Strategy & Innovation for 2018

Tuesday 28th November 2017 10:56am
By Zoë Chapman

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With 2017 drawing to a close there was no better way to close out the year than to reflect on the marketing techniques and technologies that have defined the last twelve months and focus on the emerging trends for 2018.

To guide us through Strategy & Innovation for 2018, we had an amazing panel. We were lucky enough to have Kurt Viertel join us, co-founder of Brother & Co. and brand and communication strategist; Jake Falkinder brought his digital expertise as Head of Digital at Mantra Group; and saving the day as a last minute replacement was Caroline Starecky, Head of Strategy & Innovation at Khemistry. Facilitating it all was the wonderful James Gauci from Hydric Media. With so much ground to cover, James certainly had his work cut out for him.

The panel kicked off with the seemingly simple question - What is innovation? Caroline guided us through. Innovation itself is the practice of putting ideas into action that create added value. However she challenges the idea that the creative thinking necessary for innovation belongs to any one person within an organisation. It shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of a designated department, rather every individual should be empowered and encouraged to think and work creatively towards innovative solutions. Caroline then took us through a couple of fun warm-ups to get us thinking about how we can challenge our normal way of thinking. After a fun exercise that challenged everyone’s coordination, Caroline showed us this picture.

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What do you see? Do you see an embracing couple? Look more closely and you may find dolphins instead. Caroline reminds us through this simple example that it’s important to look beyond the obvious to perceive hidden layers and insight, and to help others see the same.

But what’s an example of innovation? As Head of Digital, Jake Falkinder is constantly looking for ways to innovate for the guests staying at one of Mantra Group’s many locations. Identifying that guests at Peppers Seminyak in Bali often preferred to remain within the resort whilst on holiday, a poolside ordering app was created for food and beverage delivery, especially perfect for VIP guests craving privacy.

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Caroline then took us through different kinds of innovation: product, process, disruptive, people, technology and incremental. It’s important to note that innovative measures occurring in other industries can and should be adapted to fit your needs - innovation doesn’t have to be 100% original, it just needs to be relevant and value-adding.

Looking back at 2017, Kurt took us through the rise of brand storytelling, emphasising the shift towards buying power being motivated by brand values and philosophy. Emerging technologies such as AR were identified as very much a part of existing and future strategies, as long as they could avoid being nothing less than a gimmick, and Jake introduced us to the use of EEG (Electroencephalography) as a means of monitoring emotional responses in a viewer’s brain to determine not only when brand campaigns were hitting the right emotional marks but also to track frustration levels in website users.

As for the biggest challenges faced by marketers in 2017, the panel were unanimous: anticipating and preparing for change. That change will come in the form of evolving job positions, a process which has well and truly begun, as well as learning to navigate the increasing amounts of data available for analysis.

The night closed with our panel’s top tips for 2018, which you can view on our Facebook page.

It was a wonderful night and a fantastic end to the year. Thank you to all who came along, it was great to celebrate 2017 with you. From the team here at Networx Brisbane, we wish you all a merry festive season and a wonderful New Year. We look forward to seeing you again in 2018!

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