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How can brands build trust across all channels in a fragmented news environment?

Posted By AustCham Singapore, Tuesday, 16 May 2017

While we can all acknowledge that there are many hard lessons to be learned from 2016, from a Marketer’s standpoint, one in particular stands out for me. The nature of traditional media and social media becoming two contrasting superpowers that must be wielded with collaboration and caution.

The recent US presidential election may have the most lopsided traditional media vs social media messaging the world has ever seen. Hillary Clinton had over 200 mainstream media outlets supporting her campaign – Trump had 6.* Social media on the other hand, was a wildly different story. Trump’s highly sophisticated social media targeting campaign paid off, with overall chatter and positive sentiment seen to be building around him. In short, the key messages around Clinton on traditional media were not aligned with the messages on social media – spelling total disaster for her Presidential campaign.

Here in Singapore, we know that to achieve sustainable and favourable brand equity, an organisation’s messages must be communicated across all relevant channels. What is less common practice is the ongoing monitoring and analysis that is required to ensure that messages don’t slip off course. In today’s media jungle, traditional media pinches stories from social media and social media puts its own spin on traditional media stories. Buzzfeed has built its entire existence on this practise. As a result, it’s becoming trickier for organisations to manage their brand reputation. Consumers don’t see a traditional media strategy and a social media strategy, they just see the brand. If misalignment of brand messaging becomes more visible to consumers, it can be very dangerous territory. Consumers feel the brand isn’t connected with them (its customers) and that the brand is maybe trying to cover something up.

We can illustrate this point further in Infographic 1. It shows that there are many potential message gaps in the communications chain that leave an organisation vulnerable. For example, when an organisation communicates its messages to the traditional media, it maybe doing so without having assessed the appetite for the specific messaging on social media and vice versa. Furthermore and most importantly, there is likely to be a message gap in what the company is pushing out as its key messages to traditional media, and what consumers are actually discussing and engaging with on social media.


Using the example of a local Trade Agency, who was keen to look at this message gap in more detail. From studying the messages communicated to traditional media against the key messages being discussed on social media, Isentia were able to identify clear gaps and areas for improvement. Infographic 2 illustrates this point.

As you can see, there was a clear disconnect in how the traditional media was discussing the issue against the actual consumers on social media. This is particularly stark for the example of Jobs Growth, where the net sentiment around the prospect of Jobs Growth was -16. To help shift the negative sentiment for this particularly company, it comes down to improved online visibility. Armed with these insights, the organisations can team up with relevant micro-influencers to help in clarifying the messages and humanising the overall campaign.

What can brands do to ensure coherent brand perception across traditional media and social media?

• Listen. Do you know how your last brand campaign played out on traditional media vs social media? Media monitoring tools are an essential in understanding when, where and how you have been mentioned in the media.

• Measure. Now you have done the listening, what are the actionable insights that can be gained? Where should your team focus their time?

• Diversify. Diversifying your communications assets can be hugely beneficial to aligning your media strategy as it means it’s not just one voice pushing the same message – for example, utilising the right micro-influencers, creating a content hub and facilitating unique brand collaborations.

**Favourability scored worked out in accordance with CARMA methodology,
providing a score out of 100, with 50 being the neutral point.
***Net sentiment= positive sentiment – negative sentiment


Article first appeared in Access Asia magazine April / May issue, pg 18. 

Author : Lucy McFarland, Business Director, Isentia

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The Changing Nature of Marketing

Posted By AustCham Singapore, Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The changing nature of marketing, and the fear of missing out – the FOMO theory, are two subjects that have never been so more aligned than in today’s digitally driven consumer market. For decades, marketers have prescribed a long list of tactical solutions for businesses including, direct mail, white papers, newsletters, blogs, publicity, conferences, advertising and social media, to name a few – all of which may be more likely to generate a diluted marketing message, and hefty invoices, than new accounts or revenue growth.

Ever since the 1980s businesses have been held ransom to the FOMO theory. The great advertising epidemic known as Yellow Pages, was the beast of all beasts, in regards to missing out on critical new business leads. Who would have believed that a full page colour ad printed in the 2006 Sydney Yellow Pages would set a business back AUD$81,000 each year?

If you didn’t have your ad printed in the Yellow Pages, quite simply put, your business didn’t exist – The phrase “not happy Jan” speaks volumes, and resonates to this day in the minds of millions of Australians. But there has always been a reliable source to generate new accounts and revenue growth, and that has been good old, word-of-mouth referrals.

