Powered Unpacked: emerging travel trends marketers need to know

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The Future of Travel: Are you Ready?

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‘Riches to be made’ in sustainable, niche travel, extended remote working holidays: Four key post-COVID travel trends marketers should understand.

Australians’ travel habits have irrevocably changed, as a 40 per cent remote workforce realises it can work from anywhere. But “Wandering Workers” are just one of the trends identified in Nine’s State of the Nation Travel report for 2022. There are “New Frontiers” and deeper levels of expertise Australians are searching for to spend tens of billions of travel dollars each year. One expert’s take? “Regenerative Travel” is where the riches are to be made.

Cultural shifts and emerging travel trends

At the peak of Australia’s COVID lockdowns it was possible to imagine a future of roving digital nomads, a large workforce that didn’t need to be in an office but could work from anywhere at any time. That hasn’t exactly happened.

Instead, travel experts at Nine and from the industry say, the cultural shifts have been more subtle – but they have nonetheless fundamentally changed how Australians roam and holiday around the world. It’s worth understanding them to understand how to reach those people.

Nine partnered with The Future Laboratory to take a closer look into the future of travel with detailed analysis and strategic insight, combining data from Nine audience intelligence with The Future Laboratory’s expert trends intelligence.

There were eight key trends identified as emerging in travel across Australia and the world – below are four of them.

Wandering Workers

Last year 40 per cent of Australia’s workforce were remote and mobile, The Future Laboratory’s Barry Mowszowski said. Those people are realising they can work from anywhere, too. “They’re not just people schlepping around the world avoiding going to an office from nine to five. How do we cater to that ecosystem of needs from a holistic travel point of view?” he asked. “It’s much more complex in terms of understanding their needs than people just booking a one-way ticket to a destination.”

But interestingly, the large digital nomad population hasn’t appeared. What has happened instead is the extended holiday. “Even just before the pandemic, the idea was that there was this group of people who didn’t have offices and who could travel around the world and work as they go,” Ben Groundwater, Nine Publishing travel writer and podcast host, said.

“Those people exist. But maybe they’re not going to be permanent digital nomads moving around the world their entire lives. It might mean that they can take six weeks rather than two weeks and go to another destination with their family, with their friends, just by themselves, and have a holiday, but also work at the same time.”

Those ones are the Wandering Workers.

Regenerative Travel

More Australian travellers are conscious of their footprint, both environmentally and financially, when they arrive at their destination. In fact, the idea of being conscious of their footprint was the second most important consideration after the destination itself, per Airbnb and studies by The Economist, Mowszowski said. “The whole idea is that you have a reduced footprint.” There’s a fashion brand in Portugal, for example, ISTO, that offers travellers tours of its factory to educate them on the supply chain and manufacturing process. “It’s really interesting when you think about regenerative travel through a holistic proposition of what’s happening globally,” Mowszowski said. “Because that’s where the riches are to be made from a travel sector point of view to cater to that appetite within Australia and globally.”

It’s “a bit of a reset”, Groundwater added. “The pandemic gave everyone two years to basically sit back and consider the way they travel and the way they want to travel in future, and the effect that their travel has been having in the past on the world,” he said. “It’s driven by the brands at the moment, by travel companies, by tour companies, by media as well. This is becoming very important as we look towards the future.”

New Frontiers

There are some wild adventure holidays and experiences out there. A new one that’s coming is the ultra-luxury, ultra-wealthy blimp ride. OceanSky cruises, for US$210,000 dollars (A$301,000), offer multi-day expeditions to the North Pole – without a carbon footprint. “But juxtapose that with space travel. So at the Kennedy Space Centre there is an air balloon lift. For US$120,000, slightly cheaper, you can join one of 300 people going into space from 2024,” Mowszowski said. It’s part of the New Frontiers trend, which is changing the idea of luxury from a high-end place to a niche experience.

Oceansky

“Although those high-end luxury experiences do tend to hog the headlines and really sound amazing, for everyday travellers, there’s all sorts of stuff you can do out there that will cater to exactly what you want to achieve and experience,” Groundwater said.

“If you look at your social media feed right now, everyone’s in Italy or France. We’ve realised that our opportunities to travel are finite and that we may not have the chance to go to these incredible places, to go to Machu Picchu, to Antarctica, to the Galapagos.”

Educated Expertise

With new frontiers, more sustainable, regenerative experiences and wandering while working comes a need to understand places in more depth – Educated Expertise. There’s been a shift away from artificial intelligence and chatbots, Mowszowski said, towards “travel strategists” – another term for travel agents – and deep research.

“There’s so much emotion that goes into travel for people. This is something that you plan for and save up for years, and you want to get it right, and you want to enjoy yourself,” Groundwater said.

“That human interaction is just invaluable, really.”

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How Tourism NT leveraged a high-impact, cross-media partnership with Nine, to bring Aboriginal culture to the forefront of travel.

In 2022, Tourism NT briefed Nine to drive a connection between our audience and the cultural landscape of the Northern Territory, with key events such as the Darwin Festival, Barunga Festival, Desert Mob and Desert Song Festival at the forefront of the campaign.

