Faaez Samadi
Aug 21, 2017

Delivering ROI, local insights…and meals: Foodpanda's growth recipe

Foodpanda marketing head Laura Kantor explains how speed and tight marketing strategy are essential to succeed in the highly competitive and rapidly growing food-delivery industry.

Laura Kantor
Laura Kantor

The demand for speedy decision-making and execution provides both the challenge and the excitement in today’s food-delivery market, according to Foodpanda CMO Laura Kantor.

With the meteoric rise of delivery companies such as Singapore-born Foodpanda in just the last few years, Kantor says her job leading the marketing and communications strategy is never boring.

“With more players in the space than ever before, it's a really competitive and exciting industry,” she told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “One of the things I love most about this role is the ability to come up with an idea, make a decision and execute, sometimes in the same day. We are expected to move quickly and the company sets ambitious targets for us so it's a really challenging role.”

Having held both agency and brand side roles previously in the UK, Sydney and Singapore, at Bupa and Ogilvy & Mather, Kantor said the dynamism in her current role is unlike anything that has come before it.

“I spent a few months working in strategy during my time at Bupa, and while it was intellectually challenging and interesting, I always felt that the final output, nine times out of 10, was a Powerpoint presentation,” she said. “The ability to come up with an idea and actually see it executed—either on video, social media or an activation—is really rewarding.”

As part of global brand Delivery Hero, Foodpanda operates in nine Asia-Pacific markets: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Brunei, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Pakistan. Kantor said the majority of digital buys and strategy are centralised in Berlin, which handles 19 markets, and this works in favour of the local markets.

“Centralising our digital marketing has made us a lot more effective and efficient globally, leaving local teams to really focus on on-ground activation and PR,” she explained. “With presence in so many markets, our focus has been on aligning all markets so there is clear brand consistency, direction and planning.”

For Kantor, that means localising content, brand positioning and activations across Asia’s diverse markets. Unsurprisingly, the most significant difference in local consumer behaviour relates to the food itself.

“For example, in Singapore, we launched 24/7 delivery a few months ago as we saw our customers opting for more 'supper' orders, and wanted to offer a portfolio of restaurants to cater for them,” she said.

“Malaysia did the same to cater for the late night mamak crowds. However, not all APAC markets offer late-night delivery.” 

Building on this local theme, Kantor said this year Foodpanda Malaysia tailored a campaign for Ramadan, based on local insights, to support women not only through food, but also with tips and information that they needed throughout the Muslim holy month.

Kantor is well aware of the competition posed by rivals UberEats and Deliveroo, and said Foodpanda’s position as a local brand helps it stand out.

“Despite the competition, we've been able to maintain and grow our market share because we really understand the needs of our customers and offer them exactly what they want," she said. "It's as simple as that. We also work with other markets very closely to understand the various food trends and anticipate them here [in Singapore].”

Data is key to Foodpanda’s rapid marketing strategy. Kantor said the brand is “very ROI driven”, with every strategic campaign—whether online or an on-the-ground activation—is measured and tracked.

“This definitely helps us to make decisions confidently and accurately in such a fast-paced environment,” she explained.

In the region, Kantor said Foodpanda mostly handles its marketing efforts in-house, although it retains PR agency W Asia and has worked with Ogilvy and Havas in the past.

Top of her agenda right now is improving customer experience, and Foodpanda is launching a new app in the next month or so with new functionality to enhance user experience.

“I'd honestly say there are more opportunities than challenges right now,” she said. “The food delivery business in Singapore is growing so fast that the potential for Foodpanda is huge.”

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