January 11, 2024

Continuing to grow our HubSpot partnership

We're continuing to see huge benefits and tangible results for the organisations we are working with that are utilising HubSpot as part of their integrated digital and social media strategy. As a HubSpot agency partner, we are helping our clients build out strategies that include a clear understanding of the customer and the customer lifecycle by integrating the HubSpot CRM. This then connects directly to the development of creative strategy and optimises creative, channel performance, media performance, ROAS, and informs ongoing optimisation. More information and how we achieve this is here.

So it's no surprise to us that HubSpot was recently named a Leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for B2B Marketing Automation Platforms for the third consecutive year. Marketing Hub, HubSpot’s marketing software, is powered by its Smart CRM, unifying data and leveraging HubSpot AI to help marketers craft personalized journeys that attract, engage and delight customers and prospects. Customers using Marketing Hub for six months have seen an 81% increase in deal close rate, 108% increase in web traffic, and 115% increase in leads.*** You can read more about the Gartner B2B award here.

If you're interested in understanding how Now We Collide is using HubSpot as part of our broader service offering and how it can impact your digital and social marketing efficiencies and drive customer growth, please drop us a line.

December 4, 2023

The Creative Store: Creative Talk with Ryan Bodger

Now We Collide is a Sydney, Australia-based creative agency that is embracing AI as part of their everyday.  We talk to Ryan Bodger, co-founder and now the CCO about navigating AI via their arm Collide-AI and what this entails.

Appeared in THE CREATIVE STORE newsletter.

Ryan, give us the backstory – who are you and where did you come from?

A couple of decades ago, I started out as a junior broadcast cameraman and video editor at the Nine Network, where I stayed for a few years until the transition to a new digital world took hold through the dot com bubble in the late ’90s. In 1998 I co-founded the digital agency Tricky Design (now 24digital.com.au) and delivered campaigns and projects for high profile clients including Telstra, IBM and NAB (to name a few).

In 2003 I was given the opportunity to work in Japan as the Digital Creative Director for Nikkei Net, Japan’s largest news corporation, taking the lead in the redesign and development of Nikkei Net’s English website.

In 2006 I landed back in Sydney and went on to co-found Now We Collide with business partner and CEO Keir Maher in 2015, where I now work as CCO, with an awesome team, overseeing and delivering digitally integrated campaigns and projects for a broad range of great clients.

You have a great range of clients – do you focus on certain sectors, or enjoy the breadth and variety?

We are lucky in that the client partnerships we have built over the years have continued to grow and prosper. We have really spent the time nurturing them, helping them achieve their business goals while building strong relationships. While we don’t focus on particular verticals we specialise in helping big global brands deliver their marketing efforts across APAC and other regions. 

Your website states you are pioneers in the field of AI – how are you working in the AI space?

Right now we are witnessing the rapid advancement of deep neural networks in language, image, audio and video synthesis, resulting in remarkably precise, realistic, and customisable outputs. What was once blurry and low-resolution has now transformed into highly realistic and aesthetically impressive imagery, ushering in a new era of synthetic media. In late 2022 we setup Collide-AI driven by a passion to test, experiment and learn what this new technology can do, while seeing an opportunity to bring it into our everyday workflow.

How do you see the future of AI changing the face of a typical agency?

At COLLIDE-AI we believe that AI is not the creative solution for all projects or briefs. It doesn't provide all the answers, or simply replace more traditional creative development or production, nor should it. It is our belief that AI should be adopted as another creative tool for brands and marketers to get their message to market, at speed, in unique and exciting ways. We are conscious of the ethical issues surrounding its use and ensure we are not using it in the wrong way, using specific artists as reference for style and output. What is incredible about generative AI is the way we can come up with new ideas we may never of dreamed of in a much shorter period of time. This is based on how we are using it, prompting and engineering our outputs. It is not a simple process of prompting a few words in and hoping for the best. The processes we use, especially for AI video, is quite complex and uses a number of tools and techniques to get results that push the boundaries. In terms of the future and changing face of the typical agency, I think it is up to agencies to find the AI tools that suit their style or approach best, to find ways to adapt. There is no value in sticking your head in the sand and being stuck in old ways, the game has definitely changed.

