About Today is about tomorrow.
About Today is about tomorrow.

Optus, one of Australia’s leading Telcos, just experienced a massive outage that started at exactly 4:05 AM on Wednesday, November 8 caused by a routine software update that went wrong, affecting millions of their customers.

It even impacted the public transport system (connected to their network) making things even worse for businesses; Not only could they not contact their staff, but their staff could not travel.

It remains to be seen what economic implications this will have for Optus. Certainly, there would be many considering moving to one of their competitors.

The routine software update that derailed Optus is pretty standard and would have been executed regularly. This time it failed. Now the question here is (aside from why it failed) is what do they need to do in the event this happens again?

Disaster Recovery Plan  

A disaster recovery plan is a document prepared by an organisation that contains detailed information or instructions on how to recover from an unplanned incident, disaster or any other disruptive event.

Disruptive events cause loss, loss in revenue and create unsatisfied customers. This can be a very long road to recover from. A DRP will minimise the disruption if it is well-planned and put into action in a timely manner.

The Implications  

We are now living in an information age where almost everything is being run by an internet network from home devices to our pocket devices, even our watch. Connectivity is critical to how society operates. Any downtime has an impact that can range from a brief nuisance to an individual to financially ruinous to an organisation.

Until now, Optus has not divulged exactly what went wrong with the update process. These unanswered questions do not play out well for Optus’ reputation given their recent data breach because of a cyber hack.

One thing that is known and this will play out in the coming weeks and months, is that this ‘strike two’ for Optus will lead to a loss in their customer base.

We’re excited and proud to be partnering with Reclaim Waste as they bring a little innovation to an industry that needs a lot of forward thinking. 

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Here are a few key reasons why SEO is still crucial for businesses in 2024 and why you sound strategy and ongoing management to back up any SEO activities you pursue.

Increased Online Visibility: 

SEO helps your website rank higher in search engine results for a given set of search terms. With the majority of users not venturing beyond the first page, this visibility can significantly boost your online presence and attract more potential customers.

Targeted Traffic:

Effective SEO can help you reach your target audience. By optimising for specific keywords and phrases, you're more likely to connect with users actively searching for the products or services that you offer.

Enhanced Credibility: 

Websites that rank higher are often perceived as more credible and trustworthy. SEO can help you build authority in your industry and establish your brand as a reputable source of information.

Helps Improve User Experience: 

SEO isn't just about keywords and links; it also involves creating a user-friendly website. A well-structured, easy-to-navigate site enhances the user experience, leading to more satisfied visitors and potential customers. That’s data you can pull out of analytics, but data you’ll only get from the traffic that effective rankings deliver.

Measurable Results:  

This stuff is highly measurable. The data and analytics to track the success of your SEO efforts is easily accessible and allows for adjustments and fine-tuning of your strategy to achieve even better results over time.

Staying Competitive: Your competitors are likely investing in their own SEO. To stay competitive in your industry, you need to do the same. Otherwise, you risk losing market share to those who are optimizing their online presence.

SEO is an investment, but it's an investment that pays off in many forms, such as increased traffic, leads, revenue and brand awareness. All of these things contribute to business growth because it makes your brand more valuable.

The Role of Empathy in Leadership

Empathetic leadership involves understanding, appreciating, and addressing the needs and emotions of team members. In the technology realm, where professionals often grapple with high-pressure situations and relentless deadlines, leaders who demonstrate empathy can create a more harmonious and productive work environment. Such leaders understand the human element behind the technology and data, recognising that a motivated and content team is pivotal to success.

Collaboration and Innovation

The brand and tech industries in Australia have always thrived on innovation. In 2023, empathetic leadership is enabling organisations to harness the creative potential of their workforce. Leaders who empathize with their teams foster an open and collaborative atmosphere where ideas are freely exchanged, and diverse perspectives are valued. This kind of environment is essential for staying at the forefront of the industry, as it allows for the development of groundbreaking strategies and solutions.

Employee Wellbeing and Retention

Australia's tech and brand sectors are notorious for high turnover rates. In the past, this could be attributed to a culture of burnout and a lack of work-life balance. However, empathetic leadership is changing the game. Leaders who prioritise their employees' mental and emotional well-being not only reduce turnover but also increase overall job satisfaction. The result is a more stable and committed workforce, which is vital for long-term success.

Adapting to the Changing Landscape

The digital landscape is continually evolving. As new technologies, platforms, and tools emerge, the need for adaptable leadership becomes more apparent. Empathetic leaders are well-suited to guide their teams through the dynamic and uncertain future. They possess the capacity to understand the challenges that come with rapid change, helping their teams adapt and innovate effectively.

Diversity and Inclusion

In 2023 and beyond, diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords but essential aspects of leadership in Australia's brand and tech industries. Empathetic leaders recognize the importance of promoting diverse teams and ensuring that everyone's voice is heard. In a sector driven by creativity and problem-solving, the broader range of perspectives that diverse teams bring can be a game-changer.

