This article was originally published on Warc.
- Brands talk to human beings; they have the power to change the way people behave, consume and interact with them offering a powerful opportunity to implement sustainability practices.
- Balancing short-term and long-term growth is key to building brands that last.
- Memorable brands exist in the subconscious mind as well as in moments of conscious decision making – brand building should adhere to a streamlined, authentic approach to supporting your portfolio.
- Brands need to look for new sources of growth to expand penetration and new user acquisition.
Why it matters
It’s a brave new world, a focus on sustainability, diversity, new technology and new measures are considerations when it comes to scaling up brands in Asian cultures.
- Sustainability has become a key consideration while scaling up, as brands need to go beyond media KPIs and look at social impact KPIs.
- Balancing short-term growth KPIs with long-term growth KPIs while building empathy through emotional intelligence becomes a key component for brand memorability, as mental availability has become as important as physical availability.
- Technology, innovation and omnipresence are key tools to drive acquisition, adoption, and brand memorability.
- With user attention becoming a scarce and valuable commodity, human attention has become a key metric for measuring growth and effectiveness.
How do brands grow? That is an age-old question with multiple answers. Given the way our world is changing, options for scaling a brand are increasing, and there are more factors to consider than ever before. Before we start analysing scalability models, a quick scan of the trends impacting APAC consumers is essential. Here are few key trends influencing the way Asian consumers think, behave and make decisions in 2022.
- Consumers are cautious – the “endemic COVID lifestyle”.
- Purpose and empathy are taking centre stage.
- Technology is powering get-set-go moments – convenience is key. Social equity building is happening through multiple avatars.
- The emergence of trading currencies such as Crypto and NFTs. The continuing war for attention across media.
Eight key principles for scale up brands
With these broad trends in mind, here are eight key areas to consider when scaling brands in the Asia Pacific region.
1. Focus on “DO” versus “SAY”: Planning for sustainability
Brands talk to human beings; they have the power to change the way people behave, consume and interact with them offering a powerful opportunity to implement sustainability practices. Dentsu has embarked on multiple sustainability-led pathways by championing meaningful growth together with like-minded partners that power sustainable business practices. Sustainability solutions like Handprint, Teads Care, the DIMPACT initiative, SeenThis and Adgreen are but a few new and potentially powerful players in our industry, not to mention the IPA’s media carbon calculator, and carbon-conscious publishers. The mushrooming of these offerings is reinforcing our industry as a #ForceForGood and a #ForceForGrowth and driving the shift in brands’ key KPIs from “media” to “social impact”. The chart below shows brand scalability can be integrated with planning for sustainability at the same time.
2. Maintain equilibrium between metrics of measurement in growth
Balancing short-term and long-term growth is key to building brands that last. Particularly in prolonged unpredictable circumstances such as the COVID experience, it is crucial to think of empathy building for the long term albeit alongside a go-to-market model optimised for short- to medium-term growth based on performance.
3. Drive memory structures with omnipresence
Memorable brands exist in the subconscious mind as well as in moments of conscious decision making. Brand building should adhere to a streamlined, authentic approach to supporting your portfolio. Prioritise simplicity, personalisation and continuous improvement over multiple campaigns. Ensure your campaigns exhibit emotional intelligence in order to make your brand memorable. Emotionally intelligent and culturally relevant brands also ensure connected experiences to build scale across touch points. At dentsu, we employ an ecosystem modelling framework that helps our clients understand their media and non-media impacts at every stage of the consumer journey as well as how one touchpoint influences the next, balancing physical and mental availability.
4. Employ innovative marketing
Innovative campaigns enable brands to deepen connections with their audiences. The steady encroaching of the Metaverse is forcing brands to carefully plan for how they will show up at the virtual-real interface. One great example is virtual influencer, Rae (@here.is.rae), who has endorsed brands from Pomelo Fashion to Audi and has around 922k followers on Weibo. Her technological capabilities continue to be enhanced to deliver a more engaging experience in the Metaverse for her fans and brand partners.
5. Make diversity and inclusion an engine of growth
Brands need to look for new sources of growth to expand penetration and new user acquisition. Through understanding and prioritizing the most valuable segments, brands can map growth pathways outside their traditional consumer base. But they need to understand these potential new segments in a deep way. Our research shows that Gen Z’s motivations to engage with a brand are specific, varied and dependent on the intersection of highly nuanced concepts of identity, their locations and culture, and individual lived experiences. Central to a large proportion of Gen Z’s decision making is whether a brand meaningfully demonstrates solidarity with values and causes that they hold dear.
6. Invest in data-driven journeys and omnichannel planning tools
A bridge from data to insights to planning will help build transparent and future-forward data ecosystems. The ultimate tool would be an insights platform that will not only help you collect consumer intelligence, but also provide a single unified “ecosystem view” and an end-to-end environment within which audience insights can be activated in a seamless way.
For clients that operate in the branded-house environment (one brand across multiple categories) the audience approach tends to be similar across multiple categories. A small appliances client that invested early in digital and data transformation (pre-COVID) had gathered enough historical data to give context to pandemic-related activity in 2020. Having a future-forward data ecosystem also enabled them to capitalize on the growing demand for household appliances post lockdown resulting in a 1.7% market share gain with the accelerated demand in 2020-21 even as ROI and cost efficiency metrics improved overall.
7. Use technology to scale customer acquisition
Using technology for brand adoption in the short- to medium-term can be very powerful. This is particularly pertinent for performance and commerce experience planning.
An excellent example which gave rise to a great customer experience: Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, wanted to equip the merchants on its platform with tools to optimise their business performance and serve their customers better. They wanted merchants to be truly “plugged in” – into the real-time flow of sales, browsing behaviour and marketing information. Together with Happy Marketer, Shopee developed a customised, future-ready data-mart with Google Analytics 360, which takes information across web and app analytics, marketing data sources, and CRM interactions, and creates specific data views for each merchant in their system. Shopee has also started to consolidate data to measure cross-device performance and enable remarketing to merchants’ customers.
With a 7X improvement in the speed of data access and the immense depth of Google Analytics adding insights like product popularity, cart abandonment ratios and marketing spends, merchants immediately started optimising their products and sales with the best practices of a large e-commerce store. Through a 12-month period, merchants have seen an average 87% improvement in revenue growth on website and 216% on mobile apps.
8. Chase “attention”, not just eyeballs
Challenge your media agency to look beyond measuring impressions for effectiveness.
As consumers, our attention is so reduced and fragmented that 100% viewable does not mean 100% attention.
Human attention is, therefore, fast becoming a unit of measurement for effectiveness. The robust and comprehensive dataset that we have amassed through our eye-tracking studies enables us to have attention norms that can predict attentive seconds and the value of that attention. Combining factors like attention, dwell time, and the outcome model with cost allows us to create a CPM based on an “effective attentive second”. It is important to insist that your media agency deliver genuine outcome, not just “metrics”.