David Shing AOL

Mark Rosenberg is the Digital Editor at Edge, working on Optus and AAMI. This blog was first published in B&T on 31 August 2015. The original can be seen here.

AOL’s 'digital prophet', David Shing, jetsets around the globe, waxing lyrical about what’s next in the digital world and how brands can get in on the action. Basically he’s 'internet Jesus' – he talks, people listen. And he also sports the kind of mullet that only a true prophet could pull off.

With that hair and those credentials, 'Shingy' was the speaker I was most excited to see at Sydney’s recent Creative Fuel conference, and he didn’t disappoint. He discussed the shifting digital landscape and how to keep up, explained why brands need to take a more humanised approach to marketing, and suggested why dwell time and engagement is so much more important than clicks.

That evening I scrolled through my notes and wondered what I’d write this blog about. Three things jumped out:

“Be reactive and relevant.”

“Be human.”    

“Audiences have audiences.”

Shingy hadn’t shared anything too revolutionary, but he did reassuringly describe Edge’s current digital collaboration with AAMI. In recent months we’ve had some super-size social wins, and they can all be attributed to Shingy’s commandments.

Content is part of pop culture, so why not make pop culture content? When the Game of Thrones season finale went live in Australia, AAMI reacted and joined the #GOT conversation that was trending worldwide. The result? More than 100,000 people reached, along with a slew of positive comments from customers. AAMI’s customer service team has also recently been encouraged to join in with the banter, giving customers a lighthearted experience – aka being human.

The below post about kids drawing on each other is pretty basic, but it speaks to something that all parents can relate to. 209 shares to the (new) audience of the audience? Not bad. Not to mention the conversation threads it started between AAMI and its customers – plus parents even organically uploading their own photos! All it took was a relatable human truth.

Similarly, the recent Sock Fairy post tapped into the universal dilemma of items going missing in the wash. A simple relatable truth combined with our resident artist’s skills and a tongue-in-cheek approach netted 367 shares and reached 60,000 people. Being reactive to a common relatable moment led to a post that saw flatmates bantering and heckling each other in the comments and natural, positive conversation.

Being reactive and relevant is a huge part of AAMI’s social, and they’re cool enough to basically give us permission to think big and hungrily search the web for opportunities. You wouldn’t think surfer Mick Fanning being attacked by a shark would be an opportunity to spruik insurance, but it was relevant to AAMI’s core message of 'Lucky' and, most powerfully, AAMI celebrated a beloved Australian by echoing what many Australians were thinking and feeling.

Shingy’s closing statement was: “If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” That’s a sentiment we’re big fans of at Edge, and AAMI gets it too.