Advertising, Media & Marketing

Forbes to focus on Australia’s ‘best’ business minds and entrepreneurs

FORBES AUSTRALIA officially launched on Friday. Its stated mission: to offer Australian leaders, entrepreneurs and success seekers a new experience-led membership built to unearth stories of change and success.

The Australian arm of Forbes has a pretty good head start, being able to tap into the suite of print and online subscriber services atop the US magazine’s 105-year heritage.

Forbes Australia has come about through a licensing agreement between Forbes Media and the optimistic local group, Success Publishing Pty Ltd, so it is able to draw on an armoury of well-regarded business journalism.

Today, the Forbes reader experience is – thanks to the magazine’s digital and broadcast development – what the publishing team calls a multi-faceted immersive experience that includes a premium bi-monthly magazine, website and curated online newsletters’.

Something different is the Forbes Australia focus on events, with members promised they will be able able to “see the story unfold beyond the pages at live and hybrid events”. The first Forbes Australia LIVE event is happening in Sydney on October 20.

Writing in the first issue of Forbes Australia, Forbes Media chairman and editor-in-chief , Steve Forbes said, “Australia embraces many of the same ideals as that of Forbes. It’s a place of doers, built by entrepreneurs who have created from scratch the country’s leading industries in sectors such as commodities, wine, agriculture and fishery. Now a new generation is adding high tech to that mix.

“This ‘can do’ country provides a model of stability, economic progress and democratic government in the Asia-Pacific and has a growing role in regional security. We are truly excited to watch Forbes Australia chronicle the country’s rising business, financial and economic profile.

Forbes Australia will build a local iteration of the global media brand, led by CEO Michael Lane, who has developed multiple successful businesses across live events, real estate and wealth management.

“Forbes is an inspiring and engaging media brand for more than 150 million people every month,” Mr Lane said.

“With Forbes Australia, we are combining Forbes’ global perspective with a uniquely local twist. By putting local business leaders and local entrepreneurs at the centre, we want to celebrate success, cultivate community and spark meaningful change.” 

Forbes Australia editor-in-chief is Sarah O’Carroll. Ms O’Carroll was most recently editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance, which she re-launched in the Australian market in 2018 and grew its audience to a peak of more than two million monthly users.

“Australians have never been more ambitious,” Ms O’Carroll said. “They’re yearning for new approaches to our nation’s challenges and opportunities.

“They want stories of success and determination, and ideas built to equip our leaders for the best and brightest future.”

Ms O’Carroll said content would primarily be built on unique, locally written stories of entrepreneurs and success, mixed with the best news and features from Forbes’ global offerings. The brand has the stated goal of “tapping into the deep well of local insight and leadership, Forbes Australia will unearth and tell the stories that celebrate success, cultivate community and spark meaningful change”.

Mobiquity tailors tech-driven financial products to ‘brand enthusiasts’

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

IMAGINE IF RETAILERS offered banking services like buy now, pay later? Or if your local football club offered you the opportunity to get the finance to buy a car? This is possible with the work that Mobiquity is doing.

Mobiquity partners with the world’s leading brands and banks to design and deliver compelling digital products and services.

Gustavo Quiroga, the vice president and general manager of Mobiquity for the Asia-Pacific regionAPAC, said this was one of the most exciting areas that Moibiquity is getting into in Australia. He said they ‘become like banks’.

“It’s about bringing this opportunity to extend the utility that these trusted brands have with their customers by bringing in financial services which they couldn’t do before, “ Mr Quiroga told Talking Business

“Now the reason is banks or banking is a very distributed and loosely defined industry. So all of these industries, airlines and sporting associations, they have something that every bank covets – and that is trust of their customers and a real brand affinity.

“So as a Penrith Panthers member, I might take out a car loan with them, before I go to a bank, and some insurance, because I know that I trust them, that they’re going to give me the best deal, because I love my club and any profits are going to go back to make my club even better. So why wouldn’t I do that?