The objective was to encourage an audience interested in arts, music and culture to consider travelling to the NT, by harnessing the power of Nine’s ecosystem to excite them about the opportunities.

Powered by Nine’s Kath Solly, Group Creative Solutions Manager, and Bradley Johnston, Content Producer, developed a high-impact, cross-media approach to allow Tourism NT to reignite Australia’s appetite for travel and appreciation for the Northern Territory’s rich Aboriginal history.

Over the last few years Australia’s tourism industry, along with the rest of the world, has been struggling to stay afloat. With back-and-forth border closes, restriction changes and last-minute cancellations now a thing of the past, getting back into travelling has never felt so good.

Today, more than ever, tourism bodies are fighting for audience and visitors to encourage them to take their saved-up annual leave and spend travel budgets to visit somewhere on their doorstep – in Australia.

The key challenge is being heard above all the noise. Travel-related advertising is EVERYWHERE right now, with international and interstate tourism bodies flooding the media with enticing offers and experiences to put their destinations on the map in 2022.

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Kath Solly,
Group Creative Solutions Manager,
Powered by Nine

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Bradley Johnston,
Content Producer,
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How did Tourism NT stand out in such an over-saturated travel market?

In 2022, Tourism NT and Nine, in partnership with Atomic212, joined forces to bring Australian Aboriginal culture to the forefront. Tourism NT focused less on reaching travel intenders and those looking for a holiday destination and more on culture, art, music and event lovers, by making a trip to the NT a key drawcard.

The Northern Territory’s events have something totally different to offer than any other destination in Australia. The campaign proposition to the culture seeking audience explores how it is entertainment but not as you know it. Because events in the Territory allow you to connect with your passions on a deeper level. From art and music to food and cars, the Territory puts on events like nowhere else. Here you can get closer to, touch and immerse yourself in your passions, forming a deeper connection with arts and culture. There will be an overarching message that these events are all unique to the NT and different in every sense.

Publishing - NT Tourism

We wanted to ensure that the cultural and artistic preciousness of the Northern Territory was brought to life across all our assets. With that in mind we created a cross-platform campaign employing Nine’s Total Audio and Total Publishing platforms to drive cut-through and reach with unique creative executions. The campaign shone a light on “Stories Worth Travelling For”, putting the rich culture of the Northern Territory at the forefront of every content piece.

The power of audio came to the fore. By harnessing the scale and reach of Nine Audio, aligned to the beautiful sounds of the Northern Territory, Nine created audio-immersive content that spoke directly to the key events in the NT to entice our culture-loving audience.

These immersives were peppered with the rich sounds of music and nature that are so special to the Northern Territory. All you have to do is close your eyes and listen to these audio clips to feel instantly immersed in the culture of the place.

Alongside radio, a high-impact campaign spanning digital and print ensured that culture, art and music was the main feature of the campaign. Tourism NT wrapped Nine’s art-focused, newspaper-inserted Spectrum magazine with powerful imagery putting Aboriginal culture at the forefront of the campaign and reminding our audience of Australia’s rich cultural heritage.

Digital - NT Tourism

Through further online immersive and native content with Traveller, our Powered Studios team produced content that highlighted the beautiful imagery and dreamy landscape of the NT. Content across Traveller was aimed directly at the discrete culture-loving audience, while also appealing to the older travel-intender audience with art and culture in mind when planning their travel destinations.

The campaign started a month prior to the program of events to drive ticket sales and long-weekend travel planning to the Northern Territory.

Headshot Tony
“Tourism NT can’t outshout and outspend other destinations in the highly competitive tourism advertising market, to cut through we have to be innovative and rely on media partners who share our vision to make the NT the premiere destination for Aboriginal cultural experiences and to be truly ‘Different in every sense'. Nine is one of those partners who consistently support our messaging and provide return on investment that grows the value of the holiday market in the Northern Territory.”

- Tony Quarmby, Executive Director Marketing, Tourism NT
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Powered Unpacked: the new wave of wealth

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Millennials set to defy the economic roller coaster and build their wealth

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Most Millennials consume finance media but not confident about money, despite a $3.5 trillion inheritance coming – brands can help

There’s an unfair image of Millennials out there that paints them as poor financial managers, economics journalist Jess Irvine says. But they’re hungrier for information and advice than any generation before them. Despite this, a new survey from Nine has found that they’re becoming less sure of themselves. And with more than seven million Australians aged 18 to 39 set to inherit $320,000 each over the next 20 years – that’s $3.5 trillion in total – the brands that share smart information that doesn’t oversimplify things can help these Millennials – and themselves.

The new wave of wealth

Australia’s biggest and most valuable cohort, the seven million 18-to 39-year-olds known as Millennials, are unsure about how to invest their money but hungry for information, presenting huge opportunities for brands.

A new study from Powered by Nine, in partnership with The Lab, interviewed people in that cohort and conducted social listening and quantitative research through Nine’s Consumer Pulse audience panel to understand Millennials’ approach to finance.

The proportion who feel “extremely confident” about their financial skills has plummeted to just 14 per cent – down from 20 per cent a year ago. Seventy-two per cent listen to business and money podcasts, while 28 per cent follow a “finfluencer” online.

