Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand needed a brand perception transformation like no other. To do it, we created a campaign spanning Stuff, The Dominion Post, Sunday Star-Times and The Press to engage C-Suite and boost brand favourability by 29.9%.
The business of subscriptions is hardly new. Long established businesses like newspapers have been managing subscribers since the 19th century in one form or another. A newer trend is the practice of products in the traditional pay-per-item space moving their business models towards a subscription based business.
The term “subscription economy” was coined by software as a service (SaaS) provider Zuora to describe this practice. As business leaders or marketers, it’s likely we have a range of SaaS products in our toolkits. Some very successful New Zealand businesses have made names for themselves in this space, from accounting software provider Xero through to inventory management software provider cin7. Chances are your social media monitoring tool, marketing automation software, payments provider and more are all part of the subscription economy.
Warc.com, monitors advertising and marketing best practice from across the globe looking at the world’s leading brands. In their Toolkit 2017, they picked out the move for brands to go direct to consumer as one of the key trends for 2017. We’re all familiar with brands using mobile as a direct to consumer disintermediation strategy with wildly successful examples like Uber and Airbnb but they also picked out the innovative use of subscription services as a key trend to watch in 2017. Part of the appeal of subscription based models is the access to a new stream of customer data, a competitive advantage to businesses over traditional retail models where the brand has less access to customer information. That global giants are recognising this can be seen in UK based Unilever’s $1 billion acquisition of challenger brand Dollar Shave Club, giving it a 5% market share in the US razor market.
Not relevant to your industry? How about Cadillac, who has launched the Book by Cadillac subscription service. For $US1,500 a month the manufacturer says they can eliminate the hassle that comes with owning a car. Subscribers can swap between the current year’s models up to 18 times per year allowing them to have a vehicle to fit their needs be it around town driving or a weekend ski trip. Vehicles are delivered by white glove concierge service, all driven (excuse the pun) off another feature of the new generation of subscription economy innovations, a convenient mobile app.
Traditional subscription service providers, and not just the media, can expect to feel the pinch as new and innovative subscription services models find new ways to deliver services to consumers. Take the example of innovative fitness technology company Peloton, who has established a $US150 million dollar business providing internet connected fitness bicycles into people’s homes. The bikes themselves are not cheap, costing a cool $US2,000 with a subscription model to go with it. While similar to what’s on offer at a spin class, for consumers that don’t want to battle traffic to be in a room full of other sweating exercisers, Peloton offers an immersive experience from the comfort of your own home. And like the best subscription models, the bike’s onboard computer collects a myriad of data on users’ workouts allowing them to create a better experience for their subscribers. Not content with the home bicycle market, they are looking at a commercial model giving them access to gyms and even other exercise forms, as improbable sounding as yoga.
In New Zealand, the poster child for a successful direct to consumer subscription service launch is My Food Bag, which needs no introduction. With more than 50,000 subscribers, it would rate as probably New Zealand’s most successful subscription service launch to consumers in recent history, attracting venture capital investment in late 2016.
For business owners and marketers, what does this mean? All of these businesses are able to acquire vastly more information about their consumers than traditional businesses, which they can use to deliver better customer experiences, better retention and business ROI.
Best practice subscription businesses like My Food Bag and Fairfax Media’s Stuff Fibre are so confident in their offering that they have broken away from the traditional model of term contracts. Instead these businesses, give their customers the convenience and flexibility that they want, and now expect in every aspect of their lives. On the other hand, the subscription model does allow for businesses to test a variety of pricing structures and plans to optimise business outcomes and customer satisfaction. With strong digital offerings, businesses are able to test price points and offers in real time. Advances in conversion rate optimisation offerings through businesses like Optimizely and Adobe Target allow real time marketing to consumers at the instant they hit your website or app.
