girl on platform 10

Denver the guilty dog

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This gets me every single time!

Written by Jacey L

August 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Posted in Misc

Confessions of an online social media junkie

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I find no embarrassment in admitting that I’m quite the whore when it comes to online social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal, Xanga, MySpace, Friendster, and now my latest addi(c)tion Google+… you name it, chances are I am or have been on it.

It all started out during the dotcom bubble circa 1996, when the concept of finding your own little space in the rapidly growing cyberspace resulted in the popularity of free web hosting services. From this we witnessed the rise and eventual fall of Angelfire and Geocities – both of which I was an active user, despite having limited knowledge of HTML at the ripe age of 11. These were the closest we had to Facebook or even a personal blog, which I discovered via Diaryland in 1999. It was also during this pre-Google era when I found everything that I wanted to know through AltaVista, Lycos and Yahoo! The information that I uncovered was no more legit than Wikipedia but back in the day, it was definitely more feasible than camping out in the library or asking my parents… especially where the birds and the bees were concerned!

It’s mindblowing, looking at how far the Internet phenomenon has come in just 20 years. And here’s a crazy fact: Internet World Stats reports that as of March 2011, the estimated total number of Internet users makes up 30.2% of the world population.

When it comes to marketing, there’s a wealth of unexplored opportunities in the digital space waiting – begging, even – to be tapped into by those who are savvy enough to utilise its full potential. From e-tailers like Amazon and Asos to eBay (“The World’s Online Marketplace”), there’s no saying where the Internet will lead us to next. We’re already swapping our laptops for tablets – although I haven’t quite hopped onboard the iPad wagon as I’m too attached to my MacBook Pro to even consider replacing it! – and the mobility and accessibility of the Internet on smartphones means that we can search and retrieve information while we’re on the go.

My e-Marketing lecturer/convener predicts that the English language will eventually cease to exist as the cyberspace continues to grow, due to lack of knowledge in spelling which is all too common in most young people these days. According to her, the growing habit of replacing proper English words with images or emoticons will bring about a whole new language in which humans communicate through symbols or hieroglyphics. But I suppose that debate is for another day…

It will be interesting to see how retailers integrate online social media to create the ultimate user experience, in which a business reaches out to interact with its customers on a more personal, or personalised, level. We’re seeing a lot of it through official Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts, but there remains a lot of undiscovered territory especially in regards to how a business continuously creates an interactive platform on which it can build, establish and maintain a relationship with its consumers. It’s important for businesses to understand the power of online social media, and to implement the best suited strategies. The Internet provides so much variety that it isn’t difficult for us to look elsewhere… so what exactly keeps us engaged?

Even with my established online presence across different social platforms, I’d still jump at the opportunity to experiment with a new or revamped concept… just to see what else is out there, what’s new that hasn’t been done before or what’s been done before but is being done right this time (holla, Google+!). It’s all about extending your digital footprint as much as possible – after all, once you’ve had a taste of playing the field it’s hard to stay committed 😉

Written by Jacey L

August 10, 2011 at 7:45 am

Posted in Marketing

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Anti swearing laws – if you swear, you’re f*cked

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A warning to all potty mouths out there: watch your language or you could be $240 poorer for swearing in public.

Under the new laws, police are given the power to issue on-the-spot fines for people who use offensive language in a public place. There is no official list of words that are considered foul, so police officers are authorised to determine what constitutes vulgarity. Depending on who you’re lucky enough to encounter – although it would be under unfortunate circumstances if you found yourself in this situation in the first place – you could be penalised for using seemingly common swear words like “arse” or “dick”. This obviously brings about public concern that this will lead to abuse of power by the coppers.

I’ve been known to drop the f-bomb myself, however the type of profanity that rolls of my tongue depends on the context and company I’m in. Due to my upbringing, I’ve always felt uncomfortable using words such as “bitch”, “bloody” or even “shit” in front of my parents. Swearing in front of kids or elderly people is also something I avoid, for no other reason than simply out of respect. The same goes for a professional environment although my male colleagues at my previous job were known to throw around all kinds of swear words, even during casual conversations. One guy in particular had a vocabulary so colourful that it would make every dignified lady blush right down to her toes.

A protest in response to the legislation has been organised at Flinder’s Street Station on June 25th – check out the Fuckwalk Facebook event here.

Written by Jacey L

June 15, 2011 at 8:07 am

All taxed up

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that April 2011 saw a 1.1 per cent increase in retail spending – higher than the consensus market forecast of a 0.4 per cent rise in the month. The significant recovery in retail trade – which fell 0.3 per cent in March – is led by an increase in department store sales, up 3.6 per cent.

This may spell good news for retailers in a crucial time where Australians are tightening their purse strings and saving their money for a rainy day. The latest global online consumer survey by Nielsen has recorded a decline of 2 points in Australian consumer confidence in the first quarter of 2011. With rising utility, fuel and food prices topping the list of concerns, it’s no surprise that consumers are cutting back on non-essential expenditure.

While the Aussie retail industry has taken a nosedive, it’s important to note that there is an increasing trend to buy online, often from overseas. It’s an activity that everyone with Internet access can do – it’s convenient, safe, simple and provides a wide range of choices that often works out to be cheaper than what our local department stores offer for the same product. Spurred by the strong Australian dollar, it’s no surprise that many of us are not only scouring the web for clothes or shoes (holla fellow Asos lovers!) but also everything else – household accessories, books, electronic gadgets, car parts, mobile phones… the list of what you can purchase online is endless. And it all makes sense: if you can find something online that is lower priced than what the local distributors are offering, it’s only logical that you would choose the option that has the least cost.