“These audiences are still incredibly ambitious, they are progressive and they're diverse, but ultimately what they see as success is being redefined, and it's probably different to what it was with their predecessors,” Nine’s Client Director for Finance, Tech and Telco, Ben Thomas, says.

Hunger for information

“They're looking to other things than purely financial success, such as job satisfaction, but they're still incredibly focused on growing long-term wealth and setting themselves up for retirement. So actually, in that sense, they’re not that different.”

Jess Irvine is the Senior Economics Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and she reckons the 18-to 39-year-olds have some of the deepest “hunger for information”.

“But as for getting access to trusted information that is credible, that is looking at your whole financial situation, I think that's a real gap in the market,” she said.

“People are so scared, but money is really quite simple - it hasn't changed. You earn an income, you spend less than you earn, and then you have some savings to nurture you when you are in retirement and you can't work anymore.”

Finding new pathways to wealth

Nine’s research found that Millennials will inherit $3.5 trillion over the next 20 years as a massive intergenerational wealth transfer takes place. That’s $320,000 per person. Yet there’s a sense that Millennials are not necessarily good with money – too busy eating smashed avocado to save it – that is inaccurate, Irvine says.

“There's a real boomer hate session happening with Millennials and I think it's completely unfair,” Irvine said.

“Younger Australians in this demographic are caught in some tectonic shifts in our economy. Housing affordability is a huge challenge - it is just so much harder to save a deposit and get on the home ownership pathway. At the same time, ultra-low interest rates have meant that it's very hard to save, to get a return on your money in the bank.”

And so those younger people have done the logical thing, which is to investigate other investment areas – like the share market and cryptocurrencies. Finance brands can take lessons from the “finfluencers” to make smart, helpful information available to them.

“The reason that finfluencers have had such a fast rise in profile is because they're relatable, and provide easy-to-access information in the channels and platforms where this audience  already is,” Ben Thomas said.

“For brands, that doesn't mean oversimplifying things. I think that's the key thing as we work through this for brands. What's the right tone? What can they bring to the conversation which really adds to what this new wave of wealth is looking for?”

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Cultural Conversation Series; Unboxing Christmas 2022

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Cultural Conversation Series;
Unboxing Christmas

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Black Friday eclipses Boxing Day sales, and different marketing approaches now required – but 79% of Australians think brand Christmas ads off the mark

Brands are missing the mark on Christmas advertising, with four in five Australians calling for more reflective ads, not just diversity-washing. Meanwhile, Black Friday sales in November have eclipsed Boxing Day sales – and marketers need to rethink the kind of products they are promoting as a result. 

 

Black Friday versus
Boxing Day

Latest research from Nine shows the cultural and commercial tides are turning, and the balance of power between pre and post-Christmas sales has flipped.

“Perhaps the biggest shift we’re seeing in spending is the momentum behind Black Friday as the premium sales event of the season. 58 per cent of Australians bought during Black Friday sales versus 56 per cent during the Boxing Day sales last year,” says Toby Boon, Director of Strategy & Insights, Powered by Nine.

“The difference is even greater for people aged 18 to 34. Black Friday is now where the Christmas shopping season kicks off in earnest.”

Boon was speaking at a Nine-hosted panel session at The Big Ideas Store, alongside Lisa Day, Director of Content Partnerships – Publishing, Powered by Nine, Jane de Graaff from Honey Kitchen and the Today Show, Steph Winkler, Director with Nine research partner Crowd DNA, and Jack Bavin, Nine Melbourne’s Head of Strategy.

Changing Christmas climate

The research underlines how Christmas spending is changing. “Australians spent roughly $23.9 billion last festive, equivalent to a 38 per cent increase on the previous year,” says Boon.

“It’s not just how much money we’re spending, but how we are spending it. We are being influenced by broader cultural considerations like climate change and sustainability.

“80 per cent of Australians are concerned about the amount of waste in gifting, and 68 per cent believe that sustainable gifting is increasingly important, so we’re finding ways to approach the traditional in modern ways,” says Boon, pointing to surging sales of sustainable Christmas crackers, “bon bons”, in recent years, with plastic trinkets now firmly out of favour.

Rethinking the strategy

Black Friday versus Boxing Day: Different product approaches required

Honey Kitchen’s Jane de Graaff believes marketers must now rethink product promotion strategies, adopting different approaches for Black Friday versus Boxing Day.

“Black Friday sales are positioned before the season, so people tend to get in earlier, thinking ‘This is going to make my Christmas easier, so I’ll buy it now’,” she says. “Not that the Boxing Day sales are redundant, but I think the timing of Black Friday changes what people are looking for. We buy a lot more practical stuff at Black Friday time,” she says, citing things like kitchen products or items children will need for school.

“Then Boxing Day is more about, okay, I got through that period, what’s my reward? What do I want as opposed to what do I need?”

Christmas ads missing the mark

While brands globally and locally traditionally reserve a significant chunk of media budgets for the big Christmas campaign, Nine’s research suggests marketers may in fact be risking unintended consequences.

“In line with society more broadly, Christmas is becoming more inclusive. The extended Christmas period is being embraced by all Australians as a universal time of celebration – and we want to see that show up in comms,” says Boon.

