General business outlook
- Asia-Pacific is where global brands will see growth in 2014.
- China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam will continue to be leading growth as more brands look to secure footprints in their market economies, and consumers are eager to adopt new brands and more Western practices.
- In more advanced markets like New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, we’ll see a bounce back from a slower than expected 2013.
- Our clients will be growing marketing spend in 2014 by 20 per cent.
- They are already spending more of their budget on online marketing, including search, social, display, branded content, mobile and e-commerce, but will dedicate more budget in 2014 to branded content.
Opportunities and challenges for marketers
- It’s a very exciting time for brands. People are open to interacting and engaging with brands on an intimate level. Consumers actually want to buy into products that they have a relationship with; they identify with brands which have purpose; they want to understand and relate to what brands stand for; they are looking for Lovemarks.
- Ideas remain at the centre of all big brand ideas. Without an idea, a communication is meaningless.
- Marketers will need to learn to use the appropriate channels of connection to create meaningful and valuable content that resonates with people on a greater individual level.
- The growth of big data has enabled consumers to expect personalization from brands; what brands need to do is master how to incite and harness Big Emotion.
- Video and film as storytelling mediums—be it long form or a 30 second or three minute television ad—will remain the catalytic communications media to activate consumer action. A compelling story realized in film will crush text and search as effective communication. Name one adword that launched a revolution. Sisomo—sight, sound and motion—remains the most gripping combination of communication.
- Velocity is going to be something to be reckoned with in 2014—the speed in which great ideas need to get to market, how quickly consumers will voluntarily feedback into brands, and the overall demand for interesting content people can share and build on.
- Brand plans are too restrictive for this new environment. The moment is what counts and we need to learn to quickly assess the sentiment of our audiences, develop and turnaround touch points for interaction with our consumers.
Advice for marketers
- The saying that the “Consumer is Boss” is never more true than today and into the future. Consumers are driving the conversation and to really engage with them on a meaningful level that sees—not only returns in revenue, but increased loyalty—brands need to create moments of experience. They need to harness the world-changing capability of creativity to produce emotional moments that people want to share and be involved in.
- Be brave: It’s up to companies, not government, to get us back on track as a global economy.
- Throw out your marketing plan and look to create experiences in the moment.
- Treat your consumers like family. Love them, celebrate with them, and make them the ones that matter.
Chris Foster is chairman and regional CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Asia-Pacific