How to Make Networking Less Awkward

By Vanessa Hou

(Image: http://www.wrightoncomm.com/12-tips-to-network-like-a-boss/)
Ahh networking. We all know what it is, we all get its importance and yet, even the bravest amongst us break into a cold sweat at the very mention of the word.

I remember my very first careers fair, back in first year. Have no doubt, a room filled with future employers is intimidating. Everywhere I looked there were industry professionals and eager penultimate-year students sweating it out over conversations about SMM, SEM, SEO (familiarise yourself with marketing lingo here: http://goo.gl/4QDU55) and when it finally came to my turn to talk to these industry gods… there were blank stares and nervous chuckles… it was awkward. In fact, calling the whole thing a ‘daunting’ experience would be like calling the Dove Real Beauty campaign a ‘small success’ – understatement of the century. 

So what can you do to make networking less awkward? Read on.

Do your research! Do you have a specific question regarding the company’s internship program? Any questions about the organisational work culture? Or are you just curious about potential career pathways? I can say at least 99.98% of awkward networking situations come from you not knowing exactly why you’re there and what you want. So figure out what you want to get out of the conversation and this will save everyone time and keep you on track.

These poor reps literally stand there and talk to student-after-student for HOURS on end. Make yourself stand out from the crowd to really get their attention. Crack a joke, compliment their hair… anything, really.

Networking is about building quality relationships. So don’t get too caught up about regurgitating your entire skill-set and boasting about past work experiences since your high school checkout days. Focus on keeping an interesting conversation whilst keeping step 1 in mind.

Seriously, this is a problem. Time is ticking. Know when you need to stop the conversation and move on. Have an exit strategy in mind and use it when needed.

Try standing in the Great Hall around noon in the middle of a crowd… yeah the ventilation isn’t great. Be sure to thank industry reps for their time and for talking with you out of the many students there.

There we have it! My personal tips for diffusing all that the awkward tension in networking. Like anything, networking becomes easier with time and practice. Don’t be put off from that first traumatising encounter with industry reps and keep at it!

(Image: https://freeurcloset.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/saturday-man-candy-the-swag-alicious-and-ohhh-so-sexy-harvey-specter-of-suits/)

Go and mingle!

Best wishes from a friendly third-year commerce kid,
Vanessa Hou - Imparting Wisdom Since 1995

An Undergraduate's Guide to Buzzwords

By Tamara Jones

Many of us will eventually be working in the industry, and if you want to succeed you need to be able to navigate the complex world of buzzwords. We’re sure you can survive without them but it’s a lot more fun this way.

                                   (Source: http://101fundraising.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/buzzwords-everywhere.jpg)

Lets start with the big one. Synergy. This one you can apply to people, projects, ideas, pretty much anything. It's got a nice ring and you'll immediately sound like you know was you are talking about.

                                    (Source: http://memecrunch.com/meme/17HTI/synergy/image.png?w=400&c=1)

Utilize. Fancy ‘use’.

In Summation. Super elaborate heads up that you are about to repeat yourself

A little less known but High level. I barely know what I am talking about or I am too busy to explain something so I am going to give you a 'high level' summary. It works wonders.

I’ll be offline. Please stop emailing me.

Young Gun/Rockstar. Doing your job well under the age of 25.

Sustainability. Could be environmental, but probably not unfortunately.

Proactive. Mind Reader.

Doing your time. Waiting for a promotion.

Face Time. Not the app but time for a one on one meeting with your boss

Brain Surgeon/Rocket Scientist/Guru. Someone who understands IT.

Let’s Monetize this. Nothing is going to happen unless you give me some numbers.

Win-Win. Not necessarily the actual situation, but lets give it a positive spin.

Big Data. One of the most overused phrases for technical data collection. Use/listen for this one with caution.

Hack. Short Cut.

Ping. I’ll get back to you .

The ‘IT’ Factor. Secret ingredient.

Let’s connect. We’ll blame Facebook for this one.