Currently, Aussies are exempted from duty for online transactions under $1000. In 2008, Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman claimed that local retailers were at an “unfair disadvantage” and called for a GST to be imposed on products bought online that cost under $1000. His sentiment is shared by major retailers who reported that their businesses had fallen victims to online stores, which could lead to Australian job losses. To counteract the online shopping trend, the Australian National Retail Association – which represents leading retailers including Coles, Myer, David Jones, Woolworths and Bunnings – is campaigning for the Government to reduce the $1000 tax-free threshold to $100 for online goods.

Pretty ridiculous, in my opinion. If the giants are crying about losing out to online stores, why aren’t they providing a more competitive environment for shoppers? We turn to online shopping for cheaper deals and bargains due to the excessive price markups by local traders. All we want are reasonable prices, excellent service and a wide range of choice – yet most leading Australian retailers fail to deliver these. You can’t call for an even playing field when the market is monopolised to begin with. Consumers are being ripped off right under their own noses and they know it… so they look elsewhere.

It will be interesting to see how the opening of Zara Melbourne on Wednesday (deep breaths – less than 48 hours away!) will have an impact on retail spending, particularly in Victoria which remains one of the worst hit in the current trading environment.

Written by Jacey L

June 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Advertising vs marketing

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When I tell people that I’m currently undertaking a Master’s degree in marketing, I often receive this response: “So… it’s like advertising?”

Advertising and marketing usually go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that most people confuse the two to be the same. They may be of similar importance in running a business, however there is a huge difference between the terms. It seems that both advertising and marketing have a bad reputation for creating false wants and encouraging materialism. More often than not, marketers are slammed for using deceptive and unethical practices to manipulate consumers such as the recent headlines in which Coles and Woolworths were exposed to using “Product of Australia” claims on imported produce.

Tom Egelhoff of Small Town Marketing sums it up with a simple, comprehensible definition: Your business card is a form of advertising. Marketing is deciding who to give your business card to, and how.

Advertising is one of the components that make up the entire marketing process. We’re exposed to advertisements everyday through various forms and channels – on the tv, radio, print media or in-your-face billboards. These advertisements function to create awareness of products or services amongst consumers, which will in turn generate more sales for the organisation involved.

Marketing on the other hand, refers to a complex process consisting of planning, implementation and control with the intention of bringing the buyer and seller together for an exchange of products or services. A few elements that make up the marketing process include understanding consumer behaviour, conducting market research, segmenting target markets and implementing marketing strategies (ie. product pricing, distribution and customer support) – all in the name of creating value for consumers.

Marketing is a fundamental tool used by organisations to promote its ideas, products or services through the 4 or 7P’s marketing mix. More importantly, let’s not forget that the main goal of all businesses is to generate profit.

So are marketers really the bad guys? The decision is yours.

The following images clearly distinguish the differences between marketing, PR, advertising and branding:

Source: Ads of the World

Written by Jacey L

June 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Posted in Ethics, Marketing

Tagged with ,

Phantom phever

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The breathtaking opening number “Till I Hear You Sing” performed by Ben Lewis.

 

And the official video of the song by Ramin Karimloo of the West End production:

 

Behind the scenes with the rest of the Australian cast:

Written by Jacey L

June 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Melbourne, Musicals, Theatre

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Love Never Dies

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Andrew Lloyd Webber can do no wrong. Well, apparently he can.

As the sequel to the most successful Broadway musical of all time, Love Never Dies was welcomed by the Melbourne audience at the Regent Theatre this past Saturday after receiving mixed reviews from the critics at West End. Whether it was the negative reviews or Webber’s health that led to an indefinite postpone in the Broadway production… who knows?

Ben Lewis leads the Australian cast as the mysterious, murderous masked man… or make that masked man, full stop. The phantom that we all knew and loved in the original has now been watered down to a less intimidating character in this Coney Island-based sequel. While he was a dark and powerful figure in the original Phantom, he now lacks the captivating appeal that once effortlessly demanded audience members to sit up and hang on to every word and movement. Nevertheless, Ben’s strong vocal chords undoubtedly made him the star of the show – it just wouldn’t have worked otherwise, not with the way his opening number reflected the rawness in the pain that still haunted him over his lost love, Christine.

Anna O’Byrne plays the role of Christine and doesn’t fail to dazzle with her incredible solo during the climax of the show. Apart from that, I didn’t find much substance in the character as she simply failed to steal the show the way Phantom did. I also found it incredulous that she shared a moment of passion with the Phantom the night before she married Raoul – a hen’s night gone wild, perhaps?

Poor handsome Raoul (played by Simon Gleeson) has now transformed into a rather unsympathetic character, who is not only in gambling debt but also incapable of displaying affection towards his and Christine’s only son. The role of 10 year old Gustave is shared between 5 child actors, although my lack of attention to detail means that I have no idea which one performed when I attended last night. I read a review somewhere in which the writer expressed his disapproval over a disappointing performance by Gustave, however I was nothing but impressed by the actor on stage last night although I have to admit there were a couple of scenes where I half expected the boy to start belting out a few tunes from Oliver! The Musical.

All in all, it was great entertainment. The spectacular display of backdrop and lights was breathtaking and the costumes were nothing short of elaborate. The music didn’t quite entrance me the way I had hoped or expected, considering the goosebumps that I still get just from the grand organ introduction of the original Phantom theme. It received a standing ovation from less than half the audience so I’m sure it struck a chord (‘scuse the pun) with some people more than others.

I’d give it 3.5 stars out of 5, simply because I am now a new ‘phan’ of Ben Lewis and his amazing voice.

Written by Jacey L

June 3, 2011 at 1:58 am

Posted in Melbourne, Musicals, Theatre

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