MEDIA RELEASE: 4 September, 2019
Lime&Tonic today joins RedBalloon, Adrenaline and IfOnly as the latest experience marketplace brand under the Big Red Group (BRG) – the largest pure-play aggregator of experiences in Australia*.
The purchase of events and experiences brand Lime&Tonic follows the launch of IfOnly in June this year, and the group’s acquisition of Adrenaline in November 2018.
BRG serves an experience every 49 seconds in Australia, and has the vision to serve an experience every second by 2025. This latest acquisition is another step towards achieving that goal.
Co-Founder Naomi Simson said, “Gourmet dining and pamper experiences is what Lime&Tonic is known for, and we know from our other brands that this is one of the fastest-growing segments in the experience economy.”
“The Lime&Tonic brand will allow the group to serve customers a broader range of experiences. It is all about accessing amazing experiences and curating on behalf of our customers.
“Every aspect of Australian retail is facing increased competition from global players and this is no different for experiences. To compete in the experience economy Australian brands must be of a size that allows for the capital investment for growth, and working together is one way to achieve this.
“It is also becoming increasingly difficult for smaller businesses to navigate digital channels as large global players have deeper pockets to invest in technology, machine learning and big data. Key digital channels such as Facebook and Google have become increasingly expensive and it is proving challenging for the best marketers to keep up with shifting algorithms, rules and customer expectations.
“What I do know is that customers seek out experts and curation when it comes to experiences – and Lime&Tonic adds a wonderful dimension to complement the range of experiences we offer today.
“BRG has invested greatly in leading-edge technology, and data insights which are elevated further by our use of marketing AI technology to ensure customers are served the right experience in the right place at the right time.”
BRG Group CEO and Co-Founder, David Anderson, said BRG is rolling out a multi-brand strategy that will enable a central supply group to serve different customer needs via different experience brands.
“We are thrilled to welcome Lime&Tonic and its customers to BRG. The catalogue of unique gourmet experiences and bespoke events is an ideal fit for our other brands and will serve our customers more of what they want,” Mr Anderson said.
“We have a big vision for the next five years, both domestically and globally, and we’re excited to support Australian businesses along the way.”
Lime&Tonic will sit alongside experience marketplace brands RedBalloon, Adrenaline and IfOnly, as well as the BRG enterprise offering REDii and Marketics, the exclusive distributor of Albert AI marketing technology in Australia and New Zealand.
- Big Red Group (BRG) founded July 2017 by Naomi Simson and David Anderson
- IfOnly, launched by the BRG in Australia on June 3 2019 delivers unique luminary-led experiences that give back a portion to charity.
- Adrenaline.com.au was the first brand acquisition for the Group in November 2018
- RedBalloon has served almost five million customers since 2001
- Collectively, BRG brands represent more than 2000 experience partners and more than 7000 experiences across Australia and New Zealand
- The BRG is set to serve more than 600,000 experiences in FY20, with the vision of serving an experience every second somewhere on earth by 2025
- Annual traffic to the BRG online experience brands nears 10 million (Hitwise).
- More than two billion experience-related online searches are conducted in Australia annually – representing 83 searches for every single Australian (Hitwise).
* Hitwise – US, UK, AU online experience gifting website search traffic: Sept 2017 – Sept 2018.
The power of experiences is something that has been thoroughly researched and documented by academics and experts for a number of years. And with the emergence of what has been coined the ‘experience economy‘, the impact and role of experiences and how they impact our day-to-day lives continues to gain momentum. Experiences connect us in a very real and human way – and sharing these moments creates a cultural currency that has greater influence over the way we experience life than any other type of spending.
According to Thomas Gilovich (Psychology Professor at Cornell University) in his research paper, A wonderful life: experiential consumption and the pursuit of happiness:
One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation… We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them. Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.
That’s why, at the BRG, we want shift the way people experience life. We know it’s not so much what we do, but the why and how that makes a difference to other people.
Increasingly, we observe the more we ‘connect’ – via our smartphones and social media – the more disconnected we feel from the world and the experience of life around us. We’re spending less quality time with friends and family and doing those things that bring us true joy. It’s worrying that more and more people seem to be living vicariously through others, via screens, versus having their own life experiences.