“Why wouldn’t I take out a Qantas holiday and pay it through Qantas in 12 easy direct instantly created direct debit payments,” Mr Quiroga said.

“I think this is the most exciting area of innovation for financial services across the whole industry and it’s not just traditional banks.”


Mr Quiroga said Mobiquity could also work to help banks deal with the trust issue by becoming a broker and creating relationships between banks and other businesses.

“We act as partnership brokers or we sponsor marriages between organisations,” he said. “For a bank, why not empower and enable those organisations that have the trust of captive audiences – so the Penrith Panthers, the Qantases of the world – and therefore tackle this challenge of trust as more one of distribution into those target segments and integration with the organisations that own those target segments.

“So what we do, in that sense, we broker those marriages and we orchestrate those business integrations from a technology and experience.”

Mr Quiroga said Mobiquity was also targeting to work with mutuals, neo banks and challenger banks. 

“From a tactical level, we tend to focus more on solutions to current problems that these banks have, such as how do I turn Pay 2, a new industry initiative, into something that helps my merchant clients win more customers?” Mr Quiroga said. 

“Or how do I speed up the approval of the right personal loan for my retail customers? So we do this by partnering with best of breed technology vendors.”

Mr Quiroga said strategically, Mobiquity provides digital banking advisory services.

“We are doing this for a number of organisations that are looking to stand up new propositions, like a brand new Islamic bank here in Australia,” he said.

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at  



Discounting prices can discount your brand says Eisner

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

IN AUSTRALIA, consumers are used to companies discounting products when there’s a downturn in the market. But a discount in tough times can damage a brand, according to Jason Eisner, co-founder of BrandQuest, a strategy, culture and brand management company.

He said businesses needed to work out where exactly they fit in the market. If they are a company modelled on providing discounts, they might be able to do it. But if not, they should not go down the discount route. 

“I think people during an economic downturn get scared and especially in Australia, one of the first things we do is we go straight to discounting. It’s kind of a last resort thing to do and one of the things it does is it basically destroys your brand,” Mr Eisner told Talking Business.

“It’s a very quick fix to an ongoing problem. It’s probably the last resort to turn to and people use it as their first resort.”

He said “price tells us everything, what the business is about”.


Mr Eisner said price told about supply and demand. Demand had everything to do with what the product was worth and how much people liked it.

He said changing the price would always have an impact and he said it was done way too often and done with a short term viewpoint without much analysis.

He said there were times when it was worth discounting and there were other times when BrandQuest would recommend against it.

“If you’re a low cost brand and your brand is always a discounted brand, and the reason why people come to you is because it’s a discount, then there’s probably a reason to discount it at every point in time,” Mr Eisner said.

This could also be done when there was an oversupply of the product, or the company was entering a new market.

“If you have a brand and you put lots of money into it and you have built it over time, discounting is eroding that,” Mr Eisner said. “It basically says the value of my brand is actually not as much as I priced it at, I’m going to discount it and I’m saying you shouldn’t need to pay full price for my brand.

“And the best brands in the world don’t.”


Examples of that include brands like Apple and Mercedes, BMW and Audi.

Their products are worth more than what their competitors are selling, so they use price the opposite way to build into their brand, letting the consumer know it is a quality product.

“In general, the big luxury brands tend not to discount because they realise if you put lots and lots of money into building your brand, all you’re doing is destroying that brand value if you discount too much,” he said.

“If I am in the top prestige premium market, you are pretty hard pressed to discount. If I was in the budget commodity market with low price, low quality, that’s where you are in this discount thing.”

Any company setting a price has to do this in conjunction with a marketing strategy.

“A strategy is about thinking of the long term and price is a very short term mechanism that you can change over time. Everybody gets scared and they use a sort term lever like price and the reality is, it affects their long term strategy,” Mr Eisner said.

