Tag Archives: asia

APAC Content Marketing Predictions for 2017

2016 was the year where content marketing went from a discussion point to a business imperative in Asia. But what’s next? What are the trends we expect to see in 2017?

We asked the board members and guests of the Asia Content Marketing Association (ACMA) for insights. And here they are.

Connecting the dots

In 2017 I think we will see more and more content marketers connecting more of the dots in the ecosystem – from data and analytics through to rich storytelling to commerce. It’s absolutely critical for content creators to be able to do this in a market where production margins are being eroded, competition and audience expectations are increasing and attention spans are shortening.

Josh Black

CEO – GroupM Content Asia Pacific

The changing face of influencers

With reduced organic reach, influencers have become an important part of the marketing mix. There’s a trend within influencer marketing to move away from employing A-list celebrities with huge reach but little relevance, to brands starting to realise that their budgets are spent more effectively recruiting micro-influencers who have a genuine relevance to the brand, rather than using one A-list influencer. These influencers allow brands to get in front of a relevant audience that’s likely to be more engaged and the influencer comes across as more authentic.

Simply put, a micro-influencer is someone with between 10,000 to 150,000 followers on Instagram, whereas a mid to top-tier influencer has over 150,000. Although a user’s amount of followers varies for each account, we’re beginning to realise that this particular group of individuals has the ability to change the way brands work with influencers forever.

Influencer marketing will continue to mature, as brands struggle to reach people organically, along with the rise of adblockers, meaning brands will need to use influencers as part of their distribution strategy.

Shamila Gopalan

Founder and Managing Director, Blink Asia

Woe, woe and wooooooooooh…

In Cassandra mode, I have two predictions. The first is that we’re all screwed…we’ll be replaced by robots. Recently, a friend at a global agency that, out of respect for its privacy, I’ll refer to only as Ogilvy, which also happens to be its name (I know; what are the chances?) made a series of increasingly complex arrangements for a lunch meeting with a potential supplier. Only afterwards did he learn that the arrangements on the supplier’s end had been made 100% by bot.

My other Cassandra conjecture is a huge rise in the implementation of content curation. With increasingly shrinking budgets, I fear that ‘curating’ existing content from the internet rather than commissioning original stuff will prove only too attractive to the bean counters in procurement.

In Pollyanna mode, however, I’m predicting (with fingers and all other extremities firmly crossed) that 2017 is the year we finally get affordable, accessible VR. The potential to engage consumers like never before and improve the marketing of even the smaller brands through experiential content is truly exciting.

Henry Adams

Founding Partner, Contented

Sorting business from the inside out

Focused on my specific area, I want to highlight two critical aspects that must happen in Asia for brands to not just embrace content marketing, but to flourish by committing long-term to it.

The first is getting businesses organised and transformed from the inside out. The whole business must get behind content marketing, and while the marketing team enables it, everyone needs to get on board and it starts at the top. Content marketing needs to become the beating heart of every business, which means the existing siloes of organisations (siloes of separation and internal competition) must come down, and collectively, everyone become aligned and focused 100% to serve the customer. It’s truly transformational stuff.

The second is employee advocacy. This is going to be a hot trend of 2017, but too many businesses (and those selling employee advocacy solutions) are only looking at employees as mouthpieces for brands. This is definitely not what employee advocacy is about.

Employees must be advocates for themselves first, the brand second. And not only are employees advocates, but content creators in their own right. This is how we move from content shock to content value, because it is created by the people who know your business and know your customer.

Both trends are big mind shifts for businesses, but the ones who get it, understand it and unleash the pure power of their employees; will see truly magnificent results. It’s time to unleash the humans of business – the reason your customers do business with you.

Andrea Edwards

CEO and Founder, The Digital Conversationalist

Quality content only game in town

Hmmm, *strokes chin*, I predict the VR/360 consumer hype bubble will burst as the realisation dawns that wearing a digital blindfold no matter what it’s screening is not a comfortable experience. Strictly niche and professional uses will be the end result of the VR/360 hype.

Quality content will be the only game in town worth playing in. Enlightened clients are already rewarding those willing to resist the race to the bottom that is competing on price.

