Matthew Miller
Jun 20, 2018

Alibaba and Kantar claim to redefine brand-building at ‘China speed’

Kantar’s validation of Alibaba’s Consumer Asset KPI will help CMOs optimise their brand-building activities within Alibaba's ecosystem, according to the companies.

L-R: Eric Salama, Chris Tung
L-R: Eric Salama, Chris Tung

Kantar has mapped and validated Alibaba’s Consumer Asset marketing KPI framework, which was launched in 2017, against Kantar’s portfolio of marketing KPIs, the two companies announced today at Cannes Lions.

The companies said the milestone creates a new “insight to activation” platform that unifies fragmented brand metrics and lets brands make more agile decisions.

The news is an outgrowth of Alibaba’s Uni-Marketing system, which provides brands with a view of consumer profiles in various stages of the marketing funnel, from awareness to interest to purchase to loyalty, Chris Tung, Alibaba’s CMO, told Campaign Asia-Pacific shortly after the press conference announcing the news. The Uni-Marketing system has been piloted for the past year with global top 100 brands and has garnered positive responses, he said.

"But there’s one more important thing that’s missing, which is the official KPI framework to qualify or quantify the effectiveness of this new system,” he said. Half a year of work by Alibaba and Kantar teams has now yielded a strong correlation between the well-recognised Kantar brand metric system and the Consumer Asset system, Tung said.

"We didn't want to come here and just say, ‘We've got an idea’,” Eric Salama, Kantar chairman and CEO, told Campaign. “We wanted to come here and say, 'We've been working together, and this is now a service we can offer to our clients'."

Marketers need a real-time view, he added, but they also need predictive power, and they need to address both short-term and long-term impact. They need a holistic view of the impact of certain actions on the brand, both from the sales point of view and from a brand lift point of view, which the system now provides, Salama asserted.

“We have a lot of science behind the idea that penetration, certainly for packaged goods, is the best predictor of future market share, and what you saw presented today really gets to how we drive penetration for brands,” he said. "So we're looking at the metrics that are the best predictors of growth in future market share and growth in brand equity." 

Josh Samuel, global head of innovation at Kantar, explained during the press conference that the platform addresses the disconnect between real-time data and the art of brand-building, which in many ways is still being conducted as it was 15 years ago.

"We're taking the Consumer Asset KPI, and the metrics that construct that KPI, and we've looked at the relationship that that has with established marketing measures of long-term, sustainable brand growth,” Samuel said.

The company conducted a study over eight categories, 59 brands and 14,000 consumers to validate the connection.

"What we see is a correlation of 0.81 between the Consumer Asset KPI and overall annual brand penetration,” Samuel said. This means there is a strong correlation between the Consumer Asset KPI and total sales (online and offline), as measured through Kantar Worldpanel. “This KPI—this in-the-moment, immediate KPI—is indicative of annual long-term brand penetration."

A brand that notices its Consumer Asset number falling behind where it wants to be could look at the components of that KPI to assess what was happening and then “overlay” established Kantar tools to help figure out what would bring interest back up, Samual said.

Tung positioned the effort as a “transformation of marketing” and added that today’s news is a local starting point of what will be a global partnership. “Our plan at Alibaba is to start from China and very soon take it to the markets, mainly in Asia, where we also have strong leadership in ecommerce and a full set of consumer touchpoints online," he said.

 

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