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at


How IRI finds COVID is changing consumer behaviour

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

COVID-19 and the lockdowns have changed consumer behaviour. According to IRI, a world leading big data analytics business that works with many of the world's household brands, it has seen consumers focusing on wealth and wellness.

Sales of plant based products like soy milk and almond milk have gone through the roof. Consumers are also now focused on what’s good for the planet.

Alistair Leathwood, chief commercial officer for IRI across the Asia-Pacific region, said the changes brought on by the lockdowns and COVID were massive “and we can expect retailers and brands will respond”.

“It’s unprecedented, I think, in our lifetimes. A situation like that has shaped pretty much every aspect our lives and what we eat and drink,” Mr Leathwood told Talking Business

“I think you’ll see the health aisle in the supermarket get bigger and bigger. Now there’s two or three aisles devoted to healthy, to organic, to better for you, to sports nutrition. And even outside that aisle, you’ve got more and more products, even in the mainstream consumer packaged goods.

“If you look at the supermarket, you’ll see call outs on every box: 5 percent less sugar, 5 percent more protein, better for the environment, all of that good stuff.

“The companies that manage to hook into the trend will continue to do very well.”


Mr Leathwood said there was a big rise in people buying vitamins, minerals and supplements. And much of this, he said, was driven by people being concerned for their health during the pandemic.

“People were buying those sorts of things and frankly using them a lot more I think I the hope you boost your immune system, maybe you get to avoid getting ill,” Mr Leathwood said.

And instead of getting these goods from pharmacies, people were picking up these items in supermarkets. Which makes sense.

“I think it’s because when we were all nervous and concerned, we wanted to go to one place, get in and out, and stay home, so people bought things they might otherwise buy in the pharmacies,” Mr Leathwood said.

Consumer demand for sports drinks went down, with lockdowns stopping people getting out and doing sport, but demand for high protein drinks with vitamins went up.


The big lift in consumer demand was for plant-based alternatives like soy milk and almond milk.

Mr Leathwood said demand for these goods was growing way faster than anything else with 50-60 percent year-on-year growth rates.

He said the difference between this lockdown and the one last year was that people were now saying they not only have to look after themselves – they also need to look after the planet. This, he said, might be the driver for products for oat milk, which is being produced with less of a carbon footprint.

Mr Leathwood said companies needed to watch these trends and get on top of them which, he said, was a challenge for the big blue chip brands.

“If you’re one of the big carbonated soft drink companies and mostly what you do is sell fizzy sugary drinks, and all of a sudden nobody wants sugar, what’s your business model? So there’s a bunch of diversification, into waters, into Kombuchas, into functional drinks. And then there’s an attempt to reduce the bad ingredients, reduce the sugar, reduce the fat and make it more acceptable,” he said.

“You’ve got a real problem there, though, because one of the reasons you drank your Coke or you went to McDonald’s was because you like the sugar and the fat and the meaty taste.

“McDonald’s is really struggling to sell salads and healthy alternatives. You don’t go to Maccas for a salad. It’s hard for them to make that switch.”


Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at


Aussie kickstarts G-rated social media app bhapi

By Leon Gettler >>

SOCIAL MEDIA abuse is a growing problem. The latest stats show that one in five girls and young women have abandoned or cut down on using a social media platform after being targeted.

And a study by Norton has revealed more Australian men than women report experiencing online abuse or harassment.

Over 60 percent have been harassed on social media and over 90 percent feel not safe using social media. Plus 50-60 percent are willing to pay not to have offensive material or be confronted with ads. Social media, while introducing platforms that bring people together, can also be used for abuse.

This why Australian tech expert Mick Esber has developed a new and innovative app, ‘bhapi’ (pronounced ‘be happy’) which rates, classifies, and blocks negative, fake, biased, hate, violent and explicit content on social media using best-in-class technology. 

It has been designed to deliver easy-to-use tools for people to manage what they send and receive, is completely ad-free, and does not sell personal data to third parties.


