Connection Economics

Giving Thanks

The Thanksgiving week in an online marketers life has become the most manic 7 days we have. Even…

Year in Review: Top Connection Economy Posts

We wrap up our Year in Review mini-series today by looking at our most popular Connection Economy posts for 2015 …

Tis the season for giving

The opportunity and challenge for marketers today is that marketing is now relational.

Not only do we need to do our jobs as marketers, but we also have to have both emotional intelligence and capacity in order to stay in relationship with followers and lead them on a journey of becoming.

That’s a tall order and something marketers who came before us never had to do.

Yet the principles that govern all relationships still apply …

The Gestalt Effect

Last week, designer Yana Makarevich, caused a stir by with her remarkable take on the World Wildlife Fund logo – transforming the familiar Panda into three other endagered species, using the exact same shapes.

The WWF logo (including Yana’s new interpretations) are an example of The Gestalt Effect – the ability for our brains to …

Quality vs Quantity

When it comes to Content Marketing, the prevailing options facing marketers today appears to be: Quality or Quantity?

“Should we post fewer, more personalised, higher quality pieces or flood the market (even outsource) with a constant stream of lower quality, generic-but-fresh content?”

The problem with this question is that it assumes …


Last week, the UK’s largest tabloid newspaper, The Sun, removed it’s website Paywall and once again allowed its content to be viewed free (but ad supported again) online.

The reason for the change of heart was because The Sun was earning less from subscribers behind a Paywall than they were from ad supported free content.

The conclusion isn’t that Paywalls don’t work for …

The Sharing Economy

A phrase commonly used to describe the global, connected environment we live in, is the Sharing Economy.

Tech startups like AirBnB, Parkhound, AirTasker and countless others, are adding incredible value by facilitating more efficient ways for us to share the resources we already have – whether they be spare rooms, spare car spaces or even our spare time.

Consider that the world is now at the beginning stages of …


If 2014 was the year of ‘Content Marketing’, then 2015 would be ‘Storytelling’.

As marketers, the reason to be storytelling isn’t that’s what we’re told to do nor because that’s what everyone else is doing and definitely not because its the latest fad to be replaced with another.

The reason we’re storytelling is that the …

The Ideas Boom

This week, Malcolm Turnbull made an announcement startling in its breadth and vision – in the form of our new National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The government has made sweeping changes across industry, taxation, education, even Visa & immigration sectors in order to …

Recommended for you

The Facebook Newsfeed is perhaps the algorithm most of us are familiar with. Nobody sees every post from all 1200 of their Facebook friends – the algorithm does a remarkably good job at curating what we see to updates from people we are likely to care about.

The ‘Explore Posts’ and ‘Discover People’ suggestions on Instagram likewise curate what gets recommended based on your social graph and past post engagement.

Since 2009, even Google’s search results have been personalised to you based on your …

Hunter Gatherer

In the Industrial Economy, we only needed to be hunters.

Target the right prospects for our product/service and capture them with attractive bait.

This was in a time when attention was concentrated …

Dunbar’s Number: The Rule of 150

At what point does an idea go viral?

At what point does a contagion become an epidemic?

Malcolm Gladwell posed this fascinating question in one of the breakthrough marketing books of our time, The Tipping Point.

Of the many findings that would be of interest to all marketers, the one that fascinated me is Dunbar’s Number …


Not sure if you should post that update on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc?

If you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely or …


For decades, the way to get software made was via top-down, sequential, ‘Waterfall’ project management methods.

Such models, though logical, were based on the assumption that we knew exactly what the customer wanted, there was ‘one best way’, that we knew …

Leading with a mission

Just over a month ago, Mark Zuckerberg made headlines for delivering a 20 minute speech at Tsinghua University, Beijing… entirely in Mandarin.

If we can look past his accent and political motivations for making such a speech, Mark revealed what he believed was the foundation of Facebook’s success …

Cow Paths

The classic CBD grid sure makes getting around the city easy.

The compass-aligned grid makes it simple to give and receive directions – turn left here, turn right there, head north etc.