Now that you've aught up with the lingo, go out and have fun with your buzzwords. Invent your own even. As long as you say them with confidence no one will question you ;-)

Snapshot: Lorna Jane

The Marketing Evolution of one of Australia’s most Iconic brands

Krystina Batt

Since its inception 25 years ago, Australian women’s active wear label, Lorna Jane has expanded phenomenally. From the first hand-stitched designs of aerobics instructor, Lorna Jane Clarkson, the brand’s founder, to the launch of an entirely new collection, the Active Living Magazine and the company’s first ever television commercial in its 25th year, the $500 million company can owe its success to a dedicated and creative marketing effort.

The company, which prides itself on its bold, fearless and unique designs and values, has come a long way over the last two and a half decades:

1989: Lorna stiches her first design
1990: opening of the first Lorna Jane store
2011: Release of Move, Nourish, Believe: The Fit Woman’s Secret
2012: inaugural Active Nation Day
Opening of first store in the United States
2013: Opening of the first Active Living Room
Release of MORE of the Fit Woman’s Secrets
2014: Active Living magazine launches
Launch of the ‘sport-luxe’ Uniquely collection
Release of the Nourish Cookbook
Re-launch of the Lorna Jane App
First television commercial
Active Nation Day goes global for the first time
155 stores worldwide

Clearly this successful company didn’t just come into fruition by itself; each campaign is backed by an array of marketing strategies designed to entice customers.

Every month sees the launch of a new collection, whether it be backed by a ‘Summer bodies are made in winter’ slogan, or a catchy Instagram competition, Lorna Jane makes sure to cover all bases when it comes to marketing. Social media, in particular, has become one of the primary tools for the company’s marketing strategy. Not only does it allow them to engage with its target market of 18-50 year olds, but it runs interactive campaigns which aim to get customers involved in the brand by using hashtags and posting pictures of themselves ‘moving’, building a steadfast relationship.

The company also runs a blog, Move, Nourish, Believe, to build a brand personality that is more than just the stylish clothes; it allows customers to uncover the values of the brand in their everyday lives hosting nutritious recipes and exercise tips, to name a few.

Finally, the recently re-launched Lorna Jane App encourages customers to engage with the brand even when exercising by offering tracking services and daily motivation. Through building a strong marketing strategy, the company reaches customers on a number of platforms every day.

From its early days, Lorna Jane has come a long way in terms of its ability to integrate into the daily lives of its customers. The success of the brand comes from a strong marketing base that continues to find new ways to reach its target market through utilizing to-the-minute technology and building a strong relationship with customers that will see its triumphs proliferate in the future.

Taking a Look at Twitter

Yen Yen Lee

Social media is the norm in this day and age. It plays increasingly important roles and creates significant influence in our social life. But have you ever wondered what other impacts it has on our lives? 

Twitter, as we all know is a microblogging tool at only 140-characters.  It is a community-controlled micro sharing environment depending on whom you choose to ‘follow’ and who chooses to ‘follow you’ (Dunlap and Lowenthal 2009). 

Twitter users are geographically spread across all continents with North America, Europe, and Asia having the highest adoption rate (Agrifoglio et al. 2012). This allows people to expand their network worldwide without boundaries. Imagine the broad perceptions from an extensive number of communities living in different countries, which grew up with different culture, in different backgrounds, being shared in the virtual space. 

It builds a community among like-minded groups such as students, sports fanatics, foodies, travelers, consumers, actors, musicians, vendors, bankers, politicians, journalists and so on. They are encouraged to share their passion, interest, knowledge and resources enabling collaboration on ideas of practice (Dunlap and Lowenthal 2009). And all of this communication happens in real-time, so the shared information is instantaneous which develops social presence (Smith and Tirumala 2012).

Twitter was created in 2006 and the company went public last year as shown in the ‘tweet’ below.

Source: https://twitter.com

It has also just celebrated its eighth anniversary of its founding in March (Griggs 2014). Throughout these 8 years of its business, Twitter has gone through its ups and downs and now it has expanded to a total of 241 million active users as shown in the table below (Twitter 2014).

Source: https://twitter.com 

Its business model is to obtain as many users as possible. Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo declared at an investor conference last month ‘I am not going to be satisfied until we reach every connected user on the planet, period’ (McDuling 2014).

