The ’11th’ And ’12th’ Tip For Finding Love In The Time Of Digital Disruption

The ’11th’ And ’12th’ Tip For Finding Love In The Time Of Digital Disruption
SHARE
THIS



Partnering in order to survive digital disruption is a must.The old chairman iterate’s here on his 10 tips for partnering by adding tips 11 and 12. They’re pearlers.

 TIP 11 :  If you can’t afford consultants et al, then ‘partner’ like a start-up

If you  don’t have the advice and cash on hand that the big companies like Woolworths and Coles do then you need to get creative and partner like a start-up does.

Typically start-ups look to do deals with their suppliers which trade off things like early access to technology for the things they need but can’t afford. If you trade with your brand and other assets such partnerships can be very fruitful.

When Three Drunk Monkey’s (today ‘The Monkeys’ – don’t ask) , an innovative start-up creative agency started quite a few years back they needed a client to experiment on and someone who would be a good reference client. U-Bank, also starting up, had very little money. U-Bank were a NAB incubation so there was a great reference point there, and a U-Bank really wanted to do left field. It was a neat partnership. A meeting of needs of two creative groups, both with small bank accounts but big aspirations.

Incumbent companies need to rethink partnering. But it isn’t easy. All those rules and maybe a board that thinks you’ll be giving away secret recipes or who don’t think the value exchange is ever good enough. Classically, a typical board member might say to you  “your brand value is way to high to be working with something so small and risky”. A more astute board member would ask “how risky is it for you to not be making the odd bet on these strange creative types” , ” what’s the risk of doing nothing” and “we have to take risk , how do we make sure we do it in a way that doesn’t take the whole company out”.

horse

Don’t bet the company on one horse and you’ll be fine

A good way to start in this sort of partnering activity is to throw all your suppliers on the table and think how you can exchange stuff with them and not buy from them with cash anymore….or buy their stuff with less cash at least. You will probably land a few interesting deals and the practice will be perfect for moving  onto the partners who can help you with innovation.

This is  harder. Give up the idea that you make the money and therefore that gives you the upper hand. Just get out there , do a bit of research and pick a few which seem to fit your mould. You will have a ton to offer them…brand, people with experiences, problems to solve, maybe a little money. They will have a ton to offer you…unencumbered thinking, loose, wild and creative. A match made in heaven. Until it isn’t. Then move on to someone else. You haven’t got much time.

If you think that partnering is just for the small end of town, look no further than Telstra, who have made an art form of it in the past few years as they shed their crusty image and gather a bit of innovation momentum. You may not have noticed but Telstra does lots of interesting partnering. They partnered with Lithium very early when they were just a small start up. It was a great match. Telstra needed to expedite innovation in its call centres and customer service and Lithium, born of a particularly smart founder who was trying to  solve the problem of poor call centre experience in his video gaming business, had the perfect emerging technology. As a founding partner Telstra were a great global reference and a partner that was up for experimenting. Fast forward to today and Lithium is a major emerging force in customer crowd servicing platforms and  data automation and their technology is saving Telstra lots (not sure how much lots is but we think it could be getting to the $100m mark and over).

So give true ‘partnering’ a think and get someone on it quick.

 TIP 12 : Don’t keep secrets

Keeping secrets is a  sign that you haven’t worked things out, no matter how big you are and how much expensive advice you are getting. You may  ultimately  be sewing a ‘seed of doom by insulation’ if you keep it up.

What secret do you have really that someone else hasn’t already developed somewhere else? Almost certainly someone has. Almost certainly everyone here knows about it as well. The secret, which isn’t secret, is commercial execution using your unique assets and people.

There is a Daze of Disruption rule – not yet published – about Great Chefs. It says you need to act like a  great chef because great chef’s are loved everywhere and everyone uses their recipes. But can anyone really cook like them?….usually not. That’s what being a great chef is – execution! And swearing lots.

