What Does the News Media Bargaining Code Mean for Australian Publishers?

What Does the News Media Bargaining Code Mean for Australian Publishers?

Update – 2nd September, 2020 – Facebook has officially responded to the draft news media bargaining code by saying in an announcement, “…we will reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook and Instagram.” Will Easton, managing director, Facebook Australia & New Zealand said that, “Most perplexing, it would force Facebook to pay news organisations for content that the publishers voluntarily place on our platforms and at a price that ignores the financial value we bring publishers.” Easton is referring to Facebook’s figures that in the first five months of 2020, they sent 2.3 billion clicks from their News Feed back to Australian news websites at no charge – additional traffic they worth an estimated $200 million AUD to Australian publishers. He says that the proposed “new regulation misunderstands the dynamics of the internet and will do damage to the very news organisations the government is trying to protect.” Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg was steadfast in his response: “We’re committed to these reforms – we won’t be bullied, no matter how big the international company is, no matter how powerful they are, no matter how valuable they are.”

 

THE draft news media bargaining code has been released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in an attempt to force Facebook and Google to pay for the news content they publish on their platforms.

It’s a world first as far as legislating for the powerful tech platforms to compensate news publishers for their journalism. 

The draft code, if adopted, will allow eligible Australian media organisations to bargain with Google and Facebook to secure fair payment for their news content. The code isn’t mandating how much should be paid, but rather providing a compulsory negotiating process. 

If the news businesses and the digital platforms cannot strike a deal through a formal three-month negotiation and mediation process, then an independent arbitrator would choose which of the two parties’ final offer is the most reasonable within 45 business days.

This would ensure disagreements about payment for content are resolved quickly. Deals on payment could be reached within six months of the code coming into effect if arbitration is required.

The draft code would also allow groups of media businesses to collectively negotiate with the platforms. This could include, for example, regional and community mastheads.

“There is a fundamental bargaining power imbalance between news media businesses and the major digital platforms, partly because news businesses have no option but to deal with the platforms, and have had little ability to negotiate over payment for their content or other issues,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“In developing our draft code, we observed and learned from the approaches of regulators and policymakers internationally that have sought to secure payment for news.”

“We wanted a model that would address this bargaining power imbalance and result in fair payment for content, which avoided unproductive and drawn-out negotiations, and wouldn’t reduce the availability of Australian news on Google and Facebook.”

“We believe our proposed draft code achieves these purposes,” Mr Sims said.

“Nothing less than the future of the Australian media landscape is at stake with these changes.” Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

Regulators and governments have become increasingly concerned at the digital platforms’ market power and the slashing of revenues by legacy news outlets in the wake of this dominance. 

In May, Nine chairman and former federal treasurer Peter Costello said that a code of conduct should force the companies to pay about $600 million a year to Australian media companies. 

This estimate seems extremely optimistic for an expected payday, however, with expected blow-back from Google and Facebook.

Melanie Silva, managing director and VP, Google Australia & New Zealand said, “We’re concerned that the draft Code does not create incentives for both publishers and digital platforms to negotiate and innovate for a better future. 

“The Code also discounts the already significant value Google provides to news publishers across the board – including sending billions of clicks to Australian news publishers for free every year worth $218 million.”

Facebook Australia said it was examining the proposed legislation before it would publicly comment.

“We are reviewing the government’s proposal to understand the impact it will have on the industry, our services and our investment in the news ecosystem in Australia,” Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director Will Easton said.

In its response to the code concepts paper in June, Facebook outlined some of the benefits it says it provides to news publishers in Australia:

“Facebook’s commitment to sensible regulatory frameworks for digital news is in line with the significant support we provide to the Australian news ecosystem. Our support for publishers comprises: free organic distribution of news on our platforms that grows the audience for news publishers; customised tools and products to help news publishers monetise their content; initiatives to assist publishers to innovate with online news content; direct investments by commissioning Australian news content that can appear on online services, including Facebook; and the indirect value to publishers such as brand awareness and community-building.”

news media bargaining code

Australian News Media Rejoice

Michael Miller, News Corp Australia executive chairman said, “While other countries are talking about the tech giants’ unfair and damaging behaviour, the Australian Government and the ACCC are taking world-first action. I congratulate them for their leadership.