Currently as a public company, Twitter is pressured to grow even more than before (Bailey 2014). Twopchart, a company that monitors data about Twitter users tracked a total of 938.4 million registered user accounts (Edwards 2014a) which are displayed in the table below.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/number-of-users-who-abandon-twitter-2014-2

However, public view is that its customer base cannot grow much further than it already is (Ye et al. 2012). It was mentioned above that there are only 241 million active users, hence it illustrates that almost 3/4 users has abandoned their twitter account. This implies that Twitter is not doing as well as we thought it was, resulting in Twitter stocks to drop by 17% in its first ever IPO earning call (Edwards 2014b). 

Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo commented that ‘there are users who do not tweet but simply use twitter as a curated newsfeed of updates’ (McDuling 2014). Nonetheless, people would still question its growth ability (Ye et al. 2012). 

Twitter’s challenges:
(1) User-(un)friendly for new users
(2) Better sorting and filtering tools
(3) Better sharing tools for photos and video
(4) Increase accessibility

CEO’s action:
Simplifying on-boarding process for new users
Created ‘#’ hashtags and ‘@’ symbols as user-driven features
Redesigned user page (bigger profile picture,  banner picture and tweet picture)
New features:
  1. Push notifications 
  2. Event Parrot, designed to alert people to breaking news
  3. Pin favourite tweets to top of profile page
  4. Ability to filter others’ tweet
  5. Allowing 4 photos in a tweet, and tag up to 10 people, without counting against the 140-character limit.
  6. ‘Discover’ tab

Why people use twitter?

Source: http://thenextweb.com/twitter/2014/02/05/twitter-passes-million-monthly-active-users-x-million-mobile-users

Survey shows Twitter appeals to users who are primarily self-indulgent and knowledge seeking. It was revealed that 87% in Twitter revenue came from advertising (Baskin 2013). With millions of worldwide users connected to Twitter, it is undoubtedly an attractive advertising platform. 

So how do marketers build brand personality through Twitter?
Twitter offers advertisers promoted accounts, tweets and trends for them to promote, build mass awareness and scale up their follower-base (Bailey 2014). With that, organizational values, products, services, promotions can be delivered instantaneously around the world as a growth engine for the organization. 

It was found that more organizations are adopting Twitter as an additional way to continuously engage with customers (Burton and Soboleva 2011) because the increase in interactivity makes it valuable in marketing.  There were 60% of Fortune 500 organisations’ Twitter accounts by late 2010 (up from 35% the previous year), compared to only 56% with a Facebook account concurrently (Barnes 2010). Regular updates and interactions with consumers helps create a connection to inspire customer loyalty and keep them engaged with the brand (Schiff 2013).

Yen Yen Lee is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing. This blog was originally submitted as part of Yen Yen Lee’s assessment material for MKTG3120- Building and Managing Brands in semester 1, 2014. 

Luxury Branding with a Cultish Devotion - Ferrari

Jess Sutherland

‘The Ferrari is a dream – people dream of owning this special vehicle, and for most people, it will remain a dream.’
Enzo Ferrari, 
Founder, Ferrari

There are very few brands that are on par with Ferrari; not just for their product, but also for their brand experience and the level of exclusivity that is tantamount to their image. There is luxury, and there is luxury; and Ferrari is in a league of its own. If Alleres’ theory was used to describe the luxury phenomenon, where there are 3 levels of luxury: accessible, intermediate and inaccessible, Ferrari would be in the latter category. Luxury brands satisfy functional and psychological needs, particularly social recognition and self-esteem. Typically, perceived characteristics of such brands include quality, aesthetics, scarcity and elitism, characteristics that Ferrari richly possesses.

Source- http://www.technologicvehicles.com/en/green-transportation-news/2155/video-specifications-of-the-new-ferrari-enzo-hybrid-v12-and-1270kg-f150-price-update
While there is a sleuth of luxury brands in the fashion industry – Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Rolex etc. – none inspire the same cultish, fervent devotion that Ferrari does. While many women may aspire to own a Prada bag or a Chanel suit, the thousands of people that spectate at Formula One races wearing Rossa Corsa and waiving Ferrari flags will, as Enzo Ferrari said himself, never own a Ferrari. But they represent an emotional connection to the brand that is unparalleled worldwide. Much of this can be put down to scarcity. The capping of production ensures that there is a waiting list to merely purchase a Ferrari, and a 6-18 month waiting period for the customized vehicle to be delivered is standard. Similarly, Ferrari’s will never be on sale or visibly advertised. A recent move to further cap the production of some models, and focus on delivering an even more personalised service to consumers of the exotic supercars – such as cashmere seats and steering wheel details –highlights the scarcity approach in action.

