Allow us to save you $2,000 and two days out of the office.... Here's what we learned last week at Mumbrella 360 ("Australia's biggest media and marketing event"). Note: all quotes are paraphrased to the best of our ability - we can only write so fast - and should not be taken as verbatims!
#1. ASSERT YOUR TERRITORY... SIMPLY
Legendary ad man Ted Horton’s keynote opened the conference. The founder of agency Big Red (most famous for Coles’ “Down Down” campaign) emphasised the need for “less fluff; more integrity in the message.” He urged brands to “assert your territory” and then “re-assert your territory” – as Coles did when it stopped selling beef with hormones. With everyone being too busy and distracted these days, a clear, consistent and simple message can cut through – it doesn’t always have to be mind-bogglingly creative.
#2. DESTROY YOUR COMPANY FROM WITHIN
MOST HERETIC IDEA: Funny enough, the most provocative idea shared at Mumbrella 360 didn’t come directly from the conference, but rather when Kerry Taylor, SVP at Viacom/MTV, shared something Kathryn Parsons of Decoded told her: “Start a business inside your business who’s main aim is to destroy your legacy business.” If you’re the taxi industry, it’s better if Uber comes from you than an outsider. Same goes for the hotel industry (AirBnb) and car hire (witness Hertz now playing catch-up with GoGet through its Hertz 24/7 knock-off).
#3. MOST INNOVATIVE PANEL: CMO CONFIDENTIAL
Four CMOs were hidden behind a curtain and had the pitch of their voices heightened or lowered so the audience wouldn’t know who they were. Whilst they shared tales of agencies behaving badly (copying work, booze-fueled nights) they also offered straight-forward advice:
- “To get on my radar, show me results of your work – not just a list of your clients.”
- “A relationship is stale when you start putting juniors on my account, show complacency, and make me sweat the small stuff like typos.”
- “Go beyond creativity: Bring me data, insights and opportunities. Boston Consulting Group can charge $200K a month, but they promise to deliver 10 times that in ROI.”
#4. Best Marketing Metaphor
In the Humanising Data session, big data experts Lucy Acheson and Simone Blakers from RAPP did a great job explaining how big data “is like looking at the universe of stars in the sky and being able to find the patterns that provide the brightest opportunities.” They also stressed the importance of creativity, saying advertising is still “…more Mad Men, less Math Men.”
#5. LESS IS MORE... EXCITING
Steve Coll, ECD at Droga5, talked about the tightening of budgets as an opportunity to create better work: “When you have to do more with less, it’s an exciting mindset to approach challenges with.” We really love applying this concept to market research since there are so many old, expensive ways to get insights that ultimately aren’t as good as the more nimble, digital tools out there.
#6. THE 7 PLOTS OF ANY STORY
"Storytelling" is definitely this year's buzz word, with plenty of people paying lip service to it, but not always acting on it. So it was refreshing to hear husband and wife team David Morgan and Rowena Millward of Morgan share the 7 basic story plots, lifted from a 2004 book by Christopher Booker. For any marketer that enjoys brand archetypes, they should look into the book to understand if their brand is telling the story of Rags to Riches, Quest, Comedy, Tragedy, Overcoming the Monster, Rebirth or Journey/Return. (We at The Insights Grill see our brand story as "overcoming the monster": all the dreadfully dull market research that’s being done out there)
#7. FAVOURITE EXAMPLE: AMAZON ECHO
This came out last November but somehow slipped past our radars. We think it's a great example of artificial intelligence, which was another key theme coming out of the conference:
#8. THE PROBLEM WITH THE "PAID OWNED AND EARNED" FRAMEWORK
UM CEO Mat Baxter raised a good point about the Paid, Owned and Earned framework that has been the darling of agencies for the past 5 years or so: “Everything we do is Earned. Even a print ad needs to earn your attention.” The litmus test of everything you do should be: Will this get news coverage? Will this get shared?
#9. ADAM FERRIER ON THE PRATFALL EFFECT
Adam Ferrier (Consumer psychologist and global chief strategy officer at Cummins & Partners) said some very ‘schmart things as you’d expect, explaining:
1. The Pratfall Effect: the human tendency to like a person or brand more after they’ve made a mistake – and owned up to it. Think Jennifer Lawrence falling as she goes up to accept her Oscar, or Apple Maps after its terrible bug-heavy launch: “We screwed up.”
2. The need for using the scientific method in advertising: Observe > Create hypotheses > Experiment > Analyse > Modify & Repeat. He said Experimenting is the one most lacking. The great thing about consumer research is we can help companies employ more of this approach through A/B testing and scenario simulations.
3. He also announced the launch of a Consumer Psychology Interest Group in conjunction with the Australian Psychological Society. If you'd like to be involved click here.
#10. RISE OF THE CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER
The 2-day event ended with Mumbrella Question Time with a panel of heavyweight pros like Darren Woolley from the Australian Marketing Institute, Mia Freedman of Mamamia Women’s Network, Robert Morgan of Clemenger Group and John Sintras of Starcom. All agreed it’s the era of “disrupt or be disrupted” and pointing out that the Chief Customer Officer is the fastest growing C-Suite job in the US today (more than 25% of Fortune 100 companies now have one).
Throughout the conference, customer-centricity was an ongoing theme: the better you know them, the better you are able to craft products, services, content, and messaging (brand stories!) that will appeal to them. Here's a list of things we can do to help your organisation become more customer-centric in the new financial year.
And… let us know if you went to Mumbrella 360 and learned anything else – next year we’ll send 4 people to cover the 4 different tracks – it was hard to pick which sessions to attend.