Covering Content Marketing – Do you recommend HubSpot as the main tool? How & why would you recommend this CRM for clients?

We work with our clients from developing initial strategy, through to creative and ideation, content creation and media distribution. HubSpot is a fantastic platform to help us understand how all this comes together to achieve objectives and gain insights on what's working and how to optimise. HubSpot connects marketing activities, with sales, content management and customer service - so it really allows us to see the full customer lifecycle and understand the impact of marketing throughout all those stages. We work closely with our clients to ensure they are getting the best out of the software and we collaborate to gain insights, plan and optimise marketing activities.

What has been your most exciting creative to work on to date?

As a person with a life long love of playing and watching basketball, a campaign we recently delivered was for ESPN, creating their brand platform ‘Your Home For Hoops’. This initiative has been in development for a few years now and it has been exciting to see it unfold through such a strong period of growth for basketball in Australia. I’d like to think the campaigns we have run for ESPN, NBA, NBL, NBA Basketball School in Australia have helped to fuel this interest and growth. What has been most exciting about it, is the opportunity it has given us to push the creative boundaries and experiment with many different ideas, production techniques and concepts. You can check out some of the work here.

How do you curate a positive culture at Now We Collide?

By being open, honest and collaborative with our clients, our team and everyone we come into contact. Early Fridays' in summer, flexible working, rostered birthdays off, fun events, regular 'community days' where we give back to the community, the odd long lunch and gatherings and a passion for nurturing ideas and creativity also helps.

Do you look to other companies / have a mentor – whether that is in Australia or overseas?

I’ve been lucky enough to end up with a business partner who at times acts as a mentor, keeps my wandering creative mind on the straight and narrow and ensures things are as much about function as well as form.

As far as other companies go for inspiration I have always had a curiosity for tech-enabled creativity, so am always on the lookout for people, agencies or artists doing new, incredible things, be it here or overseas. I feel like the space for creative innovation is now more exciting than it has ever been before. 

How has 2023 been for you?  What are you looking forward to in 2024?

2023 has been exciting but challenging. Coming out of Covid posed many new challenges. I felt empathy for employees and clients who had effectively been working in a bubble for over two years, while this year gave people an opportunity to properly reconnect and travel again without as many rules and restrictions. I think people came into 2023 feeling quite restless with a need to explore again. As an agency, we doubled in size during COVID so it was a tricky juggle to find new talent and integrate them into the business. 2023 has opened things back up and brought the team back into the office, which is so important as a creative agency. 2024 will be another exciting year for us with many new and exciting projects currently in the pipes set to launch in the new year. 

Last words?

Collide-AI watch this space.

August 5, 2023

Threads – suddenly you’ve got huge scale instantly, which no other ‘Twitter killer’ has been able to achieve.

August 5, 2023 - Article featured in MediaWeek

Last month, Meta launched Threads, the app widely reported to be a ‘Twitter Killer’ – or perhaps now, an ‘X killer’. 

As an app, Threads is more focused on text and dialogue, with Meta saying that the platform “offers a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations.”

With the app now out there in the world, Mediaweek caught up with Keir Maher, managing partner at Now We Collide – Meta’s local agency of record.

“It’s been interesting – Meta have come back really strongly this year,” Maher says, reflecting on how the year has been for Meta so far. “ It’s good for us to be part of that journey after last year’s ups and downs across the tech industry, I don’t think anybody was really out of the firing line for that.

“It’s been good to be back this year, and with things like Threads launching, it just means there’s more to come.”

Now We Collide works with Meta as part of their B2B side of the business, and in that space, Maher says that the team have been pleased with the launch of Threads.

Everybody is blown away by how quick the take up has been, in terms of the interest that there’s been from creators’ brands. ChatGPT had the fastest growth ever, and now three months later, that’s been blown out of the water by 10 million new users in six hours.

“I think it was a super smart move from Meta to make it so easy for people to access Threads through their Insta account, and at the touch of a button say, ‘Yes, I want to follow everyone that follows me on Insta, and everyone that’s on Insta that follows me can follow me on Threads’. Suddenly what you’ve got is huge scale straight away, which no other ‘Twitter killer’ has been able to achieve, because they’ve had to build scale from scratch.”