“Just 21 per cent of us see our Christmas experience reflected in advertising and 71 per cent of Aussies want to see a more honest depiction of what Christmas really looks like.

“More than half of Australians believe that Christmas advertising needs more diverse cultural representations. Australians don’t want tokenism. They simply want to see people like themselves reflected through marketing and messaging.”

But that doesn’t mean “shoving as many diverse characters as possible into a 30-second ad,” says Nine Melbourne’s Jack Bavin.

“Our research shows that if advertisers do that, it has a negligible impact on building brand equity and short-term sales lift. So in other words, it does nothing. You’re ticking a box, sure, but you’re not actually doing much for your business.

“Yet if you show those under-represented groups in a positive way, a more engaging, more meaningful, more deliberate way – and probably a more long-form way – it has a huge uplift on both of those metrics. So marketers need to get that right.”

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Cultural Conversation Series; We are Family – a call for brands to represent modern Australia

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Cultural Conversation Series; We are Family

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The nuclear parent trap: 54% of Aussies say brands failing to reflect modern families, pushing traditional mum, dad, 1.8 kids over reality; Maltesers, Target nailing it

The marketing and advertising sector is alienating a quarter of Aussies by primarily showing traditional – mum, dad and two children – families, new research shared by Nine shows. One in four people feel their family is poorly represented, and even though single parents make up 10 per cent of our population, only 12 per cent of the public recognise one adult and a child as a family. What brands should focus on is honesty, realism and rawness, Nine’s Toby Boon says.

The Australian family

Marketers are using an outdated model of the Australian family in advertising, sticking with a mum, dad and two kids, and alienating vast swathes of the public, new research from Nine and cultural insights agency Fiftyfive5 reveals.

More than half of Australians – 54 per cent – feel that brands are failing to reflect the reality of family life in their marketing, while one in four people believe their own family is poorly represented in advertising. The concept of mum, dad and 1.8 kids has been “a really, really powerful shortcut”, Nine’s Director of Strategy and Insights, Toby Boon, told a session of Powered by Nine’s Big Ideas Store.

“But the reality is that Australia is shifting.  We’re quite conservative in the way that we portray family groups in some ways. There are big changes in the ways that families are showing up,” he said. 

Realism required

Families make up 71 per cent of households, but they’re comprised of traditional families, same-sex families, unmarried couples, blended families, co-habiting parent families and grandparent families. Dr Klara De Wit, Fiftyfive5 consultant, said portraying different types of families was an important way to improve representation and public perceptions.

“There was quite a sad percentage where only 12 per cent of people recognise one adult and a child as a family, but in reality, single parents make up 10 per cent of Australia's population,” Dr De Wit said.  

“What Australian consumers love to see when it comes to families and parenting is realism and acknowledgement of what it means to be an Australian family today, and the difficulties and the hardships of that as well.”

Maltesers, Target get it right

The Massive Overshare campaign by Maltesers, which published intimate thoughts from mothers about motherhood, was one example that resonated, as did a Target ad that showed men and women doing chores with children around in a non-congratulatory way.

“It wasn’t necessarily about family life. It wasn’t necessarily talking overtly to a mother’s experience or a father’s experience, it was just showing a family home,” Dr De Wit said.  

“There was a dad vacuuming with a baby strapped to his chest, and they loved it because there was no glorifying and ‘Oh, wow, you’re doing such a great job.’ Or, ‘Oh, look at the dad. He’s babysitting his kids.’ It was just assumed to be normal.”

Almost nine in 10 mums (89 per cent) want brands to show more honesty about the challenges of family life.

But it's a tightrope for brands

There is a tightrope to walk, however. The research found that 46 per cent of Australians want brands to represent traditional family dynamics.

“There was a really interesting piece that came through in the research that compared the amount of time dads spent with their kids per day to the 1960s,” Boon said. “I can't remember at the top of my head what the number is today, but I know the average amount of time that fathers spent with their children in the ’60s was something like 16 minutes a day. Anything’s got to be an improvement on that.” 

The answer, according to Boon, is to listen to the audience and understand their purchase cycle and habits.

“One of the really interesting developments for me has been around the involvement of grandparents,” he said. “We know from research we’ve done previously that obviously older Australians are active for longer, are working for longer, are more involved for longer. And grandparents are one of these groups that are now super, super-actively involved in helping to support bringing up children.”

Which is why the smart brands are now reflecting grandparents in their family-focused campaigns – and recognising their influence on big-ticket purchases. Explore

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Unpacking all things data, cookies, privacy and impending legislation change.

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Unpacking all things data, cookies, privacy and impending legislation change.

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"Marketers need to 'test and invest' as cookie cull 'resets' digital ad industry, and privacy law overhaul goes further than we thought" - IAB CEO Gai Le Roy

Incoming privacy changes and Google’s moves to phase out cookies on the web and tracking across mobile devices will fundamentally change how digital marketing functions. IAB CEO Gai Le Roy, Resolution COO Phil Pollock and Nine commercial product & data chief Ben Campbell unpack what’s coming down the track, and what marketers need to do now as the age of hyper-targeting comes to an end.

