Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Vision to Communication

Pretty much everyone at some point has either heard of Vivid Sydney or come across the incredible displays scattered across the city. In case you have been living under a rock or live abroad and have no idea what Vivid Sydney is, it’s an annual 23-day festival of light, music and ideas. Unfortunately if you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve missed the boat because Vivid Sydney 2017 finished few days ago.

It’s a well-known event that attracts millions of tourists to the city. Last year alone, 2.3 million domestic residents and overseas tourists attended Vivid Sydney 2016, making it Australia’s largest festival event, and the largest event of its kind in the world. It features many of the world’s most important creative industry forums, a mesmerising free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures and installations and a cutting-edge contemporary music program.

Vivid Sydney is where art, technology and commerce intersect to offer opportunities for a huge number of artists, designers, and manufacturers who share updated information on their industries while looking for new opportunities and innovation.

Vivid Lights, Vivid Music, Vivid Ideas

Vivid Sydney is comprised of three programs, which demonstrate the cooperation across different functions. During the festival there are also competitions between professionals within their respective industries to display amazing visual images, live music and creative networking all in front of our eyes.

I wonder how many people know just how much creative process is involved in generating such a rich and diverse flow of ideas and creative discussion to support the development of Australia’s creative sector.

The University of Sydney is also a part of this momentous event, covering all these three programs. We have demonstrated our expertise across a number of fields for Vivid Ideas Exchange by sharing ideas and influencing decisions by supplying information from fashion and the arts to big data.

Graphic Design lights up our thoughts on creativity

The show didn’t just leave a colorful visual impact to promote our wonderful city, it also lit up our thoughts on creativity.

Consider all the aspects that jump out at us when we see an eye-catching advertisement or promotional product. When you think about it, the graphic design on labels or product logos have the same eye cathcing effect as Vivid Sydney.

Graphic design is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content. It known as communication design. The form of the communication can be physical or virtual, and may include images, words, or graphic forms. Designers have arranged type, form, and image on posters, advertisements, packages, and other printed matter, as well as information visualizations, and graphics for newspapers and magazines. What’s more, motion graphics are equally predetermined and crafted, but are meant to be experienced over a fixed time span, such as for the opening credits of a movie or an online video meant to accompany a newspaper article.

Light up Communication

As Marketing students, we might consider that graphic design is related to art, which is far from our major and what we supposed to be focusing on.

There are thousands of forecasts about the trend of graphic design each year. Graphic design, as a visual aid, serves as the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be read or looked upon. A definition which is intended to be very broad and inclusive. Expressed in terms of functions, or the tasks that graphics performs, the definition covers magical, illustrative, persuasive and informative graphics.

The visual communication of Vivid Sydney screams, ‘Sydney, you are beautiful!’ The makers of the event have figured out just how important it is to communicate this message to customers in the market with vivid visualization. Sydney is rapidly morphing into ‘Tomorrow’s Sydney’ and in case anyone missed that memo, Vivid succeeds at driving that message home.

Graphic Design, Art and Marketing tend to coincide with each other in the realm of decision making, encountering not only rational analysis, but also perceptual empathy. All are essential to influence potential customers imperceptibly, along with strengthening brand loyalty. So when it comes down to it, when it comes to marketing, in the end it’s often not what you say, but how you say it that is important.

Hazel Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Friday, 23 June 2017

How to Fight In the Complex Social Media Environment

According to the BBC, due to pressure from many countries Facebook has revealed measures to remove terrorist content. How are they going to do this? Well besides being akin to The Eye Of Voltron (pardon the Lord of the Rings reference), Facebook has mastered the use of artificial intelligence to spot clusters of fake accounts, pictures, videos and other content that’s related to terrorism.

The Social Media Environment Is Becoming More And More Sophisticated.

After the fake news issue from the US presidential election, criticism can be heard in many places challenging the information authenticity of social media. So it makes sense that Facebook are now fighting to find a balance between encouraging users to share ideas freely and suppressing fake news.

With this cutting edge technology in place, Facebook claims that they can use image-matching algorithms to block photos or videos that the system has matched previously with extremist content. This is a wise approach to stopping terrorism going viral, but the fact still remains that it is still controversial as some people regard this as another form of censorship. Using special controls to influence the media environment in the long term will gradually limit the users’ original freedom of speech in social media.

Do sponsored posts make you mad?

Apart from this, another rising concern in the social media environment is the increasing frequency of commercial advertisements’ popping up in our newsfeed and side bar. Contrary to the pure conversational platforms that they used to be, social media (i.e. Facebook) is now flooded with ads, the majority of which are even tailor-made, based on users’ personal information.

From the business perspective, it is a valuable channel for companies to build their brand exposure, while providing a platform to talk to the consumer directly. However, performance of advertisements is in decline due to too much noise online. According to Hubspot, 40% of users now click dislike on Facebook ads- and that’s not good news.