The ‘Twitter killer’ – or perhaps ‘X killer now – label has been following Threads since it first launched, however, Maher says that anyone who is pushing that line probably hasn’t spent much time on Threads.

A lot of people are saying it’s a Twitter killer because it’s the same as Twitter – they haven’t used it if they’re saying that, because it’s not the same as Twitter. You can’t use hashtags for content discovery yet, which is what drives Twitter. There’s no area within Threads to find trending content at the moment, it’s a single feed, whereas Twitter is all about picking news trends, sports trends, and music trends in their native menu – there is no native menu in Threads yet for that.”

When it comes to the rapid take-up of Threads – the app took only 5 days to record 100 million users – Maher says that Now We Collide will always focus on the value equation, because “there needs to be some kind of value equation between the consumer and the platform itself.” With some very famous backers of the app, however, he’s feeling positive about the future.

“You’ve got Chris Hemsworth with 3.7 million followers already on the platform, Tourism Australia, they’re on there with 155,000, you’ve got Nike with 2.5 million followers, you’ve got Netflix with 3 million followers. Even Anthony Albanese is on there with 51,000 followers. The fact that you’ve got all these content creators already there means you’ve got brands looking for that first-mover advantage. We’ve been talking to the partners and the clients that we have on how they can take that first-mover advantage, experiment with the platform, and see where it goes.”

While Meta isn’t offering advertising to clients just yet, Maher says that it could be a service that is just over the horizon.

“There’s still more development to come. At the moment, they’re not offering advertising to clients, so that first mover advantage is from an organic point of view – what can clients do to test, learn, and experiment while they’re building out? Threads are saying that monetisation is not a priority for them at all this year, Zuck himself is saying that his vision for Threads is to create an open and friendly public space for conversation. 

“Meta has very good ad tech tools, they’ve got the tech stack, they’ve got the tools for finding people and delivering relevant advertising messages. It makes sense that over time that could possibly come in, but at the moment there are no plans to do that in the foreseeable future.”

Published by

Keir Maher

Now We Collide - Managing Partner

December 13, 2022

‘Experience the Unforgettable’ with BridgeClimb Sydney

BridgeClimb Sydney is putting one of Australia’s most iconic experiences back on the itinerary of international travellers, with a new campaign from independent creative agency Now We Collide. 

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November 25, 2022

Cocentric – Unlock the Best in People

Now We Collide launches campaign unveiling new name and look for digital transformation business Cocentric. Independent creative agency Now We Collide has worked with digital employee experience company Azuronaut to rebrand, creating a new name - Cocentric - brand values and visual identity.  Cocentric improves the digital employee experience, bringing people and tech together to […]

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November 11, 2022

Vertical video keeps soaring

Just over 2 years ago we wrote about the Rise of Vertical Video and how we saw it as “one of the biggest opportunities for brands” at the time. Shift forward 2 years and it's clear that the prediction has become a reality. During that time we have seen the exponential growth of Instagram Reels, in 2021 Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram announced a focus on video and the tripling of Reels maximum running length to 90 seconds (while ads have a maximum running length of 60 seconds) – with over 1 billion active Instagram users every month the move into vertical mobile video has been one of the driving forces behind the success. Reels has now been expanded to Facebook as well which in turn increases the views and discoverability of Reels across both platforms.

Ultimately though, Reels was a response to the growth of what was then a new-comer to the vertical video scene – TikTok. TikTok has grown rapidly and whilst we recognised 2 years ago that they were a serious competitor to the incumbent leaders in social video at the time (Facebook and YouTube) we didn’t foresee quite how big they would get. In fact, data from the recent Hootsuite / We Are Social report shows that TikTok now leads in average time per month spent in app across Android devices globally:

TikTok’s undoubted success has been driven by their AI algorithm and the ability to curate and recommend the most relevant content to keep viewers hooked and scrolling for more. In this sense, TikTok has become a quasi social media and entertainment platform in one. TikTok now has over 1 billion monthly active users itself and is projected to reach somewhere between $8bn - $12bn in ad revenue in 2022.

