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Eugene Chan
in Malaysia by

The Futurist: Full speed ahead

The average person will probably take about 10 minutes to read this article. During this time, an estimated $25 million would have transacted via e-commerce, 30 million search queries would have been made on Google, 40 million videos would have been uploaded on YouTube and 45 million pieces of content would have gone live on Facebook. Put simply, a lot will happen in the next 10 minutes as you sit comfortably on your sofa (preferably drinking a Nescafé), reading this. The concepts of time and speed have changed.

Not surprisingly, this has also influenced consumer behaviour which in turn has impacted the way we do branding. Where we once shouted “brand communication”, today’s socially attuned consumers now demand “brand conversations”.

Many of us were trained as classical marketers and we would hone our skills in “talking” to consumers. However, in today’s context, we are now required to focus on “listening”. Listening to brand conversations helps us to be more aware of what consumers are engaged in and the choices they make. This has also changed the way businesses identify areas for innovation. At Nestlé, innovation has been the core of our growth, and we have long realised the secret to successful brand growth lies with our consumers. People sometimes think “old” companies are less able to adapt to new trends, but Nestlé is stronger than ever after more than 100 years in Malaysia.

Our world today is in a constant state of flux. In order to survive, we have realised that we needed to grow, adapt and evolve quickly not just with technology and trends, but more importantly, with our consumers.

In 2011, the Nestlé headquarters in Switzerland launched the global digital acceleration team. In March 2014, Malaysia became the fifth country to launch its own digital acceleration team. We started by identifying strong digital natives within our marketing teams and packing them off for a nine-month mission at our Nestlé headquarters. This investment in developing our people allows us to cultivate a new generation of digital go-getters to build our brands for the future by adopting a “safe is not safe” approach, to encourage them to challenge the status quo. The role of the DAT is to support our brand teams by building internal capabilities to deliver world-class digital content that constantly pushes our brands to new storytelling frontiers.

Marketing and digital

With so much going on around us, it’s not unusual to overcomplicate or over intellectualise “digital”. In fact, I would argue the term “digital marketing” is obsolete.

Marketing is marketing and digital. While it is an important touch-point in today’s context, it is but one of many touch-points within an integrated media plan. A successful marketer today is one who is able to master the complexity of orchestrating an eco-system comprising of a traditional above-the-line creative agency, sometimes a specialised digital creative agency, a media agency, a PR agency, a shopper agency and an events agency.

I believe the key to success is in developing a powerful “media-neutral” creative idea based on real insights, and then leveraging the power of digital in a meaningful and relevant way. After all, as marketers, we exist to delight consumers.

At Nestlé Malaysia, we’ve even increased our investments into digital and social media in excess of 30%. By doing so, we’ve been able to create more personalised engagement with consumers, and better cater to their needs. We also set up an online store for our products.

Partnering with two hugely popular e-tailers, we launched our flagship e-commerce store in October 2016 as a conscious strategy to provide a better experience of products and services, especially to cater to more health conscious consumers on the go.

There truly has never been a more exciting time to be a brand builder, especially in such a vibrant market like Malaysia.

The author of the article is Eugene Chan, director of communications and marketing, Nestle Malaysia.

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