How Apple and Google cracked $US100 billion in brand value and made history

Apple and Google have become the first brands to surpass $US100 billion in value according to the Interbrand Best Global Brands list for 2014. Apple’s brand value rose 21% to $118,863 million and Google rose 15% to $107,439 million.


Apple and Google came in at number one and two respectively for the second year in a row. The top six brands retain their positions from the 2013 list, all having grown except IBM (down 8%) and GE (down 3%).

After topping the list for 12 years running, Coca-Cola last year dropped from first to third place, which it has retained this year.

The top 20 is as follows:


interbrand 2014 top 20


Facebook grew strongly this year, increasing its brand value by 86% and jumping from 52nd position to 29th. Other fast movers included Amazon, up 25% to 15th, and three automotive brands: Audi, up 27% (to 45th) and Volkswagen and Nissan, both up 23%, to 31st and 56th respectively.


interbrand 2014 top risers


Interbrand on Apple

Apple’s extensive product launches this year has helped the growth of its brand, including contactless payment system Apple Pay, Apple Watch wearable technology and two new iPhones including the larger-screened competitor to Samsung’s Galaxy Note.

“With sensors everywhere and the brand’s consumer interactions deepening every day, it’s safe to say that Apple is not only ‘back’, but also boldly paving the way to the ‘age of you,” Interbrand’s report says.

The brand is also strengthening by extending into new spaces: CarPlay integrates iPhone features for use while driving and HomeKit integrates home accessories.

Apple’s recent collaboration with IBM will help the brand to penetrate the enterprise market by integrating big data and analytics with business apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Interbrand sees Apple Pay as having “the potential to become the most powerful payment platform around”.

“With the unveiling of Apple Watch – reportedly more capable than any other smartwatch on the market, not least of all in terms of advanced health monitoring – Apple’s future will rely heavily on its ability to partner effectively with healthcare companies.”


Interbrand on Google

Google has spent USD $17 billion over the last two years on expanding into a diverse range of fields including robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, connected devices and wearable devices.

“Google is aggressively pursuing a broad market agenda and, as it continues to grow beyond the billion users it currently serves, its strong brand position seems secure,” Interbrand’s report says.

The brand’s track record of success in search, advertising, Android devices, apps and social network Google+ has laid the foundations for a strong brand, with these new endeavours set to strengthen Google’s name further.

“Google ultimately seeks to gather more information about consumers so that it can deliver more personalized experiences. Google certainly has the capabilities and resources to deliver on its vision,” Interbrand says.


Ello explained: the ad-free, invite-only social network dubbed the ‘anti-Facebook’

“Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads.

You are the product that’s bought and sold.”


This is the anti-Facebook message that serves as an introduction to a Ello, a new platform that is taking a different approach to the social network concept. Not only is it ad-free, it is invitation only for now.

It’s even been called “a referendum on personal data-driven web advertising”.

ello invite only


Ello is spearheaded by entrepreneur and bicycle enthusiast Paul Budnitz, in partnership with graphic design practice Berger & Fohr and creative technology agency Mode Set.

To say Ello is ad-free is an understatement – Ello is passionately and self-righteously anti-ads.

The network instead plans to charge users to upgrade their profiles with special features. It has to make money somehow. Will it catch on?

Currently in Beta, the site’s clean, design-focused interface is full of hipster pretence, topped off with an air of exclusivity because having a profile on the platform is currently ‘invitation only’.

The network’s ‘favourite user profiles’ give an introduction to the kind of people that are likely to hang out here – trendy types doing creative things such as photography and music production.

Photographer Jamie Kripke, of Boulder, Colorado, has secured some kind of partnership with Ello, which involves allowing the platform’s visitors exclusive access to a selected series of his work.

jamie kripke ello


Large images feature on the site, higher resolution and cleaner than you’ll find on Instagram. Most profiles so far have posted only professional, clean, minimalist shots – no homemade selfies with sepia filters here.

Ello’s news feeds take inspiration from other, more popular sites such as Facebook and Google Plus, and it utilises the @ tag first seen on Twitter and later Instagram.

But Budnitz has been quoted telling Bloomberg Businessweek it doesn’t see Facebook as a competitor.

Ello’s anti-ad manifesto is passionate and lengthy. Here’s a snapshot:

“Ello doesn’t sell ads. Nor do we sell data about you to third parties.

Virtually every other social network is run by advertisers. Behind the scenes they employ armies of ad salesmen and data miners to record every move you make. Data about you is then auctioned off to advertisers and data brokers. You’re the product that’s being bought and sold.

Collecting and selling your personal data, reading your posts to your friends, and mapping your social connections for profit is both creepy and unethical. Under the guise of offering a “free” service, users pay a high price in intrusive advertising and lack of privacy.

We also think ads are tacky, that they insult our intelligence and that we’re better without them.”


So far, commentators have been skeptical.

Columnist Jeff Yang wrote on CNN that Ello should serve as a “wakeup call” to other social networks that are relying more and more on paid advertising to guarantee their survival.

“Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of users, are dissatisfied or disgruntled with what the social powers-that-be have to offer. And they’re willing to at least try something new, especially if that ‘new’ is positioned as elusive and enigmatic, with invites as rare as Willy Wonka’s golden tickets,” Yang wrote.

Maxwell Strachan wrote on Huffington Post: “For a site that’s being billed as the anti-Facebook, it sure looks and feels a lot like an early version of Facebook. Even the profile pages look similar. Besides that, it’s mostly the same stuff. You joke with friends. Share the occasional comical YouTube link. The usual.”

Sarah M Watson on Al Jazeera America was optimistic despite encountering various bugs on the site while it’s still in Beta. “It’s worth checking out if you can get an invite. But should you abandon all your other accounts for it? Not just yet,” she wrote.


Big changes to social media for September 2014: everything you need to know

In the world of digital, things are changing on a daily basis. As different social platforms are increasingly competing for more avid followers, tweaks are made to enhance the user experience and ultimately drive traffic (and in many cases, advertising dollars) to them. Cade Witnish takes us through the key social platform updates for August/September 2014.


13.2 million active Australian users, 1.31 billion active global users

Ad manager for mobile

Facebook has rolled out Ad Manager in its mobile app. It allows on-the-go marketers to pause or resume campaigns, view insights, edit budgets and schedules and respond to alerts.

Buy button

A new ‘buy’ button is currently in testing. The button can be deployed on Newsfeed/Sidebar ads and Page Posts, and it allows users to make simple, one click purchases without leaving the Facebook site. The feature is forecasted to increase conversion rates.

Facebook messaging

Facebook has discontinued its messaging service within the mobile Facebook app. Users are now forced to download Facebook Messenger to use mobile instant messaging services.

Newsfeed ad hiding

When a Facebook user asks to ‘hide’ a Newsfeed ad they are now prompted to answer why. This feature will help users find the content they want and help marketers reach people interested in their content.

Double ad placements

Ads can now be placed to fans and non-fans twice. Previously, ads were limited to a single placement. Marketers beware; if you’re posting the same content twice, make sure it’s good.

Facebook takes on Snapchat

Facebook Messenger has been running tests on two new features: the ability to send self-destructing messages and the ability allow text overlay and doodling over images.


1.6 million active Australian users, 200 million active global users

Instagram advertising

Until recently Instagram was an ad-free service. It’s difficult for Instagram to monetise its service by introducing ads because, by nature, it’s an aesthetic experience. Ugly ads have the potential to ruin that. Ads are not yet available to the public but in anticipation Instagram has released a suite of analytics tools. Instagram ad partners will be able to view post analytics, campaign analytics and have the capability to remotely collaborate on posts.


Instagram recently released its own ephemeral messaging app called Bolt. A clear shot at Snapchat, the app allows users to quickly and easily share photographs with friends. Like Snapchat, the pictures self destruct after being viewed and the platform is designed to facilitate visual conversation.


Instagram recently released Hyperlapse, a camera app allowing users to take time lapse videos. The app uses advanced stabilisation technology that gives even handheld time lapses a smooth, cinematic look.


2.5 Million active Australian users, 271 million active global users


Twitter has begun testing its first e-commerce product, a ‘buy’ button. The ad will be displayed in-feed, and transactions can be completed with just a few clicks without even having to leave Twitter.

Timeline format

There have been reports of Twitter users seeing ‘tweet favourited by [person you follow]’. This has sparked rumours that Twitter may be moving to a timeline format, much like Facebook – and Twitter has not ruled that out. In fact, the CFO has made comments about the introduction of an algorithmic timeline, much like Facebook, that will display trending content at the top of the timeline rather than displaying everything chronologically.

Video content

In mid-August, Twitter launched a beta test of promoted video content. The company claims that uploaded native video content to Twitter gets significantly more engagement than linked content. Promoted video builds upon the platform’s amplify offering.


33,000 active Australian users, 50 million active global users


Foursquare has discontinued the ‘check-in’ function, instead pushing users to download their new app, Swarm, for check-ins. While lots of people have downloaded the new app, the new setup has disgruntled loyal Foursquare users and may result in a further decline of popularity.

Gumtree’s Aussie Pickers brand ambassadors hit the road in experiential campaign

Gumtree is teaming up with the TV stars from Aussie Pickers to launch an experiential campaign that integrates social and digital elements.


As part of the Gumtree Roadshow, stars of the Foxtel series Aussie Pickers, Lucas Callaghan and Adam McDonald, will tour the east coast of Australia scouring four thriving markets, at Glebe, Maitland and Bellingen in NSW and Carrara in QLD.

The project will integrate social and digital elements hosted at a website landing page featuring embedded YouTube videos, links to the project’s blog and a social wall of posts curated from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #GumtreeRoadshow.


aussie pickers website


Locals at the four market towns are encouraged to take part in the experiential campaign by bringing along their unwanted goods to be valued.

The campaign aims to prompt people to “start thinking about selling their unwanted goods” on Gumtree’s website.