Tailoring a strategy whereby the product must be accompanied by a rarity value is very common in luxury brands. However, none pursue it quite as exceptionally as Ferrari. For example, despite their luxury status, Moet & Chandon and Louis Vuitton almost give the impression they are mass-produced. These brands tread the fine line of brand extension coming at the expense of reduced perceived quality. But the difference between these brands and Ferrari is that while they are marketed to be beautiful, they are also attainable. Ferrari’s strategy is one of natural paucity whereas most other luxury brands in the fashion, automobile and wine industry adopt a tactical-driven paucity approach.

The challenges for luxury brands are immense; they must be fast growing, timeless, modern and highly profitable, all at once. A luxury brand has to become an institution but also remain current. A rich heritage is therefore commonly drawn on in luxury brands and integral to their success. Burberry harks back to its military heritage and Louis Vuitton to its luggage craftsmanship of the 19th Century. Ferrari’s history of racing and strong associations with the Formula One industry has become so iconic and renowned, it is almost synonymous with Italian pride itself. This has ensured that their passion for quality engines and beautiful vehicles is the dominant emotional connection with consumers.  Trust and scarcity go hand in hand. If consumers feel that the product hasn’t delivered to meet their expectations, they are unlikely to trust the brand. Luckily for Ferrari, an exceptional pedigree and wealth of experience in the industry ensures the brand is reputable and trustworthy, even to non-discerning consumer. 

Some luxury brand commentators point to potential opportunities for Ferrari, such as expanding their product base into high performance SUV’s – an avenue where rival Porsche has already had success with it’s ‘Cayenne’ model. Some also suggest that enlargement of their customer base through initiatives such as adding roominess or extra luggage space to their vehicles. But Ferrari hasn’t implemented any of these strategies, and it is unlikely that they will. While their scarcity strategy places a ceiling effect on their potential for revenue generation, the core values that uphold the essence of their brand has been a consistent pillar of their success. Moreover, they have proven that there are ample opportunities for generating revenue through other means, such as their licensing and retail division, which is worth upwards of US$1.5 billion. To make their brand appear more accessible or generic would be to undermine the very tenet of luxury itself.

Ferrari’s attainment of the coveted title of ‘World’s most Powerful Brand’ has seen Ferrari outperform its competitors in a range of criteria, including ‘sentiment index’ and the emotional component of the brand. The title does have its risks and implications. The most powerful brand does not equate to the most valuable brand. But realistically, title or no title, Ferrari’s dominance is unlikely to dissipate any time soon.

Jess Sutherland is currently studying a Commerce/Liberal Studies degree with the Univeristy of Sydney, majoring in Marketing, International Business and Psychology. This blog was originally submitted as assessment material for MKTG3120- Building and Managing Brands.  

A Reflection on the SMS Mentoring Program

Lily Cheng

Looking back in hindsight, I was glad that I applied for the 2013 SMS Mentoring Program.

Although my background was in Finance and Law, the former President James Fan referred it to me, as every student in commerce should find a mentor. A mentor is more than just a mentor. My mentor is the current General Manager for e-commerce and marketing of Veda, Victor Leung. He is now a dear friend of mine and I am hopeful that our friendship will continue into the near future.

What started off as an odd pairing (as I made it clear that I studied law and finance and he was the head of marketing), we now see each other roughly once a month for dinner on a Friday. He was forgiving and understanding and for that I am grateful. I asked him how he felt about being paired with me, he laughed and told me that when he read my application, he knew straight away that it was meant to be. He said that my application stood out as interesting and he felt the tone of my personality and he wanted to know more about my diverse life. When we first met, it was awkward needless to say but after a few hot chocolates and coffee, we were talking as though we had been friends for years.

