Faaez Samadi
Aug 17, 2017

Top 1000 Brands briefing: 4 key takeaways (and photos)

Insights into Samsung’s lessons learned, downplaying tech, paying agencies better, video ad fraud.

Four insights gleaned from yesterday's Top 1000 Brands Breakfast Briefing in Singapore.  

1. Samsung was “on fire” in “a very difficult year”

What is the key learning when recovering from the biggest brand crisis your company has faced to date? For Samsung, it was open and honest communication, according to Irene Ng, vice president of corporate marketing at Samsung Electronics SEA.

Ng said the Note7 disaster taught the company a lot about transparency, which ultimately led to its remarkable recovery with the launch of the Galaxy 8 series earlier this year. “[The crisis] was unprecedented for the company at all levels,” she said, “from the CEO and board down to the ground level. Social media was on fire during the product recall.

“So the whole company understood what it was to overcome the crisis, by being very open and honest with our consumers.” This required a shift in business culture, Ng said, as the idea of a Korean mega-conglomerate sharing internal information “was not easy”.

“But you have to embrace the change in the communications landscape,” she said. “You can’t hide, consumers want information now.”

2. Tech: Don’t believe (all) the hype

While it’s clear that technology is a leading pillar in driving unprecedented change, both societally and within the marketing industry, Regan Leggett, executive director of thought leadership and foresight at Nielsen, warned us all not to get too carried away with the possibilities of the future.

Amid all the talk of smart homes, the internet of things, driverless cars and whatever else, Leggett reminded delegates that, particularly across Asia-Pacific, none of this works if you don’t have the pipes in place first.

“There’s a lot of hype in the media about all the various new technology for the future,” he said. “But right now, only 50 percent of the globe has access to the internet.” So yes, it’s important to look ahead, but not at the expense of losing sight of what is happening right now.

3. You want good work? Pay better

A refreshingly frank Richard Bleasdale, APAC managing partner at The Observatory, showed that if brands want to get the best out of agencies, they should stick with them and pay well.

From evaluating all the partnerships entered into the Agency Marketer Partnership awards over the past four years, Bleasdale found the best performing APAC agency-brand relationships were five years or longer, and with fees of US$10 million or more annually.

“It’s fee-based remuneration based on performance, and agencies are being rewarded above the industry norm,” he stated.

This creates a partnership based on “commitment and cooperation,” Bleasdale added. Other important factors included work that has a pan-APAC scope, and empowering agencies to act as a brand’s business consultant.

4. Big fraud in video ads? Of course

Much as we’d like to hope, “ad fraudsters aren’t stupid”, said Niall Hogan, SEA managing director at Integral Ad Science. With the rise and rise of ad fraud across all channels, Hogan said he was a little surprised when people are surprised that some of the biggest fraud takes place with video ads.

“Fraudsters are looking for the best way to make their lives easier, and that is obviously video ad fraud, because they’re targeting the biggest markets with the biggest CPMs,” he explained. CPMs in video are five times higher than in display, Hogan said, so for fraudsters it’s a no-brainer.

Speaking more broadly about ad safety, Hogan said keywords are not enough to protect a brand. As an example, he highlighted one pornographic website that would not be excluded as an unsafe environment by any keyword-related safety strategy that brands use.

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