Department Store Lesson

When I was growing up I was fascinated with the Myer department store that anchored our nearby shopping centre.

As a kid the only place I naturally was interested in was the Toy Department – why was the toy department always on the top floor? Can’t these adults plainly see that all toys should be at the main entrance?

But no, we kids always had to make it past the overwhelmingly smelly main entrance dominated by perfume counters and …

Chicken or Egg?

Does content have advertising?

Or does advertising have content?


The elevator pitch alternative

Most people are familiar with the idea of an elevator pitch – to explain what you do to a stranger within the time it takes them to get on and off an elevator, say 30 seconds or less.

The ability to succinctly explain your USP is important, however many brands are such masters of their craft that …


Skeuomorphism occurs when designers incorporate concepts and ideas from existing things to help consumers navigate and understand how to use completely new things.

Last month, Google made a big splash with a very conspicuous rebrand, but actually, this was a smaller part of the much larger Google Material Design initiative.

With Material Design, Google designers are deconstructing how …

Joseph Campbell on stories

“If you’re going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all.” – Joseph Campbell

Why blog?

We often get asked, why are we blogging?

Why blog particularly when we are busy, when blogging is time consuming, isn’t directly related to sales and isn’t always specifically about the technicals of our craft?

A simple question with both a long and short answer …


Kudos to the team at BMF for their remarkably mysterious, almost Wes Anderson like videos, The Conspicuous Awakening of Owen Wilson, that appeared in my Facebook feed.

BMF have embraced the art of mystery here – instead of …

Extra bonus

Everyone loves those little extra bonuses in life. Free upgrades, surprise gifts or unexpected perks put a smile on…


In a global economy, many markets and niches are approaching parity – what’s on offer by one brand is not a whole lot different to what’s on offer by others.

Now that we’re connected to brands we follow in relationship over time, personality matters.

For better or for worse, we like people who …

Marissa Mayer quote on advertising

“Art is advertising and advertising is art” – Marissa Mayer

Quality vs Relevance (or Google vs Facebook)

Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist, is famous for developing Adwords’ Quality Score algorithm – his instructional video is mandatory viewing for anyone even considering using Adwords for advertising.

Less well known (for now), is Jon Hegemon, Facebook’s Chief Economist. Jon’s decisions into the Facebook Ads Relevance Score algorithm significantly affect both advertisers and Facebook’s shareholders.

So how have Jon’s decisions differed from Hal’s?

There are really two key distinctions …

The stories we tell

Amidst the fallout of the VW scandal, what has surprised me the most, is not another a large corporation being caught out gaming the system – but the fact the VW fans are sticking by.

Initially I thought this kind of global scandal would equal an immediate death, in the aftermath however speaking with multiple current owners and fans of VW, I no longer believe that.

Ask a VW fan and they’ll say …

Why pay more?

The other day I passed a shop with a huge sign out the front saying ‘Why pay more’?

Although this is a win for the customer, this strategy marks a slow death for brands.

If your only USP is low price, you don’t have a USP. Now that we’re globally connected, there is always someone, somewhere who …

[Video] Getting Things Done

Today, we live in an information age – even if we deal in physical goods, we’re still inundated with the information created around the product.

The hallmark skill of our time is the ability to …

Andrew Bosworth quote on his mission as Facebook’s Senior Ad Engineer

“The mission of my organization is to make meaningful connections between people and businesses.” – Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s…

What marketers can learn from VW

The beauty of online marketing is that we have data for everything.

The danger of online marketing is that we have data for everything.

We can become so overly fixated on the numbers that we can forget our real mission …

The Looming New Normal

Those in senior marketing roles today most likely can you remember life before smartphones, broadband and possibly even before the Web.

Such folks (me included!) were raised with thoughts & perceptions of the world shaped by local, Industrial Economic conditions.

The fact that you’re reading this blog means you’ve made (or are making) the transition to think and understand our new Global, Connection Economy environment.

Gen C (Generation Connected – born from 1990 onwards) will be the first generation to …

Net Love

If everything was taken away from your brand except the relationships you’ve built (brand-fan and fan-fan) – how much would you have?

This is your Net Love.

Are you rich in Net Love? Are you poor?

Your product/service may get us …

Google is from Mars, Facebook is from Venus

“Every great institution is the lengthened shadow of a single man. His character determines the character of the organization.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Google was founded by Computer Science majors Larry Page and Sergey Brin (also a Maths prodigy).

Facebook was founded by Computer Science and Social Psychologist major Mark Zuckerberg.

Google is famous for …

Reid Hoffman quote on his job description

“I build, design and improve human ecosystems through software” – Reid Hoffman, Ex-PayPal COO, LinkedIn founder and Silicon…

Who’s out?

“An enemy of my enemy is my friend” – Ancient proverb

Who’s clearly not in your tribe?

Who doesn’t cut the mustard?

Who’s out?

Connection Marketing

The buzzword in online marketing today is Content Marketing.

Content marketing, however, isn’t new – David Ogilvy perfected long copy content marketing back in the 60’s.

What is new is that today, we live in a …

Sympathy and Excellence

Recently I had an unusual choice to make.

I was in an unfamiliar part of town and needed a coffee and there were two cafes next to each other I could choose from: a Beanhunter top rated cafe or an unrated, Not-For-Profit cafe.