Marketers need to "test and invest"

IAB CEO Gai Le Roy has urged marketers to quickly get their heads around alternatives to cookies ahead of a “reset” of the digital ad industry. Publishing and media agency execs also warn brands to prepare for major disruption to the way they plan ad campaigns, and incoming restrictions on how they collect and use consumer data.

Google’s phasing out of 3rd party cookies and announcements to later cull Android ad IDs follow Apple’s removal of its ID For Advertisers and make brands and publishers gain explicit consent to track people across 3rd party websites and apps.

The upshot is that advertisers have already lost a lot of the things they took for granted in terms of ad planning, targeting and attribution, with further changes coming as regulators globally and locally tighten data privacy laws.

Tracking, targeting: prepare for impact

Apple’s manoeuvres have had a “huge impact”, said IAB CEO Gai Le Roy, with brands finding the majority of people do not opt in to tracking, making it hard to track across apps.

She said marketers must now prepare for Google’s changes with third-party cookies set to be removed next year, and get to grips with alternatives – such as Topics, a way of audience segmentation via browsers, and FLEDGE, a solution for retargeting without cookies. Google is also working on new APIs for attribution.

“So there are lots of challenges for marketers to actually ascertain what's working, how they should be spending their money,” said Le Roy.

Marketers must “educate themselves and create a plan … they really need to formulate the impact in their own business,” urged Phil Pollock, Chief Operating Officer at Omnicom-owned Resolution Digital.

“Do a full audit, really understand all the different touch points [within their digital marketing supply chain], and the different ad tech vendors they're utilising,” he said. “And it is really important to communicate those impacts to all stakeholders internally. [Tell them] ‘This will have an impact on measurement, it will have an impact on the campaigns that we are running’ – that needs to be clearly articulated throughout the organisation.”

Is connected TV immune to upheaval?

While most digital channels are disrupted, connected TVs and BVOD don’t use cookies, and so are “largely immune” from the incoming changes, according to Nine Director of Advertising and Data Products, Ben Campbell.

“So a lot of the targeting that exists on connected TVs will likely continue into the future, for now at least,” he said.

While Google and Apple’s changes make cross-site and cross-app tracking harder, Campbell thinks Nine is in a “pretty unique position, because we own that first-party relationship with users when they come to our site”. Because first-party cookies will still be allowed, that means vertically integrated publishers like Nine “will still be able to track within our ecosystem”.

Hence Nine is working to enrich its first-party data to understand more about its audiences and expanding its single sign on strategy to capture more identity data – essentially, gathering more email addresses by asking people to log-in to stream video or read news. Brands can then match those emails with data from their own CRM systems. Nine now has upwards of 14 million unique IDs.

“That’s really important for us, to try and build up that identity data set so that we can help advertisers find more of their customers who might have signed into one of their services when they surface on Nine,” said Campbell.

Privacy changes "go further than we thought"

Australia’s privacy laws are under review, with major implications for advertisers in terms of the kind of data that can be collected and used. While “nothing is yet set in stone”, the Attorney-General’s proposals “took everyone by surprise by going a little bit further than we thought they were going to”, IAB’s Gai Le Roy said.

A key proposal is a “fair and reasonable” test for collection and use of data. “That’s quite a hard thing to do because [the definition of what is fair and reasonable] is quite subjective,” she said.

“We’re still working with the government to work out exactly what that looks like, making sure Australia can operate with other markets, that we’re not too different and that we can work in a global economy.

“There’s definitely a lot more power on the consumer side, which is great. The challenge for us as an industry is to articulate to consumers what we are doing with their data.”

Do data restrictions herald return of mass marketing?

Failure to win consumer trust will mean fewer people will agree to allow brands and publishers to use their data, and both Nine’s Ben Campbell and Resolution’s Phil Pollock think the privacy overhaul will put a stop to many current digital advertising practices.

“I think that the landscape is fundamentally going to change over the next two years,” said Pollock.

Campbell agreed there are “big implications” for how data can be used. The days of hoovering up every crumb of data about who and where people are, what they are looking at, what they like and dislike, is over, he suggested.

“Technology has evolved at such rapid pace that whenever there was a capability to go out and micro-target particular audiences, people just went ahead and did it, rather than taking a step back and asking, ‘should we do this’?”

The probable upshot is a swing back from hyper-targeting towards mass marketing, Campbell suggested, and a return to panels for attribution.

All of which means marketers must prepare to go back to a fast approaching future.

“It’s a bit of a reset moment,” said IAB’s Gai Le Roy. “It’s time to test [post-cookie, post-privacy approaches] and really invest in understanding what’s going on.”

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Content Marketing: Using the power of long-form content to tell a brand story

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Content Marketing: Using the power of long-form content to tell a brand story.

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Reaching 12 million Australians with powerful tales of help and 978 different assets, IAG, Nine and Initiative amplified A Fire Inside to drive real-world action.

IAG didn’t set out to make a 90-minute feature film. But A Fire Inside became Australia’s number one documentary of last summer, with 850,000 views. In the process, NRMA, Nine and Initiative also created 978 different assets, according to Zara Curtis, Director of Content and Customer Engagement at IAG, to further fuel a story that she says is deeply connected with Australian culture. Telling Australia’s “raw, emotional” bushfire stories goes way beyond content marketing, and real-world results have left IAG “completely blown away”. More people are now talking about volunteering to fight fires and climate change, says Curtis, areas where Australia and its insurers can ill afford apathy.

