SWOT: It’s Time to Have Some Tough Conversations

Purpose is also back in the headlines… Or is it? 
SWOT: It’s Time to Have Some Tough Conversations
Photo by Jeremy Bishop / Unsplash

Welcome to SWOT by Sound Story, your weekly inside track on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats looming for the entertainment industry.

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Welcome to SWOT by Sound Story, your weekly inside track on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats looming for the entertainment industry.

Trending: Which media companies have been caught up in the Bruce Lehrmann saga? Words by Daanyal Saeed. Source: Crikey.

🎵 Music: Monetising superfans is the talk of the music industry these days; now, a New York-based startup is launching a direct-to-consumer platform that it says will be “the first superfan app to count sales towards Billboard charting.” Words by Daniel Tenser. Source: Music Business Worldwide.

📰 Media: The fight for free streaming of sports in Australia takes a hit as free-to-air TV’s plea for rights amendment is overlooked by government committee. Words by Kevin Perry. Source: TV Blackbox

💰 Advertising: A radio ad promoting an SCA podcast has been pinged for breaching the AANA Code of Ethics. Words by Ashley Regan. Source: AdNews.

📲 Tech: Google uses AI to help restore kelp forests in Australia’s Great Southern Reef. Words by Lauren McNamara. Source: Mumbrella.

📜 Government: South Australia's tourism authorities have requested media refrain from using "Radelaide" and "the City of Churches" to describe Adelaide. Words by Ollie Haig. Source: 9News

🌶️ Spicy: Mexican news station RCG Media accidentally aired someone’s hairy balls on live television while broadcasting the highly-anticipated solar eclipse. Words by Soaliha Iqbal. Source: Pedestrian

Strength: Meeting of the Minds

The weather might be cooling down, but event season is just warming up. 

👉 SXSW Sydney has opened public voting for sessions.

👉 You can vote here for which sessions you think deserve to take to the stage, across categories including Advertising & Marketing; AI & Robotics; Creator Economy; Culture, Society & Media; Future of Work; Music Industry; Screen Industry; and Startups.

👉 From the local scene, Mumbrella360 has announced its full program, including former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, former Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Nike Greg Hoffman, and tennis Grand Slam winner and former Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott.  

👉 Mumbrella360 also includes an afternoon where you can book meetings with fellow attendees as part of its speed networking event.

👉 On the more technical side, Mumbrella alumni Tim Burrowes has announced the full program for his AI-focused HumAIN conference.

👉 And on the awards front, today is the final day to submit for the Mumbrella Awards, which will take place in August, while the B&T Women in Media Awards portal has just opened ahead of its August event. Nominations for the Australian Women in Music Awards will also be opening this month.

Weakness: Costly Cop Choices

Who would have thought that choosing a comms person could cause so many problems, and garner so many headlines? 

👉 Well, the NSW Police can vouch for the fact that it can indeed be costly, and noticeable, when you get it wrong.

👉 A new report has revealed recent high-profile departures from the top NSW Police comms role have cost the state’s taxpayers almost $700,000 in redundancy payments.

👉 One of the ousted executives was former News Corp stalwart Liz Deegan, who was then seemingly replaced by former Spotlight producer Steve Jackson.

👉 However, as we all know, that lasted only a hot minute before the contract was reportedly “torn up”, as criticism grew about how the appointment was made, and concerns increased about what on Earth is going on with the culture at the Seven Network (more on this below).

👉 At this stage, the state’s Top Cop, Karen Webb, is getting more headlines about comms gaffes, comms hires and fires, and comms payouts than she is about, well, policing.

👉 Seems like she could really do with a good comms person…

Opportunity: It’s Time to Have Some Tough Conversations

Purpose is also back in the headlines… Or is it? 

👉 There was a time in the trade media when barely a week would go by without an op-ed about how much purpose mattered to brands – or, how much it didn’t.

👉 Across the years, we’ve had ‘Redefining ‘purpose’: Are we in a new era of purpose-driven marketing?’; ‘What’s the purpose of brand purpose?’; the very similar ‘Is there a purpose to brand purpose?’; the not-entirely-dissimilar ‘What exactly is the purpose of purpose?’; and ‘Brand purpose is wishful seeing from marketers who want it to be true’ – to name just a few.

👉 This time, however, it’s a different take from Consumer Psychologist and Co-Founder of Thinkerbell, Adam Ferrier.

👉 Adam argues that people actually need to acknowledge, and be talking about, the ethics of attempting to change people’s behaviour.

👉 “It’s much easier to dress up what we do with ‘purpose’ when what we really want is for people to buy more deodorant,” he says.

👉 The piece argues: “What are the ethics of what we do? The ‘purpose’ debate (along with  ‘customer centricity’) has stopped the industry having a very real conversation around the ethics of marketing.”

👉 And: “The other easy trick is to ignore the ethics of consumption, and this is more of an agency one, to take on pro-bono clients. For every widget we sell, we take on a social cause to balance the ledger and give us something to talk about at agency of the year submissions? I’m not saying this stuff isn’t important, but is it a way of blinkering us to looking at bigger questions, with potentially bigger answers.”

👉 This, combined with all the industry events on the horizon, seem like a real opportunity to start having some big, real conversations.

Threat: Seven Needs to go to Rehab

In case you missed it, Seven is having a real shitshow of a week, a real shitshow of a month, and potentially, a real shit show of a year. 

👉 Not to be outdone by NSW Police, the Seven Network has been garnering headline after headline after headline.

👉 The latest – an expenses scandal – exposed not only internal policy loopholes, staff tensions, and the machinations and mechanics of media, but also the appalling way the ASX-listed company deals with difficult (but reasonable) questions from the media.

👉 The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age (owned by Seven Network’s rival Nine) are getting scoop after scoop, and have done a fascinating breakdown of some of the communications sent out to journalists by former Commercial Director Bruce McWilliam.

👉 You can read more about the wheelings and dealings of Bruce McWilliam here, in a post-mortem of his career at Seven which was written BEFORE all this entered the public record.

👉 It’s now being argued the network needs a complete cultural overhaul (and, we might argue, a bit of a comms overhaul too!) as more and more accusations and revelations come to light

The Fun Stuff

Quote of the Week: “If you’ve got any remote interest in going to a festival, please buy early and please buy often. For organisers to get those sales up front just helps with their decision making,” Music Australia Founding Director, Millie Millgate, during the Soundcheck: Insights into Australia’s music festival sector presentation. (Via The Music Network).

📺 TV Show of the Week: If you’ve had enough of the manufactured moments and frustrating frankenbiting that make most Australian-made reality TV well… not particularly based in reality, then Alone Australia is a genuine breath of fresh (and very cold) air. Season 2 of the award-winning SBS show returned to screens and SBS On Demand recently, this time dropping off contestants in remote New Zealand. No camera crews, nothing fake, just real and raw footage they film themselves as they fight against the elements. If anything, it feels even more intense than the first season!

Written by
Sound Story
Sound Story is Australia’s leading strategic communications consultancy for the creative industries with clients spanning music, media, advertising and technology.
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