The Six Days Before Christmas: Behaviour Change Marketer

The Six Days Before Christmas: Behaviour Change Marketer
SHARE
THIS



In this opinion piece and in the spirit of Christmas, Oliver Shawyer- behaviour change marketer, looks back on 2016 and touch on six things he learned from six specific days.

Where did 2016 go? Obviously I don’t expect anyone to answer that, but it’s getting harder and harder to comprehend just how quickly we move around the sun. Quicker every year. 2016 has been huge. Personally and professionally, locally and internationally. A lot has happened – some good, some bad – but all with some significant impact to every one of us and our businesses.

It’s redundant and cliche to try and forecast the big things that will happen in 2017, and both in a bid to not look like a fool or a tool, I’m not going to try. But in the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to look back on 2016 and touch on six things I took out of it from six specific days. Yes it’s somewhat generic. Yes it’s somewhat saying a lot without saying anything. But as opposed to the detail, it’s about the themes that I believe will have a role to play in 2017 for our organisations, our brands and for us as individuals.

Day 1 – January 10. Sunday. David Bowie Dies.

THE HEADLINE: Be relevantly distinctive but true to yourself.

I have to admit, I only recently found Bowie’s music. I obviously knew it existed well before his death, but only in the last 12-months have I really come to enjoy his music. In fact, love his music. And as I dived into his music, I dived into the man. I researched him and tried to unpack him. I was so intrigued by his story, his personality and his success. In doing so, I discovered that over the test of time, David was the master of standing out from the crowd.

Re-reading Byron Sharp’s ‘How Brands Grow’, I was drawn to the comments and thoughts on differentiation versus distinctiveness. Generally speaking, for those who haven’t read it, Byron outlines that there is not a lot of difference between a business and its competitor. There really isn’t much businesses can differentiate on. But you can be distinctive. Be unique.

With a look and message that drastically changed from decade to decade, David was the king of being relevantly distinctive. He stood out from a crowded market, constantly evolving to keep doing so as time rolled on. Whilst one-hit wonders and groups came and went across five decades, David continued (and still continues) to build deep, emotional connections with fans because of his uniqueness and prevalence.

As the world becomes smaller, and barriers for competitor entry continues to dissolve, individuals and organisations need to build and continue to leverage their distinctive assets to stand out from the crowd. And in order to create a retrievable impression in consumers memory, use them authentically, consistently and relentlessly.

david-bowie-large-1452552402

Day 2 – May 2. Monday. Leicester City Premier League Champions.

THE HEADLINE: Tear up the rule book.

Faint interest in sport? Give me a few minutes. Following a diabolical 2014/15 season where they just avoided relegation (i.e finishing last), Leicester City did the unthinkable in the 2015/16 season and won the Premier League (arguably the best football competition in the world). They were 5000-1 odds, had the fourth lowest wage bill (of the 20 teams) and were competing in a league of traditionally big spenders. For instance, Manchester United at the beginning of this season spent over $100 million on just one player (which was twice what Leicester had for an entire team). A small start up challenging the corporations if you’d like. So with less money, less clout and inevitably already written off by everyone before the season even starts, how on earth did they win?

Well, by a combination of things that included playing to strengths, having an unrelenting focus, executing consistency and commitment to what’s working and, supporting a culture that enhances the intent to never give up. But for me, the biggest and most intriguing lesson to take from their triumph was in their ability to tear up the rule book.

A famous philosophy in world football is based off two simple facts: if we have the ball, you can’t score and, we have a better chance of scoring. So football has traditionally been all about possession. But Leicester City set out to rewrite this. Statistically, the Foxes ended the season with the lowest possession figures of the entire league. They achieved success by biting their time and counter attacking, calling on all their strengths including their commitment and support for each other.

The status quo has a huge influence on our behaviour, both as individuals and corporations, but reward favours the brave for those that set out to challenge it. A lot has been written for business from the learnings from sport, but very little so encouragingly about going up against the rules. You don’t always need to follow the same rules that everyone else is following in order to find success.

33EFE7D800000578-3578557-image-a-146_1462649019329

Day 3 – May 26. Thursday. Mark Ritson Deconstructs Marketing.

THE HEADLINE: New age media or old-school TV, will it actually change behaviour?