Not to be out-done, in late 2020 YouTube launched their own YouTube Shorts vertical video and short-from platform for videos 60 seconds and less. YouTube Shorts is already driving 1.5bn monthly views and has in our eyes the advantage over both Instagram and TikTok in that it plugs into both the creator community of YouTube and the overall Google ecosystem, particularly search. Demand for YouTube Shorts has been soaring, in April this year Google CEO, Pichai announced that YouTube Shorts, is generating 30 billion views per day, which is four times more than the same time a year earlier.

So what does all this mean for brands and advertisers? In a word, plenty. There are the obvious creative ramifications we discussed in our original article – vertical video needs to be filmed or produced with the vertical 9:16 format front of mind mind – utilising all the available pixel space to maximise engagement with a feeling that is native to viewing and platform experience. With videos across all vertical platforms primarily watched with sound-on, this means that dialogue, sound and sound design has become more important than ever and revokes many of the previous recommendations around creating for a sound-off viewing experience.

This also means that video content including people and dialogue directly to camera within the creative has become more important than ever – driven by the success of a plethora of content creators – and for advertisers this is an important consideration. We have run a number of organic and paid campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube in which we have A/B tested different creative and we have interesting findings where for certain categories and demographics, people speaking directly to camera and engaging with audience one-to-one, have significantly out-performed all other creative.

One thing we have also been working on as an agency is optimising video creative for 95%+ or 100% video completions. This is because the video platforms are often optimised to reporting on a 3 second or up to 6 second video view and while this might be relevant for the platforms themselves to report on, this isn't necessarily a true gauge of how consumers are interacting with a brands content or ads. While there has been lots written on the demise of the average attention span there is also plenty of evidence available to confirm that if you reach the right people, at the right time with content that is relevant and of interest/engaging, they will dedicate as much time as needed. So we believe a truer reflection of campaign success is to understand and report on those higher video completion rates and optimise the creative and media strategy accordingly.

Data from numerous campaigns we have run here at Now We Collide over the last 2 years has shown that the growth in vertical video has been accompanied by much higher video viewing completion rates and the associated cost efficiencies which can be achieved and by optimising video to the vertical format, even higher engagement and efficiencies can be achieved.

So for now at least the rise of vertical video continues and is now an essential part of any digital and social media strategy and should be integrated into the channel mix accordingly.

October 17, 2022

ESPN on Foxtel – Sport Never Ends

US sports have continued their growth trajectory in Australia with numerous studies showing both participation and viewership have increased markedly. While demographics of fans skew younger than the average Aussie sports fan, the growth in US sports has been driven by both younger fans entering the market and existing sports fans being attracted from other codes.

Beginning in September with the NFL, and followed closely by the NBA & NHL, ESPN gives sports fans access to some of the world’s most prestigious leagues. Combine that with the MLB playoffs and the ever present UFC and you have all the drama, action and intrigue that sport fans know and love. So, while Aussie football codes such as the AFL and NRL finish up their respective seasons, sports fans from across all codes are safe in the knowledge that “Sport Never Ends”.

Targeting Foxtel subscribers, Now We Collide produced a campaign to show Australian sports fans the common ground amongst all sporting codes - although the games might differ in style, they’re packed with emotional storylines. From the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows, fans return each season to right the wrongs from seasons past or to witness teams build on the dynasties that will be remembered forever. This is the same for every sport, everywhere and with ESPN on Foxtel, this can be done anytime. 

The integrated campaign features 3 broadcast TV commercials run across the Foxtel platform to retain existing subscribers and this was supported by print, digital display, and social media, with all creative, design and assets produced by the team at Now We Collide. The team took inspiration from recent US sporting events, and used game footage supplied by ESPN to create a narrative campaign that all sports fans can relate to. The creative is held together with motion graphics that combined elements from both the ESPN and Foxtel brand to create a familiar but unique art direction. 

Services

  • Creative Development
  • Campaign strategy
  • Art Direction
  • Copywriting
  • Production / post-production
  • Motion Graphics

Credits

  • Marketing Mgr Au/NZ ESPN - Mark Porter
  • Sports Marketing Manager - Foxtel - Emily Peake
  • Executive Producer - Keir Maher
  • Chief Creative Officer - Ryan Bodger
  • Producer - Shayne Carter
  • Art Director - Tim Prosser
  • Editor - Josh Groom

Check our integrated social media campaign for ESPN on Kayo here.