Gumtree Australia head of marketing, Sara McConkey said: “The Gumtree Roadshow is an offline representation of the website and shows Aussies the breadth of goods and services available. Everything within the market stall, from the furniture, signage and entertainment, truck and juice bar, was exclusively sourced from”

Gumtree also sponsors native advertising as part of the Aussie Pickers TV show on Foxtel, with the team showcasing a ‘Gumtree pick of the week’.


How Michelle Bridges 12WBT dealt with an army of unauthorised fan groups

Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT), the fitness program, battled a legal and brand management challenge when its online community program noticed hundreds of fans setting up unauthorised groups outside the platform on Facebook.


Community and social media manager Larah Kennedy this week told attendees at the Swarm Conference in Melbourne how the company dealt with fans taking the brand into their own hands, both online and offline.

A quick search on Facebook reveals thousands of private groups using the name ’12WBT’. The nature of the program itself is partly to blame for the existence of these unsolicited private groups, as members gain access to the official 12WBT online community for only 12 weeks (a core pillar that the company won’t be changing).

“These guys are super passionate about 12WBT. Not only are these guys coming off our platform, using our brand name and setting up groups, but they’re doing it without our eyeballs. We don’t know what’s going on in there – it’s like the wild west of 12WBT on Facebook,” Kennedy said.

The company sought opinions from two different lawyers, who gave two very different pieces of advice.

“The first lawyers were very fire and brimstone. They said to us, ‘You need to shut this down… You are in a world of trouble if the ACCC cottons on to this… This is damaging your trademark’.

“They told us the fact that we’re letting these guys use our brand name, if we ever have a serious trademark case, we won’t be able to do anything about it because we’ve got all these cases where we’ve just let our trademark go.”

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But one of Kennedy’s main points of advice to community managers at the conference was: “If it doesn’t feel right, get a second opinion”.

“There’s a lot of grey area around social media and legalese. Just because one person tells you to look at it a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the way everybody will see it or the way it has to be done,” she said.

It didn’t “feel right” to Kennedy and her team to send cease and desist letters to such massive fans and brand advocates. The second lawyer’s advice seemed far more sensible:

“They told us, ‘Treat these guys like sporting fans’. If you go onto Facebook and you search groups named Hawthorn Hawks, you’ll find a whole bunch of Facebook fan groups. They use the logo, they use the name. Basically they’re like affiliates to the brand, but they’re fan groups.”

12WBT decided to treat their crews in a similar way, with minimum interference, as well as supporting them through the following initiatives:

  • The ability to add a link to their crew’s page on the 12WBT website,
  • a newsletter sent to the crew group admins,
  • a supplied welcome note including group guidelines that admins can use on their group pages, and
  • a dedicated email address through which crews can contact 12WBT.


“They know who we are, they know how to contact us, they come to us when they need us. But this is their space, we’re just happy to help out wherever we can,” Kennedy explained.

“It’s about keeping these core advocates happy, keeping them in the family after the 12 week program is finished.”


Media Monday: Fairfax outperforms NewsCorp, Better Homes and Gardens is most-read mag, ad screens at train stations

In Australian media news this week, Roy Morgan figures show Fairfax metro newspaper titles’ readership tops NewsCorp’s, Better Homes and Gardens is the most-read magazine, Sydney and Melbourne train stations will soon host screen advertising, and much more. 

Fairfax outperforming NewsCorp in Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald has extended its lead as the Australian publication with the largest cross-platform audience, now reaching 3,392,000 people in an average week, according to Roy Morgan Research.

The newspaper’s total readers increased 7.5% in the year to June 2014, despite losing 87,000 print readers. Its digital audience from online and apps increased by 237,000 people.

The Herald Sun’s readership totalled a loss, as 187,000 fewer people read the paper in print, while its digital audience grew by just 164,000.

The Herald Sun maintains its second place with a total audience of 2,716,000 people, ahead of the Daily Telegraph which grew by 2.8% to 2,520,000.

The Age was the country’s only newspaper to increase its print readership, up 3% for the average issue.

Roy Morgan Research general manager Tim Martin said most publication’s gains in digital audience numbers were more than offsetting the trend away from print readership.

“The proportion of all newspapers’ total audiences who are accessing the content via website or app has grown in the past year. Between 42% and 79% of each newspaper’s audience is now using a computer, mobile or tablet to get its news fix.”

Better Homes and Gardens wins close readership battle between top three magazines

Roy Morgan figures for June 2014 say fewer than 100,000 readers separate the top three paid-for-magazines in the country.

Better Homes and Gardens is at number one, up 3.2% year-on-year to 1,819,000 readers per average issue, according to Roy Morgan data. Measurement competitor EMMA put the publication’s audience figure at 2.6 million including print, digital and television.

Closely following according to Roy Morgan figures is Australian Women’s Weekly (1,800,000 readers, up 1.4% year-on-year) and Woman’s Day (1,729,000 readers).

Two free in-store supermarket publications remain the most-read magazines in Australia. Coles Magazine leads with almost three million readers (2,917,000) per average issue. Woolworths’ Fresh magazine was the fourth fasting growing magazine in Australia, up 30% to an average of 2,182,000 readers per issue.

