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How brands can stay top of mind through bold branding in a digitally cluttered space

How brands can stay top of mind through bold branding in a digitally cluttered space

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In today's digitally cluttered space, brands find themselves needing to be bold in their creativity to stand out, make themselves memorable and earn consumer dollars.

At the same time, brands also must meet their business objectives and manage the risks of potential backlash while also stretching their creative muscles. 

During a panel discussion at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s inaugural Content 360 conference in Malaysia, Sangeet Singh, head of marketing (SEA) of GoPro, Izra Izzudin, chief marketing officer of HELP Tertiary and Ng Yau Chuan, chief marketing and digital officer of Loob Holding share how they redefine themselves through innovative approaches and stand out through bold branding. 

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Go immersive 

According to Singh, GoPro taps onto immersive marketing to redefine consumer engagement. This includes integrating themselves into culture and lifestyle beyond action sports. 

For many years, GoPro has been categorised as an action camera brand and coming to Southeast Asia where consumers are less inclined to do "all the crazy things", GoPro had to rebrand itself to suit the locals, he said.  

"Localisation is one main thing, and then the immersive content has to go back to the people itself and what their daily lives represent," said Singh.

The brand had to move into travel, lifestyle, culture and even collaborate with tourism boards, other brands, artists and musicians to localise itself and integrate with its audience. Following which, GoPro began creating immersive content showcasing how the Southeast Asia audience can use a GoPro beyond action sports. 

"Coming back to immersive content, what we do is we capture content from the camera, but we do it in such a way that if you've all used GoPros before, you realise most of it is developed on an ecosystem, which is pretty much hands free. That's why you have all the mounts and stuff like that, right?" said Singh.

"So, when you see an image of a person lifting a kid up in a pool, and that resonates to you that 'hey, I can use this camera to have a good time with my kid. It's not about 'hey, I want to go take a picture'. No, it's the memory, the joy that that person has during that moment - and that relates back to your audience. That's how we use immersive content," said Singh. 

One such example is the campaign GoPro did in Thailand for Songkran where it brought in creators and worked together with the Thailand Tourism Authority to promote two destinations in Thailand including Songkhla. 

As part of the campaign, GoPro invited the Thai public to showcase the celebration of Songkran captured on any device. From there, the public could win stays at hotel partners, win gifts and even go on a trip with GoPro itself. At the same time, GoPro pushed out cameras that featured new packaging that called out Songkran. 

"Everything was localised to Thailand, all the boxes were in Thai designs. And then it trickled through even post-Songkran and we just changed it into a Thai summer sale and that worked as well," said Singh. 

Creating personalised branding 

Meanwhile, HELP Tertiary's Izra believes that branding needs to be personalised and catered for the audience. In her words, "Bold branding is listening to a breakup song and crying, even though you don't have a boyfriend." 

She added:

"Bold branding is when people forget that it's actually a brand, but they remember you as a story." 

Currently, the institution offers tailored learning paths that adapt to individual student goals and preferences, provide personalised mentorship programmes where students receive guidance from industry experts and receive career development support. 

To bring that to life through bold branding, HELP Tertiary released a brand campaign titled "Why not?", noting that that more often than not, people end up in careers that are different from what they studied. 

"The generation now looks at education and degrees in a different way. Who cares about straight A students? When we came up with the hashtag #WhyNot content, it's about being a challenger brand," said Izra. 

As part of the campaign, HELP Tertiary introduced four brand campaigns and eight graduate attributes. The four main pillars are academic excellence, life and career preparation, vibrant student life, and wellness and community.

The eight attributes, on the other hand, are digital agility, social intelligence, strategic communication, mental agility, environmental and global literacy, moral courage, resilience and wellness. 

"We're the only one who gives graduates two certificates. One is their scroll - everyone will get their scroll - but the other certificate is when you pass all eight graduate attributes. These attributes cannot be found in books and will prepare the graduates for the real world so they can become what they want," she explained. 

To tailor itself to specific audiences, a brand also needs to know what its audience needs. In a recent survey, HELP Tertiary asked its students why they chose HELP Tertiary as their educational institute of choice. Following the #WhyNot campaign, HELP Tertiary received 1500 leads per month. 

"They said,' we did not choose X and Y because I had to pretend to be someone that I'm not," explained Izra. "Hence, when I talk about #WhyNot, we don't care about who you are because at the end of the day, these are people who are going to lead the country in the next 10, 20 years. We can't treat them the same way our parents or lecturers treated us." 

The power of collaboration

Finally, Loob Holding, the owner of bubble tea brand Tealive, embraced collaboration as a core strategy to strengthen its brand identity, engage their target audience and differentiate themselves in competitive markets. 

Recently, the brand collaborated with The Pokémon Company to introduce a new range of drinks inspired by Pokémon characters. The collaboration came with the inclusion of free Pokémon trading cards and merchandise such as Pokémon packaging and Pokémon cooler bag. 

"It helped in unleashing the power of bold branding. What made us decide to do it? I think generally we were looking for a brand that obviously has a lot of mainstream appeal and appeals to a wide enough audience but has a little bit of a pointed edge around our target group now, which is between 15 to 25," explained Ng.

"We felt that Pokémon was one of those rare brands that could actually do that, and they were also not accustomed to doing it with local brands. They tend to do a lot of global deals so I'm actually really proud of it," he added. 

Ng added that the collaboration would bring a lot of good revitalisation, not just to Tealive but to The Pokémon Company too. 

"It drove really good immediate sales, in addition to branding," said Ng. 

Aside from The Pokémon Company, Tealive also collaborated with local noodle brand Mamee to release 'Spicy Mi Boba', a product that was one part spicy-savoury noodles and one part milk tea. Speaking to the collab, Ng said it was a "very odd combo, everyone recognises that." 

"If you asked me very