“The tech platforms’ days of free-riding on other peoples’ content are ending. They derive immense benefit from using news content created by others and it is time for them to stop denying this fundamental truth.

“The ACCC’s draft Code of Conduct is a watershed moment; it can force the platforms to play by the same rules other companies willingly follow and it ultimately means they will no longer be able to use their power to walk away from negotiations with news creators.

“This code has the potential to benefit all Australians by securing the future for the people and companies who serve real communities with real news.

“I look forward to entering into negotiations with the platforms as soon as possible.”

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance has welcomed the draft bargaining code. It claims it is an overdue step to force Google and Facebook to compensate media organisations for content they have been using for free.

“For nearly two decades Google and Facebook have built enormous fortunes off the back of aggregating content that others have made and others have paid for,” said MEAA Media president Marcus Strom.

“It is a business model that has literally destroyed newsrooms around the world.

“It is time that free lunch comes to an end.”

Some other outcomes in the draft code include:

    • Minimum standards on non-payment related issues – for example, digital platforms would be required to give news media businesses 28 days’ notice of algorithm changes likely to materially affect referral traffic to news, algorithm changes designed to affect ranking of news behind paywalls, and substantial changes to the display and presentation of news, and advertising directly associated with news.
    • Clear information must be given to publishers about what sort of data is being collected including how long users spend on an article, number of articles consumed, and other engagement information.
    • The platforms would also be required to publish proposals for how they would recognise original news content on their services.
    • The ability for any news media business to prevent their news content being included on any individual digital platform.

The ABC and SBS are excluded from the remuneration process, as the government has said that advertising revenue is not the principal source of funding for public broadcasters. Anti-discrimination provisions are expected to prevent Google and Facebook from prioritising publicly-funded news to take advantage of this.

Google has previously firmly resisted paying for news, though it has said it will launch a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content for a new news experience launching later this year, with signed partnerships with local and national publications in Germany, Australia and Brazil.

The eyes of the publishing world will be on Australia as this mandatory code unfolds and is implemented, especially how Facebook and Google react, and if other platforms are subsequently included by the Australian government. 

 

ecommerce solutions

eWAY: Businesses Flock to eCommerce Solutions in Wake of COVID-19

Many Australian bricks-and-mortar businesses have taken flight to eCommerce in order to bolster their sales following restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 virus according to the latest figures revealed by Australian eCommerce payments provider, eWAY.

In the six-week period following the announcement of restrictions on the retail and hospitality sectors, eWAY saw a 369 per cent increase in applications from the hospitality sector, a 380 per cent increase from groceries and supermarkets, and a 233 per cent increase from beer, wine and liquor merchants. 

These increases were compared to the six week period prior to the announcement of restrictions.

eWAY Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Mark Healy said, “A lot of the businesses we see coming online were those that had more of a bricks and mortar presence, but due to the restrictions announced, had to pivot their businesses and look for alternate ways to process orders and take payments. 

“Some of the businesses we’ve been involved with in establishing their online payment functionality include a range of restaurants and cafes, fruit and vegetable retailers and butchers.

“Most of these already had a web presence, but not a true online retail capability.”

Mr Healy said that non-traditional eCommerce businesses such as local butcher shops were turning to web solutions to continue to trade with their customers and offer online ordering and secure payment. 

“Many of these businesses are now offering local delivery services and click-and-collect,” Mr Healy said. 

“We expect that these service options will become permanent in a lot of cases as businesses adapt to the changed landscape.

“The business knows that payment has been approved, so they can pack orders and thereby minimise physical human contact as well.”

Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers

One restaurant business which has adapted by using an eCommerce solution is Queensland’s Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers, with dining premises at Paddington, South Bank and Southport. 

Co-founders Ben Cleary-Corradini and Theo Roduner built their business from a two-person market stall in Brisbane serving fresh handmade gnocchi.  

“When the COVID-19 restrictions came in we had to close our dining operations, which constituted about 50 per cent of our revenue,” Ben Cleary-Corradini said.

“We had to look for other ways to continue to operate and keep our staff on. We had spent a lot of effort increasing our current online experience for customers and took the opportunity to launch our own home delivery service utilising eWAY’s all-in-one payment solution.

