Campaign360 has wrapped. The one-of-a-kind, two-day industry event at Singapore's Ritz Carlton focused on brand experience and the new expectations placed on CMOs to deliver exceptional and effortless experiences to their customers.
Topics included earning customer trust, aligning internally to deliver on experiences, engaging through pop culture and life-centricity, avoiding greenwashing, leveraging AI, solving data problems, and integrating offline experiences with digital.
Plus, Campaign unveiled its much-anticipated APAC CMO Power List for 2023 on day one, while day two featured original research on Southeast Asia's top 50 brands measured through a customer experience lens.
Below are some notable quotes from the event speakers. Look out for full articles by Campaign's editorial team on select sessions.
CAMPAIGN 360 DAY 2
Top 50 Brands
Which brands are leading the way in Southeast Asia and who will come out on top? Campaign Asia-Pacific and research partner Milieu Insight showcased the region's top brands across quality, brand touchpoints, buying experience, CX and advocacy. The full list and in-depth exclusive analysis of the brands can be read here.
Reliability and responsibility in the age of scepticism
Establishing brand trust
Our product is rooted in culture and heritage that goes back 10, 20, 30, 40 years. For us, it's important to have consistency in sustaining that message. It’s really about knowing who you are as a brand, where you came from and always having that ability to back to what was part of your narrative. Ask yourself how your brand can sustain that message at all touch points of what you do and how you engage, regardless if its 50 years ago or 50 years into the future.
- Elijah Kislevitz, Director, marketing, North and South Asia, Vans
I am privileged to work for a company that has a long history of serving customers. It’s a part of our culture and DNA of our company, I also see it as a personal sense of responsibility as a leader. We have over 35,000 stores and 400,000 employees worldwide, so for me, reliability and trust are an enormous sense of responsibility, both for our employees and their families. So everything I do, whether it’s having one-on-one meetings with my team whether it's making some of the difficult decisions I make, it’s quite personal. And it’s not just me, I can tell you for all the leaders at the company feel the same way.
- Erin Silvoy, Vice president, Marketing and Product, Starbucks Asia Pacific
Power of brand (de)influence
I think that the best way for you to cater to your younger audience would be to be interested in things that they're interested in. And I feel like participating in trends is the best way to do that because it shows that you're listening to do what the audience wants to see. Now that's not to say that you have to participate in every trend, right? Because you're not going to be a brand by doing that. You're just going to be another person who's trying to ape it. So I think I should maybe consider choosing brands that are also aligned with my vision and mission.
-Zoe Gabriel, Various brands ambassador, Influencer & Content Creator
The life-changing TikTok
I actually love to write. I read a lot of poetry. I love reading books. And so I've always been on that path. I actually want to say creative writing in university. And that hasn't changed. So it's still going to be something that I want to pursue. But I do think that social media has opened an avenue for me to try out different things and to see if there are other career opportunities that I would like to explore. And I think that film and media are something that I've grown interested in since this whole thing happened. And I don't think that I would have discovered that about myself.
-Zoe Gabriel, Various brands ambassador, Influencer & Content Creator
Debate: Is it too soon to embrace AI or the right time?
The case against AI
"AI has been in the business for years, but for me what changes the debate is generative AI. This is for two reasons: it is trying to mimic human behaviour which is very interesting, but also raises a lot of questions. Number two, it is in the hands of every single one of us. It's really changed the equation and the risks.
Businesses and marketers are ready to sometimes jump onto the next shiny thing. To quote the futurist Roy Amara, ‘We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short term and underestimate it in the long run.’ We really need to think about the actual impact of AI on the business if we take a longer-term view. We are really just at the beginning of the cycle around IOT and AI. Its not that I am questioning the potential: it is about timing. It is not quite time yet."
- Selma El Rhezzali, Global head of brand and media, Home Credit
The case for AI
"Now is the time to invest. You need to learn how to use AI tools. This is the first revolution in about two decades or more, and it’s going to push us miles ahead. These are remarkable tools that have captivated audiences, outpacing the growth of the most popular social media platforms. TikTok took nine months to reach 100 million users; Instagram 2.5 years. For Chat GPT, it took two months.
Its use cases range from copywriting right to writing code. We need to embrace AI marketing as not just a prudent decision but an essential step towards securing a competitive advantage in our ever-evolving world of marketing."
