Staff Reporters
May 15, 2024

Campaign360 2024: Highlights

Catch all the highlights from the two-day event that took place on May 14-15 for all things disruption, AI, creativity, and more.

Photo: Dr. Hubert Etienne, 
Global generative AI ethics lead, CEO
Meta (former), currently at Quintessence AI
Photo: Dr. Hubert Etienne, Global generative AI ethics lead, CEO Meta (former), currently at Quintessence AI

Campaign360 has officially wrapped up for 2024!

The one-of-a-kind, two-day industry event at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands' Convention Centre focused on the power of disruption and owning the future of marketing and communications—especially in the era of artificial intelligence.

Topics included nurturing brand-agency trust, leading purposeful change through marketing, augmenting human connections with technological advancements, the future of privacy and data in advertising, differentiation in an AI-dominated world, customer loyalty, and more.

Plus, Campaign unveiled its much-anticipated APAC CMO Power List for 2024 on day one, and celebrated the inspirational efforts of women with the Women Leading Change Awards 2024. Don't forget to look out for full articles by Campaign's editorial team on select sessions.

Scroll on to read all the highlights from the event. 

DAY TWO

INTRODUCING CAMPAIGN360'S TOP 50 BRANDS 2024
Speaker: Stephen Tracy, chief operating officer at Milieu Insights

In this segment of the top 50 performing brands, you can see that the key drivers are the buying experience and customer service, as they index very high. They're also close to the perimeter for trust and touchpoints. Now, let's look at the bottom performers. It's evident that the chart is much smaller, but what stands out are the touchpoints, innovation, and quality. These attributes are where the top performers significantly over-index.

There's a strong correlation between these attributes and high overall brand scores, which was prominent last year. Touchpoints are crucial for offering customers a seamless, frictionless experience, whether entirely online or not. Innovation and quality are just as important.

Let's look at individual country-level top performers. You'll see a variety of brands excelling in offering the highest quality, from airlines to personal care. These brands are about providing excellent products, innovating their supply chains, and delivering service.

In conclusion, the best brands know how to build an ecosystem that supports the customer pre-sale, during the sale, and post-sale. They are often first movers in their fields and excel in innovation, which doesn't necessarily mean high-tech but can be as simple as improving everyday processes that enhance the customer's experience.

Quality is also crucial, extending beyond the products to the customer experience. These are the attributes that truly distinguish the top brands.

ASPIRING TO CHANGE THE WORLD - ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS FOR BRANDS TO CREATE SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
Speaker: Pooja Porwal, regional marketing director for Durex in ASEAN 

Porwal shared how Durex faced a problem in changing perceptions about condoms in the region to equate the brand with bringing pleasure to all.

Among the actional insights and questions to ask that Porwal suggests for creating a social movement: 

1. Gain clarity on tension

  • Is your cause provocative?
  • Does it matter sufficiently to your consumer?
  • Does it have potential to drive commercial success?

2. Be ownable and differentiated

  • Is your content fresh with a unique POV from your brand?
  • Does your product solve the tension?
  • Does it fit with your brand personality?

3. Be talkable

  • Is the execution culturally relevant and relatable?
  • Does it connect with your audience's passion points?
  • Will it be shared and amplified?

DEBATE: BRAND & CUSTOMER LOYALTY IS A MYTH
Speakers: John Sills, author, The Human Experience (for the motion), Charline Boccara, vice president for all brand and marketing in Middle East, Africa & Asia Pacific at Accor (against the motion)

For the motion: John Sills, author, The Human Experience

It's simply another way to communicate benefits to your customers. It's excellent that you don't necessarily need to spend more with an organisation to gain more benefits. However, loyalty programs can be challenging, especially when you cannot maintain the same level of spending.

For example, in many hotel loyalty programs, you progress through tiers—bronze, silver, gold, platinum—and if you don't spend as much in one year, you get downgraded. This raises a critical question about the fairness of such systems.

In the last few years, we've noticed that if life circumstances, like having young children, prevent you from travelling as much, you could spend more to maintain your status. This can lead to losing benefits and, ultimately, feeling trapped or resentful towards the loyalty program, which is not the emotional connection we want to foster.

While these programs effectively offer extra benefits, they shouldn't punish loyalty when spending decreases temporarily. These programs must support, rather than undermine, the emotional connection with customers.

Against the motion: Charline Boccara, vice president for all brand and marketing in Middle East, Africa & Asia Pacific at Accor

The conversation about the value of products or programs is multifaceted and is not always centred on price. Personal preferences play a significant role when discussing customer experiences, especially in the context of travel. For instance, choosing an airline is subjective and varies from person to person.