Looking locally, this day marked the first of Mark Ritson’s three-part ‘marketing deconstructed’ series for the AANA. It wasn’t the first time that Mark’s agenda had been given an audience, but it certainly got the attention of our industry, sensationally stirring the pot. And full credit to him for doing so. The more debate in this industry, the better. Whilst a hard pill to swallow at first (that flies in the face of most new-age marketers), Mark attacks the digital landscape and the industry’s insatiable appetite for it – rightly for some, but more importantly, wrongly for most. The ‘traditional advertising is dead’ headline has been yelled from the hilltops for many years now, and some have felt the impact more than others. So Mark has stood up, grabbed a big spot light and said ‘look, most if it is bullshit’. And not with the same motive as the old ad-guy craving the kickbacks and lifestyle that came with those times. Mark’s agenda is for the betterment of us all – to ensure we stay (or get) great at what we’re supposed to do. What we’re paid to do.

Since this day, his comments and those who have responded have been thrown from one corner to another, emphatically debated about who is right and who is wrong. But details aside, Mark isn’t saying digital marketing is all bullshit. He’s saying it does has a role to play (potentially a huge role), IF it’s in line with your strategy and objectives. Who do you need to talk to and what’s the most efficient way to do so?

The industry continues to tear itself apart about what is the most effective medium to use, what channel doesn’t work any more that apparently once did, what technology is now dead that was once the future, what new platform is now the messiah that was born overnight. And it will continue to do so for many more years. But in doing so, most of it only muddies the one thing we actually only need to know – will it change behaviour? The only thing you need to ask yourself (and keep asking yourself) is will it actually change behaviour.AAEAAQAAAAAAAAgwAAAAJDI1MmFjNDdkLTUwMzItNDE2Mi1hNDQ1LTJmNTQ1OWUwMThiMg Day 4 – June 23. Thursday. Brexit Vote.

THE HEADLINE: We need to better understand why people behave the way they do.

Results aside, astonishment aside, this day will sit with me for some time. And it should sit with politicians, organisations, brands and other individuals for some time. Reiterated by the results of the US Election, it was here that we all realised how detached from reality a lot of us. How the world some of us live in is actually not the world most people live in. The power of confirmation bias (our tendency to only accept information that backs up our preconceived beliefs) and our unconscious ability to surround ourselves with similar people and networks that tell powerful stories, was seriously miscalculated in both events.

The ability to understand why people behave the way they do and make the decisions they do will be echoed throughout the new year, with significant implications for the communications industry as we strive to have a more efficient ROI, including, but not limited to agency side via researchers running focus groups and creatives executing off gut instinct.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 15: A leave supporter is seen as fishing boats campaigning for Brexit sail down the Thames through central London, United Kingdom on June 15, 2016. A Brexit flotilla of fishing boats sailed up the River Thames into London today with foghorns sounding, during a protest against EU fishing quotas by the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union. (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Day 5 – November 8. Tuesday. US Election.

THE HEADLINE: Don’t underestimate trust or how that trust is built (rationally or not).

Surprise. The second, big global election result has found itself into my 2016 reflection. A day that will sit in the history books for centuries told. How this story will be passed on however, is still to be determined. A fair number of us sat at the beginning of the year following the Primary’s in disbelief, but somewhat excitedly as we rubbed our hands together in anticipation of the comedy we were going to be lucky enough to witness in the coming months. But as each month passed, the wide grins dropped inch by inch respectively. To the point that come that second Tuesday in November, were well and truly wiped off our faces. A reality TV-star who had done almost everything possible to insult every form of voter was announced as the next President of historically the most powerful country in the world.

Echoing the lessons learnt from Brexit (that were clearly not acted on), Trump’s win for me, really drove home the question and role of trust and it’s impact on us as individuals in the most simplest of ways. And for many, the idea and concept of trust will be difficult to comprehend in association with his name. But research has shown that people who reveal information are always seen as more trustworthy than people who decline to disclose information. Unfortunately for Clinton, there were many examples of this at play during her run which ironically played into the hands of Trump.