- Nikki Taylor, Marketing growth strategy director APAC, UPS
Move over e-commerce, o-commerce is here
Is omnichannel marketing for everyone?
Last month, I sent out over 600 million emails. An average customer on my platform received around 75 text messages followed by some offers to follow up by a third-party site. I am going to take the shoe off the customer here and think 'Am I getting protected by McAfee with all that or am I getting bombarded by them?' It really begs the question, is too much personalisation really good? The answer is not that simple.
-Neha Dadbhawala, Former director of digital operations, McAfee
Ensuring seamlessness between online and offline channels
When we look at the typical customer journey, we always try to simplify it and make it easy for the customer. That's at the heart of everything Foodpanda undertakes. If you look at the TikTok social trends, you'll notice that these days people want minimal human interaction for a service. Times have changed, self-service is in demand, we pay heed to the evolving landscape and cater to it. Seamlessness in our sector is about simplicity, it's about incorporating these trends in the end-to-end customer journey and making effective changes between the customer and merchant.
-Toni Ruotanen, Director of advertising & partnerships APAC, Foodpanda
Addressing growing online fatigue with offline experiences
- Virginia Loh, Marketing director, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), APAC
I have to be completely honest. Many people had the misconception that when they approach me with a design brief, the initial drawings of the room would perfectly align with the end result. They had specific requests like a striking wallpaper with black lines and neon lights. However, it was my responsibility to communicate with the decorating companies and ensure they understood not only how to execute the design but also the essence and experience we aimed to create. Our goal was to provide the ultimate gaming experience. When you see the pictures of the transformed room, it truly captures that immersive dream-like atmosphere. I have two sons who are avid gamers, and when they witnessed the room in action, they were blown away. It truly delivered the immersive experience we had envisioned. It was like stepping into their gaming fantasies, and that's exactly what we set out to achieve.
- Phil Smith, General manager, Parkroyal Collection Pickering
The emerging trends of AI, specifically in the workspace, shed light on an important question that many employees have asked themselves at some point in their careers: Is it truly worth it? This question has become a key trend that has emerged from extensive research. From a Microsoft perspective, we aim to address this question by leveraging the power of AI and technology. Our goal is to empower everyone, enabling them to accomplish more, make a meaningful impact, and increase their efficiency and effectiveness in their work.
By utilizing AI in the workspace, we strive to provide tools and solutions that enable individuals to be more productive, efficient, and successful. The focus is on utilizing technology to enhance our capabilities, enabling us to give back and contribute to our full potential. Through this perspective, we recognize the potential of AI to transform work experiences and empower individuals to achieve more. By harnessing the capabilities of AI, we can unlock new opportunities and create a future where everyone can thrive in their professional endeavors.
- Sharon Chan, Modern life marketing lead, Microsoft
Defining future-fit CMOs
On building future-focused teams
“I would blow up this entire structural notion of verticals. I use that in the way I drive culture and leadership, coming from the notion of people working in communities and teams. I’ve never worked in a startup, but when you look at the agency model, you really work with teams to facilitate the speed of data through martech and technology. What I wasn’t in my team are constantly curious people and a diversity of skill sets... Gone are the days of ways of looking at agility, but it’s about forming teams of communities to disrupt you before you get disrupted.”
-Siew Ting Foo, Global head, Brand and Insights, HP
On working in leaner times
“There has been an increased emphasis on accountability. Over the past three to four years costs have escalated and put pressure on every dollar that we spend. It's not entirely a bad thing. Yes, there are some difficult decisions that have to be made but you come out feeling leaner and fitter. Prioritization is part of management separating what is essential versus what is discretionary. All marketers here have got these buckets of working spends and non-working spends and in times of plenty they get out of whack. I think these times force us to look at those ratios and bring it down.”
-Neelesh Suryavanshee, Regional CMO, Fonterra
On relating to your CFO
"I think the CFO is your biggest stakeholder and should be your best friend in the organisation as a marketer, You really need to sit down with the CFO because the CFO doesn't understand the language you speak as a marketer. We talked about all the vanity metrics, impressions, likes and shares. They don't mean anything to your CFO, who's eventually writing the cheque and managing the cost. So it becomes really important to translate marketing metrics into three simple terms: relationship, reputation and revenue. We take care of the reputation of the group and we do certain activities that deliver on reputation metrics. We bring revenue by providing new clients and we help you make relationships with the clients. And for the first time, you get acknowledgment from the CFO to say: ‘OK, I understand what you're trying to do.’"
