Return on Experience: very positive experiences have 10 times the impact on brand choice – 2018 Starcom Media Futures Report

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

This year, Australian businesses said that they had reached 90% adoption of advanced CX practice – versus the 2017 figure of 55%. However the ‘expectation gap’ between companies and consumers has widened, with marketers rating themselves more than twice as high (106%) as consumers in delivering great customer experiences (CX).

At Starcom, we’re about much more than media and advertising.

At Starcom, we’re about much more than media and advertising.

The 2018 Starcom Media Futures report was released last night at an Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) event attended by 150 marketers and media executives. It is the only report of its kind that uses a combination of consumer and industry research with marketers and media owners.

‘The Power of Positivity’ was identified as the single biggest factor influencing consumer behaviour and CX in the report. The biggest influence on positive experiences is ‘personal relevance’ with 81% of very positive experiences being very personally relevant.

People who had a ‘very positive’ experience are 10 x more likely to choose a brand than those who had a ‘fairly positive’ experience.

The report found that real life experiences with brands are 2.4 x more likely to be very positive. Just 32% of experiences were as a result of paid media, meaning that marketers and media need to rethink the role of all media across paid, owned, earned and shared to created powerful connected experiences.

Media Futures has identified “return on experience” (ROE), as an additional measure that works in tandem with return on investment (ROI). ROE, which combines business and human outcomes, is the most valuable measurement for brand choice.

“We can now quantify the value of real life connected experiences through ROE. Connected end-to-end experiences through paid, owned, earned and shared are 1.5 x more likely to be very positive. The underlying cause of the expectation gap is in missing the fundamental drivers of human behaviour – the power of positive customer experiences,” Starcom Australia CEO Toby Barbour said.

“We have evolved our approach to Media Futures, focusing primarily on understanding human motivation, and applying our insights to close the gap between what people want, and what brands need to drive long term growth.

“Our focus for client investment will be working to close the expectation gap by satisfying the tension between what people want and what brands need to create connected experiences that drive human and business outcomes. The ROE framework will be a key indicator of success,” he said.

The 25-year old Media Futures study has changed its methodology due to the rapid rise in the scope and breadth of media available to marketers over the last decade. The study uses “real time experience tracking” to analyse what experiences impact customer behaviour – not just what people did, but also how it made them feel towards brands and what changed as a result.


The full report is available at:


* Methodology: Starcom partnered with research agency MESH, which has pioneered Real Time Experience Tracking. The study tracked 2,600 experiences shared in real-time by 400 consumers via a mobile diary over the course of a week. It covered FMCG, Banking, Automotive and Consumer Electronics verticals, and used pre-and post-diary surveys to deep-dive into category attitudes, touchpoints and future technologies. Starcom cross-referenced the attitudes and priorities from the consumer research with two industry studies: an online survey of 189 senior marketing decision makers, drawn from AANA members and valued opinions panel. Companies with 100+ employees and above-the-line ad spend of $2.5M+ in 2017, across 15 industry verticals; plus an online survey of 111 senior stakeholders in media owners, drawn from across Australia’s key media organisations. Fieldwork was conducted in December 217 to March 2018.



For further information contact:

Rochelle Burbury

Third Avenue Consulting

0408 774 577


About Starcom Worldwide
Starcom is the Human Experience Company. A world-renowned media communications agency, we believe the alchemy of people and technology creates experiences people love, and actions brands need. In Australia, Starcom has five offices and more than 250 employees, partnering with leading marketers and new establishment brands, including Airbnb, Samsung, Visa, Subaru, Suncorp and Metcash. Starcom is part of Publicis Media, one of four solution hubs within Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC40].