Elections aside, trust will continue to have a huge role to play in communications,notably as consumers become more and more savvy and connected in a digital world. As the world becomes smaller in 2017, we need to be prepared to take the front foot on our mistakes, on our blemishes, and be prepared to communicate openly about them. Only earlier this year, fellow behavioural scientist Adam Ferrier captured this sentiment when he highlighted “that mistakes can increase brand preference because consumers in developed markets such as Australia and Japan like marketing to reflect reality, not an idealised portrayal of a brand.” Imperfection = authenticity.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAf0AAAAJGJjYjA0MzFiLWZjMTMtNDBiZi1iNzRlLTk5YjY5Y2NjNzZlYg

Day 6 – December 12. Monday. Howcroft joins PWC.

THE HEADLINE: Good agencies will survive, evolve and kick ass again.

For those in Australia, it’s highly likely that the news of Russel Howcroft joining PWC hit your inbox this last week. The trade press were all over it, notably Mumbrella who painted it to a certain extent as the beginning of the end for agencies (again). But before you jump down my throat, I’m aware it’s not the first piece to appear that captures the intent of consultancies and their move into the ‘agency’ market. And it’s not the first article that justifies such plays in market because of agencies’ failure to innovate and adapt to this ‘brave new world’. But it is the first within the local market that’s been given a fair amount of oxygen, emphasising that they’re not just talking the talk, they’re walking the walk and now coming after our talent. It’s created a stir, sat a lot of people up in their seats and got us all thinking.

But with every challenge that confronts this industry, comes opportunity. The passionate, smart, flexible and dedicated of our side of the fence will continue to reframe the agency offering, and we will continue to exist, offering more value than ever. We have to. And I commit myself to this statement (and call bullshit on you calling my bullshit) because it was only a few months ago that I turned down a very similar opportunity to switch sides from agency to ‘big four’ consultancy.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAiYAAAAJGI0YjliODM4LTI4NmYtNDkyYy1hMDAxLTYzNmEwNTIwMGE2Ng

No longer will a good suit and a great creative set you apart from the rest. Save you. The agency of the future, and the amazing agencies of today, will be a melting pot of individuals that break the mould of the ‘agency offering’ that many of us are unwilling to let go.

2017 is going to be a huge year. It’s going to be a challenging year and as businesses and individuals, we’ll face challenges and difficulties we’ve not even considered yet. But, it’s an exciting time to exist because with those challenges will come huge opportunities to respectively stand up and take control. I’m personally incredibly excited about it.

May you all have a wonderful break (if you’re taking one) and enjoy the holiday season.

Be well and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Social Change Maker Profile: Emma Heath
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Social Change Maker Profile: Emma Heath

B&T has partnered with UnLtd to showcase industry heroes! Well, it's arguably more heroine in the case of Emma Heath.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ad Fraud: A Problem We Can Solve
  • Advertising
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Ad Fraud: A Problem We Can Solve

Unlike B&T's mystery office farter, this columnist argues ad fraud is a problem that can possibly be solved.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why We Pivoted Our ‘Specialist’ Agency Five Times In 15 Years
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Why We Pivoted Our ‘Specialist’ Agency Five Times In 15 Years

In this opinion piece, Gavin McDonough (pictured above, left), co-founder and managing partner of Urban, shares through his own experience some valuable advice for independent specialist agencies. In November 2017, my brother Ryan and I celebrated 15 years in business. We started business out of my front room in Melbourne in 2002 – not with any […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
W+K’s Susan Hoffman Chosen As 39th AWARD Awards Chair Of Judges
  • Advertising

W+K’s Susan Hoffman Chosen As 39th AWARD Awards Chair Of Judges

Susan Hoffman, co-chief creative officer at Wieden+Kennedy (W+K), has been appointed chair of judges for the 39th AWARD Awards. Known to challenge the status quo, Hoffman is behind some of W+K’s most memorable and game-changing ads, including Nike’s ‘Revolution’, Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ and Chrysler’s Super Bowl spots starring Eminem and Clint […]

Experiential Agency Kreate Gets Bought Out By Staffers
  • Marketing

Experiential Agency Kreate Gets Bought Out By Staffers

Leading experiential marketing agency, Kreate Australia is embarking on an exciting growth strategy following its purchase by three of the agency’s existing management team from its UK founder, Steve Evans.

Hurry! B&T 30 Under 30 Entries Closing Friday!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Hurry! B&T 30 Under 30 Entries Closing Friday!