Statistics from VIEO design shows that people have a negative attitude toward online ads:

- 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than 2-3 years ago
- 87% say there are more ads in general than 2-3 years ago
- 79% feel like they're being tracked by retargeted ads

As the development of social media environment is impacting the users’ attitude and behaviour towards it, marketers should be wiser while using the social media, and make sure their strategy is fitting with consumer’s preference.

Here are some tips for online ads from VIEO design:

1. Don't set up videos to autoplay.

It's interruptive, annoying, and downright rude.

2. Don't mislead people.

Luring consumers in with something that sounds hyper-relevant to what they're reading or watching, but ultimately isn't. Baiting will not convert visitors into leads... but it will turn them off.

3. Dumb is just as bad as misleading.

Fifty-six percent of consumers say, "most online ads these days are insulting to my intelligence," which contradicts the idea that you need to write for the lowest common denominator.

4. Ads need to—and this is very important—not look tacky or amateurish.

That may seem obvious, but when 63% of people say "Most ads I see online don't look polished or professional". Consumer's standards are likely higher than you think.

5. If you do use pop-ups, be judicious.

The ads most resented by consumers are, surprise-surprise, pop-up ads, with a 73% disapproval rating. But if you do use them, before you interrupt their browsing, give people time to find value in what you're providing.

6. Retargeting requires some finesse.

About 79% of people say, "I feel like I'm being tracked because I've seen ads for items I've bought in the past. Making your potential customers feel like they're being stalked is definitely something that you try to avoid.

With built-in advanced technology, social media possesses a super power which enables it to differentiate itself from traditional media. Social media is global, ubiquitous and cheap. It provides an opportunity for individuals and groups to start up conversations and share ideas. Furthermore, consumers can also be producers in the social media context, an evolution that has lead to content spreading world-wide in record time (The power of social media).

In the age of social media, the increasing concern about the social media environment is something that marketers should be paying attention to. So while we continue to try to reach and target consumers through this widely used tool, it is essential to maintain a healthy social media landscape for a long term business perspective.

So that leads us to the question, how can we get the best from social media and at the same time operate and manage it in a more ethical way?

Bowie Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.
Bowie has several years’ experience working in FMCG marketing, media, and consulting field.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Brace Yourself

“Winter is coming” is probably the best reason to brace yourself, which is also the first episode of the HBO medieval fantasy television series, Game of Thrones. But we are not here to talk about the Stark family or who will sit on the Iron Throne next season.

The chill might be from the pressure after this graduation season - the empty room left for students to pursue their career path.

According to the report Job Seeker Trends 2016: Increasing Global Mobility, which was released by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), out of all the job seekers around the world who found new work in 2015, 64% were interested in working abroad, while 7% had already moved to a different country to work. Some 76% expressed an interest in working on a freelance basis, including 23% who were already doing so.

Apparently there’s never been a better time to jump on the bandwagon and explore a new frontier. These findings highlight the growing flexibility of the labour force around the world and how willing than ever job hunters are to move abroad or to juggle multiple jobs. It has been emphasised how critical it is for companies to enhance their competitiveness to be able to attract talent effectively, not only from their own country, but from other countries.

Interestingly, the report also finds that the internet is taking a great approach to job searching. 44% of job seekers now believe that the internet, including both internet job sites and social networking sites (such as LinkedIn), are the most effective and important means of finding new employment.

The global workforce is increasingly mobile

In comparison to the respondents from non-English speaking countries, there was a higher percentage of respondents from English-speaking countries: US, UK, Canada, India and Australia who showed a greater interest in working abroad or have already moved to another country for work. Japan, in contrast, has the lowest level of interest in working overseas.

The interesting thing is that respondents are more focused on the benefits for themselves when considering the opportunity, such as living in a different cultural environment (25%), but when it comes down to actually deciding to leave, they think more about their family situation and those who will be left behind. 

The growing flexibility of the labour force

The average number of respondents for the 13 countries who have some interest in working as a freelancer was 76%, with 23% having actually started working as a freelancer. Different countries have different results, while Japan still holds the lowest acceptance level on freelance work.

However, the number of freelance workers will begin to rise sharply in near future, which increases the uncertainties of global mobility.

Challenge but opportunity

Online job sites and applications are widely used and serve as an important channel regardless of age. Such platforms offer thousands of options for us to judge and make decisions before and after graduation.

You may feel the competition from international students surrounding you, the pressure of different cultures like Japan and the challenges of leaving your friends and family behind. No matter the case, please never underestimate your ability. Winter is coming, but brace yourself to keep warm. Finally, you will find your own journey under the enormous storm.

Brace yourself because you are strong and brave!