August 2, 2022

Cross-border creativity and the landscape for content production has shifted.

Appearing in Mumbrella

Five years ago, if you’d suggested to your boss that all staff should work half their week at home, I reckon you’d have been met with raised eyebrows.

But things have changed fast and employers have come to see hybrid work not just as something that’s viable – they’re now viewing it as genuinely advantageous.

This shift in how many in our industry are operating is just one reason why indie agencies have shone so brightly over the past few years.

We are now increasingly seeing how important agility is to powering innovation and delivering results. Speed to insight plus the ability to adapt and move quickly has become critical, and smaller agencies typically work without the legacy baggage of larger, traditional agencies.

The playing field has levelled between indies and larger global agency networks. Why? Technology improvements, shifts in the way we work, and access to global resources such as talent, research, software, hardware – you name it – mean clients no longer need to rely on big players to coordinate international creative ad campaigns.

The game has changed, permanently

The events of the last two years years caused a seismic shift in the way agencies needed to support their clients and this has continued into 2022. Indie agencies with a willingness to adapt have been able to thrive throughout thanks to a number of factors which were already in play, but have now become even more significant.

The first is their ability to leverage a satellite network of talented experts. These highly skilled and experienced professionals provide invaluable support, with small agencies better placed to flexibly choose who they engage for appropriate projects.

Additionally, with the advent of more advanced virtual work technologies, smaller, unencumbered agencies can more easily bring these experts into the fold to work in a more mutually productive way.

Secondly, I believe indies are uniquely positioned to deliver work remotely. In the past, large international agency networks had a monopoly on global client relationships, and great emphasis was placed on having many important people in rooms together.

But the game has changed. Now, a client in the UK typically cares a lot less if the agency they’re working with is in London or Sydney. And that’s a good thing, as it makes operations more efficient, opens up avenues to new talent, and drastically lowers overheads.

In this evolving context, we’ve seen a stack of indies doing great things lately. There’s a genuine ability to develop ideas and create content that is entirely market-specific, even when produced remotely.

A great example of this model succeeding is the ‘Checkout Catch’ campaign from Catch Group, supported by AJF GrowthOps. With both the agency’s creative team and Catch Group headquartered in Melbourne, they were faced with a challenge when a second lockdown was imposed. Ultimately, the campaign was shot in Queensland, but directed via real-time feedback from interstate – and the results didn’t suffer an iota.

Overseas examples are plentiful too. Remote filming worked a treat for US-based creative agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address. It produced terrific ads including Miller Genuine Draft’s ‘Unapologetically Beer’ and Shutterfly’s ‘Make it a Thing’ – both are well worth a look.

Staying creative and embracing adaptability

One of the reasons I chose this industry is because it is a ‘people’ industry – collaboration and human interaction are at the heart and that will always be the case.

However, now clients have more options than ever before to engage the right agency, they no longer have to hire the global agency group to get the best results. The playing field has been levelled and smaller agencies now have access to the same networks of expertise and resources.

The lesson of the last few years is that the old rules really no longer apply. Technology has shown us that businesses can thrive when their employees predominantly work from the comfort of their homes. Similarly, creative businesses don’t need to be leviathans to deliver brilliant results for their clients.

So if you don’t think you need a room full of VIPs to shoot the lights out with your next campaign, then consider what a smaller agency partner has to offer.

December 3, 2021

Meta works with Now We Collide to champion Aussie small businesses

Source: Mumbrella Bandt

Meta has partnered with creative agency, Now We Collide to showcase the strength and resilience of small businesses around Australia.

The campaign “Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found,” features the stories of four Australian businesses including Singing Magpie (SA), BoardSox (VIC), D-STILL Drinkware (QLD) and Survival Emergency Solutions (NSW).

Each story shows how the business found their own way to pivot and thrive through the pandemic, whether it was using Facebook or Instagram to start a new business, running personalised ads to find new customers or listening to customers to refine their offering. 