-Saurabh Singhal, Group head of marketing , DBS, IBG
Innovation spotlight—non-invasive ads—what to do in an age of ad adversity?
Evaluate your existing partners, data stacks, and marketing stacks. There are three key aspects we are looking at.
First, evaluate the extent of the first-party data stack in each department or platform, particularly in a cookieless and ideas-driven world where first-party data holds excellent value. It is important not to focus on the numbers solely but also examine the underlying structure of this first-party data. For example, what taxonomies are being utilised to inform the data collection? This aspect holds significant importance.
However, avoid making it overly complex. Instead, assess your partner's coverage in terms of the number of apps and sites they encompass, both on iOS and Android platforms and the languages they support. Again, it is crucial to consider practicality so that the collected data becomes useful rather than useless.
Lastly, we should explore innovative ways to utilise the requested data. For example, data can help us identify devices and locations, and we can also cross-tabulate it with open-source data such as revenues, incomes, and charters across different platforms and regions. This will provide valuable insights for our marketing strategies
- Udara Withana, insights and client strategy director for APAC at Ogury
The Data Overkill
“But the way I look at it is a telescope versus a microscope view. You know, sometimes you need to sit back and have a telescopic view and see what's the big picture. What are those critical things I need to move? And then, for us, I think some of the metrics that I will allow us to make is awareness, especially spontaneous awareness, because I see that makes a difference, some form of brand equity measure, because that keeps your eye going forward.
But then you also need some critical media metrics, and the ultimate truth is obviously the sales that will tell you what's going on. So to be able to do that, have your team focus on the telescope first, see whether you're going in the right direction, but then be able to double click go down the microscope and then say, okay, this is not working. Our impressions are great, but did we get enough clicks? Or was there something wrong with the quality of our creative or engagement etc.?
So getting into the diagnosis that connects, making sense of those numbers, and not taking those numbers as they are and feeling good about it? So I think that the challenge for us is, yes, we have all this data and sometimes we are trying very hard to prove that we have done a good job. But we have to be transparent and we have to take a hard look and see the count, sometimes, it's not working. ”
-Chitkala Nishandar, Director, APAC Marketing Centre, Consumer Business Group,3M
“Fundamentally using data, it's not just about the demographics or any other obvious marketing efforts, but it's really also about coming up with the motivations. This is especially true for the hospitality and travel sector. Marketers need to understand the motivation of their consumers. Why are people travelling? What are they looking for?
As a hospitality company, the harder you work to really fine-tune these details and figure out and give the consumers what they want effortlessly goes a long way. What’s better for your guests is better for business performance.”
-Jeannette Ho, Vice president, Raffles Brand & Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels & Resorts
"Data collection can be an addiction. Why? Because there is always one more piece, one more metric, one more source. The mistake comes from going after every data point rather than assessing for quality and ultimately not having a view of what to do with it. The same applies to technology. Marketers can be swayed by looking to new tech before genuinely understanding what they want to achieve—costing time, effort and driving distraction. We always advocate for the fundamentals that remain true. Define your data purpose and rationalise your investment based on the expected return. Set the focus and the impact will come."
-Richard Brosgill CEO, APAC, Assembly
Competing on innovation in the age of AI
AI getting creative one meal at a time
Let’s go all the way to Chile and talk about NotCo. It is a business that makes plant-based alternatives for many different types of food including milk and meat products. Today it competes with international brands like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. But it all started with an AI-centric approach on what’s called Giuseppe. Now, the founders loaded structures of around 400,000 plants to this software and asked it to replicate the plant-based version of mayo. Initially, it started spouting ridiculous ideas such as putting pineapples and cabbage together to get diary from it. But over time Giuseppe becomes faster and slicker with its suggestions. It took 10 months to make the plant-based version of mayo, but the founders got ambitious. They went on to develop NotChicken and traditional fried chicken recipes, which were then launched in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile.