Rule27

Openness is at the heart of ‘partnering’. When you truly partner, you’re creating through the process of sharing your ideas openly. If you keep secrets and the eco-system comes to think of you as ‘secretive’ then  lots of great potential partners are likely to pass you by. And not just because they don’t realise you’re there because you’re being so careful  hiding in a corner with your ‘precious’ ideas. They  won’t want to work with you because people don’t like or trust people who are secretive.

Some of the very big companies in town think that they are ‘partnering’ and arguably they aren’t. They’ve got some great consultants assisting who have recommended that they form ‘partnerships’ with other big and powerful groups. Often  these ‘partnerships’ are based on mutual data sharing that will create a sort of ‘rule the marketing world’ scenario.

Woolies possibly thinks its pretty cool to have a ‘partnership’ with a big bank and with a big airline  (with lots of frequent flyer data) and with a big social media company . That would be a knockout  data set if combined! Which it is. But to the world, its not partnering. Its a club. And not the sort of club that we like because most everyone else is not allowed in. It feels a bit like an old boys club or the Masons.

Is this Woolies just acting  like that big bad ol’ Woolies that cornered distribution through the 2000s so well they could lean on everyone in the supply chain and send half of them broke if they didn’t bend to their will. Now they are just going to corner customer data and do the same thing but in a digital fashion. This feels even more sinister than last time.  Btw, farmers are at the end of the Woolies supply chain and doing farmers in is not a good look.

This isn’t  ‘true partnering’. They are just doing what they used to do except they are now doing it on digital steroids using some of the ‘smartest help around’ and ‘great tech’.  So points all around for use of tech and ideas I guess and using their money and market power to keep themselves in front. Its going to work for a while. And they are doing really interesting stuff – not that I’d actually know because most of it is secret right.

But ask them to share some of their learnings  and the walls come up like the old security screens in a bank when someone pulls a gun. Its a pity because  if they were a little bit more open they could help lots of other companies in Australia get out of their funk and even help the economy along. Rising tides …. bigger ponds. Companies like Woolies should take responsibility for helping the business sector in this way.

Acting secret like this is  very ‘old world board motivated paranoia’.  Its tough being big. You can’t be seen to be big and powerful anymore. You have to do some good.  Real good. Which means more than hiring a great director of social responsibility and running the office on a low carbon footprint. Being ‘good’ would be helping other companies, even competitors, and growing the economy overall so everyone benefits.

If Woolies, Coles Qantas and the big banks keep acting in this way, they are going to succeed spectacularly…. in taking more control of what is effectively an extremely ‘small pond’ – Australia. The problem with that is that digital is a global distribution game. The only real route to survival for local players – big or small – is to make the pond bigger and bigger. The only way to do this is to collaborate, partner and ‘go wide’ – global.

Im sure a manager from one of these brands might argue something different here: that they a  their plan of  owning more of the pond is ‘good’ for everyone. So if we were once just a supermarket brand, lets now become a bank,  an insurance firm, a media buyer,  a chemist and so on. We could do that if we ‘own enough data’ because we can service customers better than anyone else, right?  Its efficient?  Good for everyone? Deja vu.

shark

Big fish small pond only has a limited strategic life. Digital is a global game so Australian companies need to think a lot bigger, even if they think they are big already.

A neat example unfolding before our eyes which these guys should take note of is video streaming. Seven, Nine, Foxtel, Fairfax, Quickflix, Ten and all the other local media players had one chance before Netflix ably assisted by Google and a few others came in – partner. But  somehow they all  ended upretreating to their corner after a bit of early chit chat and put a plan together that was going to see their play come out as the winner.

What we have developing now is what is commonly termed by experts in the  business as  ‘a bigger than average  cluster fx8k’. Maybe there will be a local winner – doubtful as you suspect Netflix can wipe them out if they put their resources and mind to it. But if any Australian players do survive  they will be so depleted by the local  “battle of the midgets” that they will have well and truly missed any chance  to ‘go-wide’ and create real value for their shareholders and Australia.