This is a clarion call for B&T 30 Under 30 entries, although it's probably more mariachi band than angelic harbinger.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
The Hit Network Chooses Comedian Tanya Hennessy To Host Weekend Breakfast
  • Media

The Hit Network Chooses Comedian Tanya Hennessy To Host Weekend Breakfast

Southern Cross Austereo’s Hit Network has announced that rising radio star and comedian Tanya Hennessy will take over hosting duties for its weekend breakfast slot in 2018. Hennessy will bring content to the airwaves each Saturday and Sunday morning from 7am to 9am with a regular rotation of guest co-hosts. The self-described talker, not walker […]

Straight Up PR Wins Five New Clients
  • Marketing

Straight Up PR Wins Five New Clients

Health, wellbeing and lifestyle PR agency Straight Up PR has welcomed Changing Habits, Unichi Wellness, enerGi, SleepX, and Healthie Hampers to its client portfolio. Straight Up PR’s projects will include bespoke PR services and influencer marketing packages specifically focusing on communications strategy and execution, media and influencer relations, PR launch events, product seeding and gifting, […]

March One Creates ‘Cheese For Change’ Fundraising Campaign For White Ribbon Australia
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

March One Creates ‘Cheese For Change’ Fundraising Campaign For White Ribbon Australia

Independent creative agency March One has developed a new fundraising event for White Ribbon Australia that turns a social moment into a social movement. Starting on Thursday 22 March and going until Sunday 25 March, Cheese for Change will ask Aussies to create a cheese platter that matters by gathering friends, family or co-workers together […]

Sixth Annual IGN Select Awards Winners Announced
  • Marketing

Sixth Annual IGN Select Awards Winners Announced

The winners of IGN Australia’s sixth annual Select Awards were revealed during a huge special event at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney on Friday, February 16. Some 225 Media & Game Publishers alongside 320 IGN Community Gamers attended the annual event. 2017 was absolutely crammed with terrific games and several categories were extremely tightly-contested. The top […]

Meet Your Mentors For B&T Bootcamp 2018!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Meet Your Mentors For B&T Bootcamp 2018!

When it comes to an industry "who's who", you'll find there won't be too much who-ing with this impressionable lot.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
ANZ Unveils Its 2018 GAYTMs
  • Marketing

ANZ Unveils Its 2018 GAYTMs

Mardi Gras is only weeks away and B&T has already hoisted the mirror ball and donned the hotpants to bring you this.

International Creative Services Redesigns Business Model To Broaden Talent Offering
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

International Creative Services Redesigns Business Model To Broaden Talent Offering

Marketing consultancy International Creative Services has announced a new roster of diverse creative and production talent to provide a fully integrated solution for advertising and branded content. The roster includes a broad range of global and local directors, animators, illustrators, motion designers, visual artists, light projectionists, photographers and cinematographers – many of whom Australia will […]

Dirty Data Done Dirt Cheap
  • Opinion

Dirty Data Done Dirt Cheap

Does the mere thought of data fog the brain and stuff the sinuses? Decongest immediately with this lozenge-like read.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Johnny Ruffo & Lynne McGranger Host Emotive’s New Video Series For HelloFresh
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Johnny Ruffo & Lynne McGranger Host Emotive’s New Video Series For HelloFresh

HelloFresh Australia, together with content agency Emotive, have launched a new video content series hosted by Home & Away actress Lynne McGranger and entertainer Johnny Ruffo. Dinner Diaries showcases the talent eating their way across the country as they drop into HelloFresh customers’ homes to see what the nation are cooking at dinnertime. The campaign […]

AppNexus Appoints VP Of Diversity, Inclusion & Community Experience
  • Advertising
  • Technology

AppNexus Appoints VP Of Diversity, Inclusion & Community Experience

Independent advertising technology company AppNexus has announced the appointment of Antoinette Hamilton as its vice president of diversity, inclusion and community experience. Filling a new position at the company, Hamilton (pictured above) will spearhead initiatives to promote a diverse and inclusive global community within AppNexus, broaden the range of the company’s talent pipeline, and drive […]

Mango Melbourne Appoints New Head Of Comms
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Mango Melbourne Appoints New Head Of Comms

If you were to lick your computer monitor while reading this Mango story, it may actually taste like a computer monitor.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine