Our second run of Cut the Cliches is here. After a paternity hiatus we’re back and will be running shows fortnightly, every other Sunday. Check back then as we start a special on blockchain technology.
Episode 7 we look at voice and its impact on our daily lives.
We’ve enlisted the help of Guy Munro, Global Business Director at Melbourne agency Versa to guide us through:
His background The buzzwords/cliches in voice What’s been the biggest impact of voice so far? Why we haven’t seen more case studies The potential for the sector, including current barriers Uses of voice Versa and its work Opportunities for brands What’s next for Alexa/Google
Guy is currently at the helm of Australia’s first enterprise-level voice experience agency, VERSA, working with clients locally and throughout Asia-Pacific and Europe. He has delivered ground-breaking voice experiences including Australia’s first ever transactional skill and works with highly recognised brands including Dominos, Flight Centre, Village Cinemas, The City of Melbourne and GoGet. He has a reputation as a respected digital practitioner with over 20 years of digital expertise spanning digital strategy and brand development, platform builds and transformation programs.
The results are in. And startups across Australia have spoken. Media coverage is the number one need for founders in the next six months according to the latest Startup Muster report.
So you’ve got a great product, what do you do next?
Well at the very early stages you probably don’t need an agency. The time to think about external support is when you have a working product with a pipeline of regular news and the need for customers, staff, partners or investment I’d say as a rough guide.
These steps should help with taking what you want to say and turning it into something the media will care about.
1. Finding your angle
As a founder you’ll be used to giving your elevator speech at networking events. Which is great. However you’re not always going to use the same pitch for securing media coverage. And only telling people what you do won’t be enough. Unfortunately you’re not the only one spruiking your wares. And sadly not everyone will care about your startup or the product you’ve just launched. So maybe hold off on the press release for the beta launch of version 4.1.
You need to give a journalist a reason to write about your story. A hook.
– Do you have a product/service which is genuinely new and different?
– Or has a tech giant like Facebook, just bought a company that operates in your space?
– Or has the government allocated more funds for R&D in your industry?
2. What makes a story?
Tying yourself to the news agenda will give the journalist a better chance of getting a story greenlit from their editor – because not only is it topical, but it’s part of a wider trend which is in itself newsworthy. Give them what they need.
Firsts – has your startup created a world-first or global breakthrough in research? A familiar product/service with a new twist – are you the Uber…for gardeners? An interesting backstory (profile interview) – did you meet your co-founder while dancing naked round a fire at Burning Man? New research or data – particularly if it backs up or disproves assumptions Opinions – there is space, for articles like this one, from those with advice or opinions targeted for the audience of that media outlet Reaction to big news – if a journalist is going to be writing a story anyway, why not send your thoughts for what it means for your industry as they’ll require sources to stand up their story – e.g. comment on what Instagram’s latest update means for retailers.
Look at what the journalist you’re contacting has written before and suggest something similar or a well argued follow-up. Don’t add to the 100’s of irrelevant emails a journalist receives on a daily basis.
Key Takeaway – create a ‘why now’ moment for a journo, focus on how you differ from competitors and tailor your approach by taking it to someone who will care.
3. Know your audience
You wouldn’t try to sell an industry-leading-proprietary-turnkey-SaaS-tech-stack-solution to a market greengrocer. So don’t try and convince a journalist who focuses on entertainment that your marketplace for pigeon fanciers is the hottest ticket in bird-tech right now.
While we’re at it, keep your writing simplified. Jargon, like the paragraph above, seeks to exclude others. Buzzwords indicate a lack of understanding. And cliches demonstrate a limited diction.
PR needs to be targeted, just as your startup needs to be appropriately positioned in market. If you’re speaking with a startup journalist, there’s a good chance they’re going to be interested in funds you’ve raised or the new way you’re targeting the market.
If you’re speaking to a writer with a retail beat (subject they cover), why not focus on the impact or behaviour change your product is having on customers.
Journalists are consumers too. They don’t understand your internal corporate-speak. A quick litmus test is if your parents can’t understand how you’ve explained it, you haven’t simplified it enough. And remember personality and even humour is allowed in pitching.
Key Takeaway – research what has worked previously with a journalist and add your own unique stamp on it.
4. Be available
Journalists have deadlines which are increasingly short. By reading what they write about, you’ll get a sense for what might be coming up and when you can pre-empt with an authoritative viewpoint. Through providing value to them, you can start to become relied on and even have the journalist coming to you for comment. So make yourself available and deliver on any promises. There are enough people that don’t to make you stand-out.
Apologies for the delay loyal listeners. Life, or more specifically the birth of our first baby, has delayed things slightly on the podcast front. So this will be the last in the first series, but check back in 2019 for our next instalment.
For this one though we tackle, Sports Marketing, which is never far away from the headlines – whether it’s Nike’s campaign with Colin Kaepernick or the fall-out from the sandpaper-gate scandal which rocked Aussie cricket.
