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US marketers must look to Asia

News, 16 September 2016

NEW ORLEANS: Marketers in the US should pay at least as much attention to what is happening in Asia as Silicon Valley if they want to understand evolving consumer habits, a leading executive from Ogilvy & Mather has argued.

Brandon Berger, the agency's Chief Digital Officer Worldwide, discussed this topic at a recent conference. And he stated that looking to Asian markets, where mobile usage is often more advanced, is essential for brand custodians.

"Everybody still looks to Silicon Valley [and] what's happening in the West … I think it's important to look at what's happening in the East, throughout Asia," he said. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: How Ogilvy is diversifying its service offering.)

Thanks to the rise of messaging tools like WeChat and Line, which offer a wider set of features and marketing touchpoints than many of their popular counterparts in the US and Europe, Asia can provide uniquely useful insights.

"You're able to buy cars on messaging platforms," Berger observed in highlighting some of the differences shaping the digital ecosystem.

More modestly-priced brands – such as laundry detergent Omo, premium skincare range SK-II and even fruit brand Zespri – have also shown how services like WeChat can deliver powerful lifts in key brand metrics.

Additionally, Ogilvy's own research has identified a significant opportunity for infant nutrition brands to connect with Chinese mothers via this platform.

In Western markets, Berger continued, Facebook remains "the best platform to engage an audience anywhere around the world. It's a fundamental part of the way we communicate with the world.

"It has become necessary. Whether you're a small company or a large company, you have to be there … it's a necessary part of any marketing channel."

Going forwards, he reported, artificial intelligence will ultimately become a meaningful tool for marketers, too. "We're actively looking at it right now," Berger said.

"We're doing a lot of testing and playing with it, trying to understand its impact and how we can use it in marketing campaigns for our brands."

Data sourced from Warc