Home and Garden magazines together grew by 2.1% from June 2013 to 2014, with two-thirds of all titles in the category posting gains.


Train stations to host new advertising screens

A new rail advertising platform, XtrackTV, will give advertisers to access of 8.4 million contacts per week through a digital broadcast network of screens at Sydney and Melbourne’s busy train stations.

XtrackTV producers APN Outdoor says the new rail advertising platform takes on an industry and world first format, as the only large format, cross-platform digital screen network at this scale.

The media will be sold in packages of 62 panels – 32 in Sydney and 30 in Melbourne, for advertising of 15 seconds with weekly, six month and 12 month purchasing options.

Stations to be fitted with XtrackTV screens include Sydney’s Town Hall, Wynyard, Central, Martin Place, North Sydney, Chatswood, Kings Cross, Edgecliff and Bondi Junction and Melbourne Central, Parliament and Flagstaff in Melbourne.

XtrackTV media space is for sale now, with the hardware is expected to be complete by October.

XtrackTV example


Cinema advertising increases brand consideration by 40%

Val Morgan Cinema Network has released the results of a study finding cinema advertising produces a 40% increase in brand consideration.

This builds on previous research findings that showed cinema to deliver six times the engagement of television.

BrandScience conducted the research, which included 1200 interviews across metro Australia as part of an extensive research program capturing media exposure across campaigns running identical creative on TV, online video and cinema.

Val Morgan Managing Director Daniel Hill said:

“The results unequivocally show that cinema increases campaign effectiveness. The strength of these findings clearly demonstrate that cinema should be included as a core component in an advertisers a/v strategy.”

New social media apps

Social media networks Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have all launched new apps in recent weeks.


Instagram Bolt screenshotInstagram Bolt

This one-to-one visual messaging app captures and sends photos and videos quickly and simply in a similar way to Snapchat. Once users swipe away a Bolt message, it’s gone.

A statement from Instagram said:

“Mobile messaging is how people communicate today, but sharing an image still takes too many steps and too much time. Bolt was built to be fast and simple – it’s for communicating in that moment with people you’re close to, as quickly as possible.”


Facebook Mentions

This new app is designed for public figures such as athletes and musicians to monitor and join conversations involving them.

Nearly 800 million people are connected on Facebook to public figures, creating more than a billion interactions between public figures and fans every week.

Public figures in the US who are verified on Facebook can download the app and request access to:

  • See what fans are saying about them and join the conversation,
  • share their story by posting updates, sharing photos or videos or hosting a live Q&A,
  • join popular conversations on Facebook and see the latest posts from people they follow, and
  • get streamlined notifications about their posts, including mentions from other influencers or the media.


LinkedIn Connected

LinkedIn Connected provides users with relevant updates about people in their network, in order to strengthen professional relationships and “take the work out of networking”.

The new app shows relevant and timely updates including news such as job changes, birthdays and work anniversaries and more.

David Brubacher wrote on the company blog: “We know relationships matter to you because in an average week there are more than nine million comments, likes and congratulations posted across LinkedIn for updates like job changes, birthdays, being mentioned in the news and work anniversaries.”

LinkedIn Connected screenshot


Piggy-back marketing lands Western Union six-fold social boost

Banking institution Western Union saw its Facebook following jump from 160,000 fans to over a million in the past year thanks to piggy-back marketing initiatives around Rio 2 and the World Cup.


adma global forum The bank created campaigns around events which it chose for broad appeal across its target market in order to boost engagement in what is traditionally a low engagement category on social media.

The first was the release of Fox Studio’s animated movie Rio 2. “We needed a platform for 2014 that was bigger, something that had more scale,” senior vice president of the bank’s marketing team in North America, Laston Charriez, told the audience at last week’s ADMA Global Forum.

“In the US, our customer base over-indexed for having children under six and under 18. Second, they watch a lot of movies, especially animated movies.

The bank gained full use of Fox’s Rio 2 assets, had custom executions developed by the production house and even got hold of the script a year and a half before the movie’s release to deploy creative across channels.

“We created digital, outdoor, radio, television, CRM, retail… everything surrounding the movie,” Charriez said.

Performance of the campaign was strong across the board, Facebook being no exception with a 26% increase in likes and 7.4 times the engagement with posts on the bank’s page.


The 10 most influential brands in Australia – Facebook, Microsoft and Google in top three

In this guest post, Gillian O’Sullivan reveals the 10 most influential brands in Australia and delves into how these brands have stood out from the crowd. This diverse list of brands is heavy in the technology and online space, but more traditional brands such as supermarket chains also get a mention.

From the technology we use, to the food we eat, to the kind of car we drive, we turn to brands to help us through our daily lives. And while some brands help us fulfil needs and desires, others say something about ourselves, projecting and adding to our own identity, personal brand and sense of being. But with so many brands in the market, there are a select number that stand out as having much more influence over us than others.

So why does influence count? Strong brands have meaning, personality and even attitude. And because people identify with and relate to them, brands also have the power to influence people in a number of ways and therefore the broader market.

