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.”
Marketing Matters is a monthly column covering how marketers today can use Digital to drive innovation and results
Today, video is an exceptionally important marketing tool for most businesses. Video is so powerful largely because it can tell a story in a complete visual way. Over the past decade, online video has exploded into importance – quickly becoming a popular way for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs. Video is also an important element in content marketing: statistics show that it drives traffic and that using videos on landing pages drives conversions, engaging viewers and fostering sharing and circulation. And naturally, video has become an indispensable part of social media and search engine optimisation strategies.
Video marketing begins with channels. As we know, YouTube is the video channel giant for both business and personal use. Google, the owner of YouTube, is now introducing ‘buy now’ buttons on for mobile searches, where customers seeking specific items from participating retailers will be able to instantly make purchases, opening up an important new path for potential customers and creating remarkable opportunities for marketers.
At the same time, most people are unaware of just how big Facebook has become as an emerging video sharing platform. According to Statista, the share of online population of Youtube has been going down the slope slowly since Q3 2014; and yet a trend spanning three straight quarters. Recently, lesser brands have been posting YouTube videos on Facebook; given the facts that Google owns YouTube and that Google and Facebook are competitors. Brands have ‘gone native’ and now post Facebook videos directly to Facebook. Other video platforms like Vimeo are also shifting traffic away from YouTube.
Because of this, in terms of interaction figures, Facebook has virtually wiped out YouTube, as native Facebook videos perform exponentially better than videos from all other platforms. Facebook videos are also shared more than YouTube links, as they can be shared directly. Bear in mind that those who create video content for YouTube will not optimise their success if they are not posting on other platforms as well, particularly short video and photo platforms like Vine and Instagram, which are now eating into Facebook’s market share, proving just how quickly the market is evolving.
Facebook has become a market leader due to their ability to capture a lot of data and their aggressive advertising and marketing strategies. This is very good news for marketers. However, the entire social media environment is highly dynamic and is changing every minute. Competition among different platforms is driving rapid innovation, with customer-friendly features coming out every day. To take advantage of this environment and capitalise on the benefits, marketers need to understand and stay on top of this situation.
Creating great video content starts with the mission – does the video need to generate awareness or generate a response? The beauty of video is how it can create a virtual experience and give an audience the feeling of ‘being there’. Video is highly flexible – it can demonstrate product features, like operation manuals, or for B2B video can provide a sales talk or an interview.
Being informative is not enough however – there also needs to be emotional appeal. Some videos are like TV commercials; others are more like MTV, micro-movies or even movie trailers. These are more emotionally appealing, making people laugh or cry – frightening them or generating comments. Generally though, B2B companies avoid humour in marketing.
In terms of content, video marketers need to be aware of time limitations: even though YouTube supports long-form video, these videos needs to be punchy and eye-catching to attract attention and get the message across. Keep in mind that different channels may require different versions of the same video.
The good news is that thanks to the amazing diversity of available technologies, the cost of video production continues to fall, making viral videos easier to produce and promote. Still, regardless of how well your video is produced, it may not yield the desired results if it does not include a call to action. Before you begin, think about what you want people to do when they finish viewing your video. To achieve a lasting and memorable impact, ensure you include both a visual and audible call to action.
Always bear in mind of the lifecycle of digital platforms in general and the fact that ‘the next great thing’ is always waiting in the wings.
Epicentro 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.
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.
DIA: 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.
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.
It’s that time of year again, as the industry gets out the crystal ball, and places bets for the next 12 months in Digital. Then of course waits to be proved wrong, as it doesn’t turn into the fabled “Year of Mobile”… yet again! (Disclaimer: It will probably actually be the “Year of Mobile” this year.)
With this in mind, below is the annual digital trends roundup for 2014. Asia is covered in depth across the content, but many trends are global, and we have reflected that in the choice of material.