BASKIN-ROBBINS (BR) Australia’s winter campaign, Stranger Things are happening at Baskin-Robbins has been recognised as an ABA100 Winner for Marketing Excellence [MXA] in The Australian Business Awards 2020.

The campaign, which marked BR Australia’s master licensee, Palm Oasis Ventures’ first home-delivery focused campaign, also helped pave the way for BR to be ready to optimise deliveries as the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. 

The campaign involved BR Australia partnering with Netflix to launch Stranger Things’ third season and working with agency partners, Type + Pixel and Foxed Glove, to turn ‘sci-fi fans’ into ‘ice cream fans’ across a new millennial and generation Z (Gen Z) demographic. 

Products were sold instore at BR Australia locations and via a world-first ‘Scoops Ahoy’ virtual restaurant – which is a homage to the name of the ice cream parlour in the series – with ice cream delivered by Uber Eats.

BR Australia national marketing manager Julian Casa said accolades for the campaign highlighted the company’s efforts in reinvigorating the brand in recent years.

BR was also named the ABA100 MXA winner in 2019 for its Creature Creations campaign.

“Being awarded the MXA in The Australian Business Awards for two years in a row is wonderful recognition of the efforts and investment we’ve made to elevate the brand through product innovation and delivery,” Mr Casa said.

Along with massive engagement across BR Australia’s digital platforms, the franchise’s delivery channel experienced a 22.6 percent increase during the three-month Stranger Things campaign.

BR Australia general manager Ben Flintoff said maximising BR’s delivery channels through the campaign paved the way for BR to continue trading during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The 2019 Stranger Things campaign allowed us to optimise our delivery channel which became incredibly useful this year when many guest experiences moved to home delivery,” Mr Flintoff said.

“Despite some early setbacks in April with the onset of local Queensland restrictions, we have been privileged to successfully drive positive comparable sales growth for the brand this year to date. This has been an excellent result for the brand and for our valuable and hardworking franchise partners.”   

The recognition of the Stranger Things campaign continues with BR Australia’s agency partner, Type + Pixel shortlisted for Best Digital Campaign for the B&T Awards 2020.


By Leon Gettler >>

AN INDUSTRY-FIRST online marketing solution, with its patented technology delivering a perfect match for every keyword searched by potential customers, can be a huge boost for retailers.

It comes at a perfect time when so many businesses are going online. Longtail co-CEO Andreas Dzumla said it was perfect for some of his start-up’s big clients like Woolworths and Dan Murphy’s. And, he said, there would be more to come.

Mr Dzumla co-founded the company with his partner, Will Santow, in 2013. 

The basic technology plugs into the websites of clients, giving the websites the ability to create pages in a more flexible way. This can be used for search engine optimisation (SEO), for paid advertising, or developing landing pages for every single keyword, or showing customers more products with every single click.

The technology allows the business website to create a page for their customers, with the products, the store locations and click and collect. It could also offer reviews and ratings of products.

He says this will help online shopping which has accelerated with COVID-19

“The growth rate for online was already quite large already but what you’re seeing now of course when people can’t go to shopping centres and still want to buy things, much more is happening online,” Mr Dzumla told Talking Business.

“We have been catapulted five years into the future. We’re living in 2025.”


Mr Dzumla said the online market had become much more competitive with firms such as pure play online players like Kogan and Catch, which have only ever done e-commerce “and are obviously really well placed to get even a bigger market share”.

Then there are the traditional retailers like Myer and David Jones which have an online presence which is only a small part of their business so far.

“And for them it’s tough, it’s very difficult because if online is only 5 percent of your total revenue, and it should be 30 percent or whatever, you have to innovate really fast,” he said.  “The challenge for them is they have to work on all their platforms, the processes in the business are slower and you have to move really fast in online. But that’s what we’re there for, to help.

“Our technology helps them leapfrog. They don’t have to re-platform for them to have more capabilities and be more efficient on their website and on their channels.