Ipsos decided to investigate what these brands are and, most importantly, what characterises these brands against others. The result is our inaugural ‘Most Influential Brands’ study. This is the first time we have conducted a study of this kind – to determine brand influence – in Australia and the results may surprise you.

We asked consumers across the globe, including Australia, about the major local and global brands, how they view them, the way they interact with them in their daily lives and how they rate them on a variety of dimensions that drive influence (see breakout).

We started by identifying 100 well-known brands in the Australian market, including in the list household name global businesses, such as Google and IBM, and Australian icons such as Weetbix and Woolworths. After establishing a list, we asked Australian consumers about these brands – how they view them, the way they interact with them in their daily lives and how they rate them on a variety of dimensions that make a brand influential. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Most Influential Brands in Australia. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons they stood out from the crowd to deserve a place in the top 10.


10. Telstra

Telstra’s rank is driven first and foremost by its presence in the marketplace. With its origins dating back to the turn of the 20th century, Telstra is an established iconic Australian brand. There is a high degree of familiarity and recognition of the brand. Most importantly, Telstra is not only seen as a brand with a solid history, but also as a brand with a promising future. Consistency in messaging has resulted in confidence in the brand, and a view that Telstra continues to lead its competitors. Presence and competitive edge adds up to Telstra being a very influential Australian brand.


9. Visa

Visa, and its tagline ‘It’s everywhere you want to be’, means that Visa has presence. It is a brand that has forever changed the consumer landscape, more so than any of its competitors. Visa is an influential brand first and foremost, because it is leading edge; it leads its competitors, it shapes consumer behaviour and it stands out from the crowd. Operating in a sector where brand trust is weak, Visa stands out as also being a trustworthy brand.


8. Australia Post

Australia Post is a brand the influence of which is first and foremost driven by the trust that the Australian public has in it. It is a brand that meets its community service obligations. More than any brand in the 100-brand list, ‘it is a brand that inspires a sense of Australian pride’. Australia Post is a brand with heritage on its side, but like all influential brands, it continues to be an important brand in the world today.


7. Apple

This is a brand that Australians view as a trendsetter, an innovator, an iconic brand that is leading edge with a strong future. And with the continual launch of new products and updates, this is a brand that holds consumer interest. It influences because it is a game-changer – it has forever changed the way people engage with one another. Excitement around Apple has not waned and consumers can’t wait to see what it will introduce next. Apple has set itself as the benchmark to which other brands are compared.


6. Coles

Coles leads all other brands in sheer presence – it is a brand you see everywhere. Celebrating its 100th year this year, Coles is also a brand that inspires a sense of Australian pride. Consumers shop there regularly and feel that Coles understands their needs. This all adds up to making it a very influential brand.


5. eBay

eBay is influential because it created a new marketplace need. Almost one-third (30 percent) of those surveyed said eBay ‘introduced me to something I never knew I needed’. From its first auction item listed, a broken laser pointer, to its most expensive item sold to date, a Gulfstream II Jet sold for US$4.9 million, eBay’s unique business model has forever changed the consumer landscape for the buying and selling of goods and services. It is no surprise that this company has changed the way people shop and created a new way for people to be their own boss (or just make some extra cash), which has helped make eBay the fifth most influential brand in Australia.


4. Woolworths

With its wide network of supermarkets across the country, Woolworths touches most Australians. Woolworths is influential not only because it is so well-recognised – 67 percent say it advertises a lot – but also because it is recognised for its support of local communities, its environmental responsibility and because Woolworths understands consumer needs. This all leads to high trust in the brand.


3. Facebook

Did you ‘Like’ anything today? With so many people and so many brands connecting through Facebook on a daily basis, it is no surprise that this is one of our most influential brands. Facebook’s influence is driven largely from being viewed as leading edge. Facebook is also seen as a trendsetter that has forever changed the consumer landscape. It is a medium for sharing and connecting with others, including connecting with other brands. It is Facebook’s ability to connect and engage with people that underpins its success and influence.


2. Microsoft

Microsoft is seen as innovative, more so than any other brand in the 100 brand list. Microsoft scores in at number two because it is everything to everyone. It is leading edge, consumers trust the brand, they engage with it and it is part of their daily lives. It is an exciting brand, people can’t wait to see what Microsoft will introduce next. It has presence, it is reliable, relevant to all and continues to get better. At this point in time, it seems Microsoft can do no wrong. A brand that is as strong as this deserves to be one of our most influential brands.


1. Google

Google is a brand that has built a reputation for being trustworthy, for being leading edge and for engaging with its users. When your brand name has become a verb, that’s a sign that you have tremendous influence.

Australians have not tired of Google. They want to hear from this brand more than any other in this study and Australians anticipate that Google will continue to go from strength to strength. All of this leads to high levels of confidence in this brand.

What ultimately makes this brand unique in the study is that people feel that the brand has helped them to make smarter choices, and changed what they do every day for the better. It is the brand that has become a fundamental part of everyday life and achieved the ultimate goal of making our lives that little bit more interesting.