As a business, you look for ways to humanise your brand and build trust with customers. Social media has provided marketers with a solution to engage customers and put the spotlight on User-Generated Content (UGC), also called User-Created Content (UCC), defined as any form of content that was created by users of an online system or service. UGC has taken word-of-mouth to another level, allowing a digital aggregation of reviews and recommendations on almost everything.

Google now place a weighting on organic search results based on the number of reviews your business has generated within the google environment. Unbiased reviews and recommendations are now regarded as the number one influencer when consumers are in a buying cycle. Having worked in marketing and communications for over 20 years in multiple capacities, I have navigated through the Three Tsunamis of disruptive change for marketers that have affected consumers buying behaviours.

From Print marketing to Online, and from Online marketing to Digital. In 2017, if a business has no web presence, they are certainly missing out on new business leads. Word-of-mouth will still prevail, and by right, many SMEs across the globe still rely solely on this form of generic marketing, and yes, it doesn’t cost a cent! But eventually the funnel needs to be refilled.

Moving on from websites, APPs have become ubiquitous, with many creators of products and services investing tens of thousands of dollars on being accessible – all in the palm of your hand! Reported as of June 2016, Android users could choose between 2.2 million apps. Apple's App Store remained the second-largest app store with 2 million available apps. Although, getting a consumer to download your app remains a marketer’s nightmare.

Let’s go one step further – into the future. BOTs are the latest solution for marketers. BOTs are artificially intelligent (AI) programs that can do many useful things like search for news, summarize webpages, play games, and more. You can start chatting with a BOT just like you chat with friends. The more consumers use a BOT, the more intelligent it becomes. BOTs takes search to a whole new level, and are destined to emerge as a leading digital solution for markets in 2017.

My job as a digital entrepreneur is to provide solutions. My passion is in building communities and connecting people. When people are connected within a digital environment like TripAdvisor, Facebook, or ExpatChoice.Asia for that matter, a sense of respect and responsibility prevails when writing a review.

Typically, by the time a consumer has started looking at unbiased reviews in these chosen digital environments, they've already figured out their need/want, how a business might ideally fulfil that need/want and are now in the process of selecting a business. The critical thing to note is that the mental gap between reading a review and deciding to purchase from a business is ridiculously small, and typically results in a yes/no decision almost immediately.

Article first appeared in Access Asia magazine April / May issue, pg 17. 

Author : John Gordon, Managing Director, Expat Choice.Asia

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Get Noticed: How to Build Your Professional Brand

Posted By AustCham Singapore, Tuesday, 16 May 2017

You might not think of yourself as a brand, but the reality is you are. No matter what stage you are in your career, having a strong professional online brand is key to opening doors to opportunities, whether it’s for jobs, business leads or mentorship.

Melissa Murray Bailey, Director for Sales Solutions, Asia Pacific, joined LinkedIn in June last year. In her role, she is helping to change the way the world sells through the power of relationships. Melissa shares, the first step to establishing a strong professional brand is to build a LinkedIn profile that will help you get noticed – whether you are seeking career opportunities or looking to grow your business. Here are some tips:

Put your best face forward

Include a professional photo which brings your story to life. Make sure you choose a photo which helps potential employers put a face to the name. If you’re looking for a new job, interviewers will often check your profile before meeting with you, so make sure your picture is up-to-date and actually looks like you. Showing up looking completely different can be startling for the interviewer and even cause them to question your credibility.

Show me don’t tell me

It’s definitely worthwhile making sure your achievements and skills are current and credibly reflected in your LinkedIn profile. However, besides simply listing past experiences, you can show the quality of your work to potential business contacts through tangible, creative examples. The key is to stay authentic as you build your professional brand. While buzzwords may be an easier way to describe you, they may not be effective.

Build your credibility

Today, people look beyond work experience before connecting. That’s why it has become important for any professional to ensure that beyond relevant work experience, they are also able to articulate their passions and personal interests. You can add value and connect to your network by sharing interests or unique attributes on your profile, or share a unique point of view or reflections on current events via blog posts. Credibility is of utmost importance as you grow your business too. As you connect with your prospective clients, it is critical to demonstrate your expertise and sometimes, values.

Nurture your relationships

Remember to stay constantly engaged with your contacts after connecting. In today’s business context, professional contacts can be more valuable than you think. In Singapore, referrals are the most common way that professionals land new jobs or win new business. You never know when an opportunity could come your way! Like most things in life, if you’re willing to put a little time and effort into making simple changes to your profile, you’re going to get a whole lot in return. All you have to do is get started.