- Ayesha co-founder and CEO, Addo AI
AI in healthcare
AI is fundamentally changing things so much that there's a new umbrella under healthcare called Digital Therapeutics. Imagine if there is a heart patient in the hospital, if the doctor doesn’t manually turn the medicine up and down, the patient will have a coronary event in the next couple of days. So now, personalised healthcare can use AI beyond the Apple Watch to intersect digitally with a patient's health records. This intersection manages to reduce chronic heart disease conditions by 70%. So basically, right now, the device and the artificial intelligence in it is the one that is telling the doctor what to do and eventually one day it will do it without the doctor.
- Ayesha co-founder and CEO, Addo AI
CAMPAIGN 360 DAY 1
The complexity tax of the online world makes decision-making difficult
We help customers to like us and hopefully buy our stuff. It’s important to understand that helping people decide now means being relevant and relevance changes constantly.
All our connections with our friends and families, our financial and political life, and our life as consumers and as brand lovers has been collected in a way which has created lots of strange behaviour. You can't just think about a customer as being a pure economic atom in your universe. They are connected to other things. Unless you understand how they live in the world, it's really difficult to be relevant to them. What adds to this is we underestimate the complexity tax of all these new tools.
The last brand ad that Apple did was ‘Think Different’ and the only reason Steve Jobs did that was because when he came back to Apple, they had no products. Every single ad since the iMac which has built the most valuable brand in the world is a product ad. It is a heightened demonstration with a reason to buy something. Meanwhile, we have this Pavlovian response by brand advertisers, which goes straight to these bloated metaphors, these big anthem ads which make me feel something, but I don't know why I would act. One of the problems with performance marketing isn't that it isn't smart. And isn’t that it is not reaching people. It just hasn't been dignified with craft, clarity and concept.
- Nick Law, Creative chairperson, Accenture Song
Street cred for your brand: building experiences by tapping into popular culture
“Look for those threads in the history of your brand that genuinely add value and meaning to the lives of consumers. Understand the insights and needs of your consumers and how you're tapping into them. And lastly, don't be afraid to tap into their passion points that can help bring your brand to life and create those memorable moments that matter. And the reason to do that is because you know I strongly believe this: They might forget everything else you did. They won't forget how you and your brand made them feel. ”
-Kaajal Shivdasani, Marketing director, Global Emerging Markets (GEMs), General Mills
Winning with emails: how to gain competitive intelligence from email
“With all due respect to further, I'm going to suggest another spectrum to it, which is competitive intelligence. It’s important because research does show that you can generate up to three times more revenue just by using competitive intelligence to create your competitive advantage. So what are the current sources of competitive intelligence or advantage that brands have shared with us that they use? One is obviously market research. It's no surprise that email is not because traditionally, email has been a channel that is more like notifications of transactional messages, and that's what we do it for and personalise it. As you can see from the stats over here, every marketing team in the world uses email marketing, even in 2022. It's one of the best performing just because the costs related to it are relatively equal. So it represents a massive market, a massive opportunity. And we are going to change the way you look at email.”
-Danielle Ong, Head APAC Sales, MessageBird
The case against bluewashing
“If only the marketing team is involved, but the supply chain has no idea what’s going on the finance team are not involved, chances are it’s going to be blue washing.”
-Peilin Lee, head of marketing, Nespresso
“As an individual be skeptical of marketing slogans and do the research yourself. Really look into the company. As an individual customer you must be a watchdog - you must hold companies and marketers to account. [Brands] have be able to back up claims with data. It’s as simple as that.”
-Keith Morrison, director, regional marketing – APAC, India, EMEA & LATAM, Black & Veatch
“Lead with transparency...it’s not something you can do in a day as a brand and it does require significant time investments.... Blue and green washing is where you’re overstating what you do. But I think instead of overstate, instead over communicate."
-Ji Ching Tang, APAC category head, feminine care, Kimberly-Clark
On why brands might stand up for a cause
“When we think about activism, we think of our key audience is and what they care about when it comes to the issues they face in the world. The Body Shop identified youth as a key part of our audience, but whether it's political conversation or climate change policies or even lowering the voting age, those are also topics that our consumers are concerned about as well. They want to be part of those conversations too.”
-Felicia Sun, head of brand and activism, The Body Shop
Embracing the beast: why complexity is not always bad
One of the big decisions our founding CMO made many years ago was to bring all insights in-house. We handle everything from surveys to user data, chat analytics, and more because that's the core of marketing. Without these inputs, the ads and outputs wouldn't be as effective.
We established this in-house team six years ago, and now they conduct approximately 1,300 studies per year, along with numerous ad hoc projects. In addition, four times a year, they run exploratory group hypotheses in six countries involving seven teams.
In addition to these studies, we are also considering expanding into a service. Everyone needs timely insights, preferably within 10 hours or less. Moreover, we strive to provide high-quality data with sample sizes of up to 9,000, focusing on specific income levels or demographic segments.
This level of quality can be achieved by concentrating on specific areas, such as regular fancy items for a particular day. By offering on-demand services, we eliminate the need for lengthy processes and delays. With live data, live personas, and live traits, our in-house capabilities empower marketing in various ways. We can create compelling advertisements and establish thought leadership, develop new products, and generate micro insights, such as determining food preferences for upcoming ads.
- Sulin Lau, Regional head of marketing and brand, Grab
Building customer trust with exceptional brand experiences
What are the hot things to do for brands today? One thing that will never change, even during uncertainty, is the importance of connecting with your consumers and building trust. Amazon Ads summarised three key ingredients on how to build brand trust through:
- Shared values
The first campaign shared is called ‘Love Has No Labels’.
“Consumers are paying dollars for the brands to champion what they believe in and they want the brand to communicate those messages across different channels. That is where Amazon ads can help. Not only that we can help you to find the shared values between your consumers and Amazon customers. But also we can help you to reach them effectively in a creative way.”
-Verona Huang, Head of brand marketing, Amazon Ads China
The second one shared is a Coca-Cola partnership campaign.
“You might know Amazon is the place as an ecommerce marketplace, but we actually go beyond that. We actually have properties that will come back to your audience, from watching videos, watching audio, listening to music, listening to a podcast, or even reading on your Kindle. We have touchpoints that are so diverse that help you connect to consumers of all sorts. Moreover, with first-party insight, our insight-driven solutions will actually help you engage audiences where they are actually spending time and when they're most receptive.
-Steven To, Head of growth marketing, Amazon Ads Asia
Anticipate consumer needs to create a great experience
There's a new paradigm of convenience without compromise. If you can give people back time to do stuff that's more important in their lives, that's a great proposition. My advice is to anticipate consumer needs before they surface or get articulated. If you anticipate those needs, you can create memorable experiences.
- Shekar Khosla, Chief commercial officer (sales, marketing & digital transformation), APAC, Africa & Middle East, Kellogg’s company
Generative AI is coming and I don't think the choice will be left with us. It is better that we dive in headfirst, but obviously not treat it as the next big shiny object. We should go back to the consumer, understand what she wants, and see if AI serves a purpose in satisfying her needs and then move on.
- Umesh Phadke, Chief transformation officer, L'Oreal
People are looking for experiences over things, and are becoming a lot more intentional about what they want to see. There is a lot more focus on the self and wanting to find joy in exploration of the world. People want to live much more enriched lives. Compared to 2019, spend on experiences has grown by 65%; it's just 12% on things. We bought everything during COVID: home, gyms, dogs… And I think now that people can get out, it's really about travelling.
- Julie Nestor, Executive VP, marketing and communications, Asia Pacific, Mastercard
A 'marketoonist' on change being the only constant for marketers
"Covid...web3...ChatGPT, it’s a non-stop series of changes that we have to adapt to, to take full advantage of all the changes at our disposal so that we can deliver on customer experience."
It means marketing is constantly being reworked, as one of his cartoons points out:
- 'This year, we're disrupting how we do marketing,'
- 'Didn't we do that last year?'
- 'Last year, we transformed marketing'
- 'No, that was two years ago.'
- 'Ohh right, we're reinventing marketing.'
- 'It's about time.'
"What we do as marketers is constantly about change. It's hard to keep pace with all of that."
-Tom Fishburne, founder and author, Marketoonist
On holistic CX
“Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department. Ultimately, customer experience relates to so many different functional groups that are not represented In this room. And we have to think about the full totality of the customer experience and that involves how we impact and liaise with other aspects of the organization. How we bring the consumer in the room and ultimately find ways to make things happen is to break down barriers.”
-Tom Fishburne, founder and author, Marketoonist
(Quotes in this live blog have been edited for brevity and clarity.)