“They can basically plug in our technology to get functionalities they otherwise would take one-and-a half to two years to develop themselves, or implement in a tiny platform.

“It gives you a competitive advantage or you could also think about how it helps traditional businesses catch up with the pure play online players.


Mr Dzumla describes search engine optimisation as a “black box where it’s so hard for businesses – what to do to appear in prominent positions on Google”.

He said companies spend millions of dollars on Google Adwords and want to get a good return for their investment and, if their websites are not flexible enough to test changes, they could waste a lot of money because they could not measure the changes.

He said Longtail was expanding internationally but 80 percent of customers were still in Australia.

“The internet is global and Australia is only 1-2 percent of the e-commerce market so, for us, the opportunity is massive internationally,” Mr Dzumla said. “We can service clients from here, that’s the beauty of the internet.” 

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


By Leon Gettler >>

IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE of social distancing and lockdowns, businesses need to upgrade their marketing.

Josh Meah, a celebrated New Jersey based marketing specialist, says it might mean reinventing the business model.

For a start, it doesn’t matter what industry it is, whether it’s pub or restaurant, or a shop, or even a law practice, companies need to remodel themselves as e-commerce businesses.

He said recession and depression environments create a need for companies to understand the market drivers of their business and what drives consumer behaviour. 

“Usually that comes down to data, and right now from a digital marketing standpoint, because I do think that’s specially relevant because of social distancing.” Mr Meah told Talking Business.

“In my opinion, all organisations should understand the e-commerce model. That is a novel perspective for a lot of organisations that are used to brick and mortar style relationships, in person-meeting and so on and so forth.

“However, the e-commerce model is based on the premise that if you spend money, you can trace it to its impact.

“The e-commerce model is premised on the ability that you can take a single product and actually identify if you spent X advertising dollars, you will receive Y revenue, not just on a product basis. You’ll be able to trace it back to the all the campaigns that yielded that product outcome.”


Mr Meah said the e-commerce model gives all companies, whether they’re an accounting practice or a restaurant, the capability to track leads.

What generates phone calls, what generates emails or some point of contact, and giving them the ability to evaluate the cost of generating that contact, means they can evaluate the effectiveness of, say, a Google ad campaign.

“That’s what more sophisticated service organisations are doing,” Mr Meah said. “They’re analysing their client base, bringing it all back to their advertising so they can say the amount of revenue generated from this campaign was this.”

He said with lockdowns, many restaurants and food services, had online menus for people to order food and get it delivered. Potentially, it would allow them to increase the conversion rate.

“In fact, you could argue that restaurants are local e-commerce for food,” he said. 


Another strategy is for companies to focus on customers in their client base and figure out who their best customers are, either by surveying them or talking to them directly.

“There is a good chance they have something in common with each other,” Mr Meah said.

“There’s some reason why this demographic of your customer base is resilient in this environment, and once you figure that out, now you have a persona … a concept from which you can develop future campaigns to find similar people,” he said.

Another strategy is email marketing which he says is far more valuable than people realise as the size of a company’s email list can directly translate into revenue.

The key point however is that the cost of increasing an email list is so nominal that if companies can find ways to increase the size and improve the attractiveness of their message, they can find profitable growth regardless of the kind of organisation they are.

This means companies need to look carefully at whatever email toolkits they are using.

Mr Meah said organisations also needed to understand their brand. As opposed to sales, which are purely transactional, branding, on the other hand, is in the service of relationships.

“Companies that invest in brand, are investing in becoming clearer to the market place, becoming more visually coherent, and more trustworthy,” Mr Meah said.

“It’s easier to refer a brand that’s clear and compelling. A brand that has a point of view one you think about more often.”

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


By Leon Gettler >>

WHEN RACHEL CALLAN from Flamanko Social Media and Katie Martel from Croft PR took a hit from COVID-19, they launched a ‘Thriving’ initiative to help hundreds of small businesses stay connected, inspired – and thrive no matter how they had been impacted.