No one can own all the data. All the big companies who are vying to own the datasphere in Australia are going to run into each other pretty soon. They are already starting to overlap in all sorts of areas. Lines are getting blurred. Boardrooms are getting tense.

There is no question that if Australian companies, especially some of the really big ones, don’t stop acting parochial and start partnering properly  – including at times,  but not limited to,  their most vile of longstanding enemies – then they are toast. Not today maybe, but soon.

Telstra, which was once in my top 3 most hated Australian Iconic brands (NRMA and Qantas were the other two), has an interesting approach to secrecy. They pretty much don’t keep anything that secret anymore. “Why bother”, says Gerd Schenkel, who is the enigmatic head of their digital group. “There are  hardly any real secrets developed here and the its not the tech or the idea that’s the problem – these ideas and technologies are everywhere. Its getting them into a viable commercial package that is the really hard part, and to do that even we need to get good partners. We can’t do everything”.

No one can.

Telstra is a very interesting example of a company  that was so ‘gone for all money’ a couple of years back and has actually transformed itself to the  point where it stands a chance of surviving the gathering storms of disruption – at least for a few years. I once viscerally hated them, and nearly everyone else did as well. I still remember that ‘Mexican bloke’  telling me ‘how good we had it’ and trying to get my net connection fixed for about 2 days each time it went down – which was often.

That something so big and monstrously stuffed only a few years back can transform in that time should provide hope to everyone in business, big and small.

Telstra still have a ton of warts. But they’ve definitely changed. Just hang out in the cafe at the bottom of Liverpool St in Sydney where their marketing and digital offices are . You’ll get run down by the young (natives) and the old (converts) getting stuff done around you. You will literally get knocked over and its noisy. They’re intense and interested in things.

I remember visiting the Telstra offices at 400 George St  4 years ago a few times and sitting in the Cafe downstairs  with a lot of slow motion cardigan wearers who were obviously miserable.What happened?

So big or small you can change. Telstra might not make it. Schenkel reckons it’s probably touch and go. “We wake up most morning’s pretty worried about the stuff we have to get done that day to stay in front of things….you can’t take a break and success actually causes more problems….you need to be paranoid.”

But the staff don’t look paranoid. They look pretty engaged. I never thought I’d say Telstra was an interesting story. They fixed my internet recently, at 3am in the morning….really quickly and politely. Stuff like that can make you change your mind about things. Schenkel says that being successful is first base.

” If you’re not successful now,  you’re probably dead already”.

That might be taking things a bit far. Even I hang onto hope for companies still stuck in their old ways. Everyone can change. Telstra did.

Schenkel is one of about 65 local and overseas speakers who will be talking about this stuff at Daze of Disruption, May 18-19, Belvior St Theatre, Sydney. Click Here for more information.

 

 Get the  other 10 Tips by clicking here:

 

 

Daze_mrec_7_Sensible-2

03-27_DazeofDisruption (1)-page-001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Kellogg’s Creates AR Halloween Trick Or Treat Experience Via Shazam & Orchard
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Kellogg’s Creates AR Halloween Trick Or Treat Experience Via Shazam & Orchard

Breakfast cereal manufacturer Kellogg’s has joined forces with Shazam and digital agency Orchard to deliver a first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) Halloween Trick or Treat experience for families. The campaign, which leverages Shazam’s visual recognition platform and recently-launched AR platform, sees Kellogg’s pilot the replacement of physical gifts in cereal packs with a digital experience that […]

Kraft Heinz Appoints Cummins&Partners As New Creative Agency
  • Advertising

Kraft Heinz Appoints Cummins&Partners As New Creative Agency

Kraft Heinz today confirmed the appointment of Cummins&Partners as its new Creative agency after an extensive pitch process. They will be responsible for brand strategy and integrated creative across the expanding Kraft Heinz portfolio including Kraft, Heinz and Golden Circle. A Kraft Heinz spokesperson said: “After an exhaustive search involving a competitive pitch, we have made […]