The problem is …


Should one have been purveying their Facebook feed, one may have witnessed a series of launch campaign bites for new Lindeman’s wine brand, the Gentleman’s Collection.

With the Gentleman’s Collection marketing, Lindeman’s have identified a problem with their target market – confusion over what it means to be a …

Display x Connection

Recently, Google very quietly introduced an experiment to disrupt themselves – no less their single biggest cashcow, Adwords.

Google Contributor gives consumers the choice to pay a monthly fee to have ads removed from sites they visit. Subtly different to Ad Blocking, Contributor will allow users to replace ads with content of their own choice – eg. RSS feeds, images, to-do lists – effectively transforming advertising space into real estate for personal productivity.

In such a context, the only way for ads to remain to be seen is …

The journey is the destination

Marketing used to be about the destination.

We have ‘x’ weeks to interrupt as many unsuspecting strangers who fall into our demographic as possible with ‘y’ message.

This kind of Industrial marketing starts from …

Dark Social

Q: When is Direct traffic not Direct? A: When its actually Social One of the lesser known places…

When Transaction meets Connection

Late last month, Facebook made a relatively quiet announcement – the introduction of Search FYI.

Facebook has always had fairly limited search capability – the ability to find people to add as friends, groups to join and trending topics etc.

What makes the Search FYI update intriguing is that Facebook is now …

[Long Read] How to design a business from scratch today

Long time blog readers will recognise that where the online space is concerned, we advocate delivering the Best for the Least for the Most.

Why hold so fast to such a seemingly narrow minded philosophy?

Perhaps this question is best answered by exploring the alternatives. Here are the consequences we see when brands deviate and instead deliver …

I quit social media

19 year old Instagram superstar Essena O’Neill yesterday dropped a bombshell on her 835k ‘fans’ by announcing she’s quitting social media.

Instead of going out quietly, she made the incredibly brave move to ‘come out’ and re-edit all the captions to expose her incredibly staged Instagram selfies.

In an incredibly mature decision Essena vulnerably confessed her addiction to Social Media validation and that she’s now decided to …

Trick and Treat

Last year Adobe played the best Trick possible for Halloween by turning Photoshop into a Murder Mystery – and winning several Cannes Lions in the process.

Here Adobe, created a heavily layered, 200Mb Photoshop file which contained clues to a Murder Mystery that only fans with sufficient skill in Photoshop would be able to uncover.

Adobe’s campaign became the treat of Halloween as …

Why Playboy dropped nudity

“For Playboy to survive in a platform-driven world, the pressure to conform to those standards is immense — so much so that the publication is abandoning the core of its brand’s identity”

Such is the power of the online platforms that this month Playboy made the shock announcement that it would drop the one thing it is famous for …

Neverending Story

Television has a beginning, middle and end. Digital has no real end. What it becomes is another part of the idea – you can nudge it and iterate but you can’t think of it as this contained thing – David Droga

The traditional approach to advertising is a carry over from TV – a story arc with a beginning, middle, and end in a 30-second spot – designed to interrupt people with a quick one way message.

The ability digital now gives us to be connected over time fundamentally changes …

Valuing the intangible

Back in 2001, I remember being fascinated by the news of how the Australian government made over $1 billion out of thin air (literally) – by auctioning the rights to the 3G Mobile frequency spectrum to the local telcos.

Here was an astronomical amount of money being handed over for something you can’t see, touch or feel …

Blind spot

I showed my 12 year old son a floppy disk. He said “Cool! You 3D Printed the Save Icon”

The hard truth about skeuomorphism is when we’ve come from the old, we’re blind to it.

Sometimes we need a …

Back to a different Future

Oct 21, 2015.

Die hard Back to the Future fans have been waiting for today – the ‘future date’ that Marty and Doc Brown travelled to – since the movie sequel was released in 1989.

The obvious questions circling around the interwebs have been regarding the technology – where are our flying cars and hoverboards?

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …


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


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…

Billionaire Affiliate Marketing

This morning I received an email I would ordinarily delete the instant I recognised the format – classic affiliate marketing.

However, two things were unusual about this particular email …