Rahul Sachitanand
Nov 5, 2020

How marketers embrace ecommerce and make their brand stand out

ASIA'S TOP 1000 BRANDS WEBINAR: Brands need to devise unique communication plans to interest consumers tired of stale content, top executives from Shopee, TripAdvisor and Celtra tell us.

How marketers embrace ecommerce and make their brand stand out

As marketers have looked for new ways to keep their brands above water during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have rushed online to cater to confined consumers, who are dealing with varying degrees of home confinements and lockdowns across Asia. As these brands have crowded online, they have had to jostle for mindspace with consumers, who are facing a deluge of creative work and communication from brands keen to make an impression online, and may be tiring of being flooded with seemingly repetitive content from these companies. 

Despite this push to remain fresh, marketers also face the tough market realities of operating during a global pandemic. Content demands keep climbing but budgets and resources are flat, as CMOs rethink how they spend their constrained budgets and are keen on making sure they get the biggest bang for their buck in these difficult times. 

"A lot of brands are finding it difficult to cope with demand for creative content, with so many campaigns and products and different languages and content and the number of formats (they have to be produced for)," says Raushida Vasaiwala, general manager APAC, Celtra. "There is pressure on marketers to create variety at speed and scale." 

To try and figure how brands can manage in this new normal, this webinar spoke to two companies Shopee and TripAdvisor, who have their own ecommerce challenges. In Shopee's case, the brand is racing to keep pace with a flood of orders from shoppers who have shifted their buying online.

For TripAdvisor, the challenge is to look for new ways to do business, as long-haul travel, tourism and hospitality has been hammered by the pandemic. To provide some perspective on how these brands can manage, Celtra, a provider of cloud-based software to automate creative productions, also offered their insights to this discussion. 

Even for a company like TripAdvisor that is reshaping itself, with the travel market under severe strain, the focus is on building out localised content and work with its armada of users to stay relevant. "We are not taking one product or feature across the world, but building solutions for specific markets," says Sarah Mathews, group head of destination marketing APAC, TripAdvisor. "Instead, we have launched Trip Eats in Singapore, which is a source for great food there."

To try to keep pace with this burgeoning demand, ecommerce platforms are leaning on an assortment of strategies to stand out. For example, in the case of Shopee, the southeast Asian ecommerce platform, the shift has been away from using big-ticket endosers to chasing people who have a personality and enduring appeal. Case in point: the campaigns run in Singapore 9/9 and 11/11 with Phua Chu Kang in Singapore, says Pan Huiyan, regional content and community lead, Shopee.

"We want to spark conversations that may not come from us but users themselves," she adds. "Even with new offerings such as livestreaming, this conversation isn't just one-way, but multi-way between consumers and the host and among participants too." While China may have an early start with livestreaming, Shopee is steadily expanding the use of this tool by educating consumers about its benefits. "Vouchers and giveaways needs to mean something to consumers," she adds. 

To be on top of the ecommerce, game, these executives contend that brands and platforms need to constantly evolve their content. For example, in the case of Shopee, it was listening to consumer demand shifting from essentials to a wider basket of work-from-home gear, while for TripAdvisor, it was consumers initially wanting to figure out flight schedules to reach home in the early days of the pandemic, to hopping on the home-baking frenzy and now discussing pet-friendly staycation plans. 

As ecommerce has gone mainstream it is important for marketers to keep plugging away with their creative communication experiments. "Creatives are the first tough point for brands to interact with consumers ... 2021 is going to be about creating great consumer experiences and this is the best way to do it," says Vasaiwala. 

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