Notably, this is Meta’s first dedicated small business campaign in Australia since its re-brand in November.

Insights from Meta’s Dynamic Markets Report helped to inform the direction of the campaign, highlighting how Meta’s tools were used to help Australian entrepreneurs start a new business, pivot to new ways of working and grow online.

The report found that 82 per cent of Australian SMBs used Meta’s apps (Facebook and Instagram) to start their own business, while 64 per cent said that Meta’s apps were important to adapt to the changing business environment during the pandemic.

One of the most popular tools was the use of personalised ads which 71 per cent of SMB’s reported were important for the success of their business.

The campaign will feature across digital, print and out of home channels utilising a range of video and still assets.

“The approach we took allows the genuine journey of each business owner to really shine through and we hope they inspire others to understand what’s possible,” said managing partner and CEO, Now We Collide, Keir Maher.

Head of policy programs, Meta ANZ, Alisha Elliot also commented stating, “This campaign highlights the value of Meta’s tools and in particular, personalised advertising, to enable small businesses to participate in the digital economy with precision, impact and ensures their marketing investments are effective.”

Credits

Client: Meta

Head of Policy Programs ANZ – Alisha Elliott

Project Manager – Montana Cooper

SMB Marketing Manager – Meg Montgomery

Creative: Now We Collide

Executive Producer – Keir Maher

Chief Creative Officer – Ryan Bodger

Creative Director – Kurt Toohey

Producer – Amanda Cooton

Art Director – Kate O’Donnell

Copywriter – John Kerswell / Lyndon Christie

Director of Photography – Patrick Harris

Media: Dentsu X

Senior Media Director – Sonam Singh

Associate Media Director – Jose Pantangco

Media Executive – May Ng

November 26, 2021

Find The Blue Beer: An integrated campaign for Sauce Brewing Co

Loved by locals and enjoyed (responsibly) by craft beer enthusiasts, Sauce Brewing Co is an independent microbrewery in Sydney’s inner-west. Based in Marrickville, the brewery has developed a cult following amongst avid craft drinkers, highly regarded for its lineup of easy drinking ales and hop-heavy IPA’s.

As part of their ongoing growth, Sauce Brewing tasked Now We Collide to develop an integrated campaign to support the distribution of Caribbean Fog. Juiced up with Azacca and El Dorado hops, Caribbean Fog is a fruity, sessionable pale ale that’s recently found its way into the fridges of a number of key retailers.

To celebrate their entry into major bottle shops, Sauce Brewing launched ‘Find The Blue Beer’, a promotion to drive taste and trial of their summer friendly tropical ale. In the spirit of supporting a local Sydney business, Now We Collide joined the project to lead the strategy, creative, production and media distribution of the campaign. The team photographed and designed campaign material in-house, rolling out a suite of creative assets to feature across OOH, social media, digital and in-store POS. 

Taking an integrated approach to media, the campaign reached customers using hyper-targeted OOH with precinct and neighbourhood posters and targeted digital and social media to reach lovers of craft beer in Sydney locations. The team worked with Sauce Brewing to identify key audiences and used Facebook and Instagram targeting to reach customers based on location, demographics, interests and behaviours. The extensive social campaign also drove new followers to Sauce Brewing’s social pages, increasing brand awareness of their wider lineup of products and their craft brewery experience in Marrickville. 

blue beer now we collide campaign

To support the in-store promotion, we also created a suite of POS deliverables to appear in independent bottle shops and major alcohol retailers, to encourage trial of Caribbean Fog at point of purchase.

blue beer campaign now we collide agency

Through development of the ‘Find The Blue Beer’ campaign, Now We Collide helped Sauce Brewing to paint Sydney blue with it’s Caribbean Fog beer. With a strategic suite of OOH and social assets, the campaign increased brand awareness of the brewing credentials of Sauce Brewing, keeping their product top of mind for craft drinkers and beer lovers in search of their next taste adventure.

October 19, 2021

Navigating Purpose: The New ‘P’ of Marketing

Dust off the cover of any marketing textbook, inside you’ll find a familiar chapter focused on the ’Four Ps of Marketing’. For years, marketers and their brands have lived, died and thrived off a strategy directed by ‘Product, Price, Place and Promotion’. Since then, more ‘P’s have emerged including ‘People and Process’, however in the new age of conscious consumption powered by consumers willing to vote with their wallet, is it time to finally etch a new ‘P’ into the marketing mix?