Many of the most successful subscription businesses are also first movers in the customer experience space, recognising that the subscriber is at the centre of their business. Smooth, consistent customer journeys to sign up, renewal, exit and reacquisition result in better business outcomes. This includes providing channels and talking to customers in the way that they want to be spoken to. With the data available to subscription businesses, they can have remarkable power to control and optimise the customer experience and personalisation to customers.
The last key success factor that nearly all of these businesses have in common is that they have been built to be able to scale quickly, while maintaining a great customer experience. Companies like My Food Bag have been able to deliver the same great experience to customer number one as they have for customer number 50,000 and more. The same SaaS companies that are early adopters of subscription technology are the same ones enabling businesses outside of this space to be able to automate processes and marketing activity, across CRM, social media, marketing automation, content management and ERP, among other functions.
Brand to consumer subscription service is leading business innovation nationally and internationally. A myriad of businesses, across as many industries, continually prove that subscriptions are sustainable and dynamic, offering them for everything from car-hire to grocery shopping. While SaaS technology continues to grow exponentially, it may be time to ask how your business can adapt to this new service or if you can expect to be disrupted.
Grant Torrie is Fairfax Media's acting Chief Marketing Officer and Audience Growth Manager. He and his team are passionate about looking at new ways to engage with audiences and the best use of technology to do it.
Admire Marlborough and the success of its campaign for the Grovetown Hotel are one example of how Fairfax Media's local publications can help your business increase market share. Through a plethora of much-loved mastheads you can target the people you want to talk to. It's called Hyper-local and with it, you can reach audiences in every region Fairfax's publications cover.
Companies used to define themselves as product-focused or as services companies. Increasingly, many are finding they need to consider extending into a combination of both. Brand strategist Mark Di Somma explores how to do that successfully.
Enjoyed this article? Visit our Ideas and Inspirations page for more insightful reads.
Whether it's for business, personal development, or a leisurely read, we've got you covered.
"I think reading is one of the most important things we can do to stay current in a world blitzed with ideas. As a writer, I find words both relaxing and invigorating. While articles certainly provide stimulus, it’s books, where an author can expound at length on a concept, that deliver the greatest value for me." - Mark Di Somma, Creative Brand Strategist and Future of Business Speaker
My Father's Island: A Memoir by Adam Dudding
This is a New Zealand story written by Fairfax Media journalist Adam Dudding about his late father and literary genius Robin Dudding. It's a funny, sad, smartly written journey of an unusual life that warrants being shared. The memoir has already been longlisted for the NZ Book Awards.
- Recommended by Campbell Mitchell, Fairfax Media Chief Marketing Officer
Cold Granite by Stuart McBride
Not for the faint hearted and a great read, this is the first book in a great crime series.
- Recommended by Gareth Codd, Fairfax Media Group Sales Director
Thrive by Arianna Huffington
Many of my female friends are struggling with the hectic pace of life, the balance of work and mothering, and wondering if this is how it's meant to be. Arianna is the co-founder of Huffington Post and had it all until she suffered a major health episode that forced her to reassess her values and priorities. It's a must read for those struggling with the balance of life and need some inspiration for where to next.
- Recommended by Phillipa Cameron, Fairfax Media Brand and Communications Manager
TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson
An insightful look into how great talks are made by the guy who runs TED. Anderson uses real examples from TED and TEDX presentations to explain how to construct a presentation that takes an audience on a journey and turns an idea from a concept into a driver for people’s lives. Whether you’re a thought leader, someone who aspires to speak or you just want to understand what makes TED talks work, this is a great read.
- Recommended by Mark Di Somma, Creative Brand Strategist
The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practise, and Application of the Next Internet Technology by William Mougayar
It's an explanation of the technology that will underpin the next wave of internet technologies. Imagine if you had had the inside running on the World Wide Web in 1994. Blockchains will be as fundamental to future innovation as the web has been to the last two decades.
- Recommended by Robert Hutchinson, Fairfax Media Product Development Director
Exponential Organisations by Salim Ismail
This is a pretty inspirational book whether you work for a corporate, own your own business or are part of a start -up.