The extraordinary part was that Ms Callan is based on the Sunshine Coast and Ms Martel is in Brisbane. They were able to work together and create the project.

They set up a Thriving Through COVID-19 Facebook community of hundreds of small business owners to share their experiences and share tips on getting through the crisis.

The businesses came from all kinds of industries and locations. The list included gin makers, bedding manufacturers, café owners, tourism and holiday accommodation owners, photographers, plumbers, physiotherapists, psychologists and personal trainers. And they came from all over the world … 

Ms Martel said she and Ms Callan worked with a lot of businesses that were in retail, hospitality, bars and clubs which were at the forefront of the first wave of COVID-19 restrictions.

“From the first week onwards, we were doing a lot of crisis management for them and helping them adjust their entire business model and the way they were communicating with their staff,” Ms Martel told Talking Business.

“That was the first week and the second week, pretty much everything turned to lockdown so our businesses were significantly affected. So Rachel and I jumped on the phone and put our heads together about how could support not only our clients but also others in our wider network.

“We figured we should share as much as we knew of what we had already communicated with our clients, help others know they should be communicating but also we were also dealing with the challenges of being mums at home with kids full time,” she said.

“We put our heads together and thought there must be millions of others that are out there going through this. Let’s do what we can to connect us and share our stories, get real about the challenges that we’re all going through and created this group Thriving through COVID.”


Businesses in the group included cafes and cake stores, importers, food and beverage, accountants, business consultants, web development and IT. They came in different sizes.

Some had 20 staff that they had to reduce to one or two people. Others were sole business owners. They looked in from everywhere, ranging from Wellington in New Zealand to Sri Lanka.

Ms Martel said the group had been called Thriving not in terms of cash flow but in terms of mental support to help keep everyone strong.

“There is going to be something on the other side whatever that will be – and the biggest message we’re trying to share is as long as you keep your community strong, no matter what it was before, and you focus on supporting your community in that time through sharing as much information and supporting your clients and target audiences, you’re going to come out well on the other side,” she said.

Ms Callan said one of the common threads through the community was about people taking the opportunity to learn new skills as well.

“Taking the time to pause and think about the areas and projects they weren’t able to get to while they were in the day-to-day grind. Now there is an opportunity to get on top of all those things that were on the to do list for so long,” Ms Callan said,

Ms Martel said that while COVID-19 had impacted on all their businesses, it has also given everyone the opportunity to focus on what’s really important … and why they were in business.

Thriving Through COVID-19 Facebook Group

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

By Leon Gettler >>

HOW DO the big brands market themselves to millennials when the younger generation no longer watches TV or listens to radio?

They have to do it through social media. More particularly, they have to find so-called ‘influencers’ – users who have established a lot of credibility in a specific industry, have access to a huge audience, and who can persuade others to act based on their recommendations.

This is why Domenic Carosa set up CrowdMedia. Now based in Amsterdam, the Australian company, which is listed on the ASX, markets through technology — predominantly to millennials, predominantly using platforms like social media, including YouTube and Instagram.

“You only need to walk down the street these days to see that millennials specifically are spending more time staring into their mobile phones,” CrowdMedia CEO Domenic Carosa told Talking Business

“They’re on social media sites like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram and with that, there has been an increase in the number of what we call digital influencers.

“In effect, they’re creating a new type of TV channel, whether it’s involved in fashion, or news or sport. So millennials these days are consuming this content and getting entertained and learning new recommendations for products using social media.”


CrowdMedia has worked with brands like L’Oreal and Nescafe, who are trying to target millennials, and the only way they can do that is through social media and influencers.

CrowdMedia has built technology around this, using artificial intelligence. It has created tools that allow it to identify the major influencers in the market place, how many followers they have, and their level of engagement with followers.

“We have built tools that help match the right influencer with the right brand and product because there are millions of influencers out there and so making sure we get that alignment right is absolutely critical for ourselves as well as our brands,” Mr Carosa said.