Hazel Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Digital Marketing And The Art Of Getting It Right

Did you know that on average, Australians spend at least an entire day per week surfing the internet – for work, browsing, email, social media and online games. It’s sad, but true. In fact, few of us can actually make it through a device-free night when spending time with friends or family. With all the hype around new and evolving gadgets, apps and internet capabilities, how many of us realise that the advantages of the digital world are outweighed by the disadvantages in this information era?

Digital marketing, as a branch of marketing, follows a philosophy that takes advantage of the opportunities that the 21st century has on offer by promoting products or services with information and communication technology (ICT). ICT relates to the internet, social media and other online platforms.

The digital marketer has become an increasingly important role since marketers have branched out from traditional marketing. Yet the question still remains, how does one become a qualified digital marketer? Contrary to what you might believe, there is no need to be an expert in information technology, but it is necessary to know how to use it effectively.

Timothy Whitfield, Director of Technical Operations at GroupM, and Jo Nash-Clulow, expert in Strategic Marketing and Digital Marketing at the University of Sydney’s Business School, have both presented a vivid picture of this field as guest lecturers at the University of Sydney.

Here are some important points to take away from their presentations:

Sophisticated digital marketers should be capable of adapting to the constantly changing world with sufficient knowledge across different functions.
1. Understanding marketing
2. Be sensitive to digital evolution
3. Brand safety insurance for customers.

As a marketer, it is essential to know which segments to target, how to communicate a brand’s value proposition and how to make strategic decisions. More than just having the ability to use social media, this role requires an understanding of consumer habits and motivations, the ability to synthesize analytics, and communicating effectively with clients.

Much of the burden of showing a company the right direction is expected to fall on marketers, whose job it is to analyse and present relevant marketing metrics that can guide management with their decision making.

Then there’s also the small task of compiling online research, data and analysis to develop digital campaigns that raise brand awareness. Besides using cutting-edge techniques or platforms to implement products or service on the market, digital marketers must be able to see the big picture.

Take for example, Apple, who promoted their brand by hiring the world’s youngest APP developer, Yuma Soerianto. Originally from Melbourne, Yuma won a scholarship from Apple to attend the annual World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose. At only 10 years old, he already has four years coding experience and has built five apps for Apple's App Store.

Now that’s what I call seeing the big picture. The strategic move of offering up scholarships to young talent, enabled Apple to communicate their brand’s technology-minded and creative spirit, which was then promoted on various online platforms to emphasise their brand image as an innovator. 

Last but not least, we can never spin off completely the safety guarantee when digging deeper through digital data, as it links with a wide range of ethics issues. It’s ever so important to retain your credibility, by respecting you customers’ privacy, intellectual property, confidential internal information and of course, the law. All of which are key to maintaining your integrity, as well as upholding a trustworthy brand image in front of customers in the long term.

Timothy Whitfield graduated from Macquarie University and worked in the IT and Airline Industries. As well as a digital marketer, he has been an innovator, manager, public speaker and industry leading blogger.

Jo Nash-Clulow graduated with an MBA from the University of Sydney with a strong business and digital marketing background. Jo has a rich experience from working overseas and with many big name organisations and has won multiple awards for advertising and product launches.

Hazel Chen
Current student from Master of Marketing program in the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 8 June 2017

A Graduate’s View: The Master of Marketing Capstone Project’s Role in Transitioning from Study to Work

Marketing Matters is excited to welcome Industry Specialist Lecturer in Marketing, Colin Farrell. Colin, who teaches Marketing Research for Decision Makers and well as the Consulting Project workshops has kindly sat down with one of the 2017 Master of Marketing graduates Jessica Farrell, to talk about her experience with the capstone project. 

Graduation season has been underway and it is always a great time for not only celebration, but reflection. Celebrate the achievement, but importantly reflect on what you have learned, the experiences you have had and how this can assist you to take the next step in your career.  The Master of Marketing capstone project is the final assessment task that students do in their degree.  It provides students with a final and valuable opportunity to apply their newly learned skills to a real business - just in the nick of time before they move onto their next big challenge of employment.  Jessica Farrell is one of our recent graduates and talks about how the project has given her the confidence to take her career to a new level.

Colin:  How would you describe the overall experience in completing the capstone project’s marketing audit, project proposal, completing the research and then presenting the final report to your client?

Honestly, it was tough but rewarding. I based my project on Lexus of Chatswood’s Parts and Accessories Department. The business has lost significant market share, falling from the second largest Lexus parts consumer in the country to fourth. The General Manager needed to determine why and what possible actions the business could take to recover its position. The task seemed simple at first, however as I started to investigate the business operation in depth, issues were revealed which generated even more questions than answers.

Colin: What internal challenges did you find in your client’s business that had to be overcome to get your research plan enacted?