New terminologies will start to take hold. I’ve been thinking a lot about how storytelling as part of a feed is now a thing, what do we call that? The old broadcast and print terminologies will slowly be replaced.

Simon Kearney

CEO and Co-Founder, Click2View

2017 will be the year of delegation

We’ve seen how powerful great creators can be in some of the stand out executions of 2016, but we’ve also seen how innovation can be stifled by hierarchies and committees. In 2017 we’ll see senior management embracing core messages and style guides as their primary control mechanisms, whilst genuine innovation will be delegated to the practitioners that deliver it best – inspired imaginations, informed insights and a flair for originality that transcends everyday thinking.

Nick Fawbert

Founder, Mutiny Asia

Time of content eco-systems

2017 will finally be the year clients buy in to the notion of the content ecosystem. The understanding that all of their platforms and customer touchpoints, both online and offline, need to be connected with one voice. The content ecosystem ensures that customers get a consistent message and experience wherever they touch the brand.”

Simon Cholmeley
CEO, Novus Asia

Personalisation

2017 will be the year of personalised or adaptive content.  With programmatic becoming the increasing norm, we’ll see content ideas re-purposed into multiple iterations; allowing for greater personalisation with data and tech driving the relevant distribution.  However, tech won’t rule the industry.  We’ll still need humans to develop unique insights, a sound strategy, great content creation, solid execution and analysts to interpret results.

Mike Jackson

Managing Director, MEC Wavemaker 

Partnerships and M&As

This is the time for strategic partnerships and M&As across industries, verticals and platforms. This is the time to redefine the role of content and the role of access. Our role as content marketing leaders will be to provide the methodology, process and management of the role of content across these new constellations.

The Microsoft/LinkedIn acquisition marked the dawn of this new era, not just a new trend for M&As but a clear recognition by tech companies that they need to invest in content, content platforms and distribution channels. The interesting shift in focus here comes from what’s clearly a recognition by companies that the future formula is to own both the access to the audience, the content and the conversation.

BandLab partnering with Rolling Stones and AT&T acquiring Time Warner are perfect examples of this, where they are securing the ownership of a bigger ecosystem. With social and amplification channels increasingly becoming paid only and the organic aspect dying away, the importance of building your house on your own property and not on rented land is increasingly clear and I believe these M&As and strategy partnerships are part of responses to this shift.

The race is now on to ensure company-owned property controls the access, the content and the conversations across the ecosystem. I think we will see the AliBabas and Ciscos of this world acquiring the Walt Disney’s and NYT’s of this world!

Hedvig Lyche

Global Strategy Director, King Content

Last but not least, it’s all about the data

Content Marketing has been a growing area of focus in recent years. In 2017, we expect to see data being utilised to far greater effect – both in measuring the performance of content as brands strive to understand exactly what is capturing the attention of their consumers, and in measuring the effective amplification of content. This is vital if you want people to actually read/watch what you’re producing. Knowing which channels are the right ones to reach your audience is just as important as knowing what interests them!

Adrian Watkins

Managing Director and Co-Founder, PerformanceAsia

What prediction resonated with you? What was missed? What contradiction did you pick up?

Happy Holidays and here’s to an amazing 2017 for content marketing in Asia.

Samsung is Top Brand with Asian Consumers, ahead of Apple

Brands at the forefront of tech and media shine in the 2016 Asia’s Top 1000 Brands ranking. Number 1 position was taken by Samsung, with Apple and Sony in 2 and 3 respectively.

Samsung retained its top spot in terms of customer perception, despite a tough year which saw mobile phone sales squeezed by Android competitors. They released the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and Note 5 in August 2015, beating new iPhones to the market by about a month. These models debuted after slow sales of the premium Galaxy S6 prompted price cuts and customer refunds. Samsung then wasted little time in launching the Galaxy S7 Edge in January 2016, largely to favourable reviews for its expandable storage, a dual-pixel camera, battery and always-on display.

In the new entries, Airbnb’s debut on the Top 1000 Brands ranking means it’s only a matter of time before Uber, Netflix and Grab displace more traditional incumbents.

Find the full Campaign Asia Top 1000 ranking here.