In episode six we enlist the help of Sarah Kelly. We caught up with the Associate Professor of Law and Marketing at her University Queensland office to find out why sports sponsorship can be a good investment.
Sarah is also:
Brisbane Lions, Deputy Chair
Global Esports Institute, Director
Sports Analytics, Director
Tourism & Event QLD, Non-exec Director
Wandering Warriors, Director
National Education Advisory Committee AICD, Advisory Member
Speak Study, Director
Sarah leads a global sports innovation accelerator at UQ, and has been a judge and mentor for two of these accelerators, including pitching finals during the NBA Allstars event in LA and the Commonwealth Games.
She has multidisciplinary expertise in marketing, psychology and law and is globally known for her research and consulting in sports management, law and marketing. She is widely published in the sports field, with recent projects including, sports scandal impacts, mega sporting event legacy impacts, sponsorship metrics and esports.
– the burgeoning esports sector
– the commercial impact of sports-stars’ indiscretions for sponsors
– the tribal behaviour of fans
– the brand opportunity within female sports
– we touch on the ‘Sandpaper-gate’ scandal
– And the buzz Nike was able to generate with its purpose-marketing Kaepernick campaign.
Sports Marketing is the topic for episode 6. At University Queensland we caught up with Professor of Law & Marketing, Sarah Kelly, to find out why sports sponsorship is a good investment. The fact it’s a universal language is a good starting point. She is also Brisbane Lions Deputy Chair. We cover the burgeoning esports sector – where she is Director of the Global Esports Institute. The commercial impact of sports-stars’ indiscretions for sponsors, the tribal behaviour of fans, the brand opportunity within female sports, we also touch on the ‘Sandpaper-gate’ scandal which rocked Aussie cricket along with the buzz Nike was able to generate with its purpose-marketing Colin Kaepernick campaign.
The advice of CSIRO’s Data61 chief exec Adrian Turner, presenting a new report during his keynote at D61Live yesterday in Brisbane.
He explained that Australia is at a crossroads. A very important choice will fork our future one way or the other. Door A involves us creating our own digital exports – the stark reality is that we currently lag at just 20% of the rate of our OECD peers in this area.
Door B results in lagging further behind, and that’s just the start of the problems that would begin.
It’s an argument which Matt Barrie has been making for a few years. Few of the top 10 most valuable companies in Australia make their own digital products. The youngest of our big four was established in 1911! Scaling and exporting in the digital world becomes harder when this is not the case.
Dr Andrew Charlton from AlphaBeta, one of the authors of the report, added that many of the constraints which Australia previously suffered reduce in a digital economy. Challenges of smaller local market, greater distance between population densities and higher wages matter less when competing on the global stage, so “we need to think differently about comparative advantage”.
Adrian made the point that many of the algorithms we use today, have been around since the 70’s – but “we don’t have the tech talent”, we’re already behind and every day “that delta is only going to grow” added Dr Charlton.
From idea to market
The question across the whole day was how to turn the great research which Australia is responsible for, e.g. Wifi, into a product we can commercialise? How can we bridge the gap between breakthrough and branding, taking the product all the way to market? Why is R&D going down comparatively with other OECD countries?
Brisbane’s Chief Digital Officer, Cat Matson, was keen to emphasise that there’s no one party responsible for Australia succeeding as a country. “It’s about how do we still get everyone together” she added, focusing both on celebrating what we can do fast, while still painstakingly and rigorously testing efficiency and market-fit in the background.
However some of the timeframes imposed by academia for collaboration are too slow. AI specialist from Queensland’s Office of the Chief Entrepreneur, Dr Natalie Rens, spoke of experiences with academia, where it can take a year to form partnerships because of administration. “It’s difficult in Australia as research is tied to universities who typically demand extensive IP agreements and take a 30% equity stake in the end product…we need to be more like the States where it’s a one page agreement, maybe 5% equity and let’s go.”
One solution is to focus on specific problems, entrepreneur Bevan Slattery offered. We need more imagineering and problems with a social license which can be approached from a state and national level, life the Reef. We need to ‘reshot’ and find our solutions through science and innovation – which is what the Data 61 Challenge program is doing with its first mission Food Provenance (managing transparency in supply chain) – it’s about “grabbing great thinking, capital and solutions through partner networks” says Data61’s Ben Sorensen.
When is a trend not a trend? When it’s a megatrend – typically a large cluster of smaller trends.
Six interconnecting, venn-diagram-piecing trends the latest CSIRO report on the issues focuses on include:
– Intelligent machines
– Digital dividends (improving productivity)
– Data driven
– Burning platforms
– Online burnout
– Reality bites
Discussion around Industry 4.0 and the future of automation, brings a unwarranted amount of scaremongering. The megatrend of ‘intelligent machines’ comes with the harbinger of a stat that 47% of jobs will be taken by automation within a couple of decades. In reality though, jobs redefine and augment with technology rather replace. A lot of the repetitive roles may go, but hopefully this will free up time for humans to be more human and add value through creative thinking and applying the technology in additive manner.