“As well as clawing back some of the lost revenue and improving margins with the takeaway side of our business, importantly it has meant we’ve been able to redeploy some of our staff and hang on to some of those jobs.”

Cleary-Corradini said that Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers has benefited significantly by becoming takeaway focused and being able to serve the community and loyal customers that wanted to support them.

Since launching in 1998, eWAY has become the dominant player in the Australian eCommerce space, processing more than 1 in 4 transactions in the market for businesses both large and small.

eWAY seamlessly integrates with hundreds of leading eCommerce shopping cart platforms and a network of custom integration development partners, providing a competitive advantage for any business that wants to grow through accepting digital payments.

managed workforce group

Back in the Managed Workforce Game: Darren Lockyer and Grant Wechsel

Large infrastructure, construction and resources projects expected to be fast-tracked for a critical post-COVID Australian economic rebuild will be the focus for Managed Workforce Group as it commences labour management operations in Australia.

Led by Grant Wechsel, who co-founded specialist mining services firm One Key Resources in 2010, and rugby league legend and experienced company director Darren Lockyer, the company will specialise in professionally managing large-scale blue-collar workforces.

Together, Wechsel and Lockyer grew One Key Resources from a start-up to achieving over $250 million in annual sales revenue before selling the business to an international buyer in 2016.

Managed Workforce Group’s services are delivered through three core brands: One Track Workforce, Mining Pro and Crew People.

Mining Pro delivers expert solutions to the coal mining sector while Crew People services the broader mining industry, both areas where the company’s executive team have a long history.

The group has also expanded its focus to major infrastructure and resource projects through its One Track Workforce business, with work beginning on major tunnel, rail and mining projects across Queensland and New South Wales immediately.

Grant Wechsel said: “We understand that managing large scale workforces is a specialty service that allows our client partners to focus on running safe, productive and profitable operations.

“We know what we do best, and we see a tremendous opportunity in the market in Australia.”

Wechsel said that many clients in the industries they supply are lacking service providers who innovate and consistently deliver.  He said, “We take ownership of our responsibilities, consistently innovate and collaborate with our clients and work hard to achieve positive outcomes.”

Wechsel is also excited to be reunited with Darren Lockyer.

“It’s great to have Darren on our team again,” he said. “He is the ultimate professional off the field; just like he was on it. We have worked together for over a decade now and built trusted partnerships with clients across Australia, so we are enjoying the opportunity to work together again.”

Darren Lockyer said: “I am excited to be on the Managed Workforce Team working with all the brands in the group.

“I have full confidence in Grant and our whole team who have the experience and focus to succeed.”

Wechsel believes that following a lot of consolidation in the labour hire industry that there is a gap there for companies to professionally manage large-scale blue-collar workforces, not just sourcing the personnel.

“We introduced the model previously to manage large scale workforces for our clients, so that they can focus on running their mine or project safely and profitably and not have to worry about all the workforce planning, HR compliance and management components.”

For more information on Managed Workforce Group and its services please visit: www.managedworkforcegroup.com

brand marketing

Brand Marketing More Important Than Ever

 

We’re officially living in the midst of a pandemic and almost everyone has been materially affected. Industries have been turned on their head and in some cases virtually collapsing overnight. Jobs have been lost and businesses shut. And, sadly, lives have been lost, too.

The impact on business and our daily lives has been immense and will continue for the foreseeable future. 

Business and marketing plans have been up-ended or scrapped altogether. Whilst marketing budgets mostly have been pared back in line with operating revenues, it’s imperative now more than ever that you don’t lose your voice, manage your reputation and provide clear information and solutions.

Don’t stop communicating 

Your customers need to still hear from you, now’s not the time to disappear from view, no matter how tough things are. 

Stay visible and engaged, it will help when we come out the other side. Everyone will need to rebuild and those that have maintained their profile and been as positive as possible will be better placed in this regard. Your customers will maintain their trust in you and appreciate hearing about your journey. 

People are feeling vulnerable right now and an empathetic approach is critical. Choose your tone carefully and impart your own lessons learned with simple advice. Keep up your regular content marketing program and engage with your customers across your platforms – your owned channels will be even more important to you. 

Be authentic

Consumers now more than ever will recognise authenticity and true purpose.

Feel-good content that alleviates anxiety and promotes positive messaging will go a long way to enhancing your brand. But a word of warning, you need to show that your contributions are material and not solely for commercial benefit.