- Recommended by Gareth Codd, Fairfax Media Group Sales Director
Cannibals with Forks by John Elkington
This book, by one of the pioneers of sustainable business, describes how future business success depends on an organisation’s ability to focus on the inter-linked goals of economic prosperity, environmental protection and social equity. I love this book because it was one of the first of its kind to describe the different ways of doing business and give a sense that it's possible for businesses to be successful and do good. It gives a sense of positivity about how you can choose to live your life and work.
- Recommended by Rachel Brown, CEO, Sustainable Network
Small Data by Martin Lindstrom
We talk a lot these days about the importance of big data and what it reveals. Here, Lindstrom takes a different approach – looking at how he relies on little insights gleaned from hundreds of conversations to help brands solve problems that are less obvious than they first appear. A lovely read, filled with stories, that will appeal to those fascinated by behavioural economics. A must if you’re a Freakonomics fan.
- Recommended by Mark Di Somma, Creative Brand Strategist
High Profit Prospecting by Mark Hunter
Great for sales teams looking to lift their game. Hunter’s no-excuses guide to prospecting with intent explains why too many sales teams are afraid of the word “No”. Human contact, he says, is what sells. If you need to marshall a team to deliver results, this book will lift the bar.
- Recommended by Mark Di Somma, Creative Brand Strategist
Through a partnership with Penfolds we created a luxury dinner showcasing Penfolds Grange wines to some of New Zealand's foremost business leaders.
This included a double page spread in Cuisine magazine that showcased the range to some of New Zealand's most passionate and dedicated foodies.
Treasury Estate Wines Marketing Manager Andre Bacon said, "This event was a huge success from both a commercial and consumer perspective. We partnered with Fairfax to develop an event that delivered to all our objectives and collaborating with them on event management was seamless and highly professional. We’d highly recommend partnering with Fairfax to deliver strategic outcomes.”
One of the biggest challenges for New Zealand businesses - whether it’s corporations or SMEs - is a fragmented media environment. This fragmentation - the explosive growth of social media and internet advertising leading a shift away from traditional marketing techniques and an audience that consumes content across multiple channels at any given time - has created a head spinning array of options for the modern day marketer.
Having a digital presence is now more important than ever and knowing where to start, and how to start, is vital to the success of building your brand online. A powerful and effective online presence will connect you with key audiences, delivering the right message at the time and giving you the opportunity for an increasingly flexible and much shorter marketing to purchase loop.
1) Understand the importance of e-commerce.
E-commerce is on a continuous upward trend among New Zealanders. Fifty-seven percent of Kiwis say they’re purchased an average of 11 items online in the past 12 months*. This is coupled with large growth in Internet usage, with an average of 3.3 million Kiwis online every week, spending 2.15 hours a day browsing**.
A user friendly website is crucial to successful e-commerce. It will be a main touch point for your brand and with 68% of Kiwis researching products online~, optimising your position on search engines will be a powerful part of your strategy.
Using analytics to gather data will help you shape and evolve your platform to better serve your audience. It’ll show you where they’re coming from, which products and pages they’re looking at, and will give you a clear idea of what’s happening across your platform.
Used effectively e-commerce can be as powerful as a brick and mortar store on the high street. Increasingly, high priced consumer goods - such as travel and electronics - are becoming popular among online shoppers and the Internet has become a popular resource for consumers to research brands before purchase, meaning they see brands online before they see them in store.
2) Utilise Social Media
By its very nature social media is a conversation, a two way street. While giving your audience direct access to you, it gives you access to your audience. In real time you’re able to see and gauge how your consumers feel about your products, the experience you offer and how you can get them to work for you - advertising your product to their social circles online and offline, giving you the opportunity for valuable word of mouth advertising.
Carefully pick the channels that will allow your brand to connect and to thrive, understand the difference between Instagram and Facebook.