Selling Beer in Vietnam, a Digital Challenge

Over the last five years Vietnam has seen its beer sales climb at more the double the rate of its GDP, making it South-East Asia’s largest consumer of beer.

In fact, in 2012 a staggering 3 billion litres of beer were consumed in Vietnam meaning there should be huge opportunities for local and international bands to market and sell here.

However, it’s not as straightforward as it should be.

Firstly the infrastructure of Vietnam’s cities, towns and villages which can be described as politely referred to as ‘disorganised’ makes it very difficult for brands to establish where or why there beer is selling well.

This is made even more complicated as many vendors will buy stock from one shop then move around so even consumers will not know where they bought the product from.

This can prove a huge hindrance for brands who want to monitor sales, establish demand for a new product or establish consumer sentiment.

Another challenge is the competition from liquor and wine brands who are looking to get a slice of Vietnam’s youthful and rapidly increasing middle class.

A recent report showed Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam has one of the fastest growing multi-millionaire populations in the world, and the thirst to match it.

Beverage companies with high-end products such as Diageo (whose brands include Schmirnoff vodka, Tanqueray gin and part own Moet-Hennessy) have been working hard over the last few years to establish a foothold in Vietnam.

While it looks unlikely spirits will ever usurp beer, their appeal is growing (though they are not really present at the street-side eating venues many Vietnamese like to eat and drink at). 

Another problem beer brands in Vietnam face is their struggles to connect with an increasingly digitalised audience.

A spokesperson from market research and insights company, Epinion said: “In order for brands to run effective social media campaigns they need to have a good understanding of who their audience actually is. Without this information you run the risk of analysing the effectiveness of digital campaigns based on falsified and biased data which is a huge waste of time and money.

“In a project we worked with Vietnam’s leading brewery Sabeco we helped them establish who of their more than 100,000 Facebook fans were ‘true’ and who just liked the page for the sake of it, then established the effectiveness of their digital campaigns. 

“As a result of our study, Sabeco gained valuable insight on how they could gain greater engagement with their ‘true fans’ and leverage further impact from future digital campaigns, reducing time and money spent on ineffective digital marketing campaigns.

“Sabeco, along with other beer brands, has to embrace digital media as this is where their consumer is, but they must also know how to connect with them online.”

For more information on beer brands in Vietnam click here. 

Retail S-Commerce: Moving to Mobile and Beyond

Marketing Matters is a monthly column covering how marketers today can use Digital to drive innovation and results

Social commerce, or S-commerce, is one of the newer kids on the E-commerce block. Of course, it is also a very broad subject.  Some would also include Taobao and travel websites like Tripadvisor and Airbnb in the S-commerce sphere. For today’s discussion, we will only focus on S-commerce activities triggered by social media. Blending e-commerce tech with social media and other contributor-driven platforms, this part of the industry has been growing steadily and quickly, with the world’s top 500 retailers netting over three billion USD from S-commerce in 2014, up 26% from 2013.

With the continued global rise of social media, S-commerce – in terms of both direct sales and referrals to merchants’ and retailers’ websites – is here to stay. Take e-commerce social media referrals – these alone increased almost 200% between Q1 in 2014 and Q1 in 2015. This is generally great news for retailers, but the industry still has much growing and maturing to do, particularly when it comes to diversifying platforms and embracing mobile.

Right now, S-commerce has a lot of eggs in one basket: Facebook is by far the most dominant platform, with 50% of total referrals and over 60% of total revenue. Twitter and Instagram do not have anywhere near the clout of Facebook, though they are emerging as niche players – Twitter is proving popular with sports and event marketers, especially with location-based promotions; while Instagram is proving attractive to high-end companies seeking to strengthen their brand. Newer players like Snapchat are entering the S-commerce market, but their ability to sustain sales remains to be proven.

In view of this trend, many social media platforms are investing in enhancing their features to capture the attention of end consumers and create business opportunities for retailers.

In case you missed it, Google announced it will be adding a ‘buy’ button to product search results made on mobile devices. This button will let consumers make instant purchases from the brand, but on Google’s mobile search results pages. With these buttons coming soon to YouTube and Facebook, these instant purchases will ‘reduce friction’ by delivering a more seamless and faster experience, helping consumers overcome their mobile reluctance.