No one expects you to have all the answers, but ensure you can back-up what you say you will do. Being able to deliver on your promises is crucial.  Examine your brand voice to see if it’s still appropriate or should be tweaked for the times. 

You are more likely to be remembered for your kindness and generous acts.

brand marketing

Be agile and adapt

Many people are engaging and interacting online for the first time and for others, their online habits are being reinforced and deepened.

You should consider what content people need and pivot with your creative messages accordingly. Listening and talking with your customers will give you immediate feedback about their needs and what they’re looking for from you.

Online marketing spend will increase naturally and take priority over many traditional forms of advertising spend. 

Social advertising spend will increase as people turn to their most trusted brands online for reassurance and reliable useful information. 

Importantly, track trends, measure sentiment and behaviour and adapt to the new way of working. Devise your plans for life beyond this pandemic and understand the impact on your industry and business and be prepared to lead in new ways. 

 

podcasting

The Rise and Rise of Podcasting

Podcasting is not new. However, what was once seen as a niche and hobbyist medium has well and truly gone mainstream. 

The art of audio storytelling has seemingly been given a shot in the arm through this format and embraced by content producers equally, from those at the kitchen table through to the larger media houses.

Many people first became aware of them when Apple over 15 years ago first offered over 3,000 free podcasts on iTunes. According to Forbes, there are now over 800,000 active podcasts with over 54 million podcast episodes available globally. 

With low production costs and few barriers to entry, podcasting as a medium is available to nearly everyone. The popularity of portable music players and smartphones has only made accessibility to podcasts easier.

podcastingMichele Levine, chief executive of research firm Roy Morgan, said podcasts are growing in popularity in Australia with nearly 10% of Australians now downloading audio or video podcasts in an average month:

“Podcasts are a relatively new part of the media landscape but are making an increasing impact as audiences for the service are on a steady growth track up an impressive 70% over the last four years to over 1.6 million Australians in 2019.

“The ability to listen to your favourite podcast while commuting to and from work and tuning out from the hustle and bustle on crowded public transport, or just relaxing in your spare time to catch up on what’s been happening in an area of personal interest is appealing to a growing number of Australians.”

Podcast rankings

As the attention of advertisers and brands follows, the seemingly fragmented world of podcasting and audience measurement is becoming more ordered, particularly with radio heavyweights embracing the platform. 

Late in 2019, Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) announced the launch of the first monthly Australian Podcast Ranker which sees Australia’s top 100 most-downloaded and listened to podcasts ranked each month. The monthly rankings can be accessed here.

The ranking was launched with a foundation group of podcast publishers including News Corp Australia, Podcast One Australia, Nova Entertainment, Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), Australian Radio Network (ARN), Macquarie Media and SEN/ Crocmedia.

The rankings are dominated by our larger entertainment groups, with many familiar names including Hamish and Andy at the top. True crime is continually popular with News Corp Australia’s series of crime podcasts ranking highly including The Nowhere Child and Who the Hell is Hamish? 

podcasting

How can podcasting benefit your brand? 

Have you considered podcasting as a means of engaging with your customers and seeking out new audiences? A podcast may well fit in with your brand strategy and content marketing program and provide the following benefits: 

Reach new audiences

Podcasting can help you reach new audiences, especially through recommendations and referrals from satisfied listeners. If your podcast provides relevant and informative listening chances are that others will value your show, even if they’re not currently a customer.

Building relationships with an audience

Even though a podcast provides a largely one-way stream, it’s a great way to speak directly to your audience and is considered quite a personal medium, much like quality radio programming. The audience has elected to opt in, so you have a good opportunity to keep their attention. 

Make your brand more real

If you avoid the temptation of the hard sell and instead provide an informative listening experience and make your listeners feel part of a community then your engagement levels will be high and this will be reflected in brand trust and confidence.

Accurate Analytics

The digital medium allows you to accurately measure engagement by tracking key statistics which may include, amongst others: 

  • number of listens for each episode
  • country or region they listen from
  • ratings and reviews
  • top-performing episodes
  • average length of listening. 
mining feasibility studies

Project Failures Highlight Importance of Critical Feasibility Studies

With a high failure rate among mining projects in Australia, more rigorous feasibility study standards that align to staged study objectives need to be mandated according to project management and advisory firm, Siecap.