About the study

Results are based on an online study of 1000 adult residents of Australia using the Ipsos I-view panel. The results are based on a sample where weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual Australian population according to Census data. The same survey was conducted in nine other countries, with a total global sample size of 15,152.



The dimensions of influence

This study revealed five key dimensions that define and drive brand influence. Brands that are seen to be doing one or more of these successfully are more likely to be seen to be influential. In order of importance these dimensions are:

Leading edge: Brands that are seen to be ahead of their time and innovative are often influential, as they shape consumer behaviour and alter, or even create, markets. They set the standard to which other brands aspire.

Engagement: For a brand to be influential, people have to be engaged with it. This means wanting to get to know it better, and letting others know about it. Engaging brands inspire consumers to interact with them, to seek out more information about them, to support them online, and to share them with their own networks.

Trust: Truly trustworthy brands inspire confidence; they are dependable. They are consistent in how they perform and in what they represent. Brands with high levels of trust are influential, as they are more likely to be recommended to others and foster stronger loyalty.

Corporate citizenship: Influential brands are brands that care. They are environmentally and socially responsible and support their respective communities. Ultimately, they have the potential to represent traits or characteristics to which consumers aspire.

Presence: To have an impact and to have influence, people have to know who you are and what you stand for. Brands that have a high presence generally advertise a lot, are well-established, and are seen and used everywhere.

3 social commerce insights for event marketers

Event ticketing company Eventbrite has analysed transactions driven through sharing on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to determine the value of social sharing actions to event marketers.


1. Twitter leads the way in value for events

One share of an event on Twitter can generate $10.90 in revenue to its organiser – two to four times more value than other social channels when sharing information about events.

The study found one share on social media generated an average of $4.80 in revenue to the organiser. While Twitter was the most valuable at $10.90 per share, shares on Facebook generated $4.10 and those on LinkedIn brought in $3.20.

The value of social shares in Australia is well above the global average (3.70), coming second only to Canada.


2. Social media drives event traffic

Social media proved also to drive traffic, with a single share resulting in an average of nine additional visits to an event webpage. Again, Twitter led this trend with one share generating 38 additional visits, while LinkedIn drove 11 visits per share and Facebook drove seven visits per share.

Eventbrite international expansion manager Elsita Meyer-Brandt said over the last two years, Twitter’s influence had increased while Facebook’s decreased.

“This is most likely due to the fact that Facebook has a deeper penetration in Australia, leading to more cluttered and potentially less relevant news feeds. On the other hand, Twitter is less saturated, meaning less distraction for users. Also, the 140 character limit means users often need to click on links to see more information.”


3. Social events perform best on social media

Eventbrite found the types of events that saw the most value from social media sharing were food events and performances, followed by seminars and music events. In comparison, conventions and participatory sports events showed slightly lower value.

Social and food events saw the highest number of site visits from social media posts, followed by seminars, conferences and entertainment events.

Eventbrite has processed nearly $3 billion in ticket sales in 187 countries worldwide. Since launching in Australia in 2012, it has hosted over 75,000 local events and recently opened an APAC office in Melbourne.


Media Monday: Anytime Fitness sells media, MCN expands reach, new Bauer magazine

In Australian media sector news this week, Anytime Fitness launches a media division, MCN expands its youth and children’s reach in television and Bauer Media announces a new home and lifestyle magazine title.


Anytime Fitness becomes a media provider


Health club Anytime Fitness is branching into paid media with the launch of Anytime Vision, offering advertisers access to a network of digital screens, branded in-club activations and a digital magazine.

Advertisers on board so far include Asics, AIA Vitality, Garmin, Musashi, Flush Fitness, Mr Pink, Vitaco and Bounce Foods.

Odysseus Media, publishers of Men’s Fitness and Shape Magazine, are partnering with Anytime Fitness on the new enterprise.

Brands can now target Anytime Fitness’ member base of more than 350,000 across all states and territories of Australia, both metropolitan and regional.

Anytime Fitness’ members are 63% male, 37% female, 58% Gen Y and 29% Gen X, with an average age of 32.

Anytime Vision general manager Andrew Sneddon said: “Extensive research tells us that our members are busy and time poor; they see health as a priority and understand the importance of keeping fit for maintaining good health. Through Anytime Vision, our partners are able to communicate with Anytime Fitness members in a meaningful way that adds value to them, our franchisees and members.”


MCN expands to offer largest commercial TV reach to youth 


Multi Channel Network (MCN) has started advertising representation of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and leading youth publishing brand Sound Alliance.

The new partnerships bring MCN to now hold Australia’s largest commercial television share of 13 to 24-year-olds (30%) between 6am and midnight and the country’s largest combined online and mobile network.

The inclusion of VIMN channels such as MTV, MTV Dance, MTV Music, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr strengthens MCN’s dominance in the youth and children’s markets.

Sound Alliance titles include award-winning pop culture site Junkee and Australian community sites inthemix, FasterLouder, Same Same and Mess+Noise.

