Project Rejoice from BWM Dentsu Group Australia

Non-profit initiative ‘Project Revoice’ by BWM Dentsu Group Australia for The ALS Association has bagged the Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

The ALS Association is a non-profit that provides assistance for people with ALS (Motor Neurone Disease). Their mission is to build hope and enhance quality of life while aggressively searching for a cure.

Within a couple of years of diagnosis, most ALS patients end up paralysed in a wheelchair and forced to communicate via text-to-speech devices, typically through a default ‘computer’ voice.

‘Project Revoice’ introduced a breakthrough in speech technology for people living with ALS (motor neuron disease), enabling those who lose the ability to talk to continue speaking in their own authentic and personal voice.

In the past, people with ALS could use pre-recorded messages to communicate, but the team at BWM Dentsu Group worked with Canadian software partner Lyrebird to create a complete voice clone.

To launch the initiative, Project Revoice has given Pat Quinn, co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, his voice back.

Quinn did not record (or bank) his voice before ALS robbed him of his ability to speak. Using footage from his many Ice Bucket interviews, the team were able to re-build his voice.

It allows Quinn to speak freely and naturally in his own voice, rather than a ‘machine’ voice, when linked to his eye reader assistive technology. The man who gave ALS a voice now has his own voice back.

Some highlights from this work.

Over 900 million earned media reach.
Week one: Over one million organic video views.
By week two: Over 41 million people joined the conversation online.
Over 680 articles globally.
Over 500 patients joined the program in the first month alone.

Disappearing Person Alerts from BWM Dentsu Australia

Every 20 minutes a teenager is reported missing In Australia.

In the search for missing persons, the first 24-hours are the most critical, but traditional alerts are failing to reach the public in time – particularly teenagers.

So, BWM Dentsu created a new social media tool to assist Queensland Police with missing person investigations. Sent through Snapchat, Disappearing Person Alerts instantly notify the public when someone goes missing near them.

Using the native functionality of Snapchat, the alert communicates an informative and emotive message, ‘Help find John Citizen before he disappears.’

Launched in conjunction with the 2017 National Missing Persons Week, Disappearing Person Alerts continue to be used today as a powerful policing tool.

‘Disappearing Person Alerts,’ helped BWM Dentsu Australia earn Agency of the Year honors at the 2018 Asia-Pacific Tambuli Awards held at Shangri-la at The Fort. Dentsu Aegis Network earned the coveted Network of the Year award.

The awards for ‘Disappearing Person Alerts, included In Responsible Citizenship, Humanity & Culture cluster and Gold was earned by the same campaign in Youth Brand, Humanity & Culture cluster; a Silver in Mobile, Media & Digital cluster; another Silver in Social Media, Media & Digital cluster; and a Bronze in Best Brand Idea for Good, Creative cluster.

Australian National University Transformational Management Program

I have joined the Australian Transformational Management Program run by the Australian National Univesity (ANU) developed in conjunction with the Australian Transformation and Turnaround Association (AusTTA).

I was delighted to be invited by the Chair of AusTTA Adam Salzer to attend the program over a two year period starting in November 2017 until December 2018.

The program is designed by leading international scholars in the fields of organisational behaviour, change management, and project management to give the group chosen the confidence and skills to stretch yourself beyond your current boundaries as agents for transformational change.

Last month on September 8th fellow participants, faculty members and project sponsors held a launch session at the Allan Barton Forum at ANU to meet each other and whet the appetite discussing megatrends, the role of the projects/case studies and evidence-based management. The dinner that night at Boffins Restaurant in University House was just as rewarding.


The ANU Transformational Leadership Program now has a core goal now and a set of resources that ANU’s Research School of Management team can deliver too.

The AusTTA believe leading transformation is a rapidly evolving field. To unlock future opportunities and transform existing organisations, change leaders must be able to contend with a volatile and rapidly changing macroeconomic environment, unprecedented technological disruption, legacy systems and processes as well as my personal favourite resistant organisational cultures.

The Australian Transformation and Turnaround Association, the ANU Transformational Leadership Program has been built around the ANU’s unique evidence-based approach to management capability development.

The aim is to ensure that participants have the skills and knowledge to solve today’s change problems, and the capabilities to collect and synthesize the best available evidence to respond to future transformational challenges.