"The opportunity is to create new value – it's the additive automation that's really compelling" – Adrian Turner on jobs, automation and work at #D61Live
The benefits are clear, Dr Wen Wu explained the Case Crunch (2017) experiment which pitted 100 commercial London lawyers against AI when it came to predicting the outcomes of cases, given all of the facts. Needless to say the robots outperformed their human counterparts 87% accuracy compared with 62%. There are benefits of standardising elements of decision making.
But there are issues around bias both in the way we think about cases, but also those coding the algorithms responsible for coming to these conclusions. Ethics was a bigger issue which Day 2 panels were looking to address. What happens when all of the coders are white men?
It can’t just be in isolation
The final thought should go to Adrian Turner who warned attendees of the danger of having conversations in an echo chamber alone.
We don’t have the answers but data can certainly help and Australia must become more targeted in its approach to claw back its position on the global stage. All of our futures depend on it.
A word which has become increasingly ambiguous. From a periphery channel, to core competency.
Within marketing the digital element of a campaign used to be considered as an after thought. Today brand planning centres around reaching consumers in a digital world.
It still means differing things, depending on who you ask. And for us here at ‘Cut the Cliches’, we turned to a man who has decades of experience in the field, leading his agency since 2009 and the era of mobile, through to the customer experience focus which his 150+ agency has today.
Ben Beath, MD at Loud & Clear helps brands transform internally to become more digitally enabled. Simply put, it’s about taking legacy infrastructure and streamlining the process for today’s increasingly time-poor workforce. This can, and often does involve automation, as we discuss the impact of Industry 4.0 on how jobs are viewed. Ben speaks about how to mesh technology decisions with customer-centred design thinking – we ask him what this means in practice for brands like AGL and FFA that he’s worked with.
We caught up with Ben, in his central Melbourne office, on one of the floors which the agency has expanded to following its acquisition by US-based global IT consulting group Avanade.
Throughout the podcast we discuss:
– what the acquisition means for Loud & Clear
– what are the most over-used phrases in the industry
– the effects of automation on the workforce
– the rise of customer experience officers in brands and how it’s affecting briefs
– how digital agencies can differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded market
– and the effect consultancies are having on the conversations he’s having with clients
Next week we have a special on voice search, so tune back in for that.
Digital still means differing things, depending on who you ask. So for us at ‘Cut the Cliches’, we turned to a man who has decades of experience in the field, leading his agency through the era of mobile, through to the customer experience focus, which his agency has today.
Ben Beath, MD at Loud & Clear helps brands transform internally to become more digitally enabled. Simply put, he’s taking legacy infrastructure and making processes streamlined for today’s increasingly time-poor workforce. This can, and often does involve automation, as we discuss the impact of Industry 4.0 on how jobs are viewed.
Ben has worked with some of Australia’s leading brands including AGL and FFA, and our man on the ground Liam Fitzpatrick caught up with Ben in his Melbourne office.
When we’re not reading about new technology, it’s fair to say that our head of communications is probably watching sport. And while the AFL/NRL seasons are heading towards their entertaining conclusions, our weekends will soon be revived with the NFL and a summer of cricket. Oh and of course the EPL, sorry, Premier League is also back.
But behind the soap opera-like twists every week, are the coaching teams developing tactics to counter their latest opponents. Studying the game footage takes hours and days of dedication, but there are machine learning technologies which are looking to identify trends across vast data sets (or game film).
Sydney-based GameFace.AI is one of those businesses. Created by sports nut Jalaluddin Shaik, the startup has pivoted from movie analytics and is pioneering a new genre of sports assistance. His background is in AV technologies, having already designed and built large-scale audio and video platforms. Shaik also led engineering teams at Fortune500 companies, such as Intel, Apple, Denon, and Spotify. Now with an entrepreneurial focus, Shaik’s interest lies in applying artificial intelligence to analyse videos.
We caught up with him, prior to the rebrand from FlixSense, at Hub William St in Sydney to hear more about:
– the difference between AI and machine learning
– how FlixSense started what the rebrand means for the direction of the business
– what types of sporting codes is he working with
– how technology is changing the sports we see on TV
– and what effect it’s having at the lower levels of sport
– what’s next for GameFace and sports analytics in general
Next week we speak with Ben Beath, MD at Loud & Clear about the role of digital agencies.
In episode four, ‘Cut the Cliches’ speaks with Shaik from GameFace.AI about the rise of sports analytics.
Host Liam Fitzpatrick catches up with Shaik in Sydney where we discuss the difference between AI and machine learning, how GameFace rebrand is going, how sports teams are increasingly turning to video to support coaching and tactics and what might be next for the use of tech across sporting codes.