MCN is a joint venture between Foxtel and Fox Sports. It now has a monthly online reach of 8.4 million unique audiences and a monthly mobile audience of 4.7 million.

It is now responsible for the advertising interests of 69 television channel brands, 138 websites, 69 optimised mobile sites, 59 apps, four IPTV services and three digital-out-home locations.


Bauer Media to launch new Homes+ magazine


Bauer Media has announced it will launch a new monthly home and lifestyle magazine in August titled Homes+.

The new magazine will capitalise on Australia’s home decorating and renovation trend, responding to research indicating that three out of five people plan to decorate or renovate in the next 12 months.

Bauer Media Specialist Division publisher Brendon Hill said Homes+ would fill a gap in the market across print and digital channels, complementing the company’s existing homes titles Belle, Australian House & Garden and Real Living.

The company conducted extensive consumer research into the Australian homemaker market including deep product testing and refinement.

“Homes+ will resonate with house-proud Australians looking for practical, affordable and doable solutions – it’s a magazine with the right proposition at the right time,” Hill said.

Homes+ will be supported by a multi-million-dollar marketing campaign spanning magazines, free-to-air television, digital and in-store activations.


Facebook trialling new advertising methods in high-growth countries


Facebook’s increasing scale, particularly on mobile, is allowing it to help advertisers reach millions of people in high-growth countries with fragmented media landscapes.

Numbers of Facebook users have reached more than 100 million people in India (84% on mobile), 69 million people in Indonesia (87% on mobile) and 87 million people in Brazil (72% on mobile).

Early tests have been positive for Facebook’s ‘missed call’ service, which allows a person to place a ‘missed call’ after seeing an ad on Facebook.

In the return call, the person receives unique content such as music or cricket scores alongside a brand message from the advertiser – all without using airtime or data.

Other Facebook advertising developments in these high-growth markets include geo-targeting of people by state within India, life-stage targeting similar to that available in the US and UK, and improved measurement in partnership with Nielsen.

Nielsen is serving polls to people on phones, providing advertisers with more effective tools to measure brand sentiment, purchase intent and ad recall for the first time on mobile and desktop.


Out-of-home advertising industry’s second quarter figures up from last year


The out-of-home advertising industry has posted for the 2014 second quarter a 9% increase in net revenue to $138.6 million, up from $127.1 million for the same period in 2013, according to the Outdoor Media Association (OMA).

Also released today: PwC’s forecast segment summaries from its Australian ‘Entertainment and Media Outlook 2014-2018’, which charts performance across the sector as a whole and 11 individual areas including newspapers, interactive games, music, internet, filmed entertainment, consumer magazines and radio.

Head researcher apologises for controversial Facebook experiment

The head researcher of a controversial Facebook experiment has apologised, via the social network, after a global media outcry questioning the study’s ethics.


Adam Kramer of Facebook’s core data science team took to the social network to explain researchers’ point of view and apologise for any anxiety caused by the experiment.

The study, titled ‘Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks’ was published in scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in June.

Between 11 and 18 January 2012, the Facebook research used a program to manipulate the news feeds of 689,003 users to reduce the number of either negative or positive comments that appeared in a bid to determine ‘emotional contagion’.

“I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my coauthors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused,” Kramer posted.

Debate around Facebook and the study’s ethical issues has surfaced among Facebook users and global media criticising the study, with some users threatening to leave the social network due to a loss of trust.

University of Maryland Professor of Law James Grimmelmann criticised the study in a blog post for failing to allow participants to give informed consent, and argued that its method was harmful.

“The unwitting participants in the Facebook study were told (seemingly by their friends) for a week either that the world was a dark and cheerless place or that it was a saccharine paradise. That’s psychological manipulation, even when it’s carried out automatically,” Grimmelmann wrote.

The paper points out that the research was consistent with the social network’s data use policy but many commentators have said that is irrelevant to Facebook ethical issues.

Cornell University, a partner in the Facebook research, issued a statement explaining that it determined an ethics review of the study was not required as its staff-member, co-author Professor Jeffrey Hancock, was “not directly engaged in human research”.

“The research was conducted independently by Facebook and Professor Hancock had access only to results – and not to any data at any time.”

Kramer’s Facebook apology said: “The actual impact on people in the experiment was the minimal amount to statistically detect it”.

“Nobody’s posts were ‘hidden’, they just didn’t show up on some loads of feed. Those posts were always visible on friends’ timelines, and could have shown up on subsequent news feed loads.”

Kramer admitted that the paper may have failed to make clear the study’s motivations: “The reason we did this research is because we care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product. We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out.”

The study ‘s results contrasted with prevailing assumptions, finding that seeing lots of positive posts actually improved Facebook users’ moods rather than creating negativity through emotions such as jealousy (and vice versa).

“When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred,” it said.


Ikea Hackers legal action draws support for blogger but Ikea says it’s protecting customers, rights

UPDATE: Ikea Hackers gets call from Ikea following social media outcry, and the pair begin negotiations »

Ikea is facing mass opposition from blog fans across the globe after it took legal action against a blogger, issuing a cease and desist letter to popular Ikea Hackers blogger Jules Yap. The blogger has also received support from a group of marketing professors, but Ikea says it’s just protecting its customers and intellectual property.

