Over the last week, I was in Sydney attending the European Union-Australia Leadership Forum. A joint initiative, the event brought together around 200 people from around the world. Backgrounds included policy, research, media, politics, innovation and others. I was one of the fifty global and twenty-five Australians selected as part of the “emerging leaders” stream.Keep Reading
For reasons unbeknownst to me, over the last twelve months I have found myself frequently presenting to various audiences about innovation in healthcare. When I do, I am quick to point out that I am not and will not be a trained healthcare professional. I am not a doctor or a nurse or anything else. But I have developed an undeniable passion for working in the healthcare sector. More often than not, I am asked why.Keep Reading
The following is an adaption of a presentation to fifty Master of Public Health students at Melbourne University. It includes all slides, videos and a rough transcript. It took around an hour, followed by thirty minutes of questions.Keep Reading
Every start up founder wants to attract investment. Investment signifies a lot of things. Yes, money is great and for most new businesses it’s a critical factor, but what investment signifies for a lot of people is belief. That there are people out there who believe in your idea and your future so much that they are willing to take the journey with you. That they will ride the bumps and hopefully all reap the rewards.Keep Reading
Like many, I spent Friday afternoon glued to various screens watching the events of an “incident” unfold in Melbourne. A news alert popped up to say that a driver, with a gun had gone through the CBD, hitting numerous people.Keep Reading
The following article has been submitted as part of a collection of stories from Global Shapers about their views of Digital Health in 2030. The full collection is being collated and submitted to the World Economic Forum. For the last few days I felt dizzy and fatigued. At night, I get cold sweats and feel […]Keep Reading
The Pitch@Palace week is nothing short of surreal. One morning having tea in Buckingham Palace, to boot camps on pitching taught by choreographers. The next moment, learning about international expansion, IP laws and tax concessions, to shaking the hand of Prince Andrew and being blown away by his active, genuine interest in seeing start ups succeed.Keep Reading
I recently spent two days attending the Australian Biotech Investment Conference, enticed by the opportunity to present Health Delivered in one of the “early stage” company spotlights. As the final speaker, I chose to attend both days, so I could learn what was important in the eyes of the audience and try to tailor my message to their interests.Keep Reading
Two weeks ago I had the privilege of representing Melbourne at the Global Shapers Annual Curators Meeting, in Geneva. Over the four days I was able to meet and get to know a number of other Shapers from almost every country on the planet. I was able to visit the World Trade Organization, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. I was exposed to a variety of customs, backgrounds, viewpoints, struggles, successes and more laughs than I’ve had in a long time. It was definitely memorable and as Shapers usually only get one term as Curator, a legitimate “once in a lifetime” style event.Keep Reading
I enjoy writing. I find it cathartic because it’s a way for me to work through the thoughts in my head and hopefully construct a narrative that others will find interesting. Outside of that, it’s a way for me to document how things are going, what’s relevant in my life and to see how I’m progressing as a person. I’ve tried to tackle both professional topics, but also personal ones like resilience, depression, trust and failure.Keep Reading
I get asked that question a lot. Over my career, I’ve found it harder and harder to describe in a few short sentences what I do because the various titles come with so many preconceived notions and usually don’t give the role justice. After work a couple of weeks ago, we were at the bar […]Keep Reading
Around a month ago a potentially life-changing opportunity landed on my desk. It was the chance to combine much of my recent work and expertise on a challenging, exciting and potentially hugely influential project. It was something that sparked a truly emotional response and my first instinct was to drop everything and go for it.Keep Reading
I was sitting in another meeting with a potential investor last week. It was very much the same old spiel until the woman running it said something that really resonated: “We don’t invest in just anyone. We need to make sure you’re resilient.” That was followed up by a number of examples of resilience at work, in personal life, and during conflict and rejection.Keep Reading
This has been somewhat of a crunch time week in terms of our company’s progress. We’ve moved past the time of idea generation and ‘what if’. Now it’s about identifying exactly what it is we need to do, why we need to do it and what value it is adding to our product and our customers.Keep Reading
The following is an excerpt from my presentation to the Melbourne University MPH group for their Health Promotion course. It was presented on 30/03/2016. It includes highlighted slides/videos and edited text.Keep Reading
I have spent the last few days in Japan, attending the Global Shapers Asia Pacific Conference. With the theme of peace, there was no more fitting place to host it than Hiroshima. I decided to attend on a whim. Finding time to disappear for a few days was not a straightforward task, between paid work, starting a new business and trying to remain very active across two volunteer roles.Keep Reading
We kicked off with our business advisory team today. Eight hours of questions, conversations, challenges and planning. The first time when someone outside of our team has truly sat down and started to scrutinise what we’ve done to date, what it all means and what the future could look like.Keep Reading