 

Powerful stories drive change

The stories coming out of the Black Summer bushfires were raw, powerful, and struck at the core issues Australian society faces: a warming climate, a fragile ecosystem and a deep need to help each other though increasingly complex challenges.

Insurers are inherently risk experts. “Climate change isn’t going anywhere. As an insurer, we have seen that in Australia. Our statistics really talk to that,” says IAG’s Zara Curtis.

“Yet in Australia, volunteering is going down. So at the time when we need it most, people just aren’t leaning in to help.” Given that NRMA’s brand stands for help, she says, “What better way to show our brand purpose?” while driving concrete action to reverse that trend.

Using footage of the bushfires and the firefighters, NRMA made what some consider to be the most powerful advert of 2020, First Saturday, which was subsequently pulled after being judged to have breached advertising standards. It was unquestionably potent, perhaps too much, too soon for some.

But the “amazing, powerful and emotional stories” coming out of the Black Summer bushfires “about how people leaned in to help” needed to be told, says Curtis.

So IAG decided to take the vast trove of footage and imagery and, while treading carefully with production company Finch, approach Australians who had been hit by the fires.

“It was a very gentle approach, and very much their stories,” says Curtis. “We have hero firefighters like Nathan Barnden who saved people’s lives when he lost members of his own family, and so many others that leant in to help. Really powerful, really raw stories.”

The team filmed on and off for almost a year. “Every time we went back, mostly to the South Coast of NSW, a different story would unfold, so we tried to focus on the collective power of ‘help’, but with the message of volunteering to ask, ‘well, what can you do?’” adds Curtis.

Help to scale impact


After the film’s cinematic release, IAG and media agency Initiative sought to scale its impact. Initiative MD Sam Geer said Nine’s scale across broadcast TV and radio, as well as streaming and on-demand, plus news mastheads, is yet to be fully tapped for a single campaign by any brand.

“I don’t think any singular marketer has harnessed that power yet. Maybe in patches, using a combination of channels. But the cultural power that Nine holds across that suite of assets is something we looked at. Not only from a reach point of view, to get the message out  and make sure people saw the film, but also to drive conversation,” says Geer. “We wanted people to take action.”

Driving people to take action – to volunteer, to recognise the risks to society presented by climate change – were key outcomes.

“So the content marketing piece is the start,” says Curtis. “But we have a three-year partnership with Minderoo Foundation and the Australian Resilience Corps, for whom fire and flood resilience are key initiatives. So the impact of the content lives on.”

Meanwhile, IAG’s Safer Communities team, which sits outside marketing, will drive further action for both of those partnerships, through staff and community engagement, Muster Days across Australia, and via partnerships with Nine.

“That's the impact piece,” says Curtis. “It's okay to do content, but our view is, what difference is it going to make?”

Real world results, more to come

“The promise of an integrated proposition very rarely meets the execution,” admits Initiative’s Geer. But working with Nine’s Powered team, plus producers and journalists across the business, “means this is one of the very rare cases where it has.”

“We’ve reached 12 million Australians and intricately planned messages to different audience groups across the suite of assets. The film has been seen by 150,000 people. It was the number one documentary last summer. And now we are seeing that translate into action through the Minderoo Foundation, which makes you very proud.”

Curtis said the insurer has been “completely blown away” by the film’s impact.

“Sixty-eight per cent of people who saw the film said they were having conversations around volunteering and climate change and 58 per cent knew it was made by NRMA, and that we stood for ‘help’, which is just brilliant for brand awareness. Consideration for people to actually impact and help shifted from 43 per cent to 72 per cent.

“So we are in a really good place at the start of this journey.”

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How Blackmores used print to promote a new product, saw big results, and why open-minded marketers can cash in

Powered Unpacked

How Blackmores used print to promote a new product, saw big results, and why open-minded marketers can cash in

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Print readers have more disposable income, and are a perfect fit for some brands – and open-minded marketers are cashing in. Hearts and Science’s Chief Investment Officer Luke Hutchinson and Nine’s Lisa Day, Partnerships Director for Publishing, explain why finding an audience that isn’t multitasking is worth its weight in gold.

Bias can mean less business 

When marketers and agencies are developing a media strategy, many don’t realise they hold an inbuilt prejudice against print media. They may be missing out on a largely wealthy audience that is like a “blinkered horse” – much more focused on the content than anyone reading online.

Blackmores is one example that has included print media and seen strong results, Hearts and Science’s Chief Investment Officer Luke Hutchinson said.

“I think we need to, as agencies and clients, put aside some of those biases against certain media. I think print can't be pigeonholed really, right? It's part of a multi-platform approach now, and those audiences live not only in print but across online as well,” he told Nine’s Powered Unpacked series.

“I think there are still significant audiences to be reached across print, particularly in that Gen X, baby boomer audience demographic which, quite frankly, have disposable income.”

Early last year, Blackmores launched PAW, a range of natural health supplements for pets.

Pet ownership levels aren’t changing, but Australians are spending more on their pets – Hutchinson says they’re effectively pet parents.