For example, my preference leans towards brands that consistently deliver an enjoyable experience, like Apple. I appreciate their advertisements not just for their aesthetic but because they connect emotionally, not merely functionally.

Loyalty programs, in essence, are not just about the perks or the points. They are about feeling valued and having a sense of exclusivity. This exclusivity should be a cherished part of the customer journey. It's about maintaining a connection with a brand that feels reciprocal, where loyalty is rewarded in ways that resonate on a personal level. However, loyalty doesn't mean exclusivity; customers may explore other options when their preferred brand doesn’t align with their immediate needs or destinations.

The essence of loyalty is the freedom to explore but also the allure to return. It's about creating a brand relationship that's compelling enough to draw customers back, even if they venture elsewhere occasionally. It's not always about being the most useful or competitive option available, but about why the brand resonates with customers and keeps them coming back. This allure of returning, of feeling a sense of belonging and emotional connection, is what sets a brand apart in the loyalty game.

Ad Nut, Campaign Asia-Pacific's ad-obsessed woodland wordsmith, caught hustling at C360!
 
Ad Nut with team Campaign

'A LOT OF DISRUPTION IS NOT DISRUPTION. IT IS DUST'
Speaker: 
Tzy Horng Sai, director, Julie's Biscuits

What we have seen and experienced in the last few months is an anxiety-laden, vision-obstructed, unsafe, noisy, and crowded marketing space - this isn't disruption; it is disruption hell. What we need is Creative Council Heaven. At Julie's, we have to be funny and playful and not take ourselves seriously. That's our number one ruleflip the script on ourselves. We should laugh at ourselves; it's expensive to laugh at others. And when we do this, real disruption happens. Humour gives you clarity. Clarity for creativity. Creativity for magic.  

THE ART OF THE CRAFT: HOW TO PERFECT YOUR AI MARKETING STRATEGY?
Speakers: 
Natasha Damodaran (Vogue), Sherawaye Hagger (Unilever), Sarin Nair (DHL), Alice Au (Wharf Hotels)

The session covered the integration and impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in various industries, focusing on enhancing marketing strategies, content creation, customer engagement, and operational efficiency. Key speakers included Natasha Damodaran, managing director at Vogue Singapore, Sherawaye Hagger, head of brand communications at Unilever, Sarin Nair, director of marketing for DHL Express in the Asia Pacific region, and Alice Au, group director of digital marketing at Wharf Hotels. Each speaker shared insights on how AI is transforming their respective fields and the challenges and opportunities they face:

  1. Natasha Damodaran: "Externally, it's all about working with AI to see and push the boundaries to creation of content, and by our journalistic standards, AI is not transparent enough, factual enough or reliant enough as yet for us to hand over editorial control to it without human intervention."
     
  2. Sherawaye Hagger: "When we can find consumer pain points where we can turn hesitancy into confidence... it's extremely exciting for us to see how AI can help personalise and optimise our communications."
     
  3. Alice Au: With AI, we're not just selling rooms; we're curating personalised experiences that resonate with each guest, enhancing our service delivery and marketing precision.'"
  4. Sarin Nair: "AI doesn't just help us with logistics; it revolutionises the way we understand and manage global shipments, turning complex data into actionable insights instantly.'"

Scenes from the interactive booths at C360

WHEN MACHINES MAKE MAGIC—GETTING AHEAD WITH YOUR AI GAME PLAN 
Speakers: 
Amrita Randhawa, CEO, Publicis Groupe SEA,  Sapna Nemani, chief solutions officer, Publicis Groupe APAC

 Amrita Randhawa, CEO, Publicis Groupe SEA:
 
“Think of AI as your most valuable employee who can boost your productivity and increase your effectiveness and really transform the way you work... 
 
“Using creativity for good and changing perceptions is the power of our industry. That's why we come to work every single day. It’s because we want to do many interesting things that spark different reactions from our consumers. If you start to think about the AI opportunity in a really optimistic way, it can actually be the tool that helps you do what is right for business and also what is right for society much more easily. So embrace it.” 
 
Sapna Nemani, chief solutions officer, Publicis Groupe APAC:
 
“But there need to be guardrails because if you just leave it to the technology, there are few things that can go wrong. You need to be true to your brand, you need to be true to your consumer and you need to make sure that everything that you're putting out there does not create more problems for you, like copyright infringement. So therefore it's important that you start thinking about it.  
 