Most people have ideas. Some are good, most are not. For some, ideas have become their currency, as they develop, design and co-create solutions to problems they’ve identified (or invented). For those of us in the realm of digital development, communications, or dare I say it, the entrepreneurial space, we are judged on the strength and viability of our ideas. There is no better recognition of a good idea than someone external willing to invest their time and money in helping the budding project see the light of day. Between that and someone willing to pay to use your product, it’s ultimately what we all strive for.Keep Reading
The recent WADA decision to ban 34 Essendon players as a result of the club’s supplements scandal has sent shockwaves through the sporting community. As expected the ruling has lead to numerous debates about who is to blame and whether the penalty is too harsh on the players.Keep Reading
I started 2015 on a mission. I thought I had finally found where I was meant to be. I genuinely thought I was contributing something of value to places and people who were trying to change the world around them. What I didn’t realise was that I was working my way deeper into the belly of the most toxic work environment I’ve ever been part of.Keep Reading
A few months ago, I was introduced to the notion of “personal branding” by my old boss and one of the best in the game, Pete Singline. Pete described to a small group of us what it meant to go through a personal branding workshop, the types of insights it may uncover and the outcomes you could set up for yourself.Keep Reading
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be the best at something. I was never able to decide what, I just had an underlying desire to be the best. Unfortunately, I was a fat kid, so most sports were out, and although I was bright, I never really paid attention in class, so academia was also out. I have a very short attention span and a low tolerance for boredom, so finding a long term career has also proven to be problematic.Keep Reading
Two weeks ago Global Ideas Forum wrapped up for 2015. I say wrapped up, in the sense that the public event came to a close. The reality is that an event that lasts only a weekend still takes a full twelve months to plan, execute and analyse afterwards.Keep Reading
Newton’s Third Law states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. My favourite illustration of this is Newton’s Cradle, as it neatly demonstrates conservation of momentum and energy. Over the past few weeks, I have watched with interest as this principle seems to be playing out in the American media and to a lesser extent, our own.Keep Reading
September 10 is “R U OK?” day in Australia, an initiative that seeks to encourage people to check up on their friends and family by asking how they are in aid of suicide prevention. It is, without a doubt, a very important and worthy cause and one very close to me, which is why I am conflicted about whether I think it is a positive or negative initiative.Keep Reading
Throughout my career, I have been lucky enough to be exposed to a wide variety of clients, across industry, size and maturity. I have been able to learn more about what creates successful businesses and what employees look for when they seek out work through direct experience and by osmosis, for which I do not claim any credit.Keep Reading
Three years ago I made the conscious decision to move to Melbourne and start a career in some kind of creative work. I had a Masters degree in Visual Communication, a smattering of internationally published work and clients but no real understanding of the world I was getting myself into. Creative fields, particularly design, are competitive at the best of times but that is magnified in a place like Melbourne, where so many people are vying for so few places. I quickly learned that the functional role of a designer was not for me — I didn’t work fast enough, I wasn’t that technically skilled and my conceptual thinking didn’t translate onto the screen. Most importantly, I felt no passion for the trade I was trained in; I knew the value of good design but I wasn’t the one to deliver it.Keep Reading
In the lead up to this weekend’s Mardi Gras in Sydney, ANZ has commissioned a number of ‘GAYTMs’ around Sydney. The transformed ATMs include a variety of different designs, colours, patterns and sequins. From unicorns and drag queens to rainbows and tattoos, each GAYTM is a riot of colour and textures to celebrate the festival. But at the heart of this much-publicised brand gesture is an overarching showing of support for diversity.
We all have a responsibility to protect our planet and the people who live in it. It’s not just world leaders and businessmen who have the power to create change – we’re all responsible for shaping this world; we’re all designers.
A recent print campaign by Volkswagen has honed in on the message that it’s impossible to focus on the road while texting. The campaign is beautiful in its simplicity of message and continues the VW tradition of incredibly intelligent communications.
Few Australians would be aware of Derek Jeter and his long and illustrious baseball career. But almost all of us would be aware of the New York Yankees, probably the biggest sporting team brand in the world (save for maybe Manchester United). Jeter has been the face of the Yankees for 20 seasons and is set to retire at the end of this one. Nike has paid tribute to the shortstop and in doing so, aligned itself with the population of New York and the wider sports community.
Earlier this year, Camden Borough Council came under fire for their “Camden Bench”, a design inspired to dissuade drug deals, bag theft, skateboarding and littering. But the design was also heavily criticised for stopping homeless people from using the bench as a place to sleep at night.
For the last two weeks, the internet across all media has been abuzz with news out of Hobart as the Dark Mofo festival rolled out. A huge variety of events, performances, food, culture, art and a bunch of naked people combined to make Tasmania the go-to winter destination. And at the heart of it all is the MONA (and therefore, David Walsh) brand.