“A robust feasibility study can make or break a project,” said Siecap Managing Director David Irvine. “It is critical in securing funding from investors and addressing the critical success factors of the project.

“It’s important to think strategically and consider what stage a project is at – concept, pre-feasibility, feasibility or bankable feasibility and understand the requirements and critical success factors to successfully move to the next stage, or move on altogether.

“Unfortunately, we see many mid-tier companies not getting this right in terms of striking the right balance with technical, commercial and social requirements with what they’re trying to achieve.”

A report from global consulting group McKinsey, Optimizing mining feasibility studies: The $100 billion opportunity, has found that more than four out of five mining projects came in over budget with over half recording an average budget overrun of 49% – and this was just for those projects that reached production phase.

So, what goes wrong?

There is no universal standard for feasibility studies and study processes remain largely unchanged in the past 20 years leading to an imbalance between technical, social and capital raising requirements.

“However, the parameters for projects have changed greatly; mines are becoming bigger, deeper, steeper, more remote and higher risk to develop owing to lengthy approval timing, community opposition or lack of social license and as a result, are far more susceptible to delays or cost overruns than ever before,” Irvine said.

“Too often, companies spend the wrong amount of time and money on misaligned concept and prefeasibility study stages, and not getting the correct balance of detail and certainty from the technical components than is warranted at this stage of the project.

“With project proponents’ appetite for risk generally at an all-time low, decision-makers are often trying to eliminate as much risk as possible, demanding increased detail and certainty, and this is driving costs in the feasibility phase.

“Where too much has been spent in the early studies phase, few companies or decision-makers have the confidence to walk away and can keep projects alive longer than justified.”

According to Siecap, risks are also often poorly understood. Strong experience will identify the fatal flaws and how sensitive a project is to volatile parameters like commodity prices or environmental concerns. Good project managers and experienced teams play the most valuable role in aligning and prioritising core elements of a good feasibility study.

While the best projects will still get funded, raising capital for projects has been getting harder particularly in the upstream space where uncertainty on timing and hence return on investment is a key consideration.

Irvine said that investors are looking for lower risk, higher shareholder returns and stronger capital discipline from their targets. 

“With a reputation for high levels of spending, gold plating assets or not living within its means, the resources industry is struggling to compete with alternate investment streams like technology, money markets and treasury securities.”

Requirements for Feasibility Success

With at least 25 percent of projects failing post feasibility, Mr Irvine said it is vital that a feasibility study ensures it balances the requirements of technical, economic/commercial, social/environmental factors and critically prioritises capital raising requirements.

A rigorous feasibility study must to be managed in stages to meet the clear objectives and scope of the stage the project is trying to move through, be supported by robust research, validate the value and cost drivers of the project, be subject to independent review and address core concerns of the audience including critical success factors. 

About Siecap

Siecap is an independent project management and advisory firm offering services across the project development lifecycle including advisory, feasibility studies, as well as project assurance and independent review services and project delivery. siecap.com.au

BADC

Great Barrier Reef Campaign Wins BADC ‘Best of Show’ for Publicis; Industry Veteran Inducted into Hall of Fame

Publicis Australia takes out Best of Show at the 2019 Brisbane Advertising and Design Club (BADC) Awards for their Great Barrier Reef campaign, scUber, for client Tourism and Events Queensland, collecting the largest overall haul of 18 medals and finalist placings.

Winning three gold, two silver and a bronze for the scUber campaign, chairman of judges Dantie van der Merwe said, “In this serious environment we live in it’s getting harder and harder to be fun. It’s even harder to create awareness for a very serious issue in a fun way. It’s this perfect balance that made this work a clear stand out.”

The Great Barrier Reef is a world heritage listed natural wonder, but negative media coverage following bleaching events had hurt its reputation worldwide. Tourism and Events Queensland needed to change the conversation and stimulate global tourism interest in the reef. Publicis’ solution: create the world’s first rideshare submarine on the Great Barrier Reef, called scUber, by creating a global partnership between client Tourism & Events Queensland and Uber. From the window of the submarine, Publicis and TEQ showed the world the reef like never before, a unique and vibrant underwater world teeming with life.