This is the simplest way to think about where your brand should be: If you’re a brand that’s in the moment, look to Twitter, if you’re a brand that’s heavily visual then Instagram could be the place for you or if your brand is about building communities look to Neighbourly or Facebook.
3) Understanding online advertising
Gone are the days where you’d put a billboard on a main street and hope it reached your audience. Online advertising has given businesses the ability to speak to the people they want to speak to. You can now target an audience by demographic - age, income, hobbies - and their location with a plethora of advertising techniques; sponsored content, native advertising, display advertising and video.
Being able to target an audience so specifically is an important aspect and benefit of online advertising. Across social media users offer up data about their true identities, interests and life events for free and it’s all data that can be used to target and reach your audience.
Once you’ve chosen the best type of advertising for your brand the next step is ad scheduling and budget. Online advertising allows greater scheduling and budget control than traditional advertising across print, radio or TV. Whether you’re a corporate or an SME you have access to the full array of online advertising options, allowing you to utilise Google Adwords or advertising specific to social media platforms, and popular websites - such as Stuff.co.nz - regardless of the size of your budget.
4) Be mobile friendly
No other medium in the history of technology has been so personal, so powerful, or so disruptive to consumers’ day-to-day lives. Seventy percent of New Zealanders own a smartphone^^. Much like social media, mobile provides a constant touch point for your brand.
When considering a mobile strategy, key things to be aware of are:
a) The capacity to load on different devices and browsers. A responsive web design that functions on mobile is the safety net between you and a bad experience - if someone can’t use your website the first time they visit, chances are they won’t be back.
b) Your online store and check out process need to be effective and useful on mobile.
C) Consider a custom mobile app. Ninety percent of time spent on mobile is spent on apps and last year, app usage surpassed TV as the medium people spend most of their time on^.
5) The power of video content
Video should be an integral part of your content marketing plan. It has a long shelf life and it’s exploding in popularity across desktop and mobile. Ten to fifteen second video pre-rolls are an effective way of advertising, they capture attention at the start of on-demand content.
The diversity of video means it can go beyond it’s advertising capability and is useful for sharing content and as part of your distribution channels. It’s a powerful way of engaging your audience and leaving a lasting impression that will help put you as their top choice during the decision making process.
Some pointers to consider:
Have a goal and clear message in mind and ask yourself, what is your objective?
Ideal video length for an advertisement is no more than 30 secs, as viewers recall only the first 10-15 secs of a video.
The first 5-10 secs are the crucial phase of your video content, make sure that this is impactful and will make viewers watch to the end.
Metrics - how will you measure engagement? - consider play rate (% of people who click play), watch rate (also known as engagement rate), Conversion rate (winning real business), Social Shares (number of times it's been shared on any given social media network)
Boyd Warren has been in the media industry for 13 years and has worked across most roles in newspaper and magazine sales. Prior to entering the media industry Boyd was an entrepreneur who pioneered several eCommerce and technology businesses. Boyd's media career developed alongside the growth of new digital channels and platforms; he is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in Fairfax Media's digital marketing team.
*Sources: Nielsen CMI Fused Q2 15 - Q1 16 June 16 TV/Online AP15+
**Sources: Nielsen NZ Media Trends 2015
^ Source: Flurry Netmarketshare Note US Jun 2015
^^ Source: NZ Business 2016
~ Source: Neilson.com The Why Behind The Online Buy
In business, change is in the air. It’s more of a gathering storm than a gentle breeze, and if businesses don’t embrace the new economy there’s a good chance they’ll be swept away.
The growing power of Millennials, climate change, and the extraordinarily rapid rise of new innovations are disrupting markets around the world. Change as usual is no longer an option.
What are the key drivers and where do the opportunities lie for New Zealand businesses?
If you haven’t noticed, sponsored content’s popularity - indeed, the entire native advertising remit - is exploding as the modern advertising choice.
To clarify, sponsored content is typically the term given to badged native advertising - a paid form of content marketing that takes on the form and function of its surroundings.