A growing trend in short-term brand activations is getting traction, not just in Melbourne, but everywhere. “Pop Ups” are becoming a viable way for businesses and brands to utilise spaces in short term experiments, to keep themselves fresh, keep pushing ideas and trial things that may give them a long term edge and leg up.
Bottled drinks of all varieties are often the topic of conversation, especially in sustainability circles. Whatever your feelings are about our mass consumption and the effects of plastic pollution on the planet, plastic bottles are currently a necessary evil. And at the top of it all is the humble bottle cap (pun absolutely intended). However, brands are starting to think about new ways to utilise the bottle cap to educate us, connect us and give us more reasons to keep reusing their products.
A budget airline in the Philippines has recently shown that advertising doesn’t always require big bucks to see a big return on investment. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a simple idea, executed with intelligence.
Ogilvy Brazil and Sol de Janeiro are training tattoo artists to spot signs of skin cancer, raise awareness and encourage Brazilians to get checked. The campaign is driven by Ogilvy Brazil and supported by sunscreen brand Sol de Janeiro, and the agency recruited 450 tattoo artists to come to training and lectures by an oncologist.
A recent University of Queensland study has illustrated just how prevalent alcohol brands are on social media, and how their marketing strategies are reaching consumers in an environment far less regulated than traditional advertising. Using follower insights, brands are able to push messages at times most relevant to viewers inviting them to interact directly with the brand. But are these practices breaking regulations or are they a simple evolution of the advertising landscape?
Pepsi Max UK recently installed augmented reality bus shelters as a way to engage with people sitting around waiting for public transport. Admittedly, the craftsmanship is stunning, but the question that jumps out is, what’s their point?
The new Sydney lockouts have been widely reported across the media as a way to curb alcohol and drug related violence. The idea is not new — Melbourne attempted to implement it in 2008, and it was reversed after only three months. The first wave of reports is showing signs that behaviour patterns are not changing, just the timing of incidences. So there is a deeper issue to address; one that can be better communicated as a means of education than simply shutting doors. Just like the 2010 road safety campaign, Kings Cross club owner John Ibrahim has enlisted the help of friends to tell the youth of today: don’t be a dickhead.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have been doing the Internet rounds, as they try to raise money for the East Congo Initiative and Water.org. In a collaborative effort, the two celebrities offer the chance to hang out with them on a ‘best friend double date’, and tickets started at only 10 dollars each (in essence a donate-to-charity raffle). Similar to crowd-sourcing, the more tickets you buy (the more you spend), the greater reward you get — aside from the opportunity to win the major prize. But what sets this apart is their fantastic campaign video, which does wonders for both the charities and their personal brands.
Last week, the second largest American drugstore chain, CVS, announced that it was dropping tobacco products from its 7600 nationwide stores. It’s the first move by any of the big drugstore chains to stop selling tobacco products, and the effects will likely be far greater than the immediately quantifiable $2Bn initial decrease in annual sales.
Today in America, it’s Superbowl Sunday — probably the biggest sporting event in the country and one of the top few in the world. Last year the Superbowl was watched by over 108 million viewers in America alone. It’s also the single biggest event on the Advertising calendar. It’s expensive (4 million dollars for a 30 second spot) and it’s competitive. But a win in the Advertising Superbowl is a big win for brands. At the time of writing, the game hasn’t even started, and already Doritos has won the Superbowl.
With the Sochi Winter Olympic Games fast approaching, we’re starting to see lead up advertising. As a life long skier and winter follower, the Olympics are the highlight of my sport watching calendar (especially since the X-Games doesn’t make its way to Australia). Most of the advertising in the lead up is around the network coverage or the event itself. But Procter & Gamble have used it as a platform to deliver an emotionally charged brand message.
In 2009, MasterChef took the Australian television landscape by storm. It dived head first into an empty field and reaped every possible reward. From something completely unknown to a viewership of 4 million (or roughly 18% of the population), MasterChef created a household brand name and a workplace talking point. But at the end of its fifth season, MasterChef was a shell of its former self and was losing the reality TV cooking wars.
Effective communication in advertising will often result, at best, in a small change in consumer behaviour. While this change often has a product driven focus — buy this, try this, consider us — the predominant message generally doesn’t require the audience to drastically change their routine. The task for any anti- communications, however, is much more difficult.
Seth Godin is a very highly regarded author in the business and marketing world. His well-known book, All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works — and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All often receives rave reviews. Even the title poses an interesting question in my mind: is it acceptable to ‘deceive’ an audience to prove a point, especially one that leads to a better, socially focused outcome?
I was lucky enough to attend a focus group session for a client a few days ago. It was my first opportunity to get direct insights into how their audience feels about the brand we represent and the landscape as a whole. I went in without many expectations, not really knowing how these sessions go, and I came out an avid supporter of market research.