A Peek Inside CHOICE’s ‘New Things’ Department

CHOICE’s “CluckAR” augmented reality app is just one example of the company’s new transformative thinking. Viveka Weiley , head of new things, and Kalpana Vignehsa, design ethnographer, explain.

A Peek Inside CHOICE’s ‘New Things’ Department

by Mark Jones And Nicole Manktelow

Posted on 10-16-2017

Buying a major appliance like a fridge or washing machine has never been easier. Just pop online and, before you know it, your purchase is on its way to your house.

But how do you know you’ve got the best deal? You could spend hours online trawling through pages and pages of reviews, comments, and competitors to find the least-costly, energy-efficient appliance.

Or you could go to CHOICE. The publication has been a staple in Australian homes for more than 50 years.

For Viveka Weiley (right), head of new things, and Kalpana Vignehsa, design ethnographer, the secret to CHOICE’s success in staying relevant in the internet age is found at the heart of the organisation’s structure.

CHOICE began as an independent and member-funded consumer advocacy group, established to recognise the imbalance in information between sellers and buyers. But how do you compete with a platform like the internet when your product is information? How do you essentially disrupt yourself?

The answer was to bring transformative thinking into the organisation with the establishment of a department called “new things.”

“The internet’s coming to another stage where information is being commoditised,” Weiley said.

“There’s so much information now that people need it narrowed down. How do you do that? How do you go from information to wisdom?” Vignehsa added.

For CHOICE, the solution is to move up the stack. “It’s not like people are running out of problems. It’s not like everything is suddenly fixed,” Vignehsa said. “The problem of finding out basic product information is solved. You can Google it. The problem of understanding that information is getting harder.”

Tune in and join hosts Nicole Manktelow and Mark Jones in this deep-dive episode of The CMO Show as they talk auto-disruption, brand relevancy, legacy, and chicken apps.

The CMO Show is a podcast about brand storytelling and the future of marketing. To listen to previous episodes, visit the website or follow along on iTunes or SoundCloud.

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