1st Australian Customer Vulnerability Symposium

Challenging Assumptions of Customer Vulnerability: Rethinking and Reshaping

28th April 2023 Friday, Melbourne Australia
Face-to-Face (RMIT) and Online – Hybrid

The Australian Association of Social Marketing, RMIT University, the Consumer Wellbeing Research Group, and the Centre for Behavioural Economics, Society and Technology, QUT are pleased to host the 1st Australian Customer Vulnerability Symposium on Friday April 28th 2023 at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

Customer vulnerability is a term that is well used but consistently misunderstood and misused and based on outdated assumptions of human behaviour. Vulnerability is typically framed as circumstances and personal characteristics that expose a person to increased susceptibility to damage, harm or loss. However, this definition frames vulnerability from a deficit perspective by focussing on the attributes a person lacks (e.g., powerless, helpless, or low levels of control) rather than on the circumstances that create vulnerability and the strengths that a person has to navigate or change their circumstance. The deficit lens sees those experiencing vulnerability as less able than ‘normal’ consumers.

The implications of a deficit approach are that strategies by government, NGOs, and industry often focus on what customers can’t do as opposed to what they can do and miss the opportunity to foster increased capabilities and resilience.

The new approach to customer vulnerability on a 20-year evidence-base in social science to suggest an alternate approach that honours customers, supporting not only their experiences but their dignity: the strengths-based approach. This approach is more effective in addressing social problems because it frames people as capable of problem-solving and provides personal agency and empowerment.

Contemporary thinking requires organisations to challenge existing assumptions and rethink and reshape customer vulnerability strategies and policies. The new approach to customer vulnerability, built on a 20-year evidence-base in social science, suggests an alternate approach that honours customers, supporting not only their experiences and abilities, but also their dignity: the strengths-based approach. This approach is more effective in addressing social problems because it frames people as capable of problem-solving and provides personal agency and empowerment.

Symposium Aims:

The aims of this symposium are to:

  1. Challenge assumptions and engage in dialogue on customers experiencing vulnerability.
  2. Gain evidence-based knowledge and different perspectives on customers experiencing vulnerability.
  3. Learn about cutting-edge practices to help you rethink and reshape your approach to customers experiencing vulnerability.

Who should attend:

  1. Industry practitioners working with customers experiencing vulnerability.
  2. Government working with customers experiencing vulnerability.
  3. Non-profit working with customers experiencing vulnerability.
  4. NGOs working with customers experiencing vulnerability.
  5. Academic and social researchers who work on vulnerability research.

Registration Type

Ticket Price

AASM Member/ BEST Member/ RMIT Staff – Face-to-Face $130
Non-member – Face-to-Face $150
AASM Member / BEST Member/ RMIT Staff- Online $100
Non-member – Online $130
Full-time Students $80

Click here to register.

Venue: 

RMIT University – Story Hall, Building 16, 336/348 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000 (Map)

Symposium Format:

Over 20 speakers will present and showcase what they are doing and encourage you to reframe and rethink your lens:

  • Two keynote presentations
  • Voice of practitioners’ session
  • Two breakout sessions
  • Two face-to-face workshops and one workshop for online participants
  • Two discussion panels
  • Networking post symposium

Click here to view the program. (Coming soon)

Speakers:

The speakers are from industry, academia, non-profit organisations and government and who are experts in real world research and practice in the area of customer vulnerability.  The sectors represented are:

  • Banking and finance
  • Disability services
  • Energy
  • Housing
  • Food
  • Preventative health

Click here to view the speakers. (Coming soon)

Organising Committee:

Conference Chair: Professor Mike Reid. Director, Consumer Wellbeing Research Group. School of Economics, Finance and Marketing. RMIT

  • Professor Rebekah Russell-Bennett, School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, QUT, Co-Director Centre for Behavioural Economics, Society and Technology
  • Dr Cheryl Leo, Murdoch Business School, President, Australian Association of Social Marketing
  • Dr Gauri Laud, University of Tasmania, Secretary, Australian Association of Social Marketing
  • Associate Professor Amanda Beatson, Behavioural Change for Social Good Program lead, BEST Centre and School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, QUT

Host Organisations:

  • Consumer Wellbeing Research Group, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University
  • Centre for Behavioural Economics, Society and Technology (BEST), QUT
  • Australian Association of Social Marketing (AASM)

Symposium Sponsors:

 

 

 

 

                                                  

Interested in Social Marketing?

Join the AASM monthly newsletter. Keep up to date with all Marketing news