The Future of Leadership in Australia

As the brand and technology landscape continues to evolve, the role of empathetic leadership is set to grow in importance. Brand and tech companies in Australia must embrace this people-centric approach to stay competitive, foster innovation, and support their employees' well-being. The leaders who thrive in this environment will be those who can balance the demands of technology with the needs of the people who power it.

In conclusion, empathetic leadership is not just a passing trend but a fundamental shift in the way leaders in Australia's brand and tech industries approach their roles. In the fast-paced, ever-changing world of digital, leaders who understand and support their teams will be the ones who thrive, adapt, and drive innovation in 2023 and beyond. The future of leadership in these industries is indeed a future that prioritises people alongside technology.

The announcement:

Digital marketing agency About Today has completely reengineered its’ offering with new services and people to launch a brand and technology consultancy. Read More

What is a Brand Story?

A brand story is the heart and soul of a company's identity. It's more than just a list of facts and features; it's a narrative that encapsulates the company's values, mission, and vision, while resonating with the experiences and aspirations of its target audience. It's the tale of how the company came into existence, the challenges it overcame, and the impact it seeks to make in the world. A well-crafted brand story engages both the rational and emotional aspects of consumer decision-making, ultimately influencing purchasing choices and brand loyalty.

Forging Emotional Connections

In a world bombarded with information, consumers are drawn to brands that they can emotionally connect with. A compelling brand story has the potential to evoke emotions like trust, empathy, and nostalgia. By sharing relatable anecdotes, humanising experiences, or displaying vulnerability, brands can create a sense of intimacy that goes beyond the transactional nature of business.

For example, consider how TOMS Shoes' brand story about donating a pair of shoes for every pair purchased resonated with consumers' desire to make a positive impact on the world. This emotional connection led to a cult-like following and turned customers into brand advocates.

Setting Your Brand Apart

In a crowded marketplace, it's crucial to stand out. A well-crafted brand story is a powerful tool for differentiation. It helps your brand establish a unique identity that consumers can identify with. A strong brand story gives your business a personality that sets it apart from competitors who may offer similar products or services.

Fostering Trust and Credibility

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful brand-consumer relationship. A compelling brand story not only captures attention but also builds trust by showing transparency, authenticity, and a commitment to delivering on promises. When consumers understand a brand's values and motivations, they are more likely to trust its intentions.

Patagonia's brand story of environmental activism and responsible manufacturing practices has garnered a dedicated customer base. Their commitment to sustainability is a prime example of how a brand story can translate into real-world actions, reinforcing trust and credibility.

Inspiring Loyalty and Advocacy

A strong brand story doesn't just attract customers—it creates loyalists and advocates. When consumers resonate with a brand's narrative, they become emotionally invested in its success. This investment often translates into repeat business and enthusiastic word-of-mouth referrals.

Apple's brand story is a textbook example of loyalty and advocacy. The company's story of challenging the status quo and empowering individuals resonates deeply with its audience, leading to a community of devoted Apple enthusiasts.

The Bottom Line

In today's hyper-competitive landscape, a compelling brand story is no longer a luxury; it's a necessity. It's the bridge that connects a brand's values with the desires of its target audience. A well-crafted brand story has the power to forge emotional connections, set a brand apart, foster trust, and inspire lasting loyalty.

Remember, a brand story isn't just a marketing tool—it's a reflection of a company's essence and the reason it exists beyond profits. So, whether you're a startup or an established corporation, investing time and effort into crafting a compelling brand story can be the key to unlocking deeper connections and achieving sustainable success in the ever-evolving world of business.

As far as these sorts of revelations go, this one has sidled up rather quickly. OpenAI launched ChatGTP for public use in November 2022, and by the time we all rubbed the sleep from our eyes in January this year, it has become quite ubiquitous, and I admit, that creating unique artwork by typing “Metallica’s Ride the Lightening album done in the style of Van Gogh” did entertain me for an afternoon.

(Imagine the art I could create that would adorn my walls” I thought….)

In September 2023 (at the time of writing) there’s a flourish of ChatGTP prompt guides dominating social media adverts and keeping Click Funnels in business into the bargain.

The enticing thought being dangled in front of business owners and managers being;

Can I use this stuff to create stuff that I used to pay people to do for me?

There is a delightful irony here, which I hope is not lost on you all.

Was this piece written by AI, or by me…..?

While your brain may melts a little over that question, it’s a trick question, because there’s probably no way of knowing the real answer.

In posing such a question, of which I am not the first to ask, the objective is simple, if not rhetorical; has AI has rendered the age of the human ‘penning prose’ obsolete?

Do we need content writers, journalists, bloggers, copywriters and ad men / women? Do we need graphic designers, novelists, artists and – wait for it – musicians?

Where is the line drawn? There is AI out there now that can create music in any style you want. It can write in the style of Nabokov or Roald Dahl. It has democratised what once was limited to those who invested time and money to become proficient in a skill set.

It’s a deep conversation. Language is one of our greatest achievements and documenting that has allowed us to survive planetary upheavals, ice-ages and Kanye West (thus far) but plenty of conversations I have had with individuals and companies of late have touted the virtues of AI, hailing it a godsend.

“It’s such a money saver, not to mention the time I get back” or “no need to pay a copywriter now!”