One instance how we are thinking about it is our production space, where you build a sandbox environment, a private, safe environment where you upload your brand guidelines. The models get trained on them in a secure space only accessible to you and teams with access rights using the right tools and technology. Then you create and adapt in that environment. Before you publish there is again an additional check to make sure that everything that you're creating and pushing out is true to your brand. This is important. So that there is no dilution of the brand experience that consumers.” 
 
“So for us, actually it's about bringing the marketing organisation and the advertising organization even closer together to work in lockstep with AI.” 


FROM SEGMENTATION TO SYNERGY - UNITING YOUR MARKETING TRIBE
Speakers: 
Jaspreet Kaur (Sodexo), Danielle Jin (Visa), Charlene Ree (EternityX), Sudip Saha (Dell Technologies)
Moderator: Robert Sawatzky, Editorial director, Haymarket

Jaspreet Kaur, head of marketing and strategic planning, Sodexo:

We're all human. It's fascinating to discuss B2B customers because, while we collect and analyse data to improve systems and processes, fundamentally, it's all about the human element. In client meetings, I often emphasise how different industries are interconnected. For instance, a corporate decision-maker might also be a customer in another context, highlighting the importance of understanding the human aspect behind every decision.
The key difference between B2B and B2C is the nature of engagement. B2B is data-driven and involves sustained interaction over the years, while B2C requires immediate impact and ongoing engagement to ensure satisfaction.

Sudip Saha, senior director, Global Partner Growth Initiatives, Dell Technologies:
As many of you with extensive experience in the sales journey within marketing roles know, there has been a significant shift in how decision-makers consume content. Sales teams have traditionally emphasised the need for face-to-face, high-touch interactions, but this has changed considerably over the last few years.

Today, B2B decision-makers consume content and make some of their decisions independently, already in their minds. They seek a seamless experience, from online interactions to face-to-face meetings, while seeking consistent brand messaging shared with the entire community.
To address this, we merged our consumer-focused website and Dell Technologies' robust B2B infrastructure solutions, which ranged from solutions for small and medium businesses to data centre sales. Bringing these together was a mammoth task, but it was guided by a lot of science to ensure a seamless customer journey. This is to give them an impression of the big brand.

Danielle Jin, chief marketing officer, Asia Pacific, Visa
Every B2B decision-maker is also a B2C consumer in their daily life. It's crucial to understand that our marketing efforts apply to everyone. While we like to believe we are rational thinkers, studies show that 70% of decisions are emotionally driven. Many people make decisions first and then find ways to rationalise them.
From this perspective, there is a lot of synergy between B2B and B2C marketing. Recognising this emotional aspect can enhance our approach, ensuring we connect more deeply with our audience, regardless of the context in which they make decisions.

Charlene Ree, founder and CEO, EternityX
Sometimes, B2B sales are longer and more complex because of the collective decision-making processes, including procurement and approval. However, the B2B journey is more predictable due to company guidelines. In B2B marketing, we can leverage detailed data analysis and insights to gauge our approach better. So, overall, B2B is more regulated and structured. In comparison, in B2C, the decision-making process is shorter but influenced by dynamic factors.
For B2C clients, we build Customer Data Platforms (CDP) to understand better and influence their decision-making process, providing more insight cycles. While both B2B and B2C rely on data, their approaches differ significantly.

NAVIGATING THE EMERGENCE AND ETHICS OF AI

In a compelling keynote presentation, Hubert Etienne, the global generative AI ethics lead and CEO of Quintessence AI offered insights into the evolution, current trends, and ethical considerations of artificial intelligence (AI).

Shift to connectionist models and the role of marketing

As AI research has progressed, the 2010s have marked a significant shift from symbolic to connectionist models, such as neural networks. This transition has reflected a broader move from rule-based to stochastic models that learn and improve from vast amounts of data. This era also underscores the importance of marketing in AI's evolution. The term "artificial intelligence" was coined not just for its scientific implications but also for its potential to attract funding. Etienne emphasised, "From the very beginning, [AI] was a marketing campaign, a very successful one. Artificial intelligence was a sexy term, mainly used to get funding." This strategic naming played a critical role in securing the investments necessary for advanced research and development.

Generalisation and accessibility of modern AI

In recent years, AI technologies have become more generalised and multimodal, capable of integrating various data types (text, images, video) into cohesive, functioning systems. Etienne emphasised how the real leap in AI's societal integration has its increased accessibility and usability, allowing more people to leverage AI in diverse contexts.