Mr Esber said he decided to develop the app after talking to his sisters, one a teacher and another who works with special needs people, last year when COVID was happening and discovered they were dealing with toxic social media comments and trolling. He developed it after looking around and finding there wasn’t a social media platform around that wasn’t toxic.

He built bhapi using artificial intelligence tools – essentially using Google’s Jigsaw program, which was created to help clean up the internet sector that helped moderate and curate conversations.

Mr Esber said bhapi was created as a G-rated broadcaster.

“We’ll follow those rules which are pretty consistent globally about G-rated content,” Mr Esber told Talking Business.

“We’ll use AI primarily to control it and then we’ll have humans behind it, which is a very important part, to manage the process so the machines aren’t on their own. There will be a process to moderate and adjust it.” 

The company has just launched a KickStarter campaign and is looking to raise $50,000. The campaign started on July 1 and will go until the end of the month with a view to bhapi launching in September.

Bhapi is an IOS and Android app which can operate on all phones and this will be released in September.


Bhapi moderates by monitoring abusive comments. Anything that is not G-rated is not deleted but sent into a private or draft area. The content is not censored. It can be passed on privately but it cannot be made public.

“How we do that is we use a range of AI tools, primarily from Google, and stuff based on Google,” Mr Esber said. “If you say something offensive, it will detect that, it will put it into drafts. We are going to police that environment to make sure it is a G-rated space.”

The material deemed to be not G-rated in the drafts area can be sent as an Instant message to the person concerned, but it cannot be made public.

“If it’s a personal conversation, we’re not going to censor that,” he said.

He uses the example of being at the football. When people use bad language, they are usually pulled up by others. The internet does not offer that and bhapi is designed to address that.

Mr Esber said bhapi was not designed to stop freedom of speech.

“Freedom of speech is really important but there’s a difference between freedom of speech and freedom of reach,” he said.

“If you have got something offensive to say, should I give you a megaphone to tell the whole world? If it’s a lie, if it’s offensive, if it’s sexist, if it’s anti-semitic, should these things be allowed for you to publically say?”

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at

Advertisers demand greater transparency

By Leon Gettler >>

TRANSPARENCY has become more relevant than ever before in the advertising and media industries, according to Dale Garvie, managing director of FirmDecisions.

FirmDecisions is regarded as the largest independent global marketing contract compliance specialist, providing advertisers with transparency into their marketing and media agencies.

Mr Garvie said the issue of transparency in contracts needed to be sorted out.

“When we talk about transparency in contracts, what we’re really referring to is full visibility of the supply chain relevant to advertising,” Mr Garvie told Talking Business. “So if you[re an advertiser and you have media partners, transparency expectations of those media partners are that you know where your purchasing is coming from, both in terms of cost disclosure and whether it’s valid media and not fake traffic.

“Transparency is a buzzword in the industry that’s widely used but it can mean many things to so many different people.”

It means a lot to so many different suppliers in the industry – sale promotion people, event management specialists, design experts, public relations practitioners, media agencies, ad tech and the media itself


Mr Garvie said media counts for the biggest proportion of ad spend by advertisers, taking up a large part of the $1 trillion ad spend budgets.

The problem is, it has become much more complicated. 

“Historically, advertising was relatively simple. Everyone was watching TV, reading newspapers, pretty straight forward,” Mr Garvie said.

“Fast-forward to today’s world with mobile and digital and there are a lot more media providers with advertising playing through the supply chain,” he said.

“With social influencers, for example, that form of marketing didn’t exist years but it’s on the rise now. As the industry changes, there are more players beyond media, and transparency of all those players, how they manage advertiser budgets is critically important.”

He said his business FirmDecisions specialises in auditing advertising agency contracts.