The campaign results were spectacular, generating a massive 4,320 pieces of live global news coverage and over 4.5 billion opportunities to see the campaign. The publicity coverage was valued at over $130 million (ASR). View the Best of Show piece here


Video advertising delivery specialists Peach sponsored the BADC Awards which were held on Saturday night at Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane. With nearly 600 people in attendance, the awards night, hosted by Daniel Connell, was the largest in recent years. A quality field of over 640 entries vied for recognition in over 90 categories.

ROMEO Digital followed with the next overall number of medals and finalists, awarded a total of five gold, three silver, three bronze and another three finalists. ROMEO was awarded for their outstanding digital work for client Queensland Museum for Anzac Legacy Gallery and Anzac AR Correspondent App and also for Queensland Surf Life Saving for Life-Fi. Taking home Gold for Innovative Use of Digital and UX Design – Life-Fi is a wireless network that only works between the flags on the beach where beachgoers can connect their phones and receive critical information on beach conditions in their own language.

The night also belonged to a number of smaller independent agencies with JSA Creative, Flip, GrowthOps, and Theola also taking home record medal hauls.

Client of the Year was awarded to not one, but two clients. Presenting the first award to Queensland Museum for their work with ROMEO Digital on the ANZAC Gallery and AR App, Dantie van der Merwe said: “The first winner actually made the judges quite jealous. This work was big, intelligent, world-class in its digital thinking and rounded off with a beautiful commitment to craft.”

Signet Packaging was also awarded gold and bronze for their work with small independent agency Brainheart for their work: Official Packaging Supplier of Air Guitar Australia. van der Merwe said: “The judging panel felt that it’s as important to reward the crazies, the fun and the entertaining. The power of humour is often underrated in today’s serious world. It’s refreshing to see fun creative work for a category that could be considered dull and boring. Every client should study this work and ask themselves the question, ‘Are we being brave enough?’”

Hall of Fame Induction

Inducted into the BADC Hall of Fame with a number of heartfelt nominations was Rob Kent, recently retired managing director of the mighty Mojo.

Former Mojo managing director Rob Kent inducted into BADC Hall of Fame

Jo Millington, client service director of VMLY&R said of Rob: “The suit of all suits, the iconic Rob Kent. Rob steered Mojo for over 25 years and his impact continues to flow throughout our creative industry today. He hired, (sometimes fired), mentored, shaped and influenced the industry’s best and brightest. People left, they often returned. He created and sustained one of the most revered agency cultures in Brisbane advertising and he made magic for his clients.”

BADC president Stuart Myerscough said: “What a fantastic night with the industry celebrating some truly fantastic creative work. Both the volume and quality of world class work on display is a real testament to the health of Brisbane’s thriving creative community. It’s also fantastic to see not one, but two clients of the year getting acknowledged and I truly hope this inspires more clients to be bold and place greater trust in their agencies, working with them in partnership. Fortune favours the bold, but without client bravery, some of the most innovative ideas can end up in the bottom drawer.”

All the finalist and medal work can be viewed online at badc.com.au

future of travel

Global Futurist Chris Riddell Wants You to Think About the Future like a Technology Company

HIGH-SPEED change is the new disruptor in the travel industry and the rate of change in the next three years is going to shape and transform society for the next 100 years in a way that we’ve never seen.

Futurist Chris Riddell believes that our future will see a complete reinvention of everything that we see today on planet Earth.

He was presenting in Sydney some of the key changes on our horizon to delegates at Flight Centre Travel Group’s annual event, Illuminate, dedicated to informing and providing insights into the global corporate travel industry.

As a futurist, Riddell looks to see how “humans and business are adapting and changing to see what we can do to get ourselves ready for the future.”

His presentation focused on how the travel industry is going to change and why delegates need to be an extension of what’s happening within the human part of this change. According to Riddell some of the main disruptions shaping our future include:

The Amazon Effect

For the first time in history we’re witnessing on a large scale an online business, Amazon, moving into the offline space. Amazon’s US$13.7 billion purchase in 2017 of bricks-and-mortar organic grocery chain Whole Foods Market sent the share prices of major grocery retailers plummeting overnight. This purchase was the reverse of the mainstream progression of businesses moving from the physical to the digital. Overnight, Amazon became the biggest bricks-and-mortar retailer in the U.S. by market capitalisation and in doing so shifted us into a world of ‘category killers’ ruling industry.