The most memorable internal challenge was when the McCarrolls Automotive Group, who owns Lexus of Chatswood, sold one of their core franchises late in the project. The group’s head office and spare parts warehouse had to be relocated on short notice. Simultaneously, the marketing department sent out multiple EDM’s to the customer database to drive new business. The day before my survey was due to be sent out to the database, the Marketing Manager requested that we change the scope of the research project.

Colin: Despite achieving excellent outcomes from your project, it was far from a smooth journey.  How did you feel when late in the piece the client called for a change in the scope of works for the project, which meant the objectives and research had to be redone?

Looking back I was surprisingly calm given the circumstances. You invest so much time and effort into this degree so no one could blame you for panicking when you are so close to the finish line and you are hit with a challenge that could throw months of work out the door.

Thankfully, the first thing I did was to ask for time to discuss this with my university supervisor before anything was settled. My supervisor and I talked through the issue. Using his suggestions I put together a new research approach, which alleviated the Marketing Manger’s concerns.  Rather than surveying customers and interviewing staff, I suggested we use data from the company’s existing customer experience surveys. Building on that knowledge, I conducted in-depth interviews with customers. In retrospect this was the right approach and the final outcome was fantastic. The existing data was a gold mine I had underutilised.

Colin:  The business environment changes more rapidly now than it ever has, so changes to the scope of works in the consulting project do happen.  That’s life!  What were the key things you focussed on that allowed you to consider your client’s instructions, and then quickly devise a realistic and achievable project that was in accordance with their instructions?

Selecting a few good frameworks early on in the project really helped. The first thing I did was thoroughly research the industry. I used the P.E.S.T.L.E approach, which provided me a base understanding of the significant changes the industry was experiencing. Once that was completed, I analysed the business structure, operational activities and customer segments subjectively using the Business Model Canvas. I found the Business Model Canvas valuable when I was building my understanding of the business and the management problem. Using the Consumer Consideration Journey framework, I identified strengths and weaknesses in the business' customer touch points.

My interview was heavily guided by the Value Proposition Canvas and Contemporary Consumer Behaviour model. The use of frameworks also assisted me when I had to change my research approach. Changing the instruments only involved changing the method by which I asked the questions designed to test my theories.

Upon completing my research the customer segments really came to life through Empathy Mapping.
I could name so many more. I completed SWATS, 7 P’s analysis, Pricing Comparisons etc. It was death by framework.

Colin: Your report was very illuminating for your client with telling marketing implications. Can you tell us about how some of the main findings (even unexpected findings) have been enacted at your client’s business?

The company has recognised that they were losing opportunities during the customer life cycle. Since the project’s completion Lexus of Chatswood has employed a Customer Retention Manager whose core role is to extend their customers’ servicing cycle. My project identified there was a direct correlation between service customer retention and extended manufacturer warranty sales, resulting in increased spare parts sales.

The business is also undertaking a review of their parts and accessories POS marketing, tailoring campaigns to specific customer segments identified in the project.

The project also identified a need for a product pricing alignment between Sales, Service and the Parts departments, which is currently being implemented.

Colin: You have talked about the benefits to the business, what were the main benefits you received from the program?

The way I look at a problem has completely changed. Carrying out the project has shown me assumptions can very quickly be made with very little evidence. I ask a lot more questions.

I am definitely a very different person. My confidence has greatly improved. I now have multiple tools to embrace change both professionally and personally.

Jessica’s three big tips for students about to commence their projects:

1.      Elements within the project will change and you need to be proactive and solutions focused. Ensure you create effective relationships with multiple stakeholders in the host organisation. As you mentioned - Life happens! People leave, the business often changes.  I am so grateful that I asked my supervisor for help before I panicked and changed the scope of my project. Check in regularly with your host organisation to avoid making reactive decisions and use your supervisor’s experience if you get stuck.

2.      Data paralysis is a real and dangerous thing. You can get so lost in statistics and analysis. Sometimes asking a friend or colleague to take a fresh look at things and bouncing ideas off them can be of great assistance.

3.      Confirmation bias can distort you data. Question things you believe to be fact. I was surprised numerous times on how wrong my assumptions were.

Colin Farrell is a current Industry Specialist Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Sydney.

Jessica Farrell is a Master of Marketing alumni student from the University of Sydney Business School.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Insider tips: Marketing Consultant

It’s getting close to the end of first semester. Are you busy with assignments or studying for final exams at the moment? Good luck guys! Also, don’t forget we have our consulting project first draft due in a week. Keep reading to find out some insider tips for working as a marketing consultant

Fast learning, strategy setting, seeing the big picture... Marketing consulting is definitely an interesting field to work in.

As students pursuing a Master of Marketing degree, we have sufficient academic background to share knowledge about product marketing, industry context etc. But when helping a company to expand their business in a real case, there’re more complicated situations we would need to tackle. For example, how can we manage to work well with the client, and how can we help the company as a marketing consultant?