I had heard of the NFP before and believed in their cause so I decided to …

Supply and Demand

The law of Supply and Demand states that:

The greater the supply and the lower the demand, the lower the price will be, and conversely
The lower the supply and the greater the demand, the higher the price will be

Thanks to decades of Industrial production and efficiencies, what used to be in low supply …

Jackson Pollock quote on art

“The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through” – Jackson Pollock

Rules of engagement

Brands used to spend the majority of the year in planning and creating, for 1 large scale execution that…


A word that grates me when I read online marketing blogs or attend conferences is: traffic.

Of course, when we say the word traffic, we mean visitors, individuals, people. However the word traffic communicates very different connotations.

Traffic is a …

Stunt Fatigue

What does fish to the face have to do with money transfers?

Admittedly not much, however, kudos to the creatives behind this ad for TransferWise. They have achieved the very difficult task of getting cut through, brand awareness and engagement with this …

Set & Forget

‘Set & Forget’ was the promise of the Industrial Economy – that if one was able to setup processes well enough, one could leave the system to do its thing and get consistent results month in, month out.

‘Set & Forget’ works incredibly well for inanimate things – objects, processes, systems.

‘Set & Forget’ fails spectacularly in the one area that matters most …

Joseph Chilton Pearce quote on being creative

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong” – Joseph Chilton Pearce

Surround Sight

The coming of age study profiled on Tuesday also included some incredible figures on multi screen activity in millennials:

Using an average 5 screens per day, &
79% agree they mostly use a mobile device while watching TV

The challenge for marketers is to now …

The 30 Year Idea

“I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea” – David Ogilvy

In one of the all time classics, David Ogilvy outlined his criteria for a big idea: “Could it be used for 30 years?”

The wisdom of the 30 Year Idea, is that …


Another day, another 4 letter acronym.

F.O.B.O aka the Fear of Being Offline is rife in the next generation. A study asked 13-24yo across 13 countries …

Green Runs

I recently went snowboarding for the first time in more than 10 years.

I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to make it off the chairlift let alone board down the mountain.

Thankfully, I wasn’t alone.

The entire weekend, people were …

Pablo Picasso quote on being an artist

“Every child is an artist. the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up” –…

Modern Elders

Hotelier, Chip Conley, is perhaps best known for his TED talk on Measuring what makes life worthwhile.

Recently he posted his thoughts on being a Modern Elder in today’s age where we (western society) really don’t have rituals or rites of passage.

As Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy for AirBnB, he commissioned …

Fish where the fish are

90%+ of searches made in Australia are via Google.

1 in every 3 minutes spent on a mobile device in Australia is spent on …


The average person unlocks their mobile phone 150 times per day for an average use time of 170…


The test of a great song is when you can strip it right back to raw – no effects, no gloss – and it still gets you.

In the same way, if you were to strip back your brand’s effects and gloss – what are you left with?

*This* is the real reason people come to you, followed you …

Julia Cameron quote on taking risks

“Leap and the net will appear” – Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way

One Thing Well

BMW has recently done a cross collab with Melbourne rag Broadsheet, to explore the future of food and drink. (As an aside, expect to see more of this style of marketing – in this case, BMW leveraging Broadsheet’s relational influence over its target market for the launch of the new 1 Series).

One article caught my eye in particular: The Perfectionists.

Here, Broadsheet spotlights a rising trend …

Levittown 2.0

Levittown was the first mass produced suburb that applied the industrial assembly line model to housing construction.

Levittown made ‘the American dream’ of owning a home possible by keeping all houses identical, save for small cosmetic variations. Developer, William Levitt, was even quoted as saying: “We’re not builders, we’re manufacturers”.

This only worked because …


Positioning isn’t about making your brand appear cheap or expensive, elegant or everyman, tasteful or functional.

Instead of competing with other brands so that you are one of several options, Positioning is about inventing and owning a category of one in the mind of your consumer.

Which brand comes to mind for women looking for …


Before you hit ‘post’, be clear on this answer:

Bill Ford quote on industrial scale

“We can’t win the hearts and minds of a generation with efficiency” – Bill Ford, great grandson of…

Zero Management Adwords

Last year, Google launched Dynamic Search Ads or what we call zero keyword search ads.

Here, instead of telling Google the user’s search keywords you wish to show ads on (ie. the customer’s query), you ask Google to scan your website and show ads based on who you are (your identity).

Given the vast sum that Google already knows about the web …


The front page of the internet has been in disarray in the last month, much of which has been the backlash over the firing of Victoria Taylor.

Victoria Taylor was the queen of AMA, Ask Me Anything, having hosted over 2500 AMA guests, including Barack Obama.

The fact that the AMA format has been so popular is a telltale …

Leading leaders (aka Facebook vs Periscope)

Late last week, Facebook dropped a bomb by announcing the launch of Facebook Live – its new live video streaming service and Periscope killer.

There really isn’t a whole lot different about Facebook Live compared to Periscope, so the reason Facebook rolled out this service isn’t about technical innovation – this is about maintaining market position and eliminating threats.

This behaviour isn’t new – Facebook did this years ago when …

Team of Teams: Book of the Year

In 2003, General Stanley McChrystal lead the US task force assigned to defeat the Al Qaeda threat in Afghanistan.

Despite having more money, technology, experience, training, discipline, weapons and resources than the enemy, he faced the confronting reality that the US was losing…

General Stanley McChrystal on winning a connection war

“To defeat a network, we had become a network. We became a team of teams.” – General Stanley…