The move by Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, to ground the Qantas fleet around the world, will have caused significant damage to the brand, regardless of his motives for doing so.
In his letter to members, Minerals Council chief executive Mitch Hooke says that in current day Australia, major policy battles are fought and won in the media and that miners must spend accordingly.
So is Mitch Hooke right when he says the “new paradigm is one of public contest through the popular media more so than rational, effective, considered consultation and debate”?
Consumer confidence has fallen by 8.3% to its lowest level in two years, according to the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index.
The drop has been connected to speculation about the impact of the carbon tax, with Treasurer Wayne Swan calling on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to “stop scaring the consumers”.
Retailer David Jones last night issued a dramatic profit downgrade, saying it expects second-half profits to be down by 9% to 12%. The company blamed the slowdown of sales on factors such as offshore Internet retailers due to the high Australian dollar, fears about the carbon tax and the impact of the flood levy.
The executive director of the venerable New York Times has come out fighting against Facebook and other social media.
Bill Keller has joined the conga line of commentators decrying the end of friendships and knowledge as we know it by arguing that much of the interaction on social media sites is “reductive and redundant”.
In an article in his paper, he suggested that “basically we are outsourcing our brains to the cloud.” Keller seeks to embolden his argument by quoting a conversation with writer Joshua Foer who told him that “This is the story of the next half-century, as we become effectively cyborgs.”
Politics is a tricky business. Being in government is even trickier.
But it should be pretty simple. It’s like any other business, isn’t it? It’s all just marketing. You find out what they want, you tell them what you’re going to do, and then you give it to them.
So is it simply a case of “selling” yourself a bit better, as independent MP Andrew Wilkie posited last week on ABC Radio National?
If that is the case, what does the government need to do?
Ask any good salesperson the key to making a sale, and they will tell you that there are two parts to a successful sales pitch.
Despite a clear and substantial increase in the amount and quality of information available to the modern consumer through globalisation, and communication advances, we still don’t always make decisions that are in our best interests, particularly in the areas where politicians and lawyers seem to spend a lot of time, such as financial, telecommunications, and even competition policy. So what can policy makers do to at least create an environment of better consumer outcomes?
When it comes to branding and advertising, much of what we are exposed to creates only marginal difference. But even small differences can tip the balance toward a particular choice, and plain packaging of tobacco products will make this kind of difference.
This is because small differences build up into larger differences, and in marketing, the game is all about increments rather than dramatic changes in behaviour.
So, if we are serious about reducing the number of smokers in our population, the removal of branding, logos and promotion on the packages of tobacco products is a small step in the right direction.
Does anyone have a sense of déjà vu?
From mid 2007 to early 2009, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) received an increase in complaints from consumers of more than 40 per cent. More than a third of the complaints to the TIO were related to poor customer service or complaint handling experiences. As a result of this increase in dissatisfaction with service delivery, the then Ombudsman, Deirdre O’Donnell, implemented the “connect.resolve” campaign to encourage the telecommunications industry to “re-focus on customers and their experiences.” At the start of the campaign in 2009 the Ombudsman was receiving 20,000 cases at all levels each month. By early 2010, this number was still high, but had dropped to 16,500 per month.
On New Years day, as the Victorian and Northern Territory governments followed NSW, WA and the ACT by implementing laws preventing cigarettes from being put on display to the public, the Australian Medical Association called for a $25 million TV and newspaper advertising campaign showing “damaged vital organs or people drinking liquefied body fat” to shock Australians into giving up junk food and sugary soft drinks. The good doctors based their call upon a belief that the fear-based advertising campaigns used by the TAC (in Victoria) and Quit have been effective in changing behaviour around driving and smoking.
So, Christmas Eve wasn’t the saviour that the retailers expected. In conversations with retailers, it seems that even Christmas Eve sales were down. As one said to me, “This is the quietest Christmas Eve that I can remember.”
That said, it seems that grocery sales were up leading up to Christmas. Gluttony takes another form?