A P for Purpose.

Purpose, it’s a term that continues to trend throughout the industry. In the last five years we have witnessed a flood of brands reevaluating their brand positioning, based on the need to (or at least appear to) align with stronger ethical, environmental and societal standards.

The push has largely been driven by consumers, a recent study suggests shoppers are four to six times more likely to buy, trust or champion companies with a strong ‘brand purpose’. The stat is a telling explanation as to why brand books around the world are currently being rewritten and reimagined in the era of conscious consumption.

But which consumers have ignited this shift?

The need for brands to reconsider their ethical standpoint has largely been driven by younger consumers, the digital zoomers of Generation Z. Data shows that 62% of Gen Z prefer to buy sustainable brands, while 72% are more likely to support a company that contributes to social causes. With Generation Z’s combined disposable income predicted to increase almost seven-fold to $3.2 trillion in 2030, it’s no wonder marketers are reassessing the need to publicly align to a strong set of values.

Whilst sustainability remains a present concern for all demographics, the data suggests the presence of a mental divide between generations. In the same data set, only 54% of Generation X and 39% of Baby Boomers identified sustainability as an important factor that influenced their purchasing behaviour. So while brands transition to market their ‘clean green credentials’, a reminder that for many older consumers, the four classic P’s are still as relevant as ever. 

So how can brands ensure they set themselves up for success, through the lens of Purpose? In an era of radical transparency, it can be argued that brands must ensure their claims are authentic and backed by tangible actions. 

Armed with smartphones and a desire to achieve social justice, Gen Z have been likened to a generation of online sleuths, unafraid to conduct some amateur detective work. We’ve already witnessed numerous examples of brands being held to account, even #cancelled, due to their unethical brand practices appearing at odds with their public perception.

Luxury fashion label Coach was recently caught out for slashing and destroying unsold product, in a set of viral Tik Toks by New York influencer @thetrashwalker. The practice that some have linked to an effort to avoid paying tax, spurned widespread criticism of the High Street fashion house. Consumers were quick to point out that the practice seemed to contradict Coach's new (Re)Loved campaign, which championed the brands commitment to sustainability and recycled goods. So while the brand attempted (unsuccessfully) to navigate the subsequent PR nightmare, battered and bruised it was clear that severe damage had already been done.

Beyond sustainability, marketers are increasingly reevaluating their brand positioning to ensure their ‘Purpose’ is aligned to broader public sentiment. Nike has been one of the most visible pioneers of the practice with their 2018 Dream Crazy campaign featuring American civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick. Closer to home, we’ve seen numerous examples of brands making a conscious decision to reimagine themselves, going as far to rename their products to ensure their company values represent modern community standards. From a popular confectionery giant changing the names of key products, to a major cookware and grocery brand ditching a ‘celebrity chef’ over inexcusable conduct, brands are constantly reassessing their partnerships and the public causes they associate with. From this point onwards, it seems vital that brands look inwards, rather than outwards when engaging with partners.

One of the most important things brands need to ask themselves is:

  • What is it we are aligning to? 
  • Is this a cause or social practice that we are making conscious effort to address within our own business? 
  • What tangible actions can we make to ensure our effort is beyond virtue signalling?

Without thorough examination of the state of their own backyard, brands are exposing themselves to significant risk whilst appearing disingenuous in their communications. In contrast, within Australia we’ve seen a number of forward thinking brands build success off a well established brand purpose. Numerous companies have grown substantially, thanks to a strategy driven by values and the ability to cultivate a loyal following of like minded customers. From tradie friendly workwear designed to support mental health, to a toilet paper startup raising significant capital, Aussies are onboard with brands committed to making a tangible difference. The skyrocketing growth should come as no surprise with studies indicating purpose-driven brands grow on average three times faster than their competitors. 

Now more than ever, it’s vital for brands and marketers to be considering the ethical, environmental and societal values that shape their business. In an era when shifts in markets can eventuate so rapidly, it’s vital for brands to be on the front foot with a clear and distinct set of values that publicly guide their business and differentiate themselves from competitors.