About two thirds of the CrowdMedia workforce are millennials, who are digital marketers and digital strategists, and managing them is quite a niche for Mr Carosa.

“Having a good working culture is obviously absolutely critical for our company,” he said.

He said millennials were partly motivated by money but by other things too.

CrowdMedia now runs training as part of its retention program. Once staff  become managers, CrowdMedia offers them a share option plan to become shareholders of the company. And, besides the right kind of training, he said millennials also wanted a flexible work environment.

‘”One way we’re able to retain people is by helping them and training them for their future,” Mr Carosa said. 

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


By Stella Gianotto >>

AUSTRALIA is a country that has demonstrated business innovation time and time again. Many inventions that have changed the world were created here, in our sunburnt country. Some of these inventions include the black box recorder fitted in all aircraft, spray on skin to help burn victims recover, Cochlear implants to assist deaf people to hear again and let’s not forget wi-fi technology (something we couldn’t live without today) created here, by the CSIRO.

In a recent report global management firm, McKinsey & Company wrote about business being resilient and efficient, concluding that a business’ ability to survive will be those who have ‘the ability to absorb a shock and come out of it better than the competition’1. In retail it will be survival of the brands that can adapt and compete.

What does this mean for the retail landscape? 

For the first time ever, the retail landscape around the world has been flat lined. Creating an even playing field for businesses who are agile, will employ the skill set needed and are willing to take the technology risk to innovate through these times.

Cushman and Wakefield have already predicted what new work spaces could look like, ‘using design to nudge behavior’2 and creating work spaces that ‘encourage better hygiene and social distancing’2 but how will that translate to retail environments?

Camilla and Marc are already at the forefront, launching a new e-commerce store replicating their in-store approach by creating a ‘highly personalised experience’ for consumers online. Referring to themselves to as a ‘smart store’3 they have placed their in-store experience into a digital space to for consumers to shop anywhere, anytime, from around the world.

Mark Freeman (Camilla and Marc’s CEO) eloquently stated they have created a "rich brand environment that is built on convenience, first."3

If time zone and geographic location is no longer an entry to buy, what is?

Getting under the skin of consumers, finding a place in their heart, and predicting their behaviours is what new marketing campaigns must achieve. Any market share or equity that a brand claims to own is increasingly under threat by a new breed of consumer that will emerge post COVID-19. Brands who have pioneered these times (like Camilla and Marc) have begun to understand the psyche of their customer.

How did they do this?


By finding ways to create a seamless union using design, data, technology, and consumer behaviour – emerges a powerfully new retail experience online. It is what many digital marketing agencies claim they produce for retailers, through sales funnels and click bait campaigns that (at best) deliver lacklustre results to the business itself, by only selling heavily discounted merchandise.

The small, yet savvy retail player can now be on an international stage, ready to compete in the worldwide stakes that is fast becoming the new ‘super’ market as we will know it.

We’re already seeing local advertisers such as NB Streams remind us in their current advertising campaign, ‘’The supermarket is where your customers are' – a hard punch in the face reminder, to many retailers, on where to find their customers.

A new breed of consumer will arise from this pandemic, one that we have not seen the behaviours of since the ‘Golden Age’ of economic recovery post World War Two.

Its why Aussie retailers need to lift their game, and fast. This is the ‘Steven Bradbury at the 1994 Winter Olympics kind of moment’ for Australia. Retailers have trained for this their entire lives and with major international competitors falling over, now is our chance to bring home the GOLD!!

We are already seeing large multi-chain super stores like Woolworths and Kmart re-appropriating suburban stores into online fulfillment centres to cater for the increased online shopping, with many more to follow.



If we follow Camilla and Marc’s lead, a new breed of retail environments will emerge becoming a beefed-up concept store rich in brand experiences for the consumer.

Retail outlets will no longer be filled with sales assistants, they will be filled with experts at building customer relations, your sales assistants and store managers will become pseudo brand ambassadors defining the consumers brand experience online and offline.