“It’ll tell you there are a lot of improvements to be made within those contracts. Periodically we find unspent funds that the advertiser has placed with these agencies and there’s a lack of reconciliation so these agencies may charge on estimate and the actual cost for that activity may come in a lot less and the balance may be retained on the agency side,” he said.


Mr Garvie said transparency was important for both sides, for the agencies and the advertisers and the clients they represent.

It becomes even more critical now with all the different marketing touchpoints and the growing power of third party influencer being brought in by agencies.

He said advertisers are now demanding transparency in this market and there is now some sort of standard that advertisers are adopting.

“At the end of the day, the market place has to react,” Mr Garvie said. “If they want to compete for advertiser dollars and transparency is a key focus in building trust and confidence in where those dollars are spent, naturally agencies will comply and sign up to those terms.”

However, both sides need to vigilant because services and the market place are evolving.

He said  his firm now advises clients to review their contracts every year. It is no longer sufficient to review contracts as these are audited and tested annually.

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at


Marketing ‘funnel’ now superseded by digital

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

MARKETING has changed completely because of the internet and the old ‘marketing funnel’ is no more, according to Lyndall Spooner, the founder and director of Sydney-based consultancy and advisory firm Fifth Dimension.

Ms Spooner said customers now have many more choices, so companies can no longer rely on the strength of their brand – and the companies that are the most challenged are the ones with the established business model.

She said the traditional marketing funnel, which was developed in 1898, has been completely disrupted by technology.

“Companies need to rethink where they are, how they talk and how they can connect with consumers,” Ms Spooner told Talking Business. “They need to be thinking not just about broad marketing strategies. 

“They need to think about the product or the purchase journey and they need to work out how they can get involved in that purchase journey.

“That becomes very difficult for companies that are used to living off the fact that they’ve got a big market share and they’re one of the top brands known in the market. They think their saliency is what’s going to get them into that consideration set when the reality is today, consumers can go online.

“No matter what we want, we can Google it and a whole lot of brands can come up that we’ve never ever heard of before, and it’s highly likely a consumer is going to consider those brands and potentially choose those brands if they’re better for their needs.”


Ms Spooner said when consumers are going through the purchase process, and looking at the brands, they are very specific in what they want – which means companies need to make sure they have a good offer, something that is compelling and stands up to whatever the competition has come out with.

“The second thing is you need to be present where the consumer is going to look for this information which is increasingly online,” Ms Spooner said.

“Twenty to 30 years ago when we were looking for brands, a lot of our decisions were really dictated by who we walked past, so it was all about physical presence. But today, it’s about having a very strong digital presence and a compelling offer,” she said.

Ms Spooner said it meant companies need to be there in various outlets, and not just social media.


Companies should also rely on what she called ‘trusted advisors’.

For example, Fifth Dimension does a lot of work with the health insurance fund HCF. When consumers are looking to make important decisions in complex areas like health insurance or superannuation, they reach out to third party sources. This means companies offering complex offers need to have relationships with third parties to be seen as a recommended brand by a number of different agencies. 

Ms Spooner said this was particularly important in such areas as financial services where the consumer faces some risk entering that relationship. Hence the growth of mortgage brokers as an industry.


For companies, this means going down the path where their offering is more competitive.

“So 20 years ago, you’d win a customer because you’re the bank on the high street,” Ms Spooner said.

“On the digital street, where people are looking now, any brand is within reach, so if you want to be recommended through a third party, you actually have to have a good compelling proposition.

“You just can’t avoid that today. So whether someone is going to go through a third party, or use social media, and where they are able to compare products very easily, they want something to stand up to say this is a good offer,” Ms Spooner said.

“And it doesn’t necessarily have to be the cheapest offer, but it’s the offer that will best meet their needs and ideally fits their budget.”

Ms Spooner said it means companies now need a network of marketing channels to reach their consumers.

“You can’t really rely on single channels,” she said. “You can’t really rely on your mass brand strategy any more.

“You really need to find out where your consumers are going in their decision process.”

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at



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