With the rise of social media and BuzzFeed-esque sites, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees when seeking out meaningful information and sifting through annoying marketing messages. In fact, The Guardian wrote that we see 3500+ advertising messages every day.
So, where does your brand’s marketing activity currently sit on the spectrum of meaningful to annoying and what should you do about it?
As the Creative Content Editor at Fairfax Media I often see businesses in this state of conflict. Marketers are wary of ‘sponsored content’ thanks to a long-stretching history of non-badged advertorial practices, while consumers are increasingly more savvy about how they regard brands.
Here are three insights that might help your next move.
1. Sponsored content is both a form of content marketing and native advertising.
There are many similar terms floating around, all with similar meanings. Names can also vary across organisations just to add to the confusion. Here’s a simple way of understanding sponsored content:
Sponsored content is a form of content marketing, placed in paid media - for example at Fairfax Media we run sponsored content that appear as articles across our titles, like Stuff.co.nz and Cuisine.
Sponsored content is a form of native advertising, which means it matches the visual design of the content it is placed within and functions the same to look and feel like natural content. Because of this, a 2015 Nielsen and Sharethrough study found native ads appear to receive double the visual focus than banners. It seems banner ads are processed peripherally, lessening the chance they are read.
2. Consumers will pay attention to you if your information is valuable and relevant to them.
This insight may seem obvious, but I still see it being confused or overlooked by brands attempting to use a sponsored content opportunity to talk about themselves. Be sure to put your customer or reader’s needs at the heart of what you’re doing. The opportunity sponsored content affords is the space to tap into people’s passion points through relevance and storytelling, that can’t be achieved through traditional advertising. Through this, you can build brand loyalty by telling a consistent story over time.
We educate brands that sponsored content best practice follows these rules:
Relevance is king. Consider carefully the permission your brand has to speak to your target consumers - what channels are most appropriate to do this through? What messaging makes the most sense in this environment?
Stand out. Engage your audience through having a unique point of view. Don’t oversell. Build reader trust by providing quality information that gets them in the mindset to think positively about your brand. Any product mentions should always feel natural - not forced.
Be real. Stories that feature human interest stories are more likely to be engaging and motivate them to take action.
Educate . Provide solutions for consumers that they may not have considered. Ensure the advice you give is a new perspective to really stand out and be valuable. Break down complicated issues into more easily digested information.
3. There is so much room to grow with sponsored content. Those diving in with a plan now are trail blazers.
A 2016 American survey found that 77% of organisations plan to produce more content in the coming year, while only 38% believe their organisation is effective at content marketing.
There is recognition of the opportunities in content marketing, but a real lag in strategising how it is done effectively. Only 37% of organisations from the same survey indicated they had a content marketing strategy.
Couple that with media companies such as ours investing in building up sophisticated native advertising offerings, all the while reclaiming sponsored content’s integrity, and the gap is yours for the taking.
Start by making a content marketing strategy and get yourself a plan. And remember, content marketing is like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second one.
Mike Pero Real Estate needed to get its 90 Day Guarantee in front of a highly engaged audience. It turned to Fairfax Media to deliver its message through a pre-roll campaign that leveraged the explosive growth of Stuff.co.nz's video on demand, which reaches 10 million views a month.
The results were astounding:
- Across the one month campaign Mike Pero's appraisal requests increased by 38%
- The pre-roll videos reached 10 x the NZ industry average click through rate
- Mobile display advertising preformed especially well.
Aaron Pero, Marketing and IT Manager, said, "We saw a huge boost in requests for appraisals on our website. The amount of home owners wanting us to give them a market appraisal increased 38% during the campaign."
Vittoria Coffee has been a driving force behind the Cuisine Good Food Awards for the past five years. In 2016 we solidified Vittoria's standing as a high-end coffee brand, created strong awareness and sales opportunities with New Zealand's top chefs and restaurateurs, and delivered a powerful, integrated, campaign across six months of Cuisine magazine.