By the end of this program, the participants will receive new thinking, skills to:

  • Provide pragmatic, evidence-based Board-level advice to maximise the benefits and minimise the distress associated with fundamental transformations;
  • Design and lead complex transformations using cutting-edge theory, tools, and models to effect change in complex organisations;
  • Effect culture change in support of transformation and sustainable agility; and
  • Establish efficient governance structures and controls in favour of change initiatives.

I’m looking forward to the contribution I can make over the coming year.

So what does a Chief Digital Officer actually do?



A Chief Digital Officer (CDO) discussion comes up with me from time to time.

Everyone has an opinion on what the role is, and what functions and reports it would operate in. My April’s 2016 blog post is my opinion on the subject and how the role stands with me today.

The CDO role and it’s associated KPI’s depend greatly on what business vertical and industry the CDO is being invited to operate in.

A CDO can been appointed to an industry with a ‘short fuse, big bang disruption’ like the finance, retail trade, arts and recreation, professional services and media and telecommunications where my experience of CDO work has focussed.

Or sometimes a CDO find themselves operating in a vertical grouped in where a ‘longer fuse, big bang’ digital disruption is occurring and cost efficiency tend to be the transformation drivers. Industries such as education, health, transport, post, agriculture and utilities sectors.

While all industries are being disrupted because of the Internet, the CDO must have the experience in how to drive the amount of velocity to apply to the transformation assignment so revenues grow rather than become restricted because the disruption has taken a front seat . This velocity decision impacts how assignments are led in many cases.

The powerful breakthroughs in computing and telecommunications has seen the introduction of always on broadband, mobile and e-commerce systems, resulting in a real-time buy and sell channels that are seeking customer experiences. The understanding of how this works results in many new and exciting ways to engage with customers on a global scale to grow business and/or organisations.

Digital transformation goal at an organisation board level will always look for programs that increase automation and gather and analyse unprecedented amounts of data so they can stay relevant in a competitive global market.

While cost efficiencies are important strategies the board also must seek a CDO leader that can also deliver customer market growth programs.

This combination means there are a vast array of capabilities and skills required to stitch together a large scale audience led digital transformation.

The CDO candidate therefore must be from clear customer centric up bringing.

Ideally spent their entry career creating compelling stories across many different types of media channels, and were brought up on a number of design thinking approaches that were then fused to screen customer first thinking tracked to agreed business models, defined audiences and financial plans.

They must be an individual who has passion for the arts blended with a scientific method mindset to use the tools of the day, but also be innovative to always be looking ahead to find an edge.

The CDO role is to visualise and communicate well crafted ‘real time’ innovation programs, that sometimes start a life launched from innovation labs.

They also need their developed programs need to bring innovation concepts that combine business model and execution plans ready for board review and sign off.

For a CDO to exist and thrive, their concepts while needing to be story told, must always be mindful, and have an understanding their stories impact others. Their clients staff, their friends and their customers.

The CDO appointee will most likely come from an understanding on what drives culture as well as opportunity.

Culture always trumps strategy so the CDO has to be collaborative at all times seeking out digital artisans and change agents from both the client, the agency/service provider and the customer.

To bring to market a digital transformation program the CDO must foster a partner ecosystem for co-innovation and co-creation.

The team that is created for the assignment must also give the project leads and middle managers latitude to fail fast so they can learn even more quickly.

So that in more than summary form outlines what Chief Digitial Office does.

Finally my experience also tends to have the strong opinion the CDO alway seek council from the CEO when on assignment.

Ideally if a CDO and CEO can jointly develop and embrace the digital transformation vision, and work together to communicate that digital vision, the more success can be had.

The Jarryd Hayne Branded Content Story

Can a man who has never played a snap of American football at the age of 27 make it in the NFL?

Jarryd Hayne bets it all to prove that he can in a new documentary produced by Telstra Media. As one of Australia’s most recognised rugby league players, he had it all. But NRL star Jarryd Hayne gave up fame and fortune to chase what seemed like an impossible dream.

1 to 38: The Jarryd Hayne Story

1 to 38

The story begins when the Paramatta Eels legend at the end of 2014 was contemplating to walk away from his $1.5 million a year to have a crack at the NFL in 2015 — despite not knowing if he would be good enough.

On the evening of 29th September 2014 at the NRL Daly M Awards, and after Jarryd walked away with a number of awards he told close friend Matt McCann, GM of Media and Sponsorship at Telstra he was going to leave rugby league to explore if he could make it in the NFL.