I told him that I was glad to be paired up with Veda as I had heard of the company in my former days working in retail credit in a small Australian Finance company and it was somewhat relevant to my degree. Veda is a credit reporting agency. It acts as a database for financial companies (particularly those that deal in retail finance) to look up their client’s credit histories and scores. I started to learn more about Veda, the importance of marketing in the commercial world and about my mentor over time. I learned how marketing is the core reason why businesses failed or succeeded. Marketing is embedded in every transaction and interestingly a part of everyday life.

I was honest with him. When he asked me about what I wanted out of the mentoring program, I told him I wasn’t sure. I told him what I knew, which wasn’t much but he seemed okay with it. I was grateful to have a mentor that was understanding and eager to see me develop as a person. He has taken me into his office to roam around and take photos. He gladly showed me how marketing was moving to an online platform and he was educating me about something that I would not have considered. We also sometimes try out new places to eat from time to time because I am a “foodie”.

Victor has given me a refreshed and mature outlook on life. Having a mentor is like having a coach. He was someone that I reported to when I had reached another achievement or milestone in my life. He kept me on the ball by constantly asking me what I was doing, how it was relevant to my career goals and why. He is sometimes very critical of what I do and while at the time, I do get admittedly defensive, there is always truth in his thoughts. He is one of my biggest supporters.

When I talk to Victor, he makes me reflect on my decisions. I don’t want to disappoint him. I wanted to make him proud to have me as a mentee. He would remind me at times about deadlines and tell me to hone in on being more of a “professional” for I was a very casual person by nature. He did mention that he enjoyed my easy going nature as it was different but stressed that I should be more professional in the corporate world. Most of all, he gave me words of wisdom that can only be acquired through experience. I continue to take on his thoughts, insights and advice eagerly.

He has been there for me in person and via email. I am always surprised that he sticks to his schedule with me for he is a very busy person, sometimes starting work at 7AM, which I anecdotally ask, “Is the sun even up at 7AM in winter?” He generally looks at me with a blank face which is then followed by a moment of silence and laughter.

People might think I am not making the most of my mentoring experience, as I have not gained work experience or scored an internship. That wasn’t my key objective however when I applied in 2013, although it isn’t impossible. I am content with the friendship that has developed over time with Victor. I wouldn’t push him to give me an internship instead I leave the ball in his court. Who knows, maybe in the near future, he might or someone in his network might need an extra pair of hands? Every mentoring experience is different, and mine has been incredible.

Victor was a former student of the University of Sydney and a former tutor in the marketing discipline. He is the General Manager for e-commerce and marketing for Veda.

Lily Cheng is a current student at the University of Sydney studying LLB/Commerce (Finance).

Mad Men: Advertising Agencies since Draper’s Day

James Fan

To understand where advertising agencies fit within the broader marketing agency landscape, a short history lesson is in order:

Back in the 1950s, most clients relied on a ‘full service’ agency that met all of their advertising service needs including creative development, media planning and buying and market research.

Source- http://divvyhq.com/category/organizational-change/

In 1960 McCann Erickson established Interpublic, the first major agency holding company. This sparked off a frenzied period of consolidation between agencies. More recently, major holding agencies Publicis Groupe and Omnicom group in 2013 looked set to merge, however in May this year it was announced this deal had fallen through. Now the advertising industry is made up of 4 large conglomerates or holding agencies; Publicis Groupe, WPP plc, Omnicom group and the Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG).

Consolidation allowed agency groups to place conflicting clients e.g. Pepsi and Coke under separate agencies, enjoy volume discounts when buying media and achieve a faster rate of revenue growth. Agency holding groups also diversified into other marketing fields, acquiring specialist branding, digital, experiential, market research, media planning and buying and public relations agencies.

Yet as the agency holding companies grew, the services offered by the advertising agencies themselves began to shrink. In the 1990s, media and creative were often unbundled in the interests of economies of scale in media buying, leaving creative agencies that focused on the creation of advertisements and branding. Subsequently clients would rely on multiple specialist agencies, as opposed to a single full service agency. However, given the increased cost and complexity of unbundled services, the industry is debating over the merits of a return to a full service model.

What do you think? Is a full service agency the way forward? Or should the marketing industry continue to offer numerous smaller agencies with specific services on offer?

Want to read more or see what others think-