Pinterest, the social photo sharing service that has become a worldwide phenomenon, is now a major force in S-commerce despite its small user base. Currently responsible for 16% of global S-commerce revenue, the site is proactively innovating and driving the industry forward. Its new ‘buyable pins’ feature, which is still running its pilot test in the U.S., is allowing users to buy products pinned on e-commerce sites without leaving Pinterest. Now, any time a user pins products from a brand’s website, these products can be purchased by anyone else directly through Pinterest. This is of great benefit to all sides, as this ‘social proof’ style marketing involves very little advertising budget and fosters high consumer trust.

If we look at the market in Taiwan, we find that a lot of platforms doing retail business have acted fast to ‘dress themselves up’ like Pinterest. Sooner rather than later, they will also be following suit in adding features equivalent to ‘buyable pins’.

All this is good news for businesses that are looking to expand their mobile wallet share. Google credits ‘shopping micro-moments’ – time spent searching for or reading about products on their mobiles – with driving almost one trillion USD in sales in the US in 2014, and this figure is set to explode globally.

In the future, S-commerce will play an ever-larger role in these moments. It’s already happening: ‘conversational searches’ are growing, whereby consumers talk to Google and ask for help with new products. Google literally answers them back with smart shopping ads that have product rankings and reviews included; deep links on retailers’ apps right in their shopping ads, driving traffic direct to retailers’ mobile apps instead of their websites; and private sales and ‘daily deal’ sites like Moda Operandi and Groupon allow customers to preorder directly from designers and create buzz around daily sales events.

At the end of the day, S-commerce is about people socialising and helping each other buy things in the most convenient way possible. It allows people to leverage the advantages of digital platforms and transform them into a personalised shopping experience. Retailers that keep these customer motivations in mind will be well-placed to link multiple channels and technologies together to create an omni-channel O2O experience that will satisfy and delight their customers.


Article by:

Daniel Wu, General Manager, Epicentro

PICO LogoEpicentro specialises in digital content development and is a member of the Pico Group

Awarded ‘Events Standard of Excellence’ and ‘Marketing Standard of Excellence’ in 2015 WebAward for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development by the Web Marketing Association

Daniel has been with Pico for over 15 years and is a seasoned event marketing industry professional. Foreseeing the ample opportunities presented by the world’s rapidly-changing technological landscape, Daniel began planning for a new business unit specialising in digital content solutions in 2010. Commencing full operations in 2014, Epicentro has spearheaded the development of unconventional technologies, helping our clients reach and stay on top of the market. Under Daniel’s leadership, Epicentro has established a strong client list spanning the commercial and government sectors: AIA, Airport Authority Hong Kong, Amway, Dragages, the government’s Environmental Protection Department and Home Affairs Department, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Jardine, Suntory and Watsons.

Asian Brands must be more Innovative than those in the West

According to a recent Razorfish digital marketing report, Asian Marketers must be more innovative and forward-thinking than their western counterparts, to meet the technology-driven expectations of consumers in our region. Asian consumers are not only reporting higher ownership and usage of technology, they also hold higher expectations of brands and technology overall. 

We talk to Joanna Kalenska, Managing Director at Razorfish Hong Kong, about Asian consumers, brands’ challenges and opportunities.

joanna kalenskaDIA: Hi Joanna, how are you?

JK: Doing fantastic, thanks.

DIA: So we’ll leap right in there. Marketers are underestimating the digital divide between Millennials and Gen Xers. How do you think this applies in Asia? Can we even say that Gen X exists in Asia?

JK: What’s fascinating about this region is the fact that when it comes to technology the differences between the generations are minimal. And this came as a clear finding during our global research report Digital Dopamine. It seems that enthusiasm towards technology is age independent in markets like the US or UK, where the differences are more prominent. But not in China for example, where despite a relatively low internet penetration people are more savvy and demanding when it comes to their technology expectations. This lack of legacy has allowed Asian markets to leapfrog directly to quite advance digital behaviors.

Also, culturally, in China, peer-to-peer purchases are part of everyday life, and so social commerce has become a widely accepted, very normal practice. And it is this that has also led to less of a gap between Gen X & Y in China, in so far as digital usage is concerned. Generation X in the West, has had to learn to trust new platforms from the start, compared to Generation Y, who grew up with this practice.

