leaving Facebook

Boomers boom on Facebook with 80% growth

Although lets look at the other end of the age spectrum – Boomers or Grey Power. In the US Boomers have boomed on Facebook big time. To the tune of 80% growth over the last 3 years.

And in Australia Women 55+ are the fastest group taking up social media.

So why are Teens leaving?

Well it’s pretty obvious. If Mum and Nan are on there, then “I’m outta here”

Well maybe it’s uncool for Teens to see their parents so actively involved in Facebook. However maybe it’s also to do with Facebook simply being an application that people get tired of. And fickle Teens who have been on there the longest are leading the way.

When you think about it, Facebook isn’t life or death. It’s not a vital service like water, electricity and gas. Although it does provide an amazing global sharing service to help keep people in touch with their friends across borders and intercity. It’s not a fundamental operating system like iOS or Windows and it’s not infrastructure.

At the end of the day, it’s simply a place where people can go to vent, rant, read, or play with each other. Sort of like a virtual soap box.

And after a while we all get sick of people on their soap-box.

OK I better wrap this post up quickly ;)

Trend away from mobile phone usage

As mobility takes over the world, saturation point is not far away. And as people stare into their mobile device as they walk, talk, eat and even go to the loo, it’s no wonder that human nature is fighting back.

Rogue24 restaurant has banned the use of phones. “It’s just polite”, the head chef says.

Jawdat Ibrahim, owner of the Abu Ghosh restaurant in an Arab village outside Jerusalem, offering a 50% discount late last year if everyone turned off their phone.

Even some hotels are getting in on the act banning phone use during your stay.

And whilst I was in Japan this month, I noticed how people are politely asked to go to the end of the train carriage to use their phones rather than talk in the carriage.

SO……. my hit prediction

future of marketing

Looking into my crystal ball (which is always dangerous), I see people and marketers ultimately moving away from Facebook.

Obviously it has massive scale, so Facebook isn’t going to die. Just as email never died!

However as marketers fail to develop real social media strategies, that are targeted to engage a specific audience based on relevance, value and lifecycle understanding, then it won’t be sustainable.

Short term mentality will prevail in Facebook for a few years to come, however by 2016 we will have witnessed a dramatic shift away.

My hit prediction, is that this will be fueled by small businesses which are already walking away from Facebook due to the need to promote posts in order to gain visibility in their fan’s status stream.

While one goes down, another will go up. Get into LinkedIn!

Or will social media fatigue finally kick in and drive us all back to a non-digital, earthy existence?

5 brands successfully reinventing in the digital age

Many brands have been impacted by the digital revolution and the speed with which consumers can now create a backlash. If a brand doesn’t live up to its promise, then consumers can create an honest and open discussion of their negative feelings in an instant. Think of Lance Armstrong, Vegemite’s iSnack 2.0, and the BP oil spill to name a few.

However some brands are working their way through reinvention to transform their offering. From my point of view, successful brands are the ones that can continue to connect to customers, shareholders and employees.

So for this post, I thought I’d look at 5 brands that are successfully tackling their transformation in the digital age.

National Geographic

National Geographic

As a child, I remember thumbing through Mum and Dads’ yellow bordered, National Geographic Magazines and being transported to exotic lands with strange people, animals, colours and textures.

National Geographic Society (NGS) is a great example of a powerful brand that is moving with the times and transforming itself in the digital age – albeit a massive undertaking that they’re still experimenting and working out how to best promote cross-functional and cross-divisional collaboration.

Under the helm of CEO John Fahey, rather than die a natural print death with revenues declining, NGS embarked on a restructure, breaking down of silos, and made large bets on various forms of digital media including internet, movies, TV and cable programming including striking a $100M deal with Fox in 2012.

Fahey also appointed Amy Maniatis, the Society’s first CMO since the organization was founded 126 years ago. Maniatis has been integral in successfully harnessing the power of social media – driving over 20,646,799 Facebook Fans, and 4,091,738 Instagram followers to widen National Geographic’s reach and engagement through its stunning photography, amazing stories and rich video content.

Beyond Meat

Beyond Meat

A Californian-based start-up, Beyond Meat, is disrupting the chicken production market with a plant-based product to make chicken-free strips. It’s a higher quality chicken substitute at a lower cost, and according to Bill Gates who is an investor, he couldn’t tell the difference when compared to real chicken. The Beyond Meat factory produces the equivalent of approximately 18M chickens a year (compared to about 8.6b total chickens slaughtered nationally in the US per annum).