Brand ambassadors will be key in unlocking within your consumer, the passionate brand enthusiast, cementing them as a customer for life and, more importantly, an advocate of your brand.

We may think that COVID-19 is what disrupted the world of retail, but the reality is that consumer demand has been disrupting the retail landscape for some time. COVID-19 simply helped to sanitise the space.

The consumer breed now emerging has been affected physically, emotionally, psychologically and impacted economically. As a result, they want ‘convenient, fast, efficient, first class, engagement, consultancy and advice’ delivered in the comfort of their own home.

The barrier to entry for retailers has been substantially reduced. Geographic location and time zone are no longer the barrier and consumer’s experience has evolved into a cross generational and cross cultural one.

No longer are bricks and mortar the definition of retail success.


If retailers take the time to understand the new breed of consumer, they will start to see a new currency to trade with – data. It has been around for decades however it is only recently that the world is understanding how to adopt the use of data creatively into the customer experience, within a new business model called ‘Clicks and Mortar’.

The ‘Clicks and Mortar’ business model offers consumers the opportunity to play with the product, to touch, smell and taste it in a way they cannot do online. Consumers still want to be able see a product in person (at their choosing) and have a deep enriching experience with the brand even before they buy it.

If retailers can achieve this, they will create ‘a retail platform which links the offline and online worlds using data to improve in-store experience’. 4

There is a reason why high-end retailers offer exclusive shopping events with drinks, canapes and goodie bags, why some banks have turned into night clubs with DJs and why fashion stores have turned into walk through coffee shops.

Think Nike with their NikeID technology, where you can completely customise a shoe after you have been in store to try one on. Or Zara, using basic augmented reality to show you how a garment fits and moves, all shared on social media before you even buy the product.

Today, data tells us that consumers want self service facilitated by the retailer offering advice, support, customisation on demand and an ‘in-store’ experience as part of the sales process. Retailers who know how to use data throughout the customers experience will emerge as powerhouse brands in retail.

Perhaps the word ‘retail’ defined as ‘the sale of goods to ultimate consumers’5 needs re-definition from the ‘act of selling’ to the ‘art of connecting or engaging with the consumer’ – but how long will it take for retail brands to realise this?

A return to good old-fashioned customer service, by genuinely fostering a relationship with the consumer first and using data and technology to predict future buying behaviour is the face of the new retail landscape we will see in the coming months and years.


About Stella Gianotto

Stella Gianotto is a multi-award-winning global branding expert who is passionate about building brands for a purpose, profit or a legacy. As a business owner, Ms Gianotto has traded through the Global Financial Crisis, going on to build six- and seven-figure businesses in creative industries. She's helped hundreds of business thrive during these times and knows what it takes to survive an economic downturn. Her industry awards and presence has led to media appearances and written contribution to several books, Marketing Brands Made Easy, Social Media Marketing: Write Up Your Tweet and Well Spun: Big PR and Social Media Ideas for Small Business





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DAIS BRAND Strategy has appointed Michail Kowal as its new design director, based in its Fortitude Valley, Brisbane head office.

The appointment is part of the company’s moves to ‘re-engineer’ for sustainability and to continually enhance its client-centric creativity capabilities, as previously reported in Business Acumen.

“Michail brings over 20 years of brand creation and development experience to the DAIS team,” DAIS founder and director Jack Perlinski said.

“Having worked on a diverse range of brands both nationally and internationally, Michail utilises his passion for branding and design to create, grow and nurture new and existing brands. 

“A strategic thinker with a collaborative, hands-on creative approach, Michail will be leading the DAIS design team and working to deliver the best results for our clients,” Mr Perlinksi said.

“The whole team is excited to have Michail joining us and we can’t wait to see what he contributes to our projects.”

Some of the brands DAIS has helped develop include Emporium Hotels, Clovely Estate Wines, Hema Maps, Vision 6, Queensland Leaders and International Leaders.

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