Four lessons when communicating with consumers
Recently, five fabulous members of the Bastion Amplify team attended Mumbrella 360 to take the pulse of an industry in flux. Professional marketers and communicators need to have a deep understanding of how consumers are taking in information, and how changes in these behaviours will impact the future of consumer engagement.
That’s why our team here at Bastion Amplify loves attending events like Mumbrella 360 – we are continually looking for new information and insights that give our clients the cutting edge. So, what were biggest lessons we took away from the event? We’ve brought together four insights that everyone in the business of communicating with consumers should know.
Lesson Number One – The Metaverse has arrived, get used to it!
Is the metaverse the newest market for digital OOH?
According to Phill Hall from Ocean Outdoor UK and Industry legend Anna Parsons, the Metaverse is expected to contribute $3 trillion to global GDP by 2030 and ultimately be the new digital OOH.
But let’s take a step back… don’t know what the metaverse is? The metaverse is a virtual reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. Plenty of us (mostly Gen Z’s) are already big users, and brands are starting to get on board.
It is said to be a far less cluttered space for brands to push their product and activate their brand in a really creative, engaging and far more cost-effective way. Just imagine going into the metaverse, seeing something that you like, and going and purchasing it in the real world? This could be anything from fashion, food or retail, to land / property which showcases how your future home could look.
As we move from viewing content to immersive content, the latest in virtual technology is bringing brand new media opportunities and an entirely new realm of DOOH to life.
The Metaverse is cool, but how can brands use it now?
A lot has been said about the potential for brands to utilise the Metaverse, but a lot of these ideas seem way too far in the future or too fanciful to even get off the ground. However, what was really insightful from the conference, was the potential in the Metaverse right now for brands to do something innovative and unique.
Brands shouldn’t be afraid of embracing these new frontiers, especially as there are rich territories for brands to be first-in-market within the metaverse. How do you get started? Talk to your agency partners, you’ll be amazed at how many brand campaigns and concepts can transfer into a digitised landscape, which can also greatly broaden the reach and engagement of your campaign.
Lesson Number Two – The consumer is now in charge!
Sustainability Goes Local
According to a new global survey conducted by WE, Australians are bringing their sustainability values down to the grassroots level. While they align with global standards of demanding action from the business community on creating a greener future, Aussies specifically want tangible community action from businesses that seek to minimise or address issues related to climate change.
What does this insight look like? Well, it’s a business committing to helping the NSW North Coast rebuild post-floods or businesses implementing financial support for farmers experiencing drought. It’s all about how businesses are actually helping address the human impact of climate change – while also delivering on broader goals to lower the world’s carbon footprint. In fact, Bastion Amplify recently helped facilitated media at the Forktree Project and tree planting working bee at Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia – a perfect example of exactly the type of action Australians want to see.
How to Design (and Grow) Your Brand for Trust
Many big brands in the last two years have lost a lot of trust from their audiences. Sure, a pandemic hasn’t helped, but a lot of big brands also didn’t help themselves when they were given opportunities to rebuild it.
Trust is the foundation for any lasting relationship, yet many brands still struggle to build it, which reduces spend, loyalty and advocacy. This comes from a lot of brands putting in place reactive measures to managing feedback and complaints, not having enough resources on hand to tackle the growing number of enquiries and also not implementing trust internally. Ensuring trust between a brand and its customers actually starts from within the team itself, allowing employees to manage their own responsibilities / strategies without having everything micromanaged by their senior leaders.
With the mistakes made by bigger brands in the last two years, this lends opportunities to smaller / middle sized brands or start-ups to learn from these mistakes and engage the customers who are considering making the move to use their service instead by building a new relationship based on trust from the outset.
WeAre8 and the New Way Forward for Social Media
Over the past few years, the roles and responsibilities of social media platforms has been thrust into the spotlight like never before. We’re talking everything from fake news, hate speech, and ads – so. many. ads. Those same ads have also become a race to the bottom, with ‘best practice’ being to make shorter and shorter video ads to match our waning attention span.
Founded by an Aussie tech entrepreneur, WeAre8 is marketing itself as a new age social platform that is seeking to harness the best things from social media while leaving out the worst. For 8 minutes a day users are shown ‘inspirational’ content and then the idea is they get out and live their lives instead of endlessly scrolling. Also, instead of users being shown an indiscriminate amount of ads, they choose to view ads on their own terms (results are really strong compared to traditional social ads) – and the kicker is for every ad they view, money is donated to charity and to offset carbon.
Lesson Number Three – More so than ever before, make it relevant, cool and contextual!
The State of Shared Experience in a Time of Hyper-Personalisation
The algorithms driving today’s streaming services have changed the way we seek out and consume content. What we want, when we want it, even when we didn’t realise we wanted it, on whichever device we choose – it’s all there, and it’s all laid out specifically for us according to our tastes, moods and time of day.
In this session we explored the ‘magic’ of why collective cultural moments are so powerful – for example why watching a big sporting match live on tv is so much more fulfilling than watching a replay at your own leisure after it’s happened, or the watercooler conversations happening the day after a Married at First Sight episode airs (as opposed to bingeing the whole season in a day). This talk was great in the sense that it highlighted the boundaries of our hyper-personalised world and reinforces that brands can still very much leverage shared cultural moments to drive recognition and impact.
All That We Cannot Leave Behind: How Nostalgia is the New Cool
From Millennials’ obsession with the ‘90s, to an endless stream of TV re-runs, to millions flocking to watch aging rock stars in leather pants, nostalgia is one of marketing’s most powerful yet under-appreciated devices.
Tyler Greer, Head of Strat @ Mediacom shared some incredible insights into how nostalgia, when used correctly, can provide consumers with an emotional experience – most interestingly, often with people who weren’t alive in (or old enough to properly remember) the decades they’re reminiscing about.