Patrick Delany (CEO, Fox Sports), Hugh Marks (CEO, Nine Entertainment Co), Miranda Devine (Columnist, News Corp), Michael Miller (Executive Chairman, News Corp Australasia), Grant Blackley (CEO & Managing Director, Southern Cross Austereo) at Radio Alive 2017
  • Media

Media Bosses Weigh In On Ten-CBS Deal

Do you enjoy articles featuring industry big-wigs? Well, it doesn't come much bigger and wiggier than this, we say.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Kantar TNS’ Ali Dexter Joins T Garage As Director Of Insights & Strategy
  • Marketing

Kantar TNS’ Ali Dexter Joins T Garage As Director Of Insights & Strategy

Melbourne-based market research consulting agency T Garage has announced the appointment of Ali Dexter as its director of insights and strategy. Dexter joins T Garage from Kantar TNS, where she was the director of its Qualitative division. Prior to that, Dexter held a number of senior roles at Kantar TNS in the US and Vietnam.  “After […]

XXXX on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Jeff Bottari/AP Images for Adobe)
  • Advertising

Adobe Releases Advertising Cloud App

Not one, but two Adobe announcements. The tech elves have been busy this week, not that we're inferring Adobe is Santa.

Facebook Updates Its VR Offering
  • Technology

Facebook Updates Its VR Offering

Do you loathe Facebook for nicking all the ad cash? Well, why not scream "A pox upon you Zuckerberg" while reading this.

InterContinental Perth City Centre Chooses Bonfire To Build Digital Strategy
  • Marketing

InterContinental Perth City Centre Chooses Bonfire To Build Digital Strategy

Luxury hotel InterContinental Perth City Centre is officially set to open this Sunday, and has already taken strides towards developing a comprehensive online search strategy with digital agency Bonfire. The investment reinforces the desire of the hotel to promote its luxury business facilities, which include corporate and bespoke event spaces designed for local, national and […]

Datalabs Announces New Hire And Promotion
  • Marketing

Datalabs Announces New Hire And Promotion

Aussie data visualisation and content marketing analytics agency Datalabs has announced the appointment of Marc de Chellis to run its business development, as well as the promotion of Cass Lilley to accounts and project manager. De Chellis (pictured above, second from the left) joins Datalabs from Launchpad App Development, where he held the role of […]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Advertising

Inskin Grows Sydney Team With New Designer

Digital advertising provider Inskin, continues to expand its Sydney team, hiring Marc Gundesen as a junior digital designer. Gundesen (pictured above) brings a breadth of skills in web design, animation and account management, and will report to Inskin’s lead designer, Jay McCalla. He joins Inskin from Budgy Smuggler, where he worked as a graphic designer, […]

Agent99 PR Signs Finance Industry Thought Leader Vanessa Stoykov For TV Show Launch
  • Marketing

Agent99 PR Signs Finance Industry Thought Leader Vanessa Stoykov For TV Show Launch

Independent communications agency Agent99 Public Relations has welcomed respected founder of No More Practice Education and founder and CEO of Evolution Media Group, Vanessa Stoykov, to its client stable. Agent99 will be supporting the launch of her Learn from the Money Masters – The Investment Series show on Channel Nine. Stoykov has over two decades […]

Susie Porter & Jacki Weaver Lend Support To Young Filmmaker In Crowdfunding Campaign
  • Media

Susie Porter & Jacki Weaver Lend Support To Young Filmmaker In Crowdfunding Campaign

A new crowdfunded short film is shining the light on barriers for women filmmakers, thanks in part to Aussie actresses Susi Porter and Jackie Weaver. Starring Porter, Beverly explores a bizarre love triangle in middle-class suburbia. It is an unflinching coming-of-age comic drama exploring sexual awakening in the era of technology, and the universal yearning […]