So to get some answers, we interviewed Maysoon El-Ahmad, a senior marketing consultant, to give us a some insight into this topic.


The key role of a marketing consultant is to come up with solutions, which could tackle complex problems and help organisations move forward with innovative capabilities.

Clients would come to you because either they don’t have time to figure out the solution or they expect you to use your expertise to find out the real problem behind of the story.

However, as a professional marketer in the consulting sector, various difficulties and challenges must be conquered.

Difficulties and challenges
  1. Be a specialist in the organisation
  2. Stakeholder management 
  3. Creating value

You need to have the full picture about what the problem is in limited time. In the meantime, you have to be capable of working alongside people who have different needs and roles in the organisation, and you need to connect with your clients and other types of stakeholders.

In the second stage, you have to come up with the right questions to understand the key problems and approach your solution strategically. Then, you need to manage the expectations of your clients by creating real value, instead of delivering what they already know.

Even though this role can be very challenging at times, there is always something interesting to keep us motivated. Besides, during this stage you will be able to transfer what you learnt from one client to another, even if it is across different industries. 

The fun part of being a Marketing Consultant

1. Always tackling challenging problems and coming up with creative solutions
2. Meeting different types people
3. Working across different industries
4. Cracking challenging problems for clients

Maysoon’s Tips for students
When approaching your clients’ projects, you need to ask the right questions and let your clients explain the difficulties and challenges they are facing. By understanding the key problems, you can come up with solutions that strategically benefit all the different stakeholders.
Try implementing psychological management techniques to manage the expectations of your clients properly. 
Be clear on what you are trying to deliver to clients in a transparent and comfortable manner.

Maysoon El-Ahmad holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Master’s degree in Commerce (Marketing, Strategy and Innovation) from the University of Sydney. She is currently a marketing consultant working with a boutique management consultancy in Sydney called Growth Mantra. She specialises in finding strategic solutions grounded with a deep understanding in consumer behavior and motivations. 

Bowie Chen and Hazel Chen
Current students from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Wouldn’t You Like to Know?

Hi MoM. The year so far has flown by and the semester is almost at an end. With half the cohort about the finish their studies, some students about to graduate and the rest of us well into our degrees, it’s time to ask ourselves the dreaded question, ‘’What am I going to do with myself when I finish my degree?’’

There might be some of you who have already figured it out, but for the rest of you, have you ever thought of a career in research? Going into research to start your career, gives you time to find your ideal industry or figure out if you want to specialise. You might not be aware, but there is a shortage of skilled marketing researchers in Australia. It also might interest you to know that there are bountiful opportunities for those with the right drive.

I sat down University of Sydney’s distinguished researcher and lecturer, Stephen Jenke to ask why you should consider research as a career.

Who are the AMSRS?

The Australian Market & Social Research Society (AMSRS) offers students membership for a small fee of $15 for students and includes three free webinars. Besides allowing you to stay up to date to enhance employability, members gain access to an extensive professional network and great resources. 

So if you don’t know where you’re headed in life, look to AMSRS to help you choose the right career path for you. You can find all the building blocks of a great career, such as professional development opportunities, inspirational articles from industry gurus, and even job postings.

There is also a young researchers society for students that is ran differently to the formal side of the industry. What’s more, members have an access to free webinars on topical subjects for essential research skills that are relevant whether you are a professional or not.

What does it take to be a good researcher?

Good researchers need to always be out there searching and looking. Being aware is critical, that’s why it’s important to stay up to date, especially in business. If you aren’t interested, or possess a natural curiosity, don’t go into communication or marketing.

While marketing is part creativity and part strategy, understanding the neuroscience behind emotions, how the brain remembers and connecting latent interactions are the keys to effective marketing.

You must also be disciplined, like people and be willing to find a niche or a unique selling point. It’s important to build your personal brand and manage your profile to build credibility.

Why is it necessary to be up to date?

In marketing, you’ve got to be abreast of what is happening. These days society is constantly changing and there is a lot of disruption. Market researchers are often the cause of this disruption. Ask yourself, do you know how society is behaving, what the social context is and how it effects consumers responses to marketing campaigns? 

What does a researcher do?

On the supplier side there is a lot of variety. Researchers need to design the research materials and know how to talk to the right people. Contrary to what you might think, researchers don’t sit it an office or a library cut off from the world. In fact, they really need to be ‘people’ people, meaning that they must be interested in what people do and why they do what they do. 

If you are interested, then who do you talk to?

Would you like to know more? If you would like to go into research as a start into your career, you can visit the AMSRS website, go in person to student service or get in touch with Pennie Frow or Stephen Jenke.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

How to Give a Killer Presentation

As a marketer, have you thought about the importance of public speaking in your daily life?

