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The Futurist: The next wave of disruption

Building brands has always been about our consumers – our who – and about understanding her better than she understands herself. The digital revolution continually raises the bar for compelling content – our what – and this is not surprising. I believe the brands that will win the future are those that innovatively connect with consumers – the how and the why.

The next powerful transformation of brand building is mass one-to-one marketing. In the past 20 years of this digital revolution, we have moved from blasting messages as far and as wide as possible, hoping to catch someone’s attention – to tailoring messages for specific consumers. Time and time again, you’ve heard about the power of big data.

Massive databases are forming with consumer-identifiable data, and this allows us to reach people with useful and engaging one-to-one experiences on a large scale. Mass one-to-one marketing enables brands to connect with consumers better through receptivity (the how) and purpose (the why). This is the next wave of disruption.

First, brands must improve the ad experience by innovating how we communicate to consumers. For too long, brands flooded digital media with 30-second ads, treating it like another form of television. But the data tells us that ad viewing time can be as low as 1.7 seconds. Brands need to ensure their message isn’t falling on deaf ears.

Globally, P&G is partnering with e-commerce players to reach consumers closer to when they are ready to buy. Online storefronts are individualised in real-time based on the consumer viewing. They see different featured products based on purchase history, age, gender and more.

Second, brands need to establish deeper connections through a clear purpose – or why.Today, consumers want to know that their brands share their values. Brands need to know their why and they must not only communicate their purpose. The more we reflect the people we serve, the better equipped we are to understand them and meet their needs. Digital technology has been a catalyst for brands to start the conversation, allowing us to share our point of view more effectively and more broadly.

Purpose establishes deeper connections with consumers through shared values. But, more importantly, our purpose – when supported by engaged and passionate consumers – has the power to change
attitudes, to drive action and even to lead economic empowerment.

It is a challenging, yet exciting time, to be brand builders. We should remain firmly rooted in a deep understanding of our consumers – and fully leverage the technology available to innovate the ways we connect with them. Whether it’s by reaching consumers when they are most receptive to hear from our brands or by connecting with consumers with our brand purpose, now is the time to transform the experience for our consumers and to lead the next wave of disruption.

The writer is Sujay Wasan, vice-president and chief marketing officer, P&G Asia Pacific. The article first appeared in A+M’s The Futurist print edition.