It’s hard to argue against such bald facts and when it comes to social media posts, or brief snippets of content distributed online to a prosaic audience, AI has a place. There is no doubt, and it will continue to grow, and fast.

But it does not replace a human. Consider the answer below when I asked the following:

Write an opinion piece on why Artificial Intelligence is better than humans at writing copy

To which, it responded:

As an AI language model, I don't have personal opinions, but it's true that AI has several advantages over humans in writing copy.

  • Consistency: AI can write with consistent tone, style, and language, which can improve the overall quality and effectiveness of copy.
  • Speed: AI can write copy much faster than a human, making it ideal for high-volume tasks such as product descriptions or news articles.
  • Accuracy: AI can be programmed to follow specific guidelines and rules, reducing the chances of errors or inconsistencies.

However, it's important to note that AI still lacks the creativity, empathy, and intuition that humans possess, which are essential in certain types of copywriting, such as advertising or storytelling. Ultimately, the choice between using AI or humans for writing copy will depend on the specific needs and goals of the project.

This last paragraph provides a valuable insight.

We are storytellers.

Before language was bedded down, our history was passed down in stories.

From discovering the sciences that have given us the technology that I am semi-dismantling, to every religion, (the bad, the very bad and the downright crackpot) the rise and fall of every empire in history and even Harry Styles winning a Grammy – Storytelling has been how that information has been conceived, passed on, enhanced, and fuelled our curiosity as a species.

Any brand that is worth its salt has a narrative that is carefully cultivated and presented to reflect and represent the business that it supports. And the custodians of any brand should be aware that over leveraging AI might cheapen that brand.

Unless you’re Donald Trump, chances are you need, and have, a bit of empathy. And if you if you don’t have the linguistic dexterity to write that down you can engage someone with the ability to create that for you. Who’ve spent the time and money learning how to do it.

A Brand Story that is created by an entity that cannot understand story will make for a lot of neutered brands that will all reflect the same tired prose.

Like the stock photography revolution of the early noughties, we may in time come to recognise the disingenuous narrative crafted by something that cannot feel, understand, or empathise with the human condition.

That revelation did not kill the photographic industry, but I’ll bet it sent more than a few ripples of anxiety through the place.

There is a reason for that. Human’s need to be in charge, we need to extract the story, the narrative, the theme, the composition and visualise the outcome. AI cannot do that.

People buy people, they always have.

To place all our eggs in the AI Faustian basket will only serve to lead us down a rabbit hole not unlike the one that titular character found himself in throughout that delightful piece of storytelling.

Colour and Emotion

Imagine a world without colours – it would be a monochrome existence devoid of vibrancy and emotions. Colours are deeply intertwined with our feelings and experiences. From the calming embrace of blues to the passionate embrace of reds, each colour resonates with distinct emotions. Brands harness this emotional language to communicate their identity and values.

  • Red: Bold and attention-grabbing, red symbolises energy, passion, and urgency. Brands like Coca-Cola use this colour to evoke excitement and stimulate appetite.
  • Blue: Trust, stability, and calmness characterise the colour blue. Brands like IBM employ it to project professionalism and reliability.
  • Green: Associated with nature and growth, green signifies freshness and harmony. Brands in the health and organic sectors often adopt green to convey wellness.
  • Yellow: A burst of positivity and optimism, yellow captures attention and radiates warmth. Brands like McDonald's use it to signify happiness and playfulness.
  • Black: Elegance, sophistication, and authority emanate from black. Luxury brands often embrace black to exude exclusivity.
  • Purple: A blend of stability and creativity, purple sparks a sense of luxury and imagination. It's a favourite among beauty and cosmetic brands.

The Science of Colour Perception

Colour perception isn't just about aesthetics – it's rooted in science. Our brains respond to colours based on their wavelengths, triggering emotional and physiological reactions. Warm colours like red and yellow are associated with increased heart rate and appetite, while cooler coolers like blue and green promote relaxation.

Cultural Influences on Color

Colours aren't universally perceived in the same way across cultures. Different cultures attach diverse meanings to colours based on historical, religious, and societal contexts. Brands operating in global markets must be mindful of these cultural nuances to avoid unintended misinterpretations.

Colour Consistency Builds Brand Identity

Consistency in colour usage is essential for building a strong brand identity. Over time, consumers associate certain colours with specific brands. This phenomenon, known as colour memory, enhances brand recognition and reinforces a brand's presence.

Strategic Colour Choices

Choosing colours isn't a random process – it's a strategic decision. Brands consider their target audience, industry norms, and competitive landscape when selecting colours. For example, a financial institution might opt for blue to convey trustworthiness, while a youth-oriented brand might embrace vibrant colours for a playful vibe.

Colour is an art, a science, and a language rolled into one. It's a silent communicator that bridges the gap between brands and consumers. Understanding the psychology of colour empowers brands to influence emotions, establish identity, and foster meaningful connections. So, the next time you encounter a logo, a website, or a product packaging, remember that the colours you see are more than pigments – they're the keys to unlocking a world of emotions and associations, shaping your perceptions in ways both subtle and profound.