Byravee Iyer
Sep 21, 2016

War room empowers social buzz

Mindshare sees its expanding network of ‘Loop’ rooms and ‘adaptive marketing’ support structure as crucial to stepping up a gear, from intermediate agency to principal partner.

War room empowers social buzz

When India clashed with Australia in the Cricket World Cup semi-final last year, every marketer in the country wanted a piece of the action—Kellogg’s chose to pour its resources into a ‘war room’ in a bid to tap into India’s vibrant social media culture.

Kellogg’s social-media newsroom at the Mumbai office of its agency Mindshare bustled with activity that day, with 10 people from the brand’s creative, media and marketing team gathered there. Ideas, opinions and on-the-fly creatives flew thick and fast. There were multiple formats and campaign ideas that involved customising contests and building response-based content on the go. 

Twitter feeds, social media management dashboards and the actual game flashed across large screens on the walls of the room, while media and creative teams huddled over their laptops outside executing the ideas. 

India may have lost the match, but the campaign created massive buzz, including 77,100 impressions in a day, an average 550 replies to tweets Kellogg’s posted, and a 1.9 percent engagement rate. 

The initiative was one of the first uses of Mindshare’s ‘Loop Room’, a service the agency introduce as part of its wider efforts to transition and grow its “adaptive marketing” approach as a market differentiator. This physical space monitoring everything happening in the market across paid, earned and owned media channels, is part of an umbrella of digital services the agency offers to clients called The FAST (Future Adaptive Specialist Team) Hub. 

Looped: A bank of large screens allow the room to monitor and control multiple streams of social and traditional media.

Its genesis goes back to the formation of Data Alliance, a cross-company organisation that acquires data for all WPP agencies. While data became easily available globally, emerging markets in Asia were a different story. FAST was established with the aim of consolidating all data sources at a regional level and letting individual markets manage execution.

Spread across Singapore, Shanghai, London, New York and Mexico, FAST is designed for clients with centralised needs. Its other service verticals include programmatic, performance, attribution and big data. The service aims to build sector-specific solutions for marketers across five areas: consumer packaged goods (CPG), banking, consumer healthcare, telecoms and automotive.

Mindshare set up FAST with a view to assembling the best technology stack to manage digital advertising operations, while allowing for constant experimentation and agility. “We want to test ideas by experiment and observation, build on those ideas that pass the test and reject the ones that fail,” says Gowthaman Ragothaman, chief operating officer, Mindshare Asia-Pacific. “We will follow the evidence wherever it leads and question everything. That is the new world order.”

This means using all sources of data (first-, second- and third-party) to segment and analyse consumers, then using look-alike modelling, to target new people that behave in a similar way to current customers, and serve them dynamic creatives programmatically. Finally, advanced attribution analytics are incorporated to measure campaign effectiveness.

Unilever was the first to jump on the FAST bandwagon, using it for the programmatic function. HSBC is using Mindshare for its performance business; Pepsi and GSK have signed on to use the programmatic vertical. 

For GSK it was the promise of integrating real-time programmatic data, attribution and big data “to build a strategic layer over assembly line execution” that drew the company in. “We see FAST as one of the key factors to drive significant market effectiveness,” says Qaiser Bachani, director media, Asia, Middle East and Africa, for GSK.

GSK is currently working with Mindshare on Panadol in Malaysia to identify new pockets of market growth in the highly penetrated category. Bachani says the initiative is making the company’s existing marketing team work harder to build evidence-based insights. It is, he says, also helping regional and local marketing teams “co-own” a project from concept to execution, equally.

While it is still too early to build a full case study, Bachani says GSK is happy with the initial results, particularly in the area of identifying new micro segments of consumers that have never been tapped before. “Given the early signs of success, we are in discussions with Mindshare to expand this programme to other brands in the region.”

Arun Mehra, PepsiCo’s director, media and consumer engagement, says FAST has given the brand benefits of scale it wouldn’t normally enjoy locally, while also gaining access to key talent pool and technology partners in a range of markets. “We are excited about the prospects this throws open for us and are keenly awaiting the first few results.”

For Mindshare, the biggest benefit has been perception: moving from an intermediary agency to a principal partner. “It has moved us from right of centre to the centre and we’re talking about delivering an ultimate sale,” says Ragothaman. 

More tangibly, it has tapped additional revenue streams, both with existing as well as new clients. 

“This is the big opportunity for Mindshare to provide a seamlessly stitched-up service across the entire data value chain,” he says. 

Breakout: The relaxed mood in Mindshare’s Mumbai office is conducive to informal brainstorming sessions.

Most of Mindshare’s clients are global and tend to have a three-year pitch record. As a result, these new services are typically out of the scope of current contracts, meaning clients need to conduct a separate review to have it added onto the contract. 

The initiative also got a shot in the arm following EDB’s support. Investments such as this fit nicely within EDB’s broader goal of developing data analytics as a core capability in Singapore, says Clarence Chua, director, professional services, EDB. “Investments such as the FAST Hub will catalyse demand and build new jobs in adjacent sectors, from clients, to publishers, and even the various start-ups that Mindshare interacts with,” Chua says. “We are on track to meeting our target of developing a pool of 2,500 data analytics professionals in Singapore by 2017. We also expect that data analytics will add S$1 billion to our economy by then.”

Still, Mindshare does face some challenges, particularly around rolling out the initiative in individual markets. For now, Mindshare Singapore keeps the consultative layer around technology and data partnerships, while campaign-planning and management are done from the markets. 

“There’s a better sense of capabilities in Singapore compared to individual markets,” says Ragothaman. “One year down the line all markets should be FAST ready. My view is that digital acceleration will take care of that by itself and we have no choice but to train people.”

Some FAST solutions from the Singapore hub are being deployed in Malaysia, most notably its data-management process. The media agency has rolled out The Loop Room in 55 offices. By the end of the year there will be a Loop Room in every Mindshare office.

Kurkure hits back at extra sweetness over diwali festival

Snack brand intercepted seasonal sweetness with wave of sassy spice on social media

During last year’s Diwali festival, PepsiCo’s snack brand Kurkure launched a campaign to encourage people to avoid the usual overdose of sweets, and embrace their ‘chatpata’ (hot-and-sour) side.

The campaign included TVCs, outdoor and print, but lacked social media buzz. PepsiCo and Mindshare decided to introduce ‘Mission interception’. Using the ‘Loop Room’ and working closely with Unmetric, Radian6, Twitter and Google, the team monitored social conversations. The plan was to intercept both fixed and agile conversations. Part of that included hijacking Maggi’s controversial return with its own social media posts and taking on rival Coca-Cola’s ‘Open happiness’ tagline. It also took a dig at Tanishq’s sweet Diwali messaging and even tapped into new movie releases. 

‘Chatpata’ generated 380,000 conversations on social media and reached 115 million people. Kurkure was the only FMCG brand in Facebook’s top 5 brands by volume of conversation in November 2015. The company claims “brand love” increased by three points over three months.

Disruption… Kurkure went guerrilla over the traditional festival, hijacking rival brands’ social media posts to push its ‘chatpata’ flavours.


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