Building the Right Bridges for the Future

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Interviews by Rubab Nayeem Khan and Shaikh Ashfaque Zaman
Photographs by Kazi Mukul

Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF) organized the 7th Bangladesh Brand Forum Seminar for 2017, presented by AIUB. The theme for the event was “Branding in Digital Age” and aimed at inspiring the CXOs, Heads of Marketing, Brand Managers, Agency Heads, Operation Heads, Digital Marketing Department and Leaders of Bangladesh to be a part of the digital transition that is going to change Bangladesh in for the future.
Prof. Dr. Charles C. Villanueva, the Pro Vice Chancellor, AIUB started the event with the welcome note of the day. A special note was presented by Syed Mahbubur Rahman, Managing Director & CEO, Dhaka Bank Limited. The opening speech was given by Shariful Islam, the Managing Director & Founder of Bangladesh Brand Forum.
The first keynote session was provided by Hermawan Kartajaya, President, World Marketing Association and the Co-founder of Asia Marketing Federation. The next keynote session was from Debabrata Mukherjee, the Vice President Marketing, Coca-Cola India & Southwest Asia. A panel discussion on “Traditional to Digital: The Organizational Perspective” was held on the next segment of the seminar.
Later in the day, case studies were presented in participation of Indonesia, Philippines and Bangladesh on the topic of “Future of Marketing: Brands Evolving from Traditional to Digital Landscape”. Dr. Hooi Den Huan, Director of the Nanyang Technopreneurship Center & Associate Professor at Nanyang Technological University moderated the session, with participation of Professor Dr. Syed Ferhat Anwar, Professor at IBA-University of Dhaka and Maria Luz E. Javier, the Secretary General – Asia Marketing Federation (AMF) & Former President – Philippine Marketing Association. The next keynote session was by Nigel Hollis, Executive Vice President & Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown on the topic of “Brand Building in the Digital Age”. The last keynote session was by Salvador Lopez Jimenez, Professor at ESADE Business School who is also a renowned rock musician of Spain.
The event was powered by Dhaka Bank Limited and Beximco in association with The Daily Star and was supported by Yellow, Bangladesh Edible Oil Limited and Rahimafrooz Solar. The event partner was Le Meridien, Etihad was the Airlines Partner, Shwapno was the Retail Partner, Terracotta was the Branding Partner, MSB was the Strategic Partner, Aamra was the Technology Partner, Masthead PR was the PR Partner and Webable was the Social Media partner.
During the event, ICE Business Times got in touch with speakers, Salvador Lopez and Nigel Hollis to get further insight into the topics they discussed during their respective keynote sessions.


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Salvador Lopez
Professor, ESADE Business School

“Technology is glamorous and it makes people feel in control and powerful and that’s something that we can use in marketing.”

“Are you taking advantage of your customer’s new digital behavior?” How far has this question been taken into account in the context of digital media marketing?
This is a new language and organizations or brands need to learn this. They need to know how to talk to the masses and this is difficult. There are best case and worst case scenarios; and among the worst cases, we have seen McDonalds’ campaign. They opened a Facebook page with the hopes of telling everyone about their experiences with their product; however it was subjected to a lot of criticism. One of my sessions which I usually teach at my university is about how brands can have a conversation with the market; which is tough because we’re the ones creating the language as there’s no standard language.

You spoke about how emotions are intertwined with music. Can you expand upon how emotions guide the digital space in the marketing platform?
Technology, social network and the digital space as a whole, provokes emotions. For example, when you hold your smartphone, you feel like the entire world is in the palm of your hands. Technology is glamorous and it makes people feel in control and powerful and that’s something that we can use in marketing. When you give audience that value by allowing them to feel more informed or important, it serves as a marketing tool which one can use to reap the benefits.

Social media platforms like Facebook Messenger, Instagram have recently copied the features of Snapchat, which is currently trending. With this increased volume of engagement how do they maintain consistency?
It’s all about saturation of a novelty; when something is an innovation it makes a big difference. Then you can build loyalty, engagement and fan base around that. But when everybody else is doing the same thing, you need to find your new blue ocean. But it won’t affect the users as much; they’ll grow up and renovate themselves. The copying of these trends will create some sort of deception for a while, but you’ll move forward engaging with the next generation.

Can you tell us about a campaign where customer creativity was optimally used?
Aftershave brand, Old Spice launched a TV commercial and unexpectedly it became a conversation. That campaign was so successful that the sales of the company multiplied. That’s because people were putting in a lot of effort and energy into the brand.


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Nigel Hollis
Chief Global Analyst, Millward Brown

“You have to stand out in the crowd and make your brand stand out. You want to make something that people pay attention to.”

What is the concept of a persuasion test? Why is the pre-test of any advertisement important?
A pre-test is important because we cannot guarantee how a target audience is going to respond; even marketers who spend so much time crafting an individual execution. When they craft an execution, they spend so much time with it, they cannot keep track of what people will find interesting, whether they can keep up with what is being shown and said and whether they find the basic idea motivating or not. With these in consideration, one must run a pre-test and have a solid idea of these matters.
Why are research and big data particularly important in marketing right now?
This is because people are getting lost in the plethora of data. It is as if the data is obscuring the goal instead of being helpful. You have to look for the unspoken notions and the behavioral data that doesn’t necessarily tell you all that you need to know. There is a lot of clutter and you have to make your brand stand out. You have to stand out in the crowd and make your band stand out. You want to make something that people pay attention to.

Could you elaborate upon the 5 R’s of marketing: reach, receptivity, risk, resonance and react?
Reach – there is no point in limiting your market to a percentage of people. You need to reach as many people as possible. And that will remain true for both digital and traditional media.
Receptivity – if you look at the point I was making with generation Z, they are way less receptive to advertising as a concept and practice. Therefore you have to earn their attention and hold on to it when they are actually receptive.
Risk – you have to push the boundaries to stay relevant. One of the things that we recommend to our clients is investing 70% of your marketing budget in something that you know is productive, take 20% and invest it in newer stuff that is showing potential and the last 10% in experimenting and pushing those boundaries.
Resonance – this asks the question of whether or not the content that you are using is striking a chord, and is it emotional engaging or not. Without that, you can shove an advertisement in front of someone and they will get rid of it as fast as they can.
React – a reaction is what we want at the end of the day. We want people to be motivated in some way and take action. This would ideally lead to them buying a product or a service.

You stated that synergy and consistency are necessary for a brand to stay relevant. Could you cite a brand that has done so?
You have to look at the usual suspect, Coca Cola, who is incredibly good at getting content that flows across different channels but is instantly recognizable to the brand. If you think about the end line, the signature tunes and the visual, you know that you are watching a Coca Cola advertisement. Looking at the name advertisement alone, it makes use of the profoundly underused medium for advertising asset the packaging itself. For any package to generate an idea, that in itself is very innovative.

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