Join the conversation on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram with #StartSomething.

Article first appeared in Access Asia magazine April / May issue, pg 14. 

Author : Melissa Murray Bailey, Director for Sales Solutions, Asia Pacific LinkedIn








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Digital Trends Drive the Marketing Employment in 2017

Posted By AustCham Singapore, Friday, 28 April 2017

The digital wave continues to influence every aspect of marketing and this will have a very strong impact in employment within 2017. For example middle to senior-level management marketing positions within the FMCG, luxury and retail sectors are seeking 365 degree professionals now. Companies are moving away from the traditional 360 degree marketing profiles and are hiring people with competent digital skills instead.

Companies that have previously not done much in the digital space, are realising that they need to step up their game to stay competitive and attract high potential talent in the market. SMEs typically have not had full time headcount solely dedicated to digital. Instead digital was often managed by junior-level marketing executives as part of their day to day responsibilities. Unfortunately a majority of digital campaigns on social media for instance, were not well maintained, therefore potential customers were not retained.

Therefore the drive from companies in digital marketing profiles, encompassing both technical or developer-type positions as well as more creative roles is anticipated to increase in 2017. In addition, hiring managers seek digital experts who can not only roll out a simple campaign on social media, but have a much wider skill set in the digital arena.

In line with these trends, the digital and e-commerce sectors are expected to perform well this year as most business-to-business (B2B) and businessto- consumer (B2C) companies start prioritising below-the-line marketing. Increasingly, companies are restructuring their marketing teams, moving away from geographical area splits (South East Asia versus North Asia, for example) to economic zone models (emerging markets versus established markets).

This is because marketing leaders have come to realise that countries in the same geographical zone, like Singapore and Myanmar, may require different marketing approaches, being at different economic development stages. As a result, professionals working under this new model can now specialise in marketing products or services for more developed markets or develop skill sets to tackle emerging markets.

Growth remains strong in digital marketing, both within e-commerce and in traditional businesses looking to explore new marketing opportunities. Junior to mid-level candidates are expected to know how digital platforms operate and how to generate sales from social media and the Internet, as well as how to decrease cost-per-acquisition and increase conversion ratios from online engagement to revenue. Those who have regional exposure across South East Asia and are adept at developing new businesses are sought after as well.

Within the design space, specialists are encouraged to continually develop their technical skills. It is now more challenging for print designers to switch jobs, compared with designers who have also developed skills in UI, UX, front-end development and coding. Designers are now also expected to be able to operate across various platforms, including print, web and mobile.

For mid to senior-level professionals, skills in demand include the ability to strategise for digital markets and strategic marketing. For junior to mid-level professionals, skill sets in demand include integrated global/regional/CRM (customer relationship management) and digital marketing experience. In general, candidates moving between roles may expect salary increases of 10 to 12%.

Existing marketing professionals who would like an update in skills can look towards digital marketing. With the increased demand in this space, this is an area we strongly recommend every specialist marketer upskill themselves in. If there are opportunities to get involved in these types of projects within your current employment or to take a digital marketing course, participating actively in such initiatives will be very strong additions to your resume.

Another noteworthy trend within FMCG firms in particular is the increasing number of companies interested in candidates who have not just adapted projects from global or regional models to local markets. Instead, candidates who have originated marketing initiatives or innovations from scratch for a particular market are highly sought after. Such experience will strengthen the portfolio of any marketing professional.

In the rest of 2017, hiring managers will face the challenge of securing digital marketing experts as top talent in this area is very much in demand. As such candidates generally receive multiple offers, interview processes will need to be efficient and streamlined in order to successfully hire.

It is important to remember that digital marketing candidates have a different profile to traditional marketers and are driven by the challenge of constantly innovating. They are motivated by opportunities to set something up from scratch in a company before moving onto a new employer to start the whole process again.

Due to the nature of such projects, some candidates are brought in on a contracting basis to fulfil a pre-set range of responsibilities. Employers are increasingly interested in these specialist short-term hires and seeing digital marketing contractors as a viable solution to the prevalent talent crunch.

Article first appeared in Access Asia magazine April / May issue, pg 11. 

Author : Larissa Spott, Consultant, Michael Page Singapore.