“I, for one, am a parent, and frankly, my dog is my fur baby,” he says.

How print meant dollars for Blackmores' PAW


The health supplements brand approached Nine and ran a multi-platform campaign over a long time – more than six months.

“We needed to find ways to really engage with customers at different points and different moments on that customer journey,” Hutchinson said, “or that parenting journey with their animal… We had multiple messages running in different mastheads and platforms, for instance, across Good Weekend, we had the 52 pet-friendly weekends away as a sort of a lifestyle choice. Then we obviously had other content running across Sunday Life and the masthead itself.”

Lisa Day, Partnerships Director for Publishing at Nine, said the case of Blackmores and PAW was a classic example of how a print audience can deliver real value – three times the measured impact with messaging, according to studies.

“It was a product that could be considered as a luxury item because it's not essential. It was a supplement for your pet. You needed to convince the audience with very low awareness about why you'd use this product,” Day said. “They needed to have the attention span, the engagement, have content that resonated with them, and then the customer ultimately having the means to purchase the product and take action… (The audience) is not trying to multitask, they're a blinkered horse reading what they've got in front of them. And the beauty of that is it gives you a real connection and head space.”

QRs add new print opportunities


An example of how print has evolved is the QR code, which, surprisingly, came back into vogue in 2020 and 2021. The Australian Financial Review recently put one on the cover of the AFR Magazine for the Power Issue.

“Normally, we'd have the Prime Minister on the cover. But we did an interactive QR code on the cover that wherever you were geographically, your premier would turn up. Because that was really a play on the power struggle between the premier and the prime minister,” Day said.

Hutchinson said Blackmores tried them as well, and “the results were, quite frankly, fantastic”.

The goal is to connect purchase to content.

“We're really capitalising on that across the ecosystem, making our products more shoppable so that we can help our partners deliver better outcomes from those sales,” Day said.

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As Australia re-opens, brands truly delivering social good, localism and sustainability will roar ahead

Powered Unpacked

As Australia re-opens, brands truly delivering social good, localism and sustainability will roar ahead

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Emerging from lockdown is a “defining time for brands” and those that walk the talk to support communities, localism and focus on growth through doing good will power out of Covid – and well beyond, finds latest research from Nine, in partnership with Fiftyfive5.

Good equals growth

As states start to re-open, Nine’s research in partnership with Fiftyfive5 shows what people want from brands post-pandemic is to help rebuild communities and do social good.

The New Roaring 20s research study looks at how Australia will change over the next decade, but its near-term findings underline that consumer expectations of have shifted. They want brands to help build back better, support local communities and enable a more sustainable future.

“It’s a defining time for brands,” says Nine’s Sydney Head of Strategy, Steve Caunce. “Over the pandemic, Australians have definitely become far more attuned to how brands speak and more importantly, how they behave.”

Over the next 10 years, “these expectations are only going to increase, with an even greater focus around social good,” added Caunce. “Australian consumers are expecting brands to have a solid focus around sustainability. In fact, the research showed us that sustainability was the number one priority out of all the things consumers want from brands.”

Fivefifty5 Director, Hannah Krijnen, says the interviews and surveys undertaken for the latest research found brands big and small are recognising that need – and taking action.

“Whether that's about geographic community or the brand community online, we've really seen brands and businesses take a step towards having a bigger voice for the communities they stand up for, but also looking for ways in which the community can support them,” says Krijnen.

“So we’re seeing a really beautiful crossover between the interests of the brand, the business and the community – and we’re seeing those brands really step up into new opportunities and new growth,” she adds. “Most of the business owners we spoke to were very focused on community, what role it could play and how they too could play a better role in their community.”

Diversity, authenticity, stability


Looking further ahead, the research suggests brands can grow with Gen Z consumers by reflecting their values of diversity, authenticity and sustainability while providing them with stability in a less certain world.

“The importance of brands offering stability and consistency is something that shouldn't be underestimated,” says Caunce. “In fact, these advertising fundamentals haven't changed and I don't think they will change in the future. But the rate of change is something that the study really brought home – and brands will be required to constantly evolve.”

While flux can create consistency challenges for brands, change also brings opportunity for those that can adapt with agility, says Caunce.

Krijnen agrees: Marketers must prepare for a decade of rapid cultural and technological shifts, but retain the core principles of their craft as the world and market environments change.

“I've been talking to people about brands for almost two decades. So to see people really engaging with stories and engaging with how brands behave, giving them additional respect, intending to spend more money with them, really underlines the importance of the fundamentals of marketing and brand strategy,” says Krijnen.

“It does mean brands are more under the microscope, becasue people are really paying attention. But in many ways that will lead to stronger and better branding as well – because the more brands behave in the way that they talk, the stronger the brand is.”

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Find out how you can unlock a gap in the market worth $2.3 billion in weekly household spending..

Powered Unpacked

Find out how you can unlock a gap in the market worth $2.3 billion in weekly household spend:

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Marketers too blinkered with media planning that ignores demographic with most cash to spend

(but Kia’s cashing in)

Research from Nine and Kantar says marketers’ singular focus on younger demos has led to media plans and creative campaigns that miss the highest spenders: high earning and progressive thinking 55-64 year old consumers. Kia marketing boss Dean Norbiato agrees – but thanks rivals for leaving the path clear for Kia to tap the most lucrative prospects.