Whenever you are doing group work, in an interview, working on your consulting project, or pitching your ideas to your boss, it is so important to communicate your ideas persuasively and with clarity. The art of public speaking is not only about standing in front of a crowd confidently, it’s also about engaging your audience by keeping them hanging on to your every word.

As a student pursuing a Master degree, learning how to present is a crucial skill necessary for communicating the value of your product, brand, service or a message that you want to deliver. More than that, you want your message to resonate, inspire and compel your audience to action. But besides the obvious, communicating effectively and confidently presents you with an opportunity to shine and could even help you stand out enough to finally get that promotion.

With all that in mind, we have invited a pro in the realm of public speaking, Maysoon El-Ahmad, whom you may remember as a guest lecturer from the Internal Marketing course. Maysoon, currently a marketing consultant at Growth Mantra, has agreed to share with Marketing Matters some important tips for giving a killer presentation. Watch the video below to learn how to give a killer presentation.


Maysoon is a Masters of Marketing graduate from the University of Sydney with years of experience across different industries.

Maysoon’s Top Tips

1. Know your topic well

2. Be passionate about your delivery.

3. Make eye contact with your audience.

4. Use visuals to engage your audience (not too much texts or files).

5. Give examples that audience can relate to.

The best way to engage your audience is to create connection with your audience by being passionate about what you are talking about, engaging how your presenting leading your presentation, and behaving as nature as possible.

Normally, we pay attention to when people tell a story with vivid description and specific presentation layout. As study, published in the journal Psychological Science, recommends an approach called “reminders by association”, which means that if you pair your tasks with a visual cue, you’ll be more likely to remember it. Our brain is mainly an image processor, so the most powerful way to give a killer presentation is to understand your topics and then deliver them to your audience with attractive contents and fascinating motivated attitude.

We are here to wish everyone good luck on your coming presentation!

Maysoon El-Ahmad holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Master’s degree in Commerce (Marketing, Strategy and Innovation) from the University of Sydney.

She is currently a marketing consultant working with a boutique management consultancy in Sydney called Growth Mantra where she specialises in finding strategic solutions grounded with a deep understanding in consumer behaviour and motivations.

Bowie Chen and Hazel Chen
Current student from Master of Marketing program in the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Learn to Fail like a #GirlBoss

Everybody loves a success story. But what’s interesting about Sophia Amoruso’s Netflix biopic ‘Girl Boss’ is that we already know the end of the story culminates with the bankruptcy of her fashion empire.

Have you ever failed? Some people never fail because they’re too scared to try. For others, failing is a weekly, if not daily, event. One can only imagine how much worse it must feel to fail so spectacularly whilst being in the public eye.

That’s what this last year has been like for Sophia Amoruso. Once listed as the youngest Forbes Richest Self-Made Women, Amoruso’s business is in tatters and her fortune decimated. She has been slammed by critics who have been awaiting eagerly for her demise, but like a phoenix from the ashes, the femmetrepreneur will rise again.

The rise and fall of Nasty Gal

Founded from humble beginnings in 2006, by 22-year-old Sophia Amoruso, Nasty Gal started by pure luck when Amoruso started “flipping clothes” on eBay and, later, launched her own e-commerce fashion store that took the world by storm, only to later lose it all to bankruptcy.

You’re probably wondering right now if this is supposed to be an inspirational story. What it’s not is another cliché about women in business. Just keep reading and you will see what it’s all about.

So, what happened?

Nasty Gal’s CEO, Sheree Waterson, confirmed that the start-up was unable to secure capital as the gap between top-line growth and profitability widened. Amoruso had already resigned from her CEO role in early 2015 before Waterson took the reins. Amoruso told Forbes in an interview last year, "I’m a creative. I’m a brand-builder. I’m a rainmaker. I’m a pretty good marketer, but that’s not something I want to do every day."

According to an interview with Collective Hub’s Lisa Messenger, Amoruso described the decision as the most responsible option to prevent closure. However, after years of downsizing and hours spent in court, the inevitable happened. Nasty Gal’s intellectual property was acquired by UK e-commerce site, Boohoo, for a meagre $20 million. Now Nasty Gal continues to operate, but without Amoruso’s input.

Enter Girl Boss, stage left.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. I really do believe that everything happens for a reason and what I’m about to tell you next proves just that. Just think, if Sophia had been busy playing CEO of Nasty Gal, she never would have found the time to focus on the #GirlBoss brand that was built on the back of Nasty Gal’s then success. Now, she has a 2014 New York Times bestseller, a hit podcast, a just-released coffee table book, and a Netflix comedy series, co-produced by Charlize Theron.

Talk about making the best out of an unfortunate situation. Imagine where she would be now if she hadn’t gone down that road.

The rise again of Sophia Amoruso

As an entrepreneur, Amoruso realised that there was no point in licking her wounds. She had a thin window of opportunity with her Netflix series to get herself back up on top. And if I’m going to be honest, her humility in the face of failure makes her story so much more inspiring.

