When James Wright (CEO of Red Agency) took the stage last Thursday to kick off Mumbrella’s yearly CommsCon, he uttered a statement that made the audience roar: “43% of Millenials would rather give up sex than their phone.”

He was having fun with one of the world’s biggest issues; FOSO, ‘The Fear of Switching Off’.

The Red Agency appearance on stage, and their comments on digital privacy and security were some of the biggest news of the conference, especially since Facebook and Zuckeberg were yet to speak out over the Cambridge Analytica Breach.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t other memorable takeaways.

Some of the best agencies from all over Australia jockeyed for the attention of the crowd in an attempt to educate marketers on how to become the next PR phenomenon that broke out here in 2018. Speakers tried to find a place in the limelight as more than 500 attendees roamed the shiny carpet of the Westin Hotel.

Here’s a look a glimpse of 4 things we learned during this year’s CommsCon. First, let’s start with FB:

1. Privacy trade-offs may be worth the extra security

In 2014, Facebook invited users to find out their personality type via a quiz developed by Cambridge University researcher Dr Aleksandr Kogan called This is Your Digital Life. About 270,000 users’ data was collected, but the app also collected some public data from users’ friends. Fast forward 4 years and more than 50milion pieces of personal data have been sold to a third party entity in the US.

Zuckberg stated 2h ago that Facebook is in a high-profile battle to protect its user’s data. He apologises about the ‘breach of trust’ and promises to conduct a “full forensic audit” of any app with suspicious activity and ban any developer that did not agree to a thorough audit moving forward. “We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.”

Are you feeling safe yet?


2. Filmmaking is easy, and Data alone isn’t enough!

OK, it’s not easy. But it is getting easier for people to try their hands at it. Most speakers here, talked about how almost everyone has a smartphone camera in their pocket, so almost anyone can be a filmmaker. Shootster held a lunch and learn panel touching on the importance of human touch through marketing collaterals for the potential of and end-consumer to retain the message. Data alone just isn’t enough to persuade people, stories need meaning.

When deploying your work into the wider market the importance of the 4 Cs is absolutely key:

a. Context – who is your audience? How do they consume information?

b. Content – data starts with hypothesis; stories start with empathy. T

c. Construct – the human brain is wired for contrast. Using the traditional story arc for your data can help communicate your points.

d. Connect – use your story as a thread or as an anecdotal unit to measure success.


3. Influencer guidelines and standards won’t be fixed anytime soon

As the number of social media “celebrities” increases via swimwear line releases, widespread acknowledgement of skills, or personal delusion, the difference between the good people and the fake quick-buck-makers becomes codified.

‘ Lost Cause or Low Hanging Fruit: The Future of Influencers” panelists from companies like Theright.fit, The Iconic, Tourism Australia and Magnum Co, discussed the difference between the two commonly used labels of “influencer” and “advocate” and the leverage brands can acquire within this space. As Liz Anderson, Head of PR at The Iconic argued supported by TheRight.fit CEO Taryn Williams, “Everyone is an influencer. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve.” Whether it’s the biggest and most popular blogger, or the suburban mum whom everyone goes to about the best household products, brands need to understand what kind of consumers are going to push the needle most, and develop the most impactful strategy around them while doing their best with analysis metrics.

Taryn Social

 How much should you pay for the right influencer?

In the end, it’s not so simple to really distinguish a great influencer to one that’s ’not as good’. The debate around the right remuneration and endorsement fees is still years away from being reconciled.


4. Risk and Vulnerability Are Good

11 Media held a panel on ‘How Brands Are Becoming the Next Social Leaders’. The team composed by Creative Director Russ Tucker and Public Affairs Manager Loryn Ettridge throughly examined the benefits and vulnerability of partnerships and the importance of taking political stands on create culture driven brands

So how does this apply to your social marketing brand?

• Be vulnerable: vulnerability is the most accurate measure of courage. Create at least occasional social content which shows the soft, “real” side of your brand

• It’s okay to fail: brands who have no tolerance for failure create nothing new. Take a risk with your social strategy, and generate awareness as an innovator, not a follower (eg. ANZ and the GAyTMs during the Mardi Gras period) Analyze and optimize your social efforts on a consistent basis

• We are born to tell and hear stories: A lot of what the team talked about was the power of story to the human brain – something which should always be embraced.

Lastly, if you come to CommsCon expecting it to be laid out in front of you, for it all to make sense in an orderly, pain-free fashion you will leave disappointed. But, if you embrace the creative nature of this professional gathering and connect your own dots, you’ll learn a lot about the industry, the people in it, and maybe even yourself.

See you next year.

To see more of Sidney, check out the links below: