New reality

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The Big Coefficient vs a New Reality is a way of categorising disruptive agents/technologies within any market. I came across the terminology/concept in Scott Page’s Corsera course on Model Thinking.

In this post I’ll go through the definitions and examples of each that will hopefully challenge the way you evaluate ideas (it certainty has for me).

The big coefficient

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. (H.L. Mencken)

When optimising for the big coefficient you look to identify an independent variable that has the largest causal relationship (coefficient) with outcome you’re trying to achieve e.g. the longer someone spends looking at a product page, the more likely they are to purchase the item (expected outcome).

To optimise for the big coefficient you need to:

  • Construct a model of the variables involved in producing your expected outcome
  • Gather data to measure the outcome in a real world scenario
  • Identify the key variables the one/s with the biggest coefficient
  • Change the variable/s optimise to the big coefficient

This is a powerful methodology as you’re using evidence-based decision making to drive your actions (the part where you change the variables). Indeed the big coefficient has had much acclaim in management strategy with popular systems like Six Sigma ingraining the discipline to be laser-focused on optimising the big coefficient.

A new reality

The best way to predict the future is to make it. (Alan Kay)

The issue with big coefficient thinking is that your ability to think out of the box is heavily diminished meaning so too is your ability to disrupt. In order to disrupt you need to fundamentally change people’s behaviour. Therein lies the second portion of Page’s framing – the new reality. Within the new reality you give everyone free Healthcare rather than putting a bigger tax on smoking, within the new reality you drive cars rather than ride horses. The aptly named new reality allows us to change the world around us.


Some examples of new realities in the past:

  • The iPhone completely changed human behaviour even though it received initial criticism from analysts for non-removable battery, no keyboard and low res camera.
  • Nintendo Wii created a new reality for the games and entertainment industry even though it was far less powerful than the leading console producers, PlayStation and Xbox.
  • Amazon AWS forever changed developer behaviour by leveraging existing infrastructure in an innovative way.


There are several technologies that are currently gaining traction that offer the promise of exciting new realities to come:


This framework for thinking becomes a powerful way to evaluate your strategy as you need to structure a given program differently based on the outcomes you expect. If you’re looking to make an existing asset work harder you need to optimise for the big coefficient and therefore you need an evidence-based approach to consistently optimising your output. If on the other hand you’re expecting to disrupt your market/competition you need to look at creating a new reality, this is a whole lot more tricky. It involves risk, trial, error and failure all great subjects for a new blog post 🙂


Brand Platform
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Sophisticated marketing brands are beginning to create platforms in order to gain a larger proportion of category share of voice. In this post I’ll go through what a platform is, some of the marketplace trends and the key elements to building a brand platform.

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This is an interesting campaign coming out of the states for Johnson & Johnson. Purely due to the fact that by using an owned media asset (an iPhone App), Johnson & Johnson have been able to brand the UGC that they are generating from a CSR initiative they are undertaking.

The long and short of it is that by using the app, you either take a a photo or use an existing one, then posting donate that photo to a cause. The image and cause is shared across your Facebook feed along with the detail that Johnson & Johnson have donated a dollar to said charity, based on your contribution.

Not original but a nice way of generating brand equity around the activity and generating branded UGC rather than just user generated content that perhaps wouldn’t have the same commercial impact.

There has been 10, 000 entries so far. Which kind of demonstrates to us that people are sometimes not as altruistic as we would hope. Perhaps giving both a social and personal incentive would boost numbers.

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The shopping experience has remained fairly stagnant for the last 50 years. Ever since Walmart Pioneered the super store, traditional retail has struggled to discover any true innovation in regards to format or experience. But when the pace of change is so extreme and consumers are looking for easier, convenient and engaging ways to shop. This is resulting in a shift from even the most traditional retail channels to deliver a variety of tools, services and interfaces to better engage and cater to an increasingly discerning and connected consumer.

There have been a number of interesting campaigns lately that try and tie the shopping experience closer to technology and provide consumers with unique, connected and predictive experiences. From helping people to shop without having to come in-store and at high footfall areas (Tesco Interactive Shopping, Airport), socially connecting the shopping experience (C&A’s Facebook Connected Hangers) or giving consumers inspiration about how they can best use the contents of their shopping cart (Hellmann’s Recipe Receipt).

it seems both brands and retailers alike are starting to sit-up and try and better understand the sort of information and utility that shoppers want from a 21st century grocery and retail experience.