Jarryd was one of our current Telstra NRL ambassadors so Matt was shocked about the news. Also personally invested in him and a massive Parramatta Eels  and rugby league fan. Matt the creative strategic thinker at heart wanted to continue help him in anyway he could.

So Matt got thinking and the following day with Ryan Kaveney, GM of Sport and Entertainment at Telstra Media hatched a plan to develop a branded content business case to support Jarryd on his dream.  When Matt and Ryan told me of the idea I was immediately sold. It made good commercial sense, and was also a good fit with the Telstra brand in telling a connected human story .  The concept was worked on collaboratively with a number of key content partners and a deal struck with Jarryd and his management team.

On November 24th, 2014 we announced that Jarryd had joined Team Telstra as an official ambassador, in a partnership that will give our Australian’s and the world a unique and exclusive look at his remarkable journey during 2015. He was a winner before he started. Follow the link below for a recap of the partnership.


Now it’s March 2016, some 16 months later the untold story is ready to be told. From over 800 hours of content captured on many digital devices. Some captured directly by Jarryd. It’s great journey and the story has been produced down to an incredible 1 hour 20 minute documentary called 1 to 38: The Jarryd Hayne Story.

1 to 38 Logo

Passionately directed by Jonathan Pease who has done a wonderful job with Ryan Kaveney and follow Executive Producers John Du Vernet, Matthew Grounds and Guy Fowler. It has been beautifully cut together by Spencer Austad and narrated by radio personality Alan Jones.

It is an extraordinary behind-the-scenes look at Hayne’s incredible journey – from saying goodbye to his family and former team mates to landing in LA with nowhere to live; the search for an NFL team willing to give him a go; and the highs and lows of competing in the world’s toughest sport. The announcement he was joining the San francisco 49ers streamed live at the Telstra Experience Centre.  It is raw, unprecedented access to a young man brave enough to live his dream, and a reminder to everyone that the impossible can be possible.

As well as the 1-38 documentary powered by Telstra, there is an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview with 60 Minutes tonight where Hayne reveals the rollercoaster ride of his time in the National Football League in the US and what drove him to make the biggest sacrifice of his career.


Jarryd will return to the 49ers in 2016 for his second season in the NFL from next month. Once again he will have to fight his way through the NFL Preseason to reclaim his sport on the 53 man roster. We all wish him well.

Congrats everyone for making this branded content piece.

1 to 38: The Jarryd Hayne Story


Jonathan Pease

Jo Austin

Spencer Austad

Narrated by
Alan Jones

Executive Producer
Ryan Kaveney
John Du Vernet
Matthew Grounds
Guy Fowler
Jonathan Pease

Netflix partners with the Manly Sea Eagles for Australia’s first branded content sponsorship


The Manly Sea Eagles are proud to be the first Australian sporting club to develop a branded content sponsorship with Netflix.

The sponsorship will promote the second season of Daredevil which will premiere on Netflix on March 18, 2016. The TV show is about a blind lawyer-by-day who fights crime at night as the hero Daredevil.



Manly Sea Eagle GM Corporate Luke Byrne said, ‘this is the result of a collaboration of working with some of Australia’s best talent to deliver a unique branded content piece, leveraging some of the NRL’s biggest names.”

Adam Good, a Digital Transformation and Media Executive produced the branded content story on how the Sea Eagles coaching staff took inspiration from the Daredevil character and put the Sea Eagles senior players through a number of sensory training drills as the last drill to pick the round one team against the Canterbury Bulldogs.

The media and activation strategy was delivered by MEC Global office in Sydney.

The story unfolds over two parts running from Friday 25th Feb up until the team announcement on Tuesday 1st of March.

Adam Good said,

“The distinction between brands and publishers is becoming increasingly blurred. Ad campaigns come and go, but stories endure. The opportunity to partner with Netflix and develop a branded content rugby league story has been truly fantastic.  Netflix are not only an innovative brand and amazing product they are also innovative in their marketing approach. They really wanted to push their marketing tactics to maintain their position as a disruptive force.”


The Sea Eagles and Daredevil partner to select round 1 squad.

To extend the partnership with Manly, Netflix will give away Daredevil merchandise to fans at the Sea Eagles first home game of the season against the Bulldogs and have a strong presence in each of Channel 9’s NRL telecasts and at stadiums across Australia during the first three rounds of the NRL season leading up to the release of Daredevil Season Two on March 18.

