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The future of brand connect is social media, experts say at ad:tech

At the conclusion of the highly successful advertising event Ad:tech 2012 in Singapore this week, one thing was clear from all the presentations that the experts from brands and agencies made, the more social you are, the better chance you have at making a success of your business. And being social does not mean to simply have a social networking page, in the months to come, being social will mean to have a social ecosystem online where users can continue the conversation with the brand from one site to the other.

Talking about this in his presentation, ‘Powering Social Connection to Grow Your Business’, Michael Lazerow, CEO & Founder, Buddy Media said, “In a world where the difference between a good and great company is how much customers are willing to be brand advocates. It is important how companies can power social connection to drive a brand’s business and use of power of social media to create shareholder value.” Lazerow cited the example of how British fashion house Burberry stock price has risen 400% since it got its social media act together.

In fact content more than anything else makes a brand’s social media presence most effective. “Content powers connections. Get the content right, and use the content to build the people network, and use that network to amplify content,” he explained.

This idea of how social media is becoming a powerful campaign tool was taken forward in the panel discussion ‘Revolutionising the Way You Communicate with Digital Consumers through Social’, where the panellists like Brent Farrell, Managing Director, TEQUILASingapore, TBWA Singapore, Simon Kemp, Managing Director, We Are Social (Singapore), and Prashant Kumar, President, Asia World Markets & CEO, UM Malaysia, IPG Mediabrands discussed about the impact the rise of social media has on the way consumers are behaving today. Other panellists including Mandeep Grover, Regional Marketing Director, Acclarent, Johnson & Johnson Medical Asia, and Benjamin Koe, Co-Founder & CEO, JamiQ said that behavioral changes of consumers today should be reflected in a brand’s social media business strategy to ensure that the users are connecting, discussing and engaging with the brand. Studies show that Pinterest has 3.6% referral traffic compared to YouTube & 59% sales conversion rate compared to Facebook.

While Lazerow said that there really isn’t a “B2B” company, “People are the ones making purchasing decisions, not companies”; but LinkedIn drove 1.8 billion sales leads globally in 2011 in its B2B social initiative. The panellist further said that to make an impact, businesses need to listen to conversations in which their brands might not necessarily be discussed and find opportunities.

Today more than ever word of mouth is a key driver in developing a sustainable relationship between brands and consumers. In his presentation, ‘Harnessing the Power of Professional Communities’  Cliff Rosenberg, Managing Director, Australia and Southeast Asia, LinkedIn said, “Brands today need to capture attention long enough to convey a purposeful message. However, with attention spans reducing due to the vast amounts of information that people are exposed to, there is a need to adopt a focused approach leading to measurable outcomes.” LinkedIn is currently available in local languages such as Japanese, Korean and Bahasa Indonesia, with 25M+ professionals in APAC and expanding, he added.

There was another trend discussed extensively at the event was that how Search and Social were complementary. In fact Jeff Jordan, Senior Product Manager, Adobe Social, Adobe Systems stressed on the point by saying that, “Search and social are traditionally seen as being at the opposite ends of the marketing spectrum. However, data is showing that this may not always be the case; today collaboration between the two can improve the performance of both search and social.”