As humans it’s fundamental to our sense of wellbeing to belong; to be part of a community and to connect with people. Think about how often you’re truly present and focused in the moment with those around you. We are all guilty of it. Yet putting away our tech and stepping into the real world seems really very hard. Just for a moment consider how much time you put into planning your next trip, adventure, social gathering or ticking something off our bucket list. Is it enough when compared to the time you spend scrolling news feeds on your phone?
When people have a sense of purpose, they feel like they’re making a difference to others. At the BRG we want to shift the way people experience life, by serving an experience every second somewhere on Earth. But to ‘experience life’, it extends beyond that. It extends to our suppliers, distribution partners, customers and the people we come into contact with. We want people to create truly vivid memories and live lives worth remembering – and we believe that shared experiences are at the very heart of this.
I wrote last week about the difficulties of disconnecting from technology. When we were in Uluru on our all company trip, we challenged people to put their phones on flight mode and be truly present with the people and experiences around them:
“Increasingly, we observe the more we ‘connect’ — via smartphones and social media — the more disconnected we feel from the world and the experiences of life around us … As humans it is fundamental to our sense of wellbeing to belong; to be part of the community and connect with people. Think about how often are you are truly present and focussed on those around you (we are all guilty of not doing it, myself included).”
Putting down the phones was really very hard for most. Which got me thinking: outside the office, we’re always a little bit ‘on’, and inside the office, we’re always a little bit distracted. All thanks to those little devices we carry around with us all day long.
So how do people stay focused when the very thing that distracts us seems such a necessity for doing business? How do employees learn to resist the urge to check, during work hours, if that Instagram photo they posted has gone viral? And how do employers keep their people focused and productive when the very technology we use to reduce friction and increase productivity can also be a time-sucking distraction? And all without being ‘millennial targeting’ sticks-in-the-mud …
Studies have shown it takes 23 minutes on average to recover and refocus after a distraction at work. And at the same time, it’s been shown that people between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day. I’ll let you do the math.
There is so much research out there on the impact of mobile phones on productivity in the workplace. And it seems to be a double-edged sword to some degree. Sure, some apps make us more productive, but does the cost of lost productivity outweigh the upside?
The photo is of a worker at the Forbidden City Beijing last month when I was there. Source: Naomi Simson
According to a study by Kelly Services — conducted with 13,000 Australians — more than 80% of Australian workers say mobile communications technology, such as smartphones, has boosted personal productivity and, for many, has transformed their work-life balance. However, 75% of respondents also claimed they are working longer hours as they’re unable to effectively disconnect from the workplace.
On the counter, simply having our mobile devices visible and audible in the office can be a massive productivity drain. The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance found the rate of errors made after simply hearing or feeling an alert on one’s phone was actually about the same as if someone had in fact physically answered the call or message.
But even more concerning is the tendency to make mistakes thanks to that distraction and derailing. The probability of making an error increases by 28% after a phone call and 23% after receiving a text message, according to a 2013 study. One can only imagine that number has increased in the last five years with the further proliferation of technology into our day-to-day lives.
According to Fortune, “the average worker spends a full day of their work week doing things other than, well, work … Personal email and social media made up the majority of the wasted time”. And Forbes goes a step further, referencing the term ‘nomophobia’, which is an actual addiction to mobile phones.
This issue speaks directly to our purpose at my company, the Big Red Group (BRG). To connect, we need to disconnect. When people are focused and purposeful at work, they feel like they’re making a difference to others. At BRG we want to shift the way people experience life, by serving an experience every second somewhere on Earth. But how can we achieve this vision, and live this purpose, if we’re constantly distracted by the very devices that are short-circuiting our ability to truly experience and immerse ourselves in the world around us?
For me, I try to limit the distractions by leaving my phone in my bag when I’m at the office; switching off all notifications and limiting myself to checking social channels before and after work. So it would be entirely hypocritical if I weren’t able to focus my attention and remove those distractions, during the workday (though sometimes I feel I am ruled by my email).
How do you manage the distraction of your smartphone when you’re focusing on the job at hand?
This article originally appeared on SmartCompany.