The three latest executions trying to tie technology closer into the traditional shopping experience that we have seen are:

  • Hellmmann’s connected shopping cart: A cart that senses where in a supermarket you are and the products in your proximity. Then projects onto an LCD screen attached to the shopping cart, recipes that use that particular grocery item and Hellmann’s mayonnaise. By a consumer adding a particular recipe to their list of favorites, they are then subsequently alerted to where in the supermarket the remaining ingredients are located in the store. Hellmann’s claim that this activity has caused a 68% uplift in sales. On the downside, you would expect that this would be cost prohibitive to roll out on a large scale. Furthermore, I am not sure how a supermarket’s other suppliers would feel about providing one product and brand such a monopoly on in-store exposure.
  • E-Mart, Korea, the business behind the Sun Activated QR code, which helped to increase store traffic during the slowest period of day for the supermarket. Have now launched a new innovation that helps consumers connect to their store infrastructure. By plugging your smartphone into a specially built peripheral on your shopping cart. They have a found a way to use the lighting around the store, to allow the specially built system to feedback information on your smartphone about where certain sales are and also helping you to navigate yourself to the appropriate places within a store based on your shopping list. We feel this execution seems a little clunky though. But definitely something that might be useful for busy shoppers in a rush. Alternatively a cross sell opportunity, perhaps alerting someone close to the store to a price discount on a high frequency purchase of theirs. Then once in-store taking them on a specific route through the supermarket, exposing them to other deals and products that they have been inclined to purchase in the past. Increasing frequency, loyalty and basket size per visit. It is also handy that it uses the consumers hardware, rather than having like the former Hellmann’s example, to install expensive systems across your retail footprint: E-Mart Connected Cart Emart-navigation-and-discounts-on-smartphones-01
  • Target and Facebook have just gotten serious about couponing by creating a proprietary social referral redemption and referral platform called Cartwheel. In a huge push by the social network and retailer to substantiate social investment by attributing that they can encourage consumer interaction and conversion through the social web. In essence what they have done is joined forces to create Cartwheel, Cartwheel allows shoppers to get coupons for “deals” on the retailer’s website, share them with their friends on Facebook, and redeem them in Target stores using their smartphones. The kicker being that once consumers purchase cartwheel deals, the purchased items will be shared to their friends via Facebook. In the instance that more than one item is purchased in a trip, the platform will intelligently aggregate the collective items into a single post. It will be interesting to see whether this pans out for both parties, or alternatively ends up being an annoyance for both consumers and their peers. We think it will actually be the former and really connect people to their social networks via true buying behavior. Click here for an overview of the functionality of Cartwheel from Business Insider AustraliaTarget Cartwheel : A whole new spin on coupons 2013-05-14 13-28-20

In the UK during flu season this year, Kleenex has combined existing data as well as Google’s Ad planning tool to create an adaptive planning platform to increase the effectiveness of their media buy. The tool has helped the business to anticipate, phenomenally accurately, the cities and regions that were suffering from or about to suffer from a flu outbreak.

They built the model by bidding against flu related keywords in the lead up to flu season to generate some real time search data about where people were searching flu related terms. They were then able to map out the relative, real time search volume and establish what sorts of thresholds then resulted into full breakouts by cross referencing this data against subsequent GP Visits and NHS Direct Calls. Through this they were able to build in triggers in an adaptive planning model that allowed them to create a responsive media plan which increased the relevance of their search, digital and above the line advertising.

Vicks also implemented a similar campaign based on historical data using the Google Flu trends platform. Essentially Google for the last six years has correlated flu and symptom related search terms via their engine against ‘traditional flu surveillance systems’ to get a real time as well as historical archive that studies the effects and spread of disease. In 2012, Vicks in the US used this data to target mobile media in proximity of pharmacists that stocked its new behind ear thermometer with a CTA citing the high risk of flu in the area.


Although the two campaigns are similar, the Kleenex campaign is the first instance we have seen in which someone has taken Google data and mapped it against local health system intelligence to create a real time, adaptive model. In the case of Kleenex, they were able to target areas at a 96% accuracy by region and city, that were in the infancy of a flu epidemic. This resulted in a Year on Year increase in sales of tissues by 40%.

It is great to see some creative, intelligent uses of data, to increase the relevancy of messaging. Rather than a shot-gun approach over a given time frame across a broad geographic region.


A recent report published by the New York times, Consumer Insight Division has attempted to dissect and contextualise the reasons people share content and the types of behaviours and personality traits they exhibit. The report delves into the channels and digital platforms that different archetypes will be drawn to, to share content with their friends and peers. They have broken down the report into 2 key sections, one covering the drivers that influence people to share and then categorising different groups, the kinds of content they are more likely to share and the channels they will be drawn to share across. Here is a breakdown of the reports findings on the key reasons that people share content with their networks:

  • To disseminate valuable and entertaining content
  • Content that fuels and projects our identity
  • To make us feel connected
  • Self fulfillment and social reassurance
  • To project brands and causes people are attached to


To distil that down, peoples disposition to share comes down to their relationships with the people and peers around them. Essentially the reason people share is it allows them to project and share content that reflects their personality, generates social kudos, could be valuable to friends and peers and helps inform those around them about who they are and who they want to be. So, this is nothing new, but it brings us back to the point that what we need to do is interrogate our executions to ensure that we are producing interactions that are useful, relevant and entertaining as well as ensuring the outputs of those interactions meet the same criteria. This will ensure that we generate a disproportionate share of voice within our consumer’s online conversations.

As aforementioned the report also identified a number of persona’s, six to be exact, and the type of content as well as the mediums that they would be most likely to share across. The personas themselves are:


We feel the above segmentation is particularly helpful as a guide to align against (albeit based on American research) existing segmentation studies. It will invariably help to identify the types of content that a particular consumer will react to and the types of channels that should be prioritised for both delivery, response and sharing. Ensuring we increase our chance of generating social buzz by reducing the friction of sharing for a particular persona, using their preferred communications medium.

In essence It all comes back to content marketing in the end and the ability that content has to really tap into the needs, behaviours and personalities of our target markets. Which is by no means a new phenomena. Just exacerbated by the increasing access people have to the web and the ability this provides consumers to share ‘more content, from more sources, with more people, more often, more quickly’.

We often talk here at Holler about the ability good creative, or well interrogated outputs can enhance the effectiveness and social credibility of a campaign. I suppose the study that the New York Times has done helps to support that argument. Give people things of value, that is relevant to people like them and their networks and they will invariably be compelled to share.

Definitely worth a read:


A really simple well executed idea from Dove that is another iteration of their Real Beauty Campaign. In this installment they enlist the help of a sketch artist. Who draws a portrait based on a woman describing themselves and then a stranger that they have just met describing them. The end result provides us all  with an arresting piece of content that dramatically articulates the stark and destructive difference between a woman self image and how the rest of the world sees them. Reaffirming the notion that woman are undeservedly their own harshest critics.

Lovely idea, well executed and emotional. I can smell a branded content Cannes Lion on the horizon for this one, as long as it generate enough viral traction.

Güd a US Personal Care brand has released perhaps one of the more comprehensive Pinterest campaigns we have seen to date. With Pinterest commanding an incredibly female skewed audience with an increasing user-base (albeit slowing in growth). It has for example 650,000 (growing at roughly 2% per month) Australian users and counting.

It seems to be the perfect platform to activate against aesthetically arresting, aspirational, indulgent, female focused products.

Güd scoured the platform for a board that had been posted relating to inspirational mornings. Hoping to match the essence of their new body wash Red Ruby Groovy, which promises to wake you up and refresh you in the early hours. The board they inevitably chose was Keri Pfeiffer’s, a board she created and posted images representative of her perfect morning. Güd got it touch and eventually flew her to Mexico, and recreated her board in real life. The results of which are below:

This was subsequently launched as an online video with a CTA that asked other users to create their own board portraying their interpretation of “My Perfect Gud Morning”. Each entrants has to also pin an image that featured the product and the details of the promotion.

The campaign has had some interesting results. We like it because it gives the overall campaign social credibility and leverages some of the native features of Pinterest. One of the success’ of the campaign thus far being is the entrant from a blogger (unsure of whether she was paid) called Joy, who has over 14million Pinterest Followers. With entry board itself already receiving over 700, 000 followers.

In saying that, as far as we can see the competition has only had 175 entries thus far. But due to the nature of Pinterest, each board would have been promoted across each entrants follower network feed and the each pin posted to the board would have also appeared. Which means that the impressions they would have received would far surpass just this figure.

GudMorning Perfect Morning 2013-04-11 10-22-07

It is a valiant effort, but it seems that no brand has really been able to crack a competition mechanic that goes over an above just a pin to win, entry system. Which, unlike this Gud campaign has a major downfall in the fact that you do not capture any data from the execution. Just impressions from people that interact.