#GirlBoss is so much more than just a clichéd book title. In fact, Sophia has turned a book deal into a media company that enables women to connect across social, digital and experiential platforms. The #GirlBoss Foundation empowers women, allowing them to share knowledge about their careers, finance, relationships and businesses. To date, it has awarded US$120,000 in grants to women in creative industries to help fund their passion projects.

"Were all flailing in different ways and stumbling in different ways, the rest of the world just doesn’t hear about it. But, to us, it feels like that’s all that’s happening. So to see someone who you may have thought had it all ‘figured out’ totally start over is probably very refreshing, and puts your life into perspective in some way.’’- Sophia Amoruso with Lisa Messenger for Collective Hub.

So say what you will about Sophia, but there’s no denying that she’s filled a gap for women who are looking for role models who aren’t afraid to be imperfect. She swears too much, doesn’t wear a powersuit, she doesn’t play golf and she certainly doesn’t conform. She is the businesswoman redefining success in a world that celebrates women in business purely for the fact that they are women. I think we can all learn something from Sophia Amoruso. Don’t you?

Alyce Brierley
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Monday, 15 May 2017

From sales and strategy to social innovation: where Master of Marketing led me

With many Master of Marketing (MoM) students graduating from the University of Sydney’s Business School soon, Marketing Matters is shining a light on some exceptional alumni. Will Wang is the first of two alumni in the graduation series to share where the Master of Marketing Program has led him and how it the consulting project in particular has benefited his career.

Who is Will Wang?

Hi MoM! My name is Xiaole Wang (Will) and I am originally from Shanghai, China. I finished my Master of Marketing degree at the University of Sydney in July, 2016. My early career saw me working as a sales leader at Fortune 500 companies; including BestBuy and Apple.

By undertaking a Master of Marketing, my goal was to make the transition from a sales role to a corporate strategist role. Now, I am an entrepreneur, with a strong strategic partnership with Founders Space for corporate innovation program in China.

The Master of Marketing program has certainly helped me to pursue my professional dreams and enabled me to develop all the essential skills I need as an entrepreneur. Now I am very excited about the prospects of my business’ future and I’m looking forward to all the challenges ahead.

Key learning from the marketing consulting project

One of the most valuable aspects of the program was the ability to conduct a real-world marketing consulting project. My consulting project’s mission aimed to bring business thinking into small charities, in order to amplify their social impact.

My research led me to the idea of connecting small charities with large corporations. Tapping into large corporations’ business capabilities, such as accounting, marketing and HR professional skills would help small charities to build sustainable business models.

The consulting project experience led me to apply my learning to investigate opportunities in China by becoming a Founders Space partner for Corporate Innovation.

The value we offer to large corporations is that we help them to move from CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilities) to CSV (Create Shared Value). So, our SBV (Skills-based Volunteering) programs are strategically designed to align with corporations’ visions and strategies, which not only will benefit the charities, but also help corporations for their employees’ future leadership development and business growth. Therefore, it is a win-win situation for both small charities and large corporations.

How I became a Founders Space partner

My one minute pitch to Steve Hoffman, the CEO of Founders Space was about connecting founders space with large corporations. By helping corporations implement the same innovative methodologies and processes as Silicon Valley startups, corporations would be able to “Think Like a Startup, Innovate like Silicon Valley”.

Steve agreed to collaborate straight away without any hesitation. He took me to his hotel, and we had about 15 minute chat about the idea in the lobby. The next day, I started to work with Founders Space to launch my business project in China.

My strategy creates a win-win situation for both tech-startups and large corporations.

1. For large corporations, they can gain innovation mindsets and new technologies from small startups, in order to innovate their businesses;

2. For startups, they can validate and scale their businesses by leveraging large corporations’ business resources

Silicon Valley innovation methodologies and processes are perfectly aligned with what I have learned from Marketing Consulting Project

The consulting project taught us exactly how to tackle these two issues through the framework of the Value Proposition Canvas and the Business Model Canvas, which is from the first part of marketing consulting project.

The purpose of Value Proposition Canvas is to help businesses to create a perfect fit between your core offerings and the customer needs. The purpose of the Business Model Canvas is to ensure you have a sustainable business model of how to acquire and lock in customers for an ongoing revenue stream in a long term.

By using these frameworks I discovered the top two reasons why startups fail.

1. No product market fit

2. Run out of cash

Silicon Valley Innovation Process: “Don’t fall in love with your product, fall in love with your customer.”
Engaging your customers and gathering customer data is critical for innovation. During the innovation process, you have to fail fast & move fast in order to validate and figure out the Perfect product market fit that nobody else has ever discovered before.
The second part of consulting project taught us how to validate our business proposal through conducting in-depth interviews with your customers. So, we can

- Collect and analyse customer data

- Gain new learnings from the customers

- Pivot your offering

This is the same ongoing innovation process used by Silicon Valley startups. The success of your innovation will be highly affected by the speed and quality of these experiment cycles.