Ethical, social, and regulatory considerations

With AI's integration into everyday life come significant ethical and social challenges. Etienne highlighted issues like data privacy, the potential for bias in AI algorithms, and the broader impacts on societal norms and individual behaviors. These concerns necessitate robust ethical guidelines and regulatory frameworks tailored to specific applications and contexts. Etienne advocates for a nuanced approach, stating, "Ethics in AI isn't just about how data is gathered and models are built, but about how these models are applied in the real world. It’s context-sensitive; fairness and accountability must be evaluated based on where and for whom the AI is used."

Looking ahead

Etienne's keynote underlined that the ongoing dialogue about AI will revolve not just around technological capabilities, but also the ethical frameworks in the future—and that must guide its development and use. As AI continues to evolve, he stated its imperative that these discussions move in tandem, addressing both the potential and the pitfalls of these transformative technologies.

Snapshots from the DV Power List lunch with leading brand CMOs

DAY ONE

HOW TO OWN THE FUTURE
Speaker: 
Cindy Gallop

Cindy Gallop, the prolific founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn, delivered a compelling, provocative, yet insightful keynote session on transforming aspirational culture and enhancing brand desirability. Gallop shared six essential principles for mastering the future of branding.

These are:

  1. Reinvent aspirations
  2. Embrace radical simplicity
  3. Tap the talent you have
  4. Welcome the female lens
  5. Show your value
  6. Make people love advertising

Gallop stressed the importance of challenging traditional gender roles and stereotypes in advertising, advocating for a more inclusive and creative agency model. She also underscored the need for safe spaces for women and encouraged women to assert their value in the industry.

 “There’s a huge amount of money to be made out of taking women seriously. Women challenge the status quo because we are never it”

Gallop talked about celebrating age and using it as a source of inspiration rather than hiding or dismissing it. She shared, “I tell everyone how old I am as often as possible. I believe the opposite of what people usually say to counter that age is just a number. I disagree. Your age is a very special number. Because your age is the total of you. Your age is the total of all your experience and all your expertise. Everything you do live to date; your age is what makes you valuable.”

Gallop proposed a new advertising approach that prioritises mutual understanding and respect between advertisers and consumers while embracing radical simplicity and creativity. “I’m a big fan of radical simplicity. I like to keep things very, very simple.”

Gallop shared how advertising nowadays is often used in a way where people need to be persuaded, controlled, tricked, blackmailed, and deceived to watch it. She shared, “We must make people love advertisements in general. If we want to have a full, lucrative, and creative future. And I'm here to tell you that that is entirely possible.”

DOES THE HOLY TRINITY OF MARKETING (CREATIVITY, EFFECTIVENESS, BUSINESS GROWTH) REALLY EXIST? 

Nausicaa Charrier, marketing and communication director - Singapore and Malaysia, Moet Hennessy (LVMH): 
 
“Ultimately, we truly believe in human connection. We are in the in the same business in the hospitality business, so it's a people business. So we are about celebration, connection, partying, enjoying a drink together. So, AI will never be something on which we rely to create those emotions. It can be a means to an end, and it can enhance how we will connect with the audience. But it’s a tool.” 
 
Vivian Koh, director of marketing for Asia Pacific, Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts: 
 
“Consumers have access to so many more channels. Now there is media that is self-produced. For us it’s about travel influencers on Instagram and TikTok. All of these require attention and to be nimble enough to adjust the messaging and speak to the consumer. Their mindset when they’re looking at TikTok, Instagram and Facebook is quite different. The execution is faster and requires working with different types of influencers. Fundamentally all the basics haven’t changed but what has changed is speed and execution.” 
 
Madhav Nayak, CMO, Yum! Brands (KFC Greater Asia) 
 
“We believe in breaking category norms, but respecting platform rules. What I mean by that is we want to stand out from the competition. We want to be uniquely identified as KFC and we want our chicken to be seen as different from whatever else the competition offers. But that said, we also operate on a platform and a channel ecosystem that has certain rules. So, as we build our our creative assets, and we activate our brand on different channels, we not only respect those rules, but they also help us fine-tune our storytelling to what works on that media”  
 
Alberico de Nardis di Prata, head of APAC, LoopMe 
 
“Don't do new things just for the sake of it. Innovation needs to be meticulously planned, just like everything else in our diaries. Really create that innovation agenda and know what we're looking to drive, be able to measure it accurately. Don't be scared of testing. Hold true to your distinctive brand assets at the same time and make it all work for you accordingly.” 


WHO RUNS THE WORLD? HOW GLOBAL BRANDS ARE LEADING IN ASIA
Speakers: Mandy Mak (Subway), Kok Hwee Ng (Zespri International), Matthias Blume (The Coca-Cola Company), moderator: Robert Sawatzky (Campaign editorial director)

Speaking on global marketing strategies and local adaptations, the panel drew on experiences from various multinational brands including Subway, Zespri International, and Coke.