Despite the lack of scalable campaigns and CRM derivatives that advertisers can reap from Pinterest. We think a platform with such a well defined value proposition and skew toward woman, that Pinterest still has huge potential for those brands willing to stick it out and find the magic formula.


This is a lovely campaign from Unilever in South Africa, which boosted sales of OMO 2kg bags by 20%.

Basically it was a loyalty program that leveraged the power of mobile penetration (feature phones) in Africa to drive sales of its product and reduce price sensitivity at shelf. Consumers were directed to purchase a 2kg bag of OMO and punch in a unique code on pack via SMS. They were called back by an automated voice system that asked the consumer a variety of questions and registered their details against their broader CRM Platform. The initial loyalty scheme consisted of 5 tiers that corresponded with the frequency that the consumer purchased the specially marked 2KG OMO packs.  The loyalty rewards that they could then redeem as they cycle through the programs were as follows:

  1. Go in the running for a 1mil R education scholarship
  2. Got 5 R of mobile credit
  3. Got 8 R of mobile credit
  4. Voucher for school socks
  5. Voucher for a school shirt

The results were phenomenal:

  • 2.7 mil entries
  • Re-interception through CRM program resulted in 60% return custom
  • 20% increase in sales over 8mth period the program ran

You can see the case study video below;

The reason that we really like this execution here at Holler is it demonstrates the power of OWNED loyalty programs, which we feel is a fundamental way of wrestling some of the power back from the duopoly of supermarket retail in Australia. It also hammers home the effectiveness of using mobile as a channel to engage with and remain connected to a consumer base. We also love the fact that it increases frequency whilst reducing price sensitivity at shelf.

Overall it gives consumers a tangible reason to stay connected with a brand and to talk about it to their networks. Mum’s are starting to see savvy shopping as a mantle to brag about. Shopping is becoming competitive, with people seeing who can get the best bargain. If you can offer this by increasing the return for each consumer across ALL RB products by cutting out the middle man and building direct relationships. It could be a real turning point for the business.


Ad formats and response mechanics are getting more and more intelligent and user friendly. Soon we will see the end of the days that you need to rely on a lengthy URL on a TVC or QR Code on your OOH Media to generate direct response.


Sometimes trying to to push consumers online is harder than originally thought. A QR Code on the side of a bus, is the antithesis of reducing barriers to participation and interaction.

There has been two relatively exciting developments in the tech space relating to potentially new ways of interacting with digital ad units or adding a layer of digital content and information to a product or ad.

1: Shazamable Images:

Shazam is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the digital, direct response arena. From its humble beginnings as a call in music recognition service, it has diversified to taking the same tech to handsets in the form of mobile apps as well as integrating their offering across TV ads to allow consumers to gain access to an extra layer of digital content by activating the app whilst watching the TVC. Shazam controls considerable penetration in DR for TVC using mobile, with over a third of 2013 Superbowl spots encouraging users to use the technology.

They have recently announced another exciting development, which is integrating image recognition into their app. What are the implications of this? Well you can now have consistent image signatures across an entire campaign and encourage DR and interaction through the one app. Think Airwick Multicolour and being able to scan a poster, the product, an OOH poster or a TVC to redeem a voucher. No clunky typing in URL’s or having to remember CTA’s. Even being able to scan the product at a dinner party after asking your friend about it. Having consistent interaction mechanics through every media and touch-point. Also, think fashion retailing. You like someone’s dress but don’t have the guts to ask them where they got it from. Take a picture and off you go. This could actually be quite a revolution in mobile commerce and DR across a variety of media in Australia and the world.


2: Nuance – Talking Ads

Secondly talking ads. So this one we are a little more skeptical about, but it seems to have some fairly large propellants, both from brand and agency. In short Nuance, the company originally behind Siri, say that people are becoming more and more comfortable with talking to their technology. With the proliferation of platforms such as Siri and Google Now. This has led them to the hypothesis that people would find it useful in certain circumstances to talk to their ads rather than consume them either passively or actively. We can perhaps see some application in voice DR with the proliferation of connected cars. So you can inquire more about an ad you jut heard on your digital radio, asking question about the product, the promotion in question and local stockists. Also, perhaps in front of the TV, you don’t want to pick up your laptop or tablet to interact with a CTA, so you just start asking the ad questions. With Esquire already using similar response mechanics across its tablet and smartphone properties. In which people can interact with, via voice, video relating to specific ads.

It will be interesting to see how interactivity with ads and the available DR mechanics will transform in the future. Making it easier and more intuitive for people to interact with and find out more about the advertising the is dispersed throughout their daily travels.