I spent a lovely evening with top execs from Australia’s Yellow Pages. Their challenges are quite similar to those of the rest of us in the media.
I was surprised when Sean Burns, head of innovation Sensis, the Australian company that publishes the Yellow Pages. He wanted me to do a type of “dinner salon” with his team during a visit to New York City.
“We are coming to New York as a team, to do workshops, visit exciting start ups and overall get new ideas for our work here in Australia,” Sean wrote me.
I accepted the invitation and I must admit that I truly enjoyed my interaction with a small, but vibrant and talented group that included marketing, design, technology and business types. My presentation zeroed in on visual storytelling, as I am convinced that the Yellow Pages, too, can benefit from a more personalized approach to how they tell their story and how they become relevant in the era of Google. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember the last time I referred to the Yellow Pages in any of my homes when searching for a number.
Yet, Sean and team tell me that the Yellow Pages are still viable and money makers in Australia. However, they know that this may not always be the case. My “salon” was all about exploring new ways to tackle the challenge of making the Yellow Pages relevant. Here is how Sean summarized our time together:
“An enlightening and entertaining evening where news media and digital marketing intersected. Spurred much discussion on how Yellow Pages might apply the new concepts, for example linear story-telling, on behalf on our advertisers to improve their engagement with customers and consumers. Exciting possibilities!”
I feel that members of the Yellow Pages team are in the cusp of being able to transform and to disrupt the entire Yellow Pages operation, banking on the good assets and services of their product, but adjusting it and reinventing it for the mobile era.
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