June 30, 2021

The New Green, Clean Ad Space: EV charging stations as advertising

Source: Volt Charging

The perfect partnership. In the US, Volta Charging (a commercial network of EV charging stations) has partnered with the largest electricity provider in southern California and Albertsons grocery stores to advertise the benefits of driving electric vehicles. The partnership sees Volta’s eye-catching digital displays function as a sophisticated media network to promote the shift to sustainable technology. Located in front of grocery stores, Volta’s charging stations allow customers to charge their cars whilst they shop, offering an easy win-win for early adopters of electric vehicles.

It’s great to see new advertising opportunities emerge thanks to the development of more publicly available charging stations. Whilst Australia’s rollout of EV technology is slow compared to the rest of the developed world, it will be interesting to see how quickly outdoor media companies jump on the opportunity to advertise on these vital pieces of public infrastructure. For the last few years in Australia, consumers have been served commercials from digital screens at prime urban service stations. Val Morgan currently boasts a national network of 3,000 ‘On-the-go’ screens that reach a total audience of over 12 million consumers. Will they be the first to offer similar technology here in Australia when EV charging stations become more readily available? Charge Fox currently boasts Australia’s largest EV network and is aiming to have 5,000+ stations by 2025, this would potentially create a sizable network of DOOH sites. 

How consumers react and interact with these public assets being used as outdoor advertising mediums is open for debate. Is there a possibility that these spaces are reserved only for brands that have a good track record when it comes to environmental policy? Would it be safe to assume consumers would be unimpressed if brands with a poor history of plastic pollution such as Nestle or Coca Cola began to use the medium? It’s difficult to imagine how a brand marketing their latest bottled water made with harmful plastics, could appear on technology that fundamentally promotes sustainability. Technology may also play a part with the potential for interactivity between the EV DOOH sites and users or the cars themselves - with cars now having multiple large screens inside and a 20 minute + dwell time for charging, it’s possible that media (such as video, gaming etc) could be served to the in-car experience via wifi or other technology.

Furthermore, we are predicting this new media space would initially be best suited to target high value consumers, as the current price point of electric vehicles in Australia means the products are reserved for those with a higher income. Would EV charging station media be best suited to market the latest Bose headphones, whilst a local service station markets a budget headphone option from JBL? We could potentially see the targeting of demographics play out quite openly on our local streets. As Australia catches up with the transition to electric vehicle technology, we will be keeping a close eye on the potential opportunities afforded to brands who could appear on these highly valuable public assets.

December 11, 2018

YouTube growth & John Lewis’ Christmas TV commercial

YouTube has made another big move into 'social video' launching a new Stories feature for creators with over 10k subscribers. Following the huge success of Instagram Stories (er…sorry, Snap) it was only a matter of time before the YouTube team launched their version.

Using FashionByAlly, who has nearly 1 million YouTube subscribers, as an example of how stories can be created and shared. It will be interesting to see the options this will present to brands and businesses both natively and through advertising.

Facebook Watch is now offering in-stream commercials and with the growth of Instagram Stories and IGTV, YouTube clearly sees the threat to their revenue. It will be fascinating to see how this one plays out.

The power of YouTube to attract new eyeballs

An eye-opening article from the team at Venture Beat highlights the power of YouTube for attracting new eyeballs in emerging markets. In India, this means YouTube reaches 245 million unique active viewers each month and a further 74 million in Indonesia. That's phenomenal numbers. It shows how digital video is becoming a regular part of the lives of audiences in emerging markets. It presents challenges for both incumbents and new entrants like Netflix alike, who see these markets as the future of their growth - read the full story here.

A TV commercial worth watching

Not only the traditional ad-world but the wider public alike was a-buzz recently with the anticipated launch of John Lewis 2018 Christmas TV commercial. It proves that when 'advertising' is done well it can entertain instead of annoy. The TV commercial already has 10 million+ views on YouTube. Hats off to John Lewis and the team for investing over the long term. For all the nerds out there, check out the 'Making of The Boy and The Piano' TV commercial.

https://youtu.be/5cA7RjKcbk8

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