The premise of the branded content idea is Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Coach Trent Barrett has channelled his inner Daredevil by incorporating a a range of unique training techniques in selecting his team for the opening round of the Telstra NRL Premiership.


Trent and his coaching staff got their players to test their ‘sensory skills’ ahead of finalising his team for the blockbuster clash against Canterbury‐Bankstown Bulldogs at Brookvale Oval on Friday, March 4.

Barrett will announce his team on Tuesday afternoon but supporters will be able to watch an exclusive video of Trent’s unique selection methods by clicking here.



“The entire team has worked really hard this off‐season. I just needed one little tweak to put the finishing touches on it,’’ Barrett said.

“I wanted the players to be aware of all their senses and everything that is going on around them.”

Barrett asked Head of Physical Performance, Dan Ferris, to put the players through a final session, describing it as a ‘little unorthodox to test their true instincts’.

IMG_3998 (1)DareDevil_Logothumb_IMG_4005_1024

Captain Jamie Lyon admitted it was an unusual session.
“It was something different to do at training. It was a lot of fun,’’ Lyon explained.

“I can’t give away too much now of what I and some of the boys like Brett Stewart, Tom Trbojevic, and Marty Taupau had to do, but I will give Trent and the club full marks for thinking outside the square,’’ Lyon said.

“I’m sure our supporters will see the benefits of it when we take on the Bulldogs.”

and now for Part 2.


2016 a year for Marketing As A Service in the Cloud

Happy New Year 2016

Welcome to 2016. I hope you had a relaxing Christmas and New Year celebration with family and friends. I am currently on an extended summer break, so my focus at the moment is very much on trying to do a combination of improving old experiences and trying some new ones. Or as Leonardo da Vinci would say “Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”

So between plenty of sun and beach, I have thought a lot about the ‘cloud’. No not the one in the sky but the one that is reinventing business services for companies.

NSW Summer Break 2016

So with this pondering this month’s blog post investigates how can companies marketing department and it’s associated capability be digitally transformed to become a true cloud service. Completely in the cloud, so  it’s termed a Marketing as a service (MaaS).

No doubt some companies existing marketing, services and capabilities have already gone someway to external cloud vendors i.e. Ad serving and Search optimisation been a long running example. More recently the Adobe Creative Cloud being a great example on what can be done in creating marketing cloud services around content creation.
My thought however is that the entire Marketing and CMO group work to be transferred to the cloud, to plan and manage marketing-intensive activities to create amazing customer experiences and new internal and outsourced cloud capabilities for their entire company or organisation.

While CFO’s and procurement  are going to love this proposition as a reduce cost decision, the more interesting area for me is how the marketing department deliver better customer experiences, while also gaining efficiency (time) across the entire customer experience agenda if they operated in an Marketing as a service (MaaS).

How a Marketing as a service (MaaS) can be created and delivered to output effective compelling content that is focussed in the right channel is something that must be blueprinted internally with all agencies partners given an API and clear defined KPI’s, responsibilities and policy to work in a cross team collaborated working model.

The Marketing as a service (MaaS) would always setup with a twelve month calendar view and plan. That is an essential CEO  requirement. More on that here.

Of course this twelve month plan can change to customer and market conditions but that data entry to the agencies is controlled by the Marketing and reflected in the workflow to each assigned service provider.

The Marketing as a service (MaaS) is setup with clear objectives on how to communicate with new and existing customers as the platform data is clearly defined on current customer segments. Once the Marketing department operate in the Marketing as a service (MaaS) the internal company resources are streamlined to focus on the customer experience and needs rather than to the workflow to execute communication programs of work.

Cloud Services

The sooner the Marketing as a service (MaaS) can operate in real time, the quicker company boards can see delivered brand health metrics. Can see how they can deliver higher customer expectations which delivers high NPS results. These are usually key board KPI’s.

Another board room benefit from this real-time marketing cloud platform fuelled from the data the Marketing as a Service (MaaS) creates are the new outputted innovations that can go across the company.

This Marketing as Service (MaaS) full blueprint and capability moves beyond just digital cloud marketing automation services such as content marketing, landing page creation, campaigns design, lead distribution and marketing analytics. These features should already be in place in most organisations now as it’s the first essential element in delivering customer experience programs and a full working Marketing as Service (MaaS).