Don't act your age


Brands are missing a trick when it comes to their media plans and creative executions by focusing too heavily on 16-39 and 25-54-year-old consumer groups.

A study from Nine and Kantar shows brands misconstrue older demographics as people hanging out for retirement, rather than high value earners.

“One of the key quotes that I heard over and over and over again was they do not feel, and they don't want to act their age. More so that they think of themselves as 30-year-olds in 55-plus bodies,” Emma Lewis, Senior Account Director at Kantar said.

“If you add in the fact that they've got more confidence, life experience, time on their hands and are less weighed down by some of those domestic responsibilities of people in their 30s and 40s – and definitely have more money – they're gold for marketers.”

Watch episode six above or stream below:

Spend and influence


Nine and Kantar estimate this "blind spot" to be worth $2.3bn in weekly household spend.

But Kia Marketing GM Dean Norbiato argues the value of the 55-64 demographic goes beyond the cash in their wallets.

In a high cost, big decision category like automotive, he says the older generation also influence the decision-making of consumers close to them, who are often in the 16-39 and 25-54 brackets.

“Instead of rolling up for the retirement queue, they're very much rolling up their sleeves and getting into work in some high-end roles – with wider disposable income that comes off the back of that,” said Norbiato.

“That makes them important in purchasing, because in a lot of decisions, they impact not only their own decision but also their immediate influence group, like their friends and definitely their families.

“To someone like me in auto marketing or someone who would sell or market real estate, they're very important – they need to be considered.”

By way of example, Norbiato said a friend recently texted to say they had just bought their granddaughter a new Kia Cerato.

While the granddaughter had done the bulk of the research into the purchase, he said the ability to “veto” the decision or influence the path to purchase was very much in the hands of the older relative.

“He hears from Kia, he sees Kia, he understands what we stand for, and he was able to validate that purchase,” Norbiato said.

“It’s a real life example of how not only will the 66-year-old have the ability to purchase his own car, but he materially impacts and influences the decision of the granddaughter.

“So you've got to really understand that consumer journey and interrogate and understand the role that the older age group play.”

However, the Kia marketer concedes it is often tricky to shake the “shiny” appeal of the younger generations, especially with the recent boom in emerging social media platforms such as TikTok. He says marketers must cover all bases – and demographics.

“Coming up with a new media campaign on an emerging platform that garners a lot of attention, it is new and it creatively gets you going, is something that can draw a lot of marketers,” Norbiato said.

“That shouldn't be at the detriment of your existing media spend. So you shouldn't turn off one audience to target a new audience. There needs to be a balanced approach.”

Think 10 years older


The common mistake being made is often around understanding that the older demographic’s preferences are becoming more aligned with younger consumers.

The difference is that they have greater spending power, more confidence and have fewer responsibilities, according to Toby Boon, Director of Strategy, Insights & Effectiveness for Nine.

He advises brands to think more broadly in order to maximise results.

“In terms of practical changes that marketers can make, the first step is a really easy one – it's to think about extending your targeting from 25 to 54, to 25 to 64,” Boon said.

“Think about extending your existing demographic by 10 years and in some buying systems, that's as simple as clicking another button, or typing in another age. That's a really simple first step.”

Boon said the second thing that brands need to consider when targeting older consumers is to be more inclusive in their ad creative.

“That means thinking about the way that you do casting, thinking about the way that you do messaging, leaning into who these people really are and thinking a lot less about how you can rely on easy clichés to get those messages across,” said Boon. “They want to be targeted.”

Creative eye opener


Briggs was pleasantly surprised at Nine’s creative capability.

“That’s definitely something for all of us to remember. I spend a lot of media money and I probably don’t think enough about the other elements and where you can get more from it,” he says.

“We’re maybe a bit too quick to say, ‘Well, we’ve got a creative agency already,’ and you get a bit of a blind spot. But in this instance, we’ve shown ourselves that it’s not necessarily the best way to get the work done. The production capability meant we could go really fast, yet everything was done to an exceptional standard. So for me, it was definitely an eye opener.”

Watching results roll in


While brand campaigns can only be measured over the long term, Briggs says the early signs are good.

“This was very much a brand play for us. But we’ve had a great March. We have had some really good website traffic, up 6-7 per cent on January, with a higher proportion coming from direct and organic. And March was very good from a top line perspective as well,” he says.

Ahead of running an assessment of the MAFS execution next month, it’s hard to pick out a single element of its marketing mix in driving that growth. But Briggs says he’s feeling confident, given the buzz the campaign has created.

“We've got 400 stores across Australia and New Zealand, a couple of million people go into the website every month. They are such big numbers that it's hard to pull out one thing, but everything works together,” he says.

“People were definitely talking about it. We had good interaction on our own socials. There was a buzz within the office."

“I think it had an impact at the right time of the year – and with the numbers we saw, for the first time in a long time, I was eagerly waiting for the ratings to come through. You're looking at them and thinking, I can see these results in the numbers.”

Contact us for more information on how your brand can leverage the power of Nine to deliver real business outcomes.

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