DIA: Brands need to focus more on being useful than on being interesting. Can you talk about how this applies to Asian markets? In markets where a lot of basic infrastructure is missing, do you think brands have more of a role to play?

JK: Absolutely, and precisely for that reason. To win, brands as a service must deliver meaningful utility / value everyday to stand out from the crowd. Digital Dopamine showed us Asian consumers adopt and embrace technology quickly. Often, quicker than brands are able to implement the correct infrastructure to enable experiences at the expected level. Consumers won’t wait for brands to catch up. This means that at the point where longer-term strategies are already defined, brands need to think in a fresh and innovative way. Tech-savvy consumers are not as much interested in a brand’s reputation as before, their loyalty is determined more by the total satisfaction of the brand’s omni-channel experience. Especially in Asia where there is a lot of noise and a lot of choice.

DIA: Omni-channel customers still encounter a number of friction points as they dip between online and offline platforms in search of cross-channel convenience. Do you see any interesting trends or consumer behaviours emerging specific to Asia to solve this issue?

JK: This remains a big challenge for most brands, and therefore consumers. Considering how long this concept has been on the table it’s quite surprising how slow brands are at adapting. The biggest obstacle for real omni-channel is a single view of the customer, which has been restricted because of legacy systems. Smaller, more agile brands have more chance to succeed but they often lack resources and funds to make a real and noticeable difference. To enable a smooth transition and be able to deliver on an omni-channel promise, businesses need the right data and technology infrastructure. This does not, however, stop brands from moving towards platform integration in smart and simple ways. Each business can deliver a short, medium and long-term solution to surprise and delight their customers, examples include extending catalogues online, order online & collect instore initiatives, pick in store & deliver to home or office, and more.

DIA: While we sometimes focus on the rational benefits of technology, digital interactions affect us on a biological and emotional level. Do you see marketers moving brand budget to digital yet at scale? We often think Asia is especially tech obsessed. Is this a more relevant trend here than anywhere else globally?

JK: Nowhere in the world are people as obsessed with their phones as here in Asia. Mobile first – brands have got to be mobile and social, because social proof makes the decision for the buyer.

Secondly, buying online here is very emotional and seen as gifting yourself, providing a digital rush of sorts.

DIA: What’s the future for agencies in a fast, nimble, social media world?

JK: A never-ending funnel of smart and simple ideas. We rely on clever people – that’s our IP. Being curious, quick, yet diligent and considerate has been keeping Razorfish at the top of the consideration list for our clients.

DIA: Do you think Asia has a talent problem in digital marketing and media?

JK: I think the talent problem in digital marketing is not only an Asia issue. Experienced marketers have not caught up with the ever-changing technology, and younger generation often believe that being a native user makes them know what’s required. There are very few professionals who can think and talk at the brand and business level, being at the same time connected to the target audience and the way they engage and embrace technology.

We also live in the time where everything is instant and there seem to be less time for understanding market, product or target audience context. I don’t think WHY is considered before the HOW is agreed. But this takes confidence and experience. In a world where people change jobs every 18 months, there is very little know-how building and seeing the results of your decisions or recommendations – both on the agency and the brand side.

DIA: Is advertising all about the algorithm now? Do you see data and automation emerging as serious trends in your markets?

JK: Yes and No. It can never just be about the algorithm. Real time marketing does require a deeper understanding of the audience and uses programmatic targeting and retargeting to reach them in context, when and where our message is useful. But it also requires smart human truth creative in order to be really effective.

The big problem we have in Asia is a real lack of data-led insights, because firstly, companies have never needed to collect data, they had it very easy until now, and secondly, if they have data, they are very reluctant to share it, because it might give away a competitive advantage. This will change in time once a few players have realized how great data-led insights and briefs can drive transformational execution.

DIA: We see a lot of hype around mobile, but is it really a channel to be taken seriously yet?

JK: Is this a trick question?!

DIA: Not a trick question! We are interested in both the buzz and the reality on the ground. How much attention are your clients putting towards mobile?