Blume (vice president of marketing for Coca-Cola ASEAN and South Pacific) highlighted the need to transcend geographical boundaries, focusing on cultural relevance and subcultures rather than just the traditional demographics, sharing that "human insight is the same across the world"—underlining a global commonality in consumer behaviour. He also noted that he never pursues a marketing strategy "if it's not relevant to the consumer". 

Mak (senior director, marketing and transformation, Asia Pacific, Subway) discussed the 'Eat fresh, feel good' campaign by Subway, which evolved from a functional claim to a more emotional brand positioning and was adopted globally. She stressed the importance of maintaining brand consistency while allowing local markets the autonomy to adapt messaging, to manage production budgets effectively.

Kok Hwee (global marketing general manager, Zespri) explored how consumer segmentation extends beyond geographical lines, focusing instead on attitudes and values. She noted the importance of targeting "possibility seekers" and engaging with consumer communities or "tribes" for more effective marketing.

Overall, the session illustrated how global narratives and local nuances must be balanced to effectively engage consumers worldwide, leveraging insights and adapting strategies to meet diverse market demands. The discussion underscored the evolving roles of global and local teams in a region as diverse as Asia, and the imperative for crafting compelling marketing narratives and executing them with cultural sensitivity.


"Attention Antidote Theatre" – an engaging showcase of strategies designed for our short attention spans and multi-tasking minds.

‘BANKING HASN'T HAD ITS VANGUARD MOMENT IN INNOVATION' 
Speaker: Shayan Hazir, chief digital officer, HSBC and Rahat Kapur, editor, Campaign Asia-Pacific

"Financial services as an industry is centuries old and it has evolved over time but so has the regulation and risk around it. Risk mitigation and awareness are crucial in everything we do. The financial technology industry, or FinTech community, has the advantage of starting from scratch. HSBC, for example, is a 150-year-old brand with legacy systems, like many large global institutions. This makes agility challenging, but it also positions us well to collaborate with agile fintechs and startups in the ecosystem.

Now to answer the question about addressing the problem of legacy technology to build and an innovative platform—I would say, it is important to work closely with regulators and governments.  

As an international bank in 65 markets with 6,900 offices, we have influence and a voice in the industry. This enables discussions on open data, creating policies and regulations that allow for safe innovation in sandbox environments. In Singapore, for instance, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is one of the most progressive regulators globally. They offer numerous opportunities for industry collaboration on blockchain, digital assets, sustainability platforms, and artificial intelligence. This collaborative approach allows for safe testing, learning, and policy influence, fostering innovation," Shayan Hazir, chief digital officer, HSBC. 


REWRITING THE RULES: A NEW ERA OF THE AGENCY-BRAND PARTNERSHIP
Speaker: Matt Shoult, founder and CEO, Maker Lab

Work that could have been of much better quality is compromised daily due to the draining cycle of negativity and poor posture. There's zero motivation in the workplace. We are all tired, and it's not our fault—we are stuck in a stifling system. The creative industry exists because of you, the client, who has a commercial problem needing a creative solution. Yet, the system stifles creativity, and the more stifled the creators are, the more the work suffers. My frustrations have grown working within this system, and I have considered moving to another agency, only to realise that the same frustrations are likely to follow. This has led me to lose all meaning in my process and management.


CONVERSATIONS THAT COUNT: AUGMENTING HUMAN CONNECTIONS AND TRANSFORMING BUSINESS INTERACTIONS
Speaker: Felix Leong, senior director of sales at Vonage

Business messaging is crucial, especially given the relevance of platforms like WhatsApp. We've been enhancing capabilities in this area because customers appreciate the convenience of engaging with businesses on familiar channels, not just for service-related interactions but for marketing communications and content as well.

We need to consider the entire customer lifecycle—discovery, purchase, sales, and loyalty, including upsells. 

We've set up different triggers to deliver timely, relevant, and personalised communications through WhatsApp or similar platforms. This approach leverages AI to utilise first-party data effectively, ensuring the content is pertinent and action-oriented.

The impact of this strategy is measurable. We attribute specific outcomes to these communications, helping us understand their effectiveness in driving engagement. This allows us to optimize how we reach out to customers across different channels.

Focusing specifically on WhatsApp, we explore how these digital interactions can complement physical experiences, such as in-store engagements, creating a seamless bridge between online and offline touchpoints.

Source:
Campaign Asia

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