We re-branded and reinvented the Cuisine Good Food Awards, transforming them from a cocktail night for 150 people to a full sit down dinner for 400 of the best in New Zealand hospitality. Vittoria's branding was integrated every step of the way, from Vittoria-tini cocktails to sponsored content in Cuisine magazine, creating a powerful touch point and prestigious platform for the Vittoria brand.
Mahindra's challenge to Fairfax Media was to cut through a crowded market, meaningfully engage a potential audience and turn that engagement into action.
To do that we created an immersive reader experience. Native advertising, crafted by the Stuff.co.nz team, was designed and tailored to the needs of the Stuff audience. Display advertising and a photo gallery completed the immersion and closed the loop between the introduction to Mahindra and purchasing inquiries.
"The resulting click-through generated a 300% increase in daily web traffic with similarly encouraging increased pages / session, session duration and bounce rate metrics...the content
proved successful in overcoming perceptions and stimulating action at dealer level.”
We live and do business in a hyper-connected world: one, where the fabled six degrees of separation has, according to Facebook, shrunk to just 3.57 degrees. That means, in effect, that the average Facebook user is just three and a half people away from connecting with anyone, anywhere on the Facebook network.
So the rate of connection that we have between ourselves has become not just shorter but also faster and flatter. Our lives are more interconnected than they have ever been and as a result, we are now more aware of other people and other lives. We’ve also become more mobile and much more dependent on our devices to drive and connect our lives as workers and consumers. According to author Nir Eyal, 79% of smartphone users check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up.
All of this has implications for how brands grow. Companies often plan for growth vertically, within the sector(s) they feel comfortable. But increasingly consumers recognise no such boundaries. They incorporate brands into their lives as and where it feels right to do so, guided by the cues they get from others and from their devices. In other words, they take their references ‘horizontally’ across their lives. If brands are going to keep pace with this, they need, in the words of Nigel Hollis, to move from a focus on ‘share of market’ to one oriented around ‘share of life’.
Over the last 18 months, I’ve been working alongside US-based brand licensing expert Pete Canalichio studying how and where many of the world’s most successful brands partner to touch customers, how they grow engagement with their brands by expanding their market sector reach, and what that means for business models. These are some of the learnings I shared at a recent Fairfax Media Future Of Business event:
1. Brands need an idea that can expand
Disney’s huge success doesn’t lie in the fact that they make movies. The thing they excel at is creating and building characters. They do so because a film is limited to a movie theatre or a screen, but a character can take on many forms. It can form the basis for a line of clothing or a ride at a theme park. It can become a musical. Brand strategists talk a lot about the single organising idea: the one idea around which a brand orbits. But increasingly I think brands need to look for a single expanding idea – an idea that will literally allow a brand to not just stand for something that people are deeply drawn to, but that they will potentially ‘follow’ across sectors in order to gain more experiences.
2. Look beyond one income source
Movie companies make less money than many people realise from their core product, films. Increasingly, they depend on ‘ancillary income’ (money they earn outside their core offering), from rights, licensing, merchandising and so on, to make up the shortfall. It’s a portfolio strategy. The idea is relevant beyond entertainment, because more and more companies are finding that consumers expect them to ‘give’ them information and services that once they would have charged for. Taking the movie theatre ‘portfolio’ idea one step further, companies cannot depend on a single facet to deliver them profile and profit. They need to be able to distinguish what they are willing to do to grow loyalty and awareness, and what they want people to pay for. As I pointed out during my presentation: Know where you make your name, and where you make your money, because the two may be quite separate.
3. Seeking out partnerships
Increasingly, companies are recognising that if they want to expand their idea, and they want to derive income from more than one source, then they need to engage consumers on a range of levels – and that means joining forces with others. In my presentation, I gave the example of how My Food Bag had teamed up with Nadia Lim to achieve a partnership that, in my opinion, neither could have achieved on their own. I also gave the example of how Invivo wines have teamed up with Graham Norton. More New Zealand companies should be thinking about how they can form partnerships with others, particularly if they plan to expand globally, in order to gain access to opportunities that might otherwise elude them.
