Enigma Agency founded The Brand Summit in Newcastle in 2017. The third Summit is on September 19. Why did you initially launch it?
At the time we thought that brand was under represented in the conversation among business leaders. We felt that if we could fuel a conversation around the role a brand can play in helping businesses grow and gain an unfair share then we might be able to help build even more Hunter-born powerhouses. Naturally it's also good for our business and the creative industry to have decision makers place more value on their brand.
How did the first event shape plans for this one?
The first was a success and it was very evident that we weren't the only ones sick of driving down the freeway to hear from great talent in this space. The post-event survey was important. Though we got an average 9 out of 10 satisfaction rating, it was clear people wanted more Q&A and networking. So last year we addressed that.
Who will be attending?
It's open to everyone but aimed at marketers and business leaders. We have a close relationship with the University of Newcastle and encourage students with an appropriate price point.
Why did you choose the three speakers you have?
Lisa Ronson is recognised as the best Chief Marketing Officer in the country right now (CMO Magazine no.1 CMO, 2018). She is a bright, inspiring woman that is a pleasure to listen to. Andrew 'Billy' Baxter is one of the most experienced advertising figures of the past decade with significant board level experience. Adventurer Justin 'Jonsey' Jones has achieved incredible things in his life including world record expeditions in Antarctica - a great addition with his focus on self and team improvement.
What to expect at the event?
Great company, great content and overall an event that would cost three times as much if they were to travel the M1 to attend it.
And its overarching aim?
We unashamedly take a leadership role in the business of brand and we also want to see all businesses thrive regardless if they are our client or not. We want to ensure business owners and leaders the right consideration to the importance of brand and the role it plays in the long term growth of their businesses and the region broadly.
You recently wrote on LinkedIn that brands are missing out on key media opportunities in regional Australia. How so?
In short, 30% of Australians live in regional Australia yet national brands only spend 10% of their media in that market. This underspend has created media that is cheaper and more effective than it should be - which creates a huge opportunity for brands to gain unfair market share. The main reason isn't that these brands don't get it but rather that their media agencies have a tendency to forget that the world exists beyond Bondi or St Kilda. As one marketing boss put it in response to my article, the Latte Curtain falls in Leichardt and the world beyond that is less important. There are of course exceptions. Red Energy is an example of a national brand that has grown massively by investing in regional NSW markets.
What are common mistakes made by companies in trying to "reach" regional Australia with their marketing?
It's fundamentally the same as when brands don't do the work to understand any audience they want to reach. We refer to it as working from an outsight - looking at an issue without bothering to get inside it.
Should campaigns be made for different audiences, e.g city Vs country, or should modern times dictate a one-size-fits-all tack?
Brands should know who they want to target. The tighter the segmentation, the more effective the work. Basically, you can either buy market share (huge media spends) or earn it (sensible media spends with interesting, relevant advertising). Both work but one looks a heck of a lot better on the balance sheet.
What reputation do you believe Newcastle has in wider business circles?
I would say that the smart people see Newcastle as a really interesting place brimming with talent and opportunity though this group is still small. I still think we need a stronger, more coherent national voice as a city brand but that's getting better too.
Broadly speaking the idea that the best thinking comes out of big cities is a very Australian idea. I think we as a city are much more like second cities in Europe and America than we are like anything else in this country. The tide is changing on how the world sees Newy. That's evidenced by how many people are moving here.
The tide is changing on how the world sees Newy.Peter Chapman
Enigma began in Newcastle and has a Sydney office. How important is it to have perspective from city and surrounds?
The single most important ingredient to success is people. We are led by an incredible Novocastrian in Lisa Sutton Gardner and her investment into people is second to none. We opened Sydney because we were growing with our Newcastle-born clients who were going there too. It has opened us to an incredible pool of talent and opportunity but we are one team. We always say that we are one office with a 172km hallway which helps us come up with the most interesting and effective solutions for clients.