Inserting A into STEAM

Dr Ashley Bloomfield

Aotearoa, NZ’s big push on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths is essential in a knowledge economy, and we continue to create massive economic value through our innovation ecosystem. However, the Arts (humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media) are more important than ever.

Creative marketing campaigns have massive power to influence behaviour. The biggest surprise to me about the viral dubstep video of Dr Ashley Bloomfield that did the rounds of music festivals in Aotearoa, NZ (yes, we’ve still been able to have them) was that it was a Government campaign. There’s been interesting discussion on social media, naturally, about the fact it “cost $40k of taxpayer money” – but by any measure that’s an absolute bargain to reach an estimated 46m people including the target demographic of Gen Z, and gain global exposure to boot.

The fact is that our PM has a PR degree, and leaders who can utilise the amplification power of social media are at a massive advantage. Deloitte’s 2021 Global Marketing Trends Report  gathered insights into the effect of COVID on marketing strategies, highlighting society’s abrupt transition to digital interactions. Of particular interest is the human experience (HX) – driven by values, emotions and actions, and built on trust. Public servant Dr. Ashley Bloomfield has become the trusted face of our pandemic response, erasing our collective memory of a mountain biking David Clark, the ditched Minister of Health.

Build it and they will come

I see many innovative startups with technically strong founders that struggle to articulate their value proposition, or to connect with their target market. The “build it and they will come” approach still prevails, with market validation light, leading to product-market fit elusiveness. Talking to customers and getting an MVP out as quickly as possible to iterate with is essential.

More established tech companies often consider marketing as almost an afterthought, let alone integral for lead generation for the sales pipeline. There’s a reason Silicon Valley VC’s are increasingly looking at investment opportunities here. Our companies are good value – bargains, in fact – technically strong, and ripe for implementing the growth engine of marketing and sales.

Founders have a lot to do, this is true. Founders need to be able to pitch well, build a strong brand story, have a powerful online presence with compelling content, and be able to engage through digital channels – or find somebody who can. Investors look at team and execution as much as they look at product, service or concept.So let’s insert that A into STEAM and get creative.

Watch out, Dr Bloomfield.