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Evolve or Die: Marketing in a New World

Posted By AustCham Singapore, Wednesday, 26 April 2017

We live in extraordinary times. Consumer and company behaviours are evolving rapidly. The traditional corporate and resource structures are no longer stable - nor should they be.

To survive and thrive, it’s essential to evolve. I don’t think there are any exceptions to this rule, and marketing is at the forefront of it all.

If you think you can continue business as usual, just look at all the other sectors people previously thought were impregnable - the taxi industry, real estate, supermarkets, retail. Even the rise of FinTech is driving banks to adapt.

We see businesses shifting their models, but they haven’t changed their route to market. In Singapore, I’m always surprised when I come across companies where the lion’s share of their advertising budget is still going towards high production television ads or big full page print advertising with no real strategy. Those days are gone or, at least, they are disappearing.

The world has turned digital, but it’s not just a shift in the medium we advertise on. The entire way we engage with potential customers has shifted.

The brand is still important, but that importance is decreasing in value. Consumers are more savvy and informed than ever before. Smart digital marketing, content marketing, persona building, and delighting your existing clients all comes into play.

A few basic tools or things to keep in mind include:


Screaming “WE ARE THE BEST” through million dollar ads no longer has the same impact as showing a consumer why your product is the best solution for them. You can do that by using content with purpose.

A content marketing campaign, for example, is using words, images or video to drive interest in a company’s product or service, rather than the brand itself. These are executed through blog posts, social media, newsletters, or digital marketing. The key is adding value to the consumer’s experience, whether they buy from you or not.

Some people struggle with this concept - giving value to a potential client when they could turn around and not use you. A visual, easy to follow, ‘How to’ guide is a service industry example. Why show someone how to do the very thing you are selling?

Despite what some businesses think, this doesn’t devalue your service - it empowers you. It means a potential customer trusts you. And frankly, if they then use that information to do it themselves, then they were likely never going to use you in the first place. Most people just want to learn more about a service before they engage a professional. If they already trust you and your advice, who do you think they are going to turn to? Just remember, it’s not an ad that can drive a return overnight, but a strong content campaign that drives revenue long after it’s finished. You need a sustained approach over months to really drive the impact.


People respond better to personalisation - the idea that your product or service is the right fit for them. A product or service might work across different market segments, but that doesn’t mean you approach them all the same. Advertising has always had an element of mapping out buyer personas, but with technology it is now possible to reach specific audiences like never before. Map out who your buyers are and tailor your approach. Through digital marketing, social media, content marketing, and other tools, you have the power to deliver a specific message to a targeted group of people. This increases your funnel of leads and conversion rates massively. It takes more time and effort, but it’s still a lot cheaper than traditional advertising and it has a higher return rate.


Most people consume the majority of their media on their mobile phones - and this trend isn’t going to change. So why are so many brands still producing all this content that can’t be read or consumed easily by a majority of their audience? Mobile-first is the sort of thing most marketers know from an intellectual point of view, but don’t practice. However, it’s a point you cannot ignore. Whether you are creating a video campaign, newsletter, infographics, or social media campaign, you should be looking at how it appears on mobile phones as the first step, not as an afterthought.


Unless you are a rock (not just living under a rock) you know that social and digital are important for your business. There are zero exceptions for businesses, and if you think you are the exception, your business is operating on borrowed time. Beyond that, you need to use it well. Don’t blow your money on boosting a Facebook post for a thousand likes from people in another country. Or throwing thousands at a general Google Adword campaign without the targeting. Social and digital marketing campaigns are what enable you to target anyone. Literally anyone. Facebook’s targeting is fine in itself and is a great starting point. If you have bigger budgets, you can tap into some of the advertising technology companies that enable you to breakdown your audiences by almost anything. This has the power to unlock massive potential. While you pay per ad or click, you are not paying per campaign. You can breakdown your targets as much as you like and deliver specific content to target groups. The quality content you create and the personalisation, matched together with your social media or digital marketing campaign, is where the future is. Measure this with tracking tags and analytics and you will have complete visibility over the ROI on your activities. There is no need to spend tens of thousands on magazine or newspaper advertising - or hundreds of thousands on television - without a clue of the conversion rate. The industry has evolved. It’s full of exciting opportunity for a lot of companies - but big brands that fail to adapt will eventually fall, while they watch the new ones rise up.


Article first appeared in Access Asia magazine April / May issue, pg 9. 

Author :Joseph Baratt, CEO Mutant Communication

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