Mark Di Somma
Mark Di Somma is a creative brand strategist, writer and speaker. His company, The Audacity Group, helps decision makers, brand owners and brand agencies define, articulate and elevate the value of their brands at critical moments of change. Brand and business owners seek Mark out for the powerful and creative mix of left and right brain thinking that he brings to brand strategy and his ability to shape decisions through a deep understanding of the business case and the commercial realities. Mark is a regular contributor to Branding Strategy Insider, one of the world’s leading brand strategy blogs, and Entrepreneur. Find out more about Mark, and read his latest thinking on brands in a shifting and social world, at markdisomma.com
As we become ever more connected to companies, able to offer feedback with a few strokes of a keyboard or swipes of a screen, there needs be greater thought around the evolution of the customer experience. Business consultant and mentor Mike Burke explores the past, present and future of the customer experience.
Uber has been a disruptor and a game changer. It's effectively created its own market - connecting with people that wouldn't have taken taxis - and its own workforce, giving people the opportunity to work their own hours, whenever suits them.
Richard Menzies is Uber New Zealand's General Manager and he shares some of Uber's greatest successes the vision for the future.
Morepork challenged Fairfax Media to help build brand awareness and credibility through great content.
Our idea was to create native content that lived up to the ‘smart living’ promise and worked
across multiple platforms and properties. Leveraging our large Neighbourly and Stuff audiences we got busy and developed a 'smart living' hub housing relevant and valuable home related content.
With a variety of content being created, including Stuff Nation user-generated pieces, and a wealth of channels to distribute across, the campaign delivered strong, qualified customers;
“Through editorial integration and clever distribution methods, the Morepork brand enjoyed a significant lift in awareness and increased engagement, delivering us qualified customers”
At a recent Future of Business talk Industrial designer, Audi AG Alumni and participant of German industrial design think thank Rinspeed, Alain Brideson talked about how urban transport will transform cities and the way we do business.
An effective urban transportation infrastructure is crucial to making living in a city affordable and enjoyable. And it also has a big impact on the viability and profitability of businesses.
Alain is a Kiwi industrial designer who has recently returned from 8 years immersed in the European design scene. During his time in Germany and Switzerland he delved deeply into transportation design, particularly electric vehicles. He’s now designing vehicles and products from his Auckland studio and teaching design at AUT.
Digital disruption has become an established part of all industries. The ebb and flow means businesses are shaping the wave of change or struggling for survival. When the next wave hits will your business be treading water?
Melissa Clark-Reynolds, former CEO and director of high-growth tech companies Softed, Looxie, Radio New Zealand and Creative HQ, has been involved in startup businesses for more than 25 years.
Currently working as a digital strategist, Melissa mentors widely in the startup community. At her Future of Business talk she offered poignant advice about surviving and thriving through digital disruption.
Here are Melissa’s top five tips:
1. Know the main types of disruption
Business owners can feel like there’s competition at every turn but there are three main disruptors to keep your eye on:
- Low market innovations: Cheap, low spec innovations that undercut existing business models by offering a simpler user experience or commercialise existing technology.
- Sustaining innovation within your existing company: Having a company culture that encourages building on and refining your commercial offerings.
- Creating customer categories - competing for non customers: These are customers that may not have used a service until a low market innovation was offered in its place e.g. people that haven’t used taxis but use Uber.
2. Not everyone needs a Rolls Royce
Take every challenge from a startup seriously and use those challenges as opportunities to innovate.
Too often corporates have a three-tiered response to startups which, as Melissa puts it, is to: “laugh at the competition, sue them and then run like hell”. This response fails to understand the opportunity startups present and so businesses are too slow to capitalise on them, at which point the startup has gained valuable ground.
