Isobar Australia is a full service digital marketing agency; founded in 2003, Isobar now has offices in six of the seven continents. Isobar’s achievements are impressive; the company has been awarded some three hundred and fifty awards internationally. In providing a suite of innovative marketing services to notable clients across the world, Isobar is well placed to deliver and to be abreast of innovations and changes to innovative paradigms. Isobar is led by a diverse collection of innovative industry leaders; the company acts to provide and facilitate connectivity between brands, companies and consumers. Notable current and previous clients of Isobar include the following: David Jones, ANZ, Holden, Jetstar, JB Hi-Fi, Sensis, Dulux, Network Ten and others.
On Tuesday, the 4th of August, Isobar Australia held the first event of the company’s Summit Series, a national conference series, in the function rooms of the QT Hotel, Canberra. Isobar Australia’s Summit Series brought together a variety of industry leaders, both from Australia and abroad, to speak on their current innovative projects, products and services. The Summit Series visited Canberra first, before continuing on to Melbourne on the 6th of August and Sydney on the 10th of August. The mantra of the Summit Series was ‘No hyperbole, no impossible theory, only actionable insights,’ and the presentations of the individual speakers certainly reflected this, with no puffery, only practical insights and tangible results.
The first event of the Summit Series, held in the function rooms of QT Hotel, Canberra, featured a large programme of prominent presenters. The subjects of the individual presentations ranged from the anticipated, Isobar’s own innovations in virtual reality, to the unexpected, brain-computer interface neural technologies. Throughout the event’s proceedings thoughtful insights, relevant to a range of emerging and established industries, were expounded to the event’s attendees; the audience were also introduced to universally applicable paradigms of innovation and agile innovation.
Following an introduction from select Isobar Australia staff, Konrad Spilva, CEO, Isobar Australia and New Zealand, began the first presentation of the event, ‘Leading to succeed in fifteen years’. Mr Spilva spoke of Isobar Australia and New Zealand’s intent to lay the foundations necessary to produce innovation in the fifteen year period nominated. Mr Spilva’s presentation expounded the impact of innovation on traditional businesses, and the consequential revision of archetypal and traditional business models. ‘Large Australian businesses are quick to adapt, slow to innovate,’ read one of the projected slides Mr Spilva employed in his presentation. Mr Spilva spoke about his perception of the overestimation of the use of technology in Australian businesses in the short term, and an underestimation of its use in the long term.
Following Mr Spilva’s presentation, Kei Shimada, Global Director, Innovation and Business Development, Dentsu Inc, began his presentation to the audience. Mr Shimada’s presentation was titled, ‘Read my brain: Dealing with consumer subconscious for deeper insight’. Mr Shimada’s presentation centred on the use of electroencephalograms (EEGs) to measure brainwaves, to produce quantifiable results, which can then be used for marketing purposes.
As described in the blurb of Mr Shimada’s presentation, printed on the schedule given to attendees to the event, EEGs were once worth millions of dollars, and participants in studies were required to shave their heads before using the equipment. The technology detailed and displayed by Mr Shimada during his presentation allows for the cost effective, unobtrusive engagement and observation of participants in studies. Mr Shimada introduced the audience to three domestically available neural technology devices: Emotiv Insight, by Emotiv; Muse: the brain sensing headband, by Muse and Necomimi, by Neurowear.
Mr Shimada explained how the technologies, both those detailed and those physically showcased, quantified brainwaves through brain-computer interfaces and produced quantifiable data in real-time. The data produced by the neural technology devices can be displayed either through external devices, such as graphs on computers and tablets, or in the immediately evident movement of the electronic ears of the Necomini, manufactured by Neurowear. During the course of his presentation Mr Shimada showed the audience videos detailing the use of various neural technology devices. One in particular showed the use of a neural technology device by a Japanese restaurant chain; in the video a participant’s experiences in trying new meals were documented for future use in developing more appealing products.
Mr Shimada told those attending the Canberra event of the Summit Series that neural technology products will “develop faster than you think,” before showing another video which detailed their use in mapping the attention spans of consumers.
Following Mr Shimada’s presentation, Mr Ashley Ringrose, Owner, Soap Creative, took the stage to speak on the topic of ‘The power of play’. Mr Ringrose’s presentation revolved around the use of fun and play to engage audiences; Mr Ringrose delineated play as a marketing element distinct from gamification, many of the examples he employed to further his point featured an absence of score keeping. Mr Ringrose used a selection of quotes in beginning his presentation to substantiate his assertion that play is more than a trivial activity. One of the quotes used by Mr Ringrose was ‘Play is one of the brain’s best form of exercise,’ attributed to Dr Stuart Brown, Founder, National Institute for Play.
Mr Ringrose described an exciting environment in the offices of Soap Creative, with the staff creating superhero avatars and themed meeting rooms. Speaking generally Mr Ringrose told the audience, “We learn through play.” Mr Ringrose went on to assert that “Play increases brand recall by sixty three percent”; the figure of sixty three percent was quickly revealed by Mr Ringrose to be a joke, a play on the speculative, invalidated figures bandied about some companies. Mr Ringrose reiterated the importance of play, before moving to detail some recent examples of the use of play by companies internationally to expand and engage their customer bases.
In one example Mr Ringrose showed how the United Kingdom’s postal service had retained customers and found more through creating fun and engaging stamps, making the experience of creating and posting a letter more engaging than online communication. Mr Ringrose asked the audience “How do we promote better behaviour?” before showing the audience a video showing the construction of stairs in Sweden. The stairs were adjacent to an escalator and painted to resemble piano keys, with sensors installed that played notes corresponding to those denoted on the stairs. The painted stairs and the musical notes they emitted enticed people to use the stairs, more so than the adjacent escalator, thereby increasing the daily exercise levels of commuters.
Mr Ringrose then went on to show video of one of Soap Creative’s recent creations, a light installation titled ‘Cars That Feel’, made in collaboration with Toyota Australia. ‘Cars That Feel’ was a light installation exhibited during last year’s VIVID festival in Sydney, and was created to advertise Toyota’s Prius range. The light installation and accompanying sound equipment made the cars anthropomorphic caricatures, with faces projected on the individual cars’ window screens and sounds emitted from the cars, both changing in response to stimuli. The cars encouraged those attending the exhibition to hug and engage with them, in the video shown by Mr Ringrose to the audience, the light installation’s audience dutifully agreed, literally hugging the cars.
Mr Ringrose played another video and expounded on all the examples shown to further his point that play and fun are worthwhile elements in marketing, as distinct from gamification. Following Mr Ringrose’s presentation to the audience, Mr Brett White, Creative Director at Visual Jazz, Isobar Australia, took the stage to begin his presentation titled ‘Virtual: A New Medium’.
Stay tuned for future articles which will cover the remainder of the Canberra Summit Series event, beginning with Mr White’s presentation, and the innovative technologies and insights showcased and delineated.