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“Fan acquisition is not the only thing”

Nick Seckold, Mindshare Asia Pacific

Going digital or social should be part of a brand’s complete marketing strategy rather than an ad hoc to the traditional campaign plans. Social and digital together with other channel should tell the brand story seamlessly to keep the consumer engaged in an effective and meaningful way. This is what Nick Seckold, head of Digital, Mindshare Asia Pacific, and an industry expert has to say to his clients. DMA caught up with Seckold at the recently held MMA Forum 2012 in Singapore to get his ideas on how brands can make their digital media strategy work. Excerpts:

What is the current state of digital media planning amongst brand marketers here?

Even though there is an awareness about digital marketing, but brand marketers still go for siloed planning when it comes to advertising and brand push, because most of our clients are built that way where often online and offline are not matched. The focus is still a lot more on offline, but there is a progress towards online as well. However, most of the times they are seen as different investments with separate ROI expectations. But we as an agency try to bring the two together. We tell them to look at a complete marketing strategy. We talk to our clients first about the objectives of the campaign. The biggest challenge today is how do you measure the impact of a campaign effectively. For most brand marketing companies and agencies the KPI is to win an ad. But that should not be the aim, the agencies and brand marketers need to look at how the campaign will impact the business in the first place. The aim should be to work out the expected result and then designing the campaign around the goal.

Do you think television campaigns hold relevance when the consumer is seen to be moving online or going on mobile devices?

Television is still relevant and will remain big for a long time to come. Brand directors are still more comfortable with TVCs than any other form of advertising when looking to reach large section of consumers. But smart advertisers should realise that TV can be a great driver of intent. When a TV campaign is seen as a part of the total branding story, and combined with a digital strategy, then the impact is much greater. It can drive the consumers online to seek further connect. While rich media formats are very engaging, the brands still look at traditional media first because traditional is tried and tested. The effectiveness is measured by proxy. However online it’s more transparent.

What should going social mean for a brand in this highly competitive space?

Having a fan base is not enough. Only 16 percent of that engages. So brands need to understand that fan acquisition is not the only thing. Sophisticated brands do channel mix. The campaigns need to be social by design. They need to keep social in mind and understand that users today are both social and mobile. One has to understand the relevance of a social media presence and realise why they want to do so. Being on Facebook is one such move. The brands need to think beyond that. They need to work out social program which is at least 12 months of engagement.

There is a lot of talk about emergence of multi-screen as a major consideration for marketing and blending of various channel, what is your take on that trend?

I think every channel has relevance, and is a driver to the next destination to keep the consumer engaged. With multi-screen becoming the new norm, brands need to think of innovative ways to tell the story. First work out what’s your story. When your brand has a common story, then create a strategy which can move through the four screens available today. That is a trend to watch out for going forward. The marketing guys should think of how to tell the story of the brand using different platforms and create a seamless experience for the consumer. The success of your campaign will lie in the fact that how well you can weave the story through different screens and keep the users engaged.

How would you rate the APAC region in terms of maturity?

I see Australia as the most mature market in terms of advertisers in the APAC region. The brand marketers in the country are more open to taking calculated risk in devising campaigns than in any other country in the region. In emerging countries like Indonesia, Thailand or Malaysia there is a cultural lack in taking a risk, they prefer tried and tested methods. In fact they even forget the basic digital media marketing like search marketing can help them in making their online presence felt. There is a lot of handholding needed for brands in these markets. However in terms of advertisers we see FMCG and local Telecom companies investing in a big way to make their online presence felt.