The blueprint I am speaking about is how to move all your marketing services and supplies to execute advanced marketing strategies and services in the cloud to craft engaging ‘brand story’ programs that are managed to the companies business plan and product launch calendar. The marketing executions capabilities in the Marketing as a Service (MaaS) all linked to the companies Customer Relationship Management agenda which goes across company divisions.

Yes it’s a digital transformation.

NSW Summer Break 2016

To bring every part of marketing ecosystem to the cloud I have learnt that the best way to achieve this outcome is to wrap it up in the companies overall digital transformation agenda.

Marketing departments play a key lead in crafting components that can be assembled on demand, so any new customer experience is quickly and effectively matched to the companies customer program of work.

During this study shows marketing have to stop wasting on execution workflow as this is where ineffective customer experiences programs fail.

We are now hitting an inflection point where the most sophisticated companies have begun to realise that the digital transformation is essential in the marketing department and 2016 will be the year we see it explode.

How to lead the organisation digital transformation agenda and entire work stream is the bigger question as you cannot conveniently package into a department or initiative that sits comfortably in old corporate structures. A cross team project is the only way to get sophisticated cross channel customer experiences created and to market.

The reason is every company division is now overlapping, sometime competing on what is the best customer experience agenda should be as more and more product an services are digital.  The risk can lie where leaders in organisations make digital transformation decisions having not spent enough time in the current company digital customer experience themselves.

With this challenge to overcome you will see many CEO’s with past experience in digital transformation appreciate it can’t be just seen as a temporary if laborious process to update the infrastructure like building a new office and be handed to say IT, marketing or a product lead to implement. They have to drive digital transformation agendas themselves and this is why so many companies have appointed Chief Digital Offers who report to the CEO office leading the various work streams across division s and portfolios. More on why this is more effective can be found in various reports here.

The fact customer experience driven by cloud technology will become the new company normal now means the CEO must be confident on how digital transformation is led before any automation or effiency can delivered.

If anything, the demands technology puts on companies will continuously increase for departments across the entire organisation so there is investment decisions and again building off a cloud platform makes sense.

NSW Summer Break 2016During this blog post I too a look at the CES event and the new cloud offerings across verticals and industries to see some best practice on how you operationalise a digital transformation to create new customer focussed products. I wanted to help orient the latest findings to go about a Marketing as a service (MaaS) blue print leadership structure.

The new technology innovations at CES in the cloud seem to learn heavily on creating entirely new divisions to tackle digital transformation rather subsumed under existing structures. Businesses are on the path to digital transformation know the Internet-of-Things (IoT) is the next industry revolution and the more experiences companies know what you create today is not always going to be relevant in five years time. It’s constant change cycle with the customer at the centre is the new business strategy and this means many companies lack people talent in this area of expertise.

At CES we see the usual noise from connected cars to smart home systems to wearables in healthcare that are interesting and evolving. But too often the one aspect that isn’t being talked about enough is the practical and necessary component to continue to update the product on how it will delight the customer and make money from this ubiquitous connectivity.

The better product launches do spend considerable more time on Marketing strategies, especially where they can get customer improvement in their product that drives future roadmaps.

The leading digital transformation examples focussed on how not to get disrupted or copied. What is interesting and where marketing did drive a key lead is what they doing with the ensuing avalanche of data the company they can now easily obtain as the technology and marketing are linked. The story on how this insight will drive the new in the company is very exciting to build company culture and attract great people.

This customer data from these new Internet-of-Things (IoT) is a wonderful extra fuel the Marketing as a service (MaaS) platform uses to output to the entire company digital transformation as its focussed on the customer.

With customers firmly in the driver’s seat of their interactions with brands, businesses the companies it becomes essential marketing does it bit to create positive and relevant customer experiences across channels and touchpoints, and the Marketing as a service (MaaS) blue print is the lead in the three dimensions of companies digital transformations, operational process, and technology.

We are seeing green shoots in Marketing as service (Maas) but 2016 will make large strides as it will be seen as an essential program of work to break down any internal struggling traditional silos, any lack of relationship with agencies, vendors and marketing service as it provides a true alignment with the whole company on the customer experience agenda.

If you would like to learn more about Marketing as a service (MaaS) to exceed customer expectations don’t hesitate to reach out.