Be aware that startups thrive in the area of your market that doesn’t need the “Rolls Royce” product. Offering low innovation solutions with less spec means startups undercut the high functioning corporate service by appealing to what the bulk of customers need. Less functionality at a lower spec and lower price will win almost every time.
3. Know your business’ restrictions and how to work around them
The DNA of your organisation, being the people and processes that are there, are designed to produce what you do now. Your organisation (unless you’re a startup) already has its own momentum, culture and process. If you want to disrupt your industry, Melissa says, “you can’t do it within your current company or brand”.
A culture of sustaining innovation is imperative to the core strategy of every business but first of all understand the gaps in your systems: which portion of your market are you innovating for? Are you leaving an area of your target market uncovered? Have you come into the market at the high end, leaving yourself to be undercut?
4. Think like a startup
Successful startups focus on an emergent strategy, rather than a deliberate one, and aren’t afraid to wander out into “the business model wilderness” to try things out.
Consider your business’ strategy and the opportunities you have to utilise a flexible and emerging strategy over a rigid and deliberate one. Best case scenario is a rogue team outside of the company that develops the emergent strategy and doesn’t answer to the CEO but to a single board member that champions the team’s independence and its ability to act as a startup, wandering the business model wilderness until it finds a model that works for it.
5. Advice in practice: how to make digital innovation work
Three components need to be perfectly aligned to make this work:
- Resources: Your people, money and IP
- Processes: Your company culture and how you get things done.
- Profit formula: Why you do what you do to make money.
Companies that only change one or two of these aspects tend to fail to transform themselves. Having these aligned, and knowing your place in the market are the first steps to changing your company’s DNA.
Innovation doesn’t need to begin with a brainstorm to collect the latest and greatest ideas. Instead of thinking up new ideas figure out a way to make the ideas you already have work for you. Figure out where you are in the market, are you entering a new market or sectioning off a segment of an existing market?
You’re much better to go to market with a low innovation and build on it than you are to be at the top end - almost everyone that enters at the top of the market goes broke.
Melissa has been active as an entrepreneur and involved in business startups for 25 years. She has been CEO and director of high-growth tech companies Softed, Looxie, Radio New Zealand, Creative HQ - Wellington's business incubator including creation of Lightning Lab - NZ's first accelerator for digital companies. Founder of Mini Monos a Virtual World for Children who care about the future of the planet and our communities. The site has more than 1.4 million registered members; it’s generating revenue through subscriptions and microtransactions from its target market of 8-12-year-old boys across UK, US, Australia, and New Zealand.
Digital technology and services have transformed the way we do business but the pace of change is leaving some businesses behind. PwC Digital’s Andrew Jamieson offers his advice to businesses struggling with digital and constantly evolving consumer habits.
For businesses immersed in the digital landscape and looking towards the future Andrew offers insights into how digital will come to shape your industry.
Andrew has recently joined PwC after 16 years in the UK working in telcos, digital broadcast, software development, financial services, digital strategy and interactive design.
He has been involved in numerous multinational projects delivering large scale digital strategies for global brands, including Barclaycard, British Airways, Aston Martin and the BBC.
The fragmented media environment is making it harder for businesses to reach customers and there’s diminishing trust for overt advertising and brand communications.
Robert Hutchinson, Product Development Director at Fairfax Media, recently spoke at a Future of Business event exploring the effectiveness of Native Advertising and how brands are using it successfully to increase engagement.
Watch the video below to learn more about this type of advertising, how effective it truly is and how it can work for you.
Robert is Product Development Director at Fairfax Media NZ. Over the past two years Robert’s team has made continuous improvements to Stuff’s mobile app products, ported Stuff.co.nz to a new Content Management System, launched a programmatic advertising alliance (KPEX), developed a native advertising and eCommerce platform, built an identity management platform across digital and print subscribers and hooked it all into a Data Management Platform.
Previously, Robert worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in digital business development and creative director/user experience leadership roles, looking after news, e-commerce, video streaming and mobile app entertainment products. He is a non-executive director of KPEX and Neighbourly.