It’s impossible to ignore the nostalgia impact major franchises recreated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens was essentially a retelling of 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope – with enough of the original to bring audiences new and old along for the ride. Stranger Things put Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill at the top of the Billboard 100 almost 30 years after it flopped on release. Metallica has a wave of new fans who’ve only ever heard Master of Puppets because of the Netflix Series.
The children of the ‘90s, fresh off the Wall Street fuelled excesses of the ‘80s, Desert Storm and Reagonomics, who created their own post-punk counterculture of music and anti-establishment moments – there’s a parallel between them and Gen Z of today. These kids were born and raised into an era of social-media capital C “Celebrity” excess, have only ever known the world post-9/11, and economic uncertainty that has them relating to and pining for the idealised versions of ‘90s life as if they were actually there. While we often see fashion as cyclical, it may, in fact, be that it’s this same nostalgia that carries it forward.
Lesson Number Four (more of a reminder) – In agency-land, expectations are everything!
Client Longevity = Better Brand Outcomes
Is it better to stick with your retained agency or go out to pitch? This is a quandary that faces many clients and drives many comms agencies up the wall. Well, we got close to an answer for this question! Or at least acknowledged agency turnover as a pressing issue for the comms industry.
Spark Foundry did a sweeping study on the effectiveness of client longevity on actual brand outcomes and found that sticking with an agency definitely brings better brand outcomes as the years go on, but agencies need to get better at closing the gap between expectation and reality to lower client dissatisfaction.
The findings outlined that average retainer time periods have reduced from 7 years in the 1980s to 2.5 years in 2022, with brands much more frequently shopping around in recent years. This can be traced to the fracturing and explosion of agencies but has also parleyed into a culture of ‘comms FOMO’, with brands thinking their missing out on something.
The solution? Well, it’s pretty simple – we need to be more honest and upfront with clients about the likely outcomes of their preferred strategy. Interestingly, this gap was significantly more impactful on a client relationship than staff consistency – brands can manage the release of old staff and acceptance of new staff members if honesty is at the core of the relationship.
Bastion Amplify strengthens social team with new hires
Bastion Amplify is expanding its social media offering with the hire of three senior industry specialists, Nicola Swankie, Katy Andrews and Nel Wolf, who will lead continued growth of the independent agency.
With a strong agency pedigree across Australia and the United Kingdom, including time leading social at Leo Burnett, SOCiETY for Mediabrands and Haystac, Nicola has been appointed Group Business Director – Social.
Nicola will manage a fast-growing team of social experts while providing ongoing strategic direction for the business and covering General Manager of Social, Shirley Tat’s role while on maternity leave.
Nicola is passionate about insight-led strategy driving client performance, using digital to drive brands forward as well as taking global trends and applying them to a local context.
Coming from client-side, Katy joins the team as Business Director – Social and will spearhead Amplify’s activity across Microsoft and Xbox. Integrating closely with our specialist business units she will strengthen an already solid track record top tier projects well as providing insightful, strategic guidance and stewardship to solidify Microsoft’s leadership in technology and gaming.
Meanwhile Nel Wolf joins the team as Senior Account Director – Social overseeing Amplify’s work for Xbox, which has included incredible integrated social and experiential campaigns including dropping a car from a plan to promote Forza Horizon 5.
These hires come as the social offering at Bastion Amplify goes from strength to strength. As well as being Microsoft and Xbox’s retained social agency, the business has secured an impressive slate of clients including Harris Scarfe and Toll Ambulance and Rescue.
In addition to the existing client portfolio, Bastion Amplify has won the social business for Sydney Metro Airports, Swedish camping brand Dometic and the world’s fastest growing food technology company NotCo in recent months.
Bastion Amplify CEO Richard Chapman said these senior hires demonstrate Amplify’s leadership as a competitive social agency.
“As our social offering has grown over the past three and a half years, we’ve been delighted to see our team consistently grow. It is a testament to the work we are winning that we are bringing these three extremely talented specialists in to continue to chart this path,” said Chapman.
“Katy, Nicola and Nel are aligned in our goal of making Amplify the market-leading integrated PR and social offering in Australia and we’re focused on seizing on our rapid growth to create a multi-faceted, future-facing Bastion Amplify.”
Nicola joins Amplify from Haystac where she led Social for the agency and the broader Dentsu group. Prior, she held numerous directorial and Head-of roles across Social Strategy, Creative & Content at agencies such as The Remarkables, Mediabrands, Leo Burnett, TCO, McCannn and Y&R.
“I am so excited to be joining the team at Bastion Amplify and the broader Bastion group of agencies at a time where Social is evolving at a rapid rate. It truly has become the connective tissue across integrated marketing and a growing part of our clients’ investments rich with creative opportunity,” she said.
Katy joins Amplify from five years at Activision Blizzard leading marketing and driving commercial results for their Call of Duty product across APAC and later ANZ. Prior to this Katy worked to launch Xbox One at Microsoft as well as working across a range of agency roles at Soap Creative (now Dentsu) and Liquid Interactive working on Pixar and Disney.
Nel previously led social at Essence where she drove results for clients including Salesforce, JLL and Nutrien AG, previously also working at Circul8 and 1000Heads.
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Bastion is a truly integrated, full-service marketing and communications agency founded in 2009. We are Australia’s largest independent agency, with an ambition to achieve the same feat in the USA.
We offer a wide breadth of specialist capabilities across the communications spectrum including market research, brand and creative, advertising, corporate and change communications, PR and social media, digital and customer experience (CX), sponsorship and experiential, film and content production, merchandise, Asia marketing and communications, data analytics and panel management.