Founded in 2008, Wildfire offers word-of-mouth marketing to brands in China and Asia-Pacific for key customers including Starbucks, DSM, Nestlé, Lincoln, Unilever and Tesco.
With the breakneck growth of social media in the last six years, plus increasing demand for real-time intelligence and effective branded content, Wildfire developed its ActSocial product as a social software platform.
The platform provides free and paid versions with four modules: for research via social listening, for publishing and performance tracking, for immediate crisis alerts, and for activating influencers and brand advocates to post user-generated content (UGC).
Among ActSocial’s first users was Ali Zein Kazmi, head of Social@OMG at Omnicom Media Group China, who said in a testimonial, “ActSocial empowers marketers to act on the conversations and themes in the minds of customers in real time. You are given access to a network of influencers that propagate your brand story”.
One-on-one internal communications have been completed to get employee and client buy-in since the management contemplated rebranding more than a year ago. The decision to rename based on its key software product telegraphs a shift from a traditional, service-oriented agency structure to one that is enabled by big-data analytics and influencer technology, Benjamin Duvall, the company's chief product officer, told Campaign Asia-Pacific in an exclusive interview.
"It's a signal to let people know we've changed," said Duvall, recalling early-day work for clients that was done physically, involving on-the-street surveying and door-to-door sampling to obtain market data. Now, instead of using expensive KOLs whose odds of moving the needle in terms of brand influence are low, the company is now more interested in engaging “micro-influencers” (who can be enlisted through its social software).
"Influencer CRM" is the future of media, Duvall stated. Every brand wants to be its own publisher, but there is too much content and not much trust. "The content we read nowadays is usually from friends and associates in very simple formats, but is far more powerful than a sponsored ad. Brands need to segment their audiences not based on demographics or purchasing history, but on their ability to influence others."
Of course, Duvall admitted that the rebranding was also motivated by a desire to not build brand equity for someone else; and now his company will no longer be confused with Google's Wildfire Interactive.