And they’re currently working on a ground beef substitute that can be used for Tacos, lasagna, spaghetti bolognese etc.

Will they succeed on their vision? To reduce the world’s consumption of animal meat by 25% by 2020. Beyond Meat has been picked by CNN to have a major impact on digital culture and as a start-up to watch. And with financial support from Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, I can see a digital conversation groundswell coming soon.

American Express

American Express

American Express is taking digital change seriously. Their Chairman and CEO, Kenneth Chenault, says, “Successful transformation involves two things: ongoing reinvention and constant values, or unchanging change. One of the most important elements is that you must also be willing to break down your own business model to cannibalize your own products, because if you do not, someone else will.”

American Express is moving beyond a piece of plastic and expanding into mobile payments. It has moved past traditional marketing to partnering closely with Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook. It has launched a major play for small businesses – American Express Open – with Shop Small ideas such as Small Business Saturday and Open Forum (insights from experts for business owners).

Recently American Express has also linked many different media strands together, including live music, social video, online streaming, and social media, to launch American Express Unstaged, a YouTube channel that caters for an online, music hungry audience with story-telling content capturing journeys to events.

Equally as important, American Express realised it had to reengineer its call centre strategy to fully transform with the times. They changed their recruitment policy from seasoned call centre reps to employees of service companies: top-tier hotels, cruise lines, and customer-centred stores resulting in improved customer satisfaction scores and an approximate 10% increase in service margins.



In 2003, global media headlines were citing “hamburger hell” as a way of condemning the fast food giants. Customer needs were changing with the rise of obesity, negativity over fast, cheap food, and the ethical dilemma of sourcing food from extreme distances. Anti-Maccas sentiment was finally setting in after decades of growth.

McDonald’s knew it had to transform to become ‘demand driven’ rather than ‘supply driven’. People were looking for healthier solutions and McDonald’s acted by launching new ranges including premium food menu items such as Premium Salads in 2003, healthier gourmet wraps and sandwiches in 2008, and lower cholesterol options, experimenting with healthier cooking techniques to sell meat that is oven-baked rather than fried.

Also, McDonald’s started changing its polystyrene beverage cups with paper cups as a result of a 2011 shareholder resolution.

Has it all been successful? McDonald’s Australia has almost doubled its profits over the last 10 years. In 2012 McDonald’s Canada has undertaken an unprecedented $1b investment to transform restaurant design, functionality and the customer experience including the highly successful “Our Food. Your Questions” digital platform. You’d have to say that they’re getting it right for their target market – having moved well beyond a burger, fries and Coke company.

Although McDonald’s still faces it’s fare share of negativity - especially around the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics where the general public was still fairly cynical as to why it was sponsoring the sporting event.



Have you tried a Dominos Pizza lately? If you have, then you’ll appreciate how they’ve changed and why they’re posting great company stock and profit growth figures.

In 2008 Dominos had a problem. People were saying that their pizzas ”tasted like cardboard” and, as a result, sales were in decline. They had fallen to last amongst the national pizza chains.

Rather than abandoning their product because it wasn’t selling, Dominos focussed on admitting that it wasn’t good enough and offered customers a promise to change it. They undertook extensive customer research and finally unveiled a new recipe involving healthier and better quality ingredients.

However unlike the New Coke example, Dominos took an open and honest approach to the marketplace that resonated. Dominos revamped its digital presence with Domino’s Australia estimated to now take over 50% of all orders now through digital means, including online and via mobile phone apps.

Dominos appointed Splunk to manage its ecommerce service and deliver actionable data insights on stores, coupons, and other real time activity to further drive sales. Also, only Domino’s has pizza tracker, so that customers can track where their pizza order is.


From my point of view it always comes back to delivering a product or service that is customer focused. The 5 brands outlined above have faced their fare share of challenges, obstacles and negativity. And as mentioned, some are still working out how best to adapt. However rather than sitting still and ignoring the negative sentiment, they have listened to their target market and most importantly are acting on the feedback. The outcome? A more relevant and improved product.

I wonder which brands would be on your list? And more importantly what can we learn from their reinvention?