Jules Yap’s Ikea Hackers blog has been inspiring fans since 2006 with modifications on and repurposing of Ikea products.

“Hacks, as we call it here, may be as simple as adding an embellishment, some others may require power tools and lots of ingenuity,” the site explains.

Many users in the social media debate have noted that the site uses a similar logo and colour scheme to that of the Swedish giant, but Ikea’s main beef with Ikea Hackers was that Yap had been profiting from advertisements placed on the site.

Ikea initially demanded Yap relinquish her domain name but has since agreed to refrain from legal action provided she remove the advertising.

Yap, a self-confessed ‘crazy fan’ of Ikea had started hosting advertising on the blog to supplement her income as it became more than just a hobby.

She recently updated her blog readers on the situation, describing her disappointment in Ikea’s heavy-handed approach.

“Needless to say, I am crushed. I don’t have an issue with them protecting their trademark but I think they could have handled it better. I am a person, not a corporation. A blogger who obviously is on their side. Could they not have talked to me like normal people do without issuing a C&D?” Yap wrote.


Ikea responds

A spokesperson for Inter Ikea Systems BV issued the following statement to Marketing:

“We very much appreciate the interest in our products and the fact that there are people around the world that love our products as much as we do. At the same time we have a great responsibility to customers, who should always be able to trust the Ikea brand. High quality and good service are essential elements of this. Another important aspect is that the many people want to know what really is connected to Ikea – and what is not.

“For that reason the Ikea name and brand must be used correctly. When other companies use the Ikea name for economic gain, it creates confusion and rights are lost.

“As per the agreement with Ikea Systems and Ikea Hackers, Ikea Hackers may continue as a fan-based blog/webpage but without commercial elements, just like it started some years ago.”


Social media users and marketing professors side with Ikea Hackers 

The Ikea Hackers Facebook page has attracted a string of supportive comments from Yap’s nearly 135,000 fans.

“Don’t they realise your site is actually helping their business? They should hire you!” Ola Velner posted.

“Bad move, Ikea! 80% of the items I’ve purchased there over the past five years are due to something I saw on Ikea Hackers, not in their catalog,” Eileen Lola Brett posted.

An onslaught of Yap supporters have posted to Ikea’s various Facebook pages around the world a generic message of disappointment.

Even a team of marketing professors from Finland’s Aalto University have banded together against Ikea with a petition urging the company to overturn its decision:

“In our view, Ikea’s decision painfully highlights how being in the right, legally speaking, does not mean you are in the right morally or even strategically. Communities like Ikea Hackers have contributed, without exaggeration, millions of hours of free labor that have significantly benefited the Ikea brand.”

blogger attack, social media debate, facebook, reddit

Meanwhile, social media debates on Reddit have been fiery. Users in support of Yap tout the marketing benefits of free publicity, greater reach and enhanced reputation gained from organically-generated communities:

“These same corporations have PR teams scratching their f***ing heads for ideas on how to force their product on the world. Yet when it happens organically: the lawyers just decide, ‘Nope, shut ‘em down’,” user FrustratingToWatch posted.

“Why not invite her into the fold? Make her a part of the PR team, have a direct link from her site to the Ikea website… she could be paid by how much traffic her site pulls to Ikea’s site, or a stipend or something. It’s an idiotic way for the company go to about thing,” user OuisghianZodahs42 posted.

“Silly move. Ikea Hackers only promoted new ways to use Ikea products. It’s called marketing, which results in sales, and it was free… Ikea profits from the Ikea Hacker DIY culture. One can’t ‘hack’ IKEA without buying their products,” user unGnostic posted.

But amid the mass of support, some other Reddit users have pointed out opposing viewpoints:

“Ikea Hackers runs ads, and makes profit off the ads. Basically it’s profiting off the Ikea name,” user Kermityfrog posted.

“Because they are using Ikea’s logo and branding all over it and it look like it is Ikea affiliated,” user FlappyBored posted.

“It is not all black and white here… the ads are all advertisement for products made specifically for Ikea products but that are not made by Ikea. The Ikea’s competitors ads even reference Ikea products,” user Drudruisme posted.

Precedent for ‘brand versus blogger’ blues

Ikea’s handling of the Ikea Hackers issue is reminiscent of similar heavy-handed grief Canberra-based blogger and Nerf Gun enthusiast Martyn Yang received back in 2012 from toy company Hasbro.

Yang has ceased posting to his blog since receiving a string of accusatory and questioning emails from the company and a suspicious visit from alleged private investigators at his apartment.

Hasbro demanded Yang reveal the sources that gained him access to new-version Nerf Guns that weren’t available in Australia, which he had reviewed on his blog.

Yang quipped back recommending Hasbro conduct an online search rather than hassling a devoted fan.

Both cases are good examples of the tightrope companies walk between protecting their intellectual property and nurturing their online fan communities.