JK: Mobile as a content provider, mobile as a device, most of us can’t imagine life without or another channel to push advertising onto. We are asking about rational benefits but aren’t we past that, mobile is affecting us on a biological and emotional level. You can read about these effects in our report, Digital Dopamine. Digital Dopamine points out 87% of Chinese consumers report often feeling dependent on technology, that’s a pretty extreme demonstration of its importance.

Mobile-Mad is Asia, even more than the Middle East. Asian consumers are way ahead of brands in terms of how and what they use their mobiles for. Brands think that a mobile enabled site is enough, well it’s not nearly enough. Content has to be rethought to fit the smartphone screen in its entirety, and still too many clients are thinking about big screen content, which ends up looking ridiculous on the small screen. What’s worse, it doesn’t deliver the value consumers are looking for.

DIA: Oreo famously made a splash during the Super Bowl with a clever tweet during the blackout. Does something like that move the needle, or is it just something we talk about for a tiny cycle and then forget?

JK: I don’t think it’s always about moving a needle. Sometimes it’s about quick, fresh and clever thinking. Oreo did exactly that, clever thought using a popular platform. There was nothing groundbreaking about it, but it was spot on, real time marketing. So few brands are ready for it.

DIA: If you could choose between working in the sleek tech-driven world of modern advertising, or the days of Don Draper and Mad Men, what would you do?

JK: Without a doubt in the sleek tech driven word. I think the task is much more interesting and challenging on many levels. We are being challenged every day, by new technologies, by changes to legislations, new platforms, hardware software, we have to be engaged and interested or we will fall behind very quickly. 15 years ago it was easy to be an expert in a particular field. It took ages before anything changed so you could gain deep experience. We now need to be experts in a new area every day, that’s not easy and it takes a lot of intellectual openness and fresh thinking. Having said that, the creativity and courage of Mad Men mixed with the curiosity and connection of digital would be perfect.

DIA: Thank you for a hugely interesting discussion. Looking forward to chatting again soon.

MicroAd leads funding round for Ambient Digital in South East Asia

MicroAd Singapore today announced a Series A investment in Ambient Digital Group aiming to expand market share across South East Asia.

MicroAd will also connect its programmatic ad platform to Ambient Digital’s vast regional supply of inventory – a big win for programmatic ad buyers in South East Asia. Continue reading MicroAd leads funding round for Ambient Digital in South East Asia

2015 in Preview: Top 10 APAC Digital Trends 2015

2015 promises to be an exciting year for Digital Marketing and Media in Asia. The core metrics won’t feel that different from 2014, but there will be increased focus in a number of areas, alongside raised expectations as Asia expands and matures from a Digital perspective.

Here are the ten trends that, in DIA’s view, will change how online marketers across the region do business in the year ahead: Continue reading 2015 in Preview: Top 10 APAC Digital Trends 2015

Digital in Asia and eTail Asia join forces to promote eCommerce excellence

Digital in Asia is excited to announce an ongoing partnership with eTail Asia, the leading platform in Asia to help online retailers discover, develop and implement strategies to build a successful eCommerce business.

The focus is the eTail Asia 2015 conference, which will be held on 11-12 March 2015 in Singapore and presents a great opportunity for online retailers and marketers to expand their networks, listen to case-studies and interactive discussions, and stay informed on the latest innovation in online business across Asia. Continue reading Digital in Asia and eTail Asia join forces to promote eCommerce excellence

2014 in Review: Top 5 Digital in Asia Articles

‘Tis the season for a review, and we’re not ones to miss an excuse here at DIA.

We’ll be looking back at top Digital in Asia content over the year, reviewing 2014 – an exciting year for digital and programmatic in Asia – and looking forward to 2015.

To get started, here’s our overview of the top 5 Digital in Asia articles for 2014. Continue reading 2014 in Review: Top 5 Digital in Asia Articles

Market Overview: The Rise of Asia’s Mobile Messaging Apps

The emergence of mobile messaging apps has been one of the big tech – in fact any news category – stories of recent years. Both globally and in Asia.

Disrupting everyone from Telcos wedded to SMS revenue, to established social networks such as Facebook, to the Chinese government, apps have been a big hit with consumers. Continue reading Market Overview: The Rise of Asia’s Mobile Messaging Apps