The big question remaining is which other oppositional business is going to buy up traditional organisations. Might Facebook buy Costco? Will Twitter buy Target?

In the business of data, Google (Alphabet) is the biggest data company on earth – there is no close number two. We’re leaping into a world where category killers are dominating industry.

Trust Issues

We’re emerging from one of the biggest trust crises we have ever had. Our trust in organisations in the private and public sectors is at an all-time low. Data crises including with Facebook and the Cambridge Analytics scandal have eroded trust in those companies whose business is data. Similarly, the Volkswagen emissions scandal and consumer confidence in the U.S. along with many other public corporate crises has dented our trust in many big brands. The question then is how do we move ahead? 

Riddell believes that trust fundamentally is not going to go back to previous levels and that we will have to reinvent trust to be able to move forward. He says technology will be an enabler for us to reinvent trust. In the tech sector, the makers of wearable technology are faring better when it comes to trust – the value of the experience we get from wearable devices, for example, compared to the data we share is on parity, and this puts us in a place of trust with these brands.

Feeding the beast

The truth is though that we are worried about robotics, technology and our future. Nearly everything we do, from getting on an aeroplane, checking into a hotel, hiring a car, involves generating a lot of data, which ‘feeds the beast’ in terms of telling companies about our likes, habits and preferences. In order for many interactions with companies and their apps to succeed we need to keep feeding them a whole lot of data. Data is one of the most important resources that we have, and it truly has become the ‘new oil’. In order to win trust with customers, you need to create exceptional value every single time.

One of the fastest growing sectors in the world is the healthcare sector where the accumulation of data is presenting many opportunities but also structural and privacy concerns. The ability to run your own heart tests through portable technology that will become more accessible is mirrored by companies like 23andme.com, where you can send off a $100 test sample to a company and receive in return a full DNA spectrum on your health. This is prompting many people to start seeking treatment for conditions that they don’t yet have and putting severe strain on the health system.

Addiction to technology

We live in a new age where we are addicted to technology and yet are continually distracted by it. Technology from companies like Apple and Microsoft is now invading even personal intimate offline moments we are meant to have with each other. Consumers now have more technology power in their pockets than many organisations have, and replace their technology faster. This has created a power balance shift, where consumers now own the experience and will dictate the experience they will want to have with us. What we have to do now is keep up with this data transfer and reinvent ourselves.

The sharing economy, block-chain, augmented intelligence and the internet-of-things are the changes that are going to be impacting the travel industry and anyone connected to travel. What this means is that organisations are now getting so much data and opportunity to get insight from individual human beings than we have ever had before. No longer can we just ‘pigeon-hole’ people, but we have to use this data to create tailored, individual experiences. ‘Augmented intelligence’ is about blending humanity and technology together to create experiences that just a few years ago you never thought were possible.

Chris Riddell’s challenge is: “If you want to be in business beyond tomorrow, you need to start thinking about the future like a technology company. You have to keep up with this relentless pace of change that we are going through. Your job is to see where the opportunities lie for you, because this is the most exciting time to ever be a human being on planet earth.”

Illuminate 2019 was supported by Flight Centre Travel Group’s corporate businesses – FCM Travel Solutions, Corporate Traveller, cievents, Stage and Screen Travel Services and 4th Dimension Business Travel Consulting.


44032850_m

Flight Centre’s Corporate Travel Division Named One of AFR’s Most Innovative Companies

The Corporate brands of the Flight Centre Travel Group are celebrating after being named in The Australian Financial Review BOSS Most Innovative Companies list for 2019 last night in Sydney.

The prestigious annual list, published by The Australian Financial Review and Boss Magazine, is based on a rigorous assessment process managed by Australia’s leading innovation consultancy, Inventium, in conjunction with a panel of industry expert judges. 

The brands of FCM Travel Solutions, Corporate Traveller and Stage and Screen combined are represented as Flight Centre Corporate in the Professional Services list and are recognised for bringing a revolutionary AI-inspired online booking tool, Savi and smart assistant mobile application, Sam to the Australian Travel market.