About Founders Space
Founded in San Francisco, USA, Founders Space is one of the Top Incubators and Accelerators in the world. Forbes magazine ranked Founders Space as the No. 1 Accelerator for oversea startups coming to Silicon Valley. Founders Space has over 50 global partners within 22 countries and they have trained hundreds of startup CEOs and corporate executives about the Art of Innovation.

About Founders Space Corporate Innovation Program

Our Mission
To help corporations implement the same innovation methodologies and processes as Silicon Valley startups

Our Innovation Program’s Unique Value Proposition
We are laser focusing on educating & mentoring corporate leaders about 0 – 1 Innovation, which include design innovation, business model innovation and technological innovation, in order to help corporations to achieve radical innovation.

Our Vision
Become the No. 1 strategic partner of the most innovative companies in the world.

For more information on graduation dates, visit this link.

Xiaole Wang (Will)
Graduate of the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Pedal Power

Getting caught in a traffic jam and being stuck on the road for hours is always a nightmare. Not to mention, a waste of our precious time. With the growing population, combined with the increasing number of cars on the road, many countries are encountering public transport issues, as well as heavy fuel consumption and air pollution.

Under the umbrella of “the sharing economy”, ride sharing and bus sharing have already taken off thanks to the flexibility, low cost and convenience on offer. Now, the bike sharing system has followed suite. Let’s take a look at how this thriving trend came to play a part in the game.

Low cost, convenient and environmentally friendly
A bicycle sharing system is a service which offers bicycles for shared use to individuals. Many bike sharing systems offer subscriptions that are either free for the first 30-45 minutes or at a very inexpensive deal (for example, 99c per 0.5 hour). This set-up encourages people to take advantage of a low cost flexible transport system with the added bonus of reducing vehicle emissions, congestion and fuel consumption.

Lots of people find it very convenient and easy to use, especially when they are routinely stuck in traffic jams or going home late with no public transport available. Bike sharing is a very low cost alternative that is the convenient choice for solving the consumer’s “last mile” problem.

Bike sharing company Ofo

Bike sharing goes worldwide
With all the benefits mentioned above, the bike sharing trend has exploded worldwide.

According to Bike-Sharing Blog, there were 2.3 million public-use bicycles globally in 2016, which is more than double compared to 2015.

China, Italy, USA, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Greece, Austria and Japan are the top ten countries with the most bike sharing programs.

With the rapid growth of technologies, many bike sharing programs have introduced new systems, such as electric and dockless bikes to enhance the customer experience. In China, more and more user-friendly approaches can be seen spreading throughout multiple cities. Bikes can be paid using a smartphone and left anywhere, with GPS tracking enabling them to be located via a mobile app.

The world’s first bike sharing service was launched in June 2015 by a Beijing-based start-up called Ofo. The company now has around 2.5 million yellow-framed bikes in more than 50 cities throughout China. Its main rival, Mobike, which only started up a year ago, says it has “several million” of their orange-wheeled bikes spread across a similar area. Another competitor, Bluegogo, has half a million bikes in six Chinese cities, with plans to grow by a new city every two weeks, according to the Economist.

Vélib' is a large scale bicycle sharing company in Paris, France. Fun fact: the French words vélo (English: "bicycle") and liberté ("freedom") were combined to form the name Vélib'. Compared to the metro, it is time efficient, and has gained popularity among Parisians thanks to an easy subscription system, vast number of docking stations, and built-in LED lights for night-use.

Vélib’ automated pay station

In Melbourne, Australia, Blue Share bikes are becoming popular, with unlimited 30 minute rides between stations, and subscriptions starting from just $3 per day. Australia was actually the first country to make wearing bicycle helmets mandatory, so free helmets are provided as a courtesy with Blue Share bikes.

Marketing campaigns
There have been a number of intriguing and fun campaigns launched to attract more users by a number of bike sharing companies.

Bluegogo sent out Santa Claus on Christmas to give gifts to citizens and encouraged people to find the blue sharing bike on that day.

Mobike has found a way to collaborate with external companies by offering up advertising space on the front of their bikes.  You can see an ad for sunsreen products below, encouraging more people be sunsafe while using the bike service.

Although there are still some issues in the bicycle sharing industry, such as theft, vandalism and maintenance, the future looks optimistic. Co-founder of Baas Bikes, Robert McPherson said, “Bikes can be the best partner of the city. If you conduct it well, it will be a big revolution in public transport.”

However, the real question is, how will bike sharing services fare down under? Where, for many Australians, owning a car isn’t a luxury but a necessity. Could this be the answer to all our gridlock problems?

Bowie Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.