Agenda 2018 | Hype Versus Reality

What’s the biggest issue on the minds of Australia’s leading marketing and media professionals in 2018?

According to Tim Burrowes, Founder and Content Director of Mumbrella360, Australia’s largest marketing conference, it is winning and maintaining trust from consumers.

Fresh from this year’s Mumbrella360, Tim shared the latest insights about marketing with 130 guests at FULLER’s Agenda business luncheon “Hype versus Reality” at Adelaide Oval in July. The event also celebrated FULLER’s 25th anniversary as a South Australian brand communication agency.

Agenda 2018 highlights video, produced by Jarrod Knoblauch and Lewis Brideson

“A lack of trust in corporates and media has been a key trend this year and was a feature of PwC’s 2018 Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook report,” Tim said.

“During 2017 and 2018 we have seen numerous breaches of trust by corporates and people of influence in Australia – and globally – eroding consumer trust in brands,” he said.

“Cricket Australia’s ball tampering incident, Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and Cardinal George Pell’s multiple charges of sexual offences, have rocked our belief in many of our key institutions.

“It’s no wonder we’re all a little wary of the world around us,” he said.

“Trust, or the absence of trust, drives consumer behaviour.” – Megan Brownlow, PwC

PwC’s study found that ‘Trust in the brand’ is the second most cited reason why shoppers shop at a particular retailer. The top reason is: ‘they usually have the items I want in stock.’

In the digital environment, when asked how to reduce online security risk, the top reasons given were: ‘I only use legitimate and credible sites’ and ‘I choose providers I trust when making payments.’

PwC’s study also revealed that, according to customers, the onus to protect them is on brands, the keepers of their data.

“In the mobile environment, the tendency to act – either positively or punitively – as a result of trust becomes even more acute,” the report says. “86% of people take action as a result of trust concerns – including warning friends and family and using a competitive service. 47% would recommend a trustworthy app to friends and family.”

Tim shared with the audience that trust alone was not the only area of focus for marketers – there is always something on the digital front that will be tagged as “the next big thing”. Data, AR, VR, AI – what’s going to stick?

According to Tim, the hype around data, which peaked to a frenzy a couple of years ago, is starting to wane, as marketers start to understand that data alone is not the answer to all their problems.

And he remains unconvinced that augmented reality’s day in the sun will come. He is slightly more optimistic about virtual reality.

The biggest digital trend that is set to revolutionise consumer behaviour and brand communication is AI – artificial intelligence.

“You won’t be optimising for SEO, you’ll be optimising for a virtual assistant.” – Stewart Gurney, PhD

While AI has been present in search engines for the best part of a decade, the new frontier for AI is voice activated search, as demonstrated by the various virtual assistants available to us now – Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Alexa.

Consumers will expect voice activated answers to their queries in the same way they expect them from a search engine. The brands that do this well will rise to the top, while the brands that don’t will fall by the wayside.

Microsoft’s Head of Evangelism for Search, Christi Olson, who gave a keynote presentation about the future of AI at Mumbrella360 gave the example:

“It’s 11pm, you’re at home and you haven’t had dinner. You go to order pizza. In a search bar you’d perhaps type ‘pizza Sydney open now delivery’ before choosing a website, selecting a menu item and inputting payment and delivery information. With a digital assistant trained the right way, you might only have to say ‘Cortana, I want a pizza’ and within an hour, your standard order, a large supreme with no onion and extra olives, from your favourite pizza joint turns up at your door.”

That scenario is no longer a vision of the distant future. The technology is available and consumer demand for this kind of exchange with a brand is growing quickly.

Christi Olson predicts that within five years, companies will need to have a virtual assistant of their own that is not only responsive, but reflects the personality of their brand – from tone of voice to sense of humour.

Brands will need to decide not when or if but how they will join the conversation, in what is becoming a voice activated market place.

25 years of communication service

FULLER Managing Director Peter Fuller said the rapidity of change over the last 25 years had been the biggest challenge for marketing agencies.

“When we started in 1993 there was no Internet, no email, no Google and no Smart phones,” he said.

“Our mission has been to keep ahead of change on behalf of our clients and provide them with the widest range of integrated marketing services.

“From our beginnings as a one-person communications and public relations agency, we now have 25 staff offering strategy, design, web, digital marketing, in house video, photography and podcasting.

“But we remain true to our original purpose – to help brands engage customers, earn trust and maintain their reputation through authentic story-telling.”

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