“We are thrilled to announce the first-ever industry-specific Most Innovative Companies List. What separated the most innovative organisations from the least, was the involvement of the customer the entire way through the innovation process. Leading innovators also had strong mechanisms in place to recognise the innovation efforts of their staff,” said Dr Amantha Imber, Founder, Inventium.

Savi is an exclusive online booking tool which has been developed by our Corporate brands in conjunction with the company’s technology partner, Serko. It is available exclusively for customers of FCM Travel Solutions, Corporate Traveller, Stage and Screen Travel Services. Savi includes rich content, unique user modules and exclusive functionality that can’t be found elsewhere in the market. Savi and Sam together deliver an integrated superior travel experience.

Savi

Executive General Manager – Flight Centre Travel Group Corporate Division James Kavanagh said that Savi was created in response to the poor user experience observed from many online booking tools in the corporate travel sector.

“Savi was developed to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create a smarter, better and simpler user experience for the business traveller and travel co-ordinator,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“Savi was born in response to a number of requests from customers to better streamline their business travel programs.

“Engaging with our customers we identified opportunities to address inefficient and costly actions in the online travel booking process which led to the development of Savi and its exclusive modules that leverage the latest in AI capabilities.”

The Savi Select, Savi Credits and Savi Voice modules help businesses and travellers make smarter decisions to maximise their travel savings.

Mr Kavanagh said that customers were engaged with at all stages of the product development process to ensure that it was adequately meeting their needs.

“For the first time, Savi is bringing a leisure booking experience into the corporate world in Australia and New Zealand. It has saved our customers time with its intuitive recommendation engine and traveller engagement model to expedite the booking process with the widest range of products including exclusive rates for our corporate customers,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“It is a leap forward as a customer-centric product and providing improved productivity.”

 

social media marketing

The State of Social Media Marketing

Social marketers are saying that their biggest goal with social media is to increase awareness and more than half (59%) use social to support their sales and lead generation objectives according to the latest findings from the Sprout Social Index.

Developing a strategy that supports their organisation’s goals is listed as the number one challenge that they face (nearly half of social marketers) and 43% saying that a major challenge is properly identifying and understanding their social audience.

Planning and strategy are even more important than ever for a social media campaign to have true effectiveness and social listening, monitoring your brand’s social media channels for customer feedback and insights, will become even more important, a fact known to social marketers.

According to the report social marketer’s top goals for social include:

  • Increase Brand Awareness 70%;
  • Sales/Lead Generation 59%;
  • Increase Community Engagement 48%;
  • Grow My Brand’s Audience;
  • Increase Web Traffic 45%.

But how do marketers define engagement when measuring social success? 72% seek likes and/or comments; 62% desire shares and/or retweets; 60% seek interaction with consumers; and 34% desire revenue attribution. Inspiring consumers to take action (32%) and inspiring an emotional response were indicated by 29% of marketers.

What Social Platforms Do Marketers And Consumers Use?

Marketers Follow Brands On: Consumers Follow Brands On:
Facebook 89% Facebook 66%
Instagram 65% Instagram 41%
Twitter 50% Twitter 22%
Youtube 49% Youtube 35%
Facebook Messenger 44% Facebook Messenger 13%
LinkedIn 38% LinkedIn 6%
Snapchat 28% Snapchat 14%
Pinterest 28% Pinterest 17%

89% of marketers say they use Facebook as part of their brand’s social strategy.

What Does Your Audience Want?

To align your goals with consumer actions it is important to know how and why consumers are using social media.

The report revealed:

Why Consumers Follow Brands On Social Media

Why Consumers Unfollow Brands In Social Media

A good understanding of these responses is required to align your social media activity to truly engage with consumers and not alienate them with irrelevant or ‘spammy’ content.

Social Posts That Encourage Consumers Likes And Shares

What sort of posts are likely to elicit a positive response from consumers?

Type Of Post Like/Comment On Share
Posts That Entertain 67% 55%
Posts That Inspire 57% 50%
Posts That Teach 46% 38%
Posts That Tell A Story 38% 37%
Discounts Or Sales 37% 38%

There’s been a shift away by consumers of discounts and sales and a flight to entertaining and inspiring content compared to previous surveys.

Whilst Facebook continues to dominate the social landscape, marketers need to dig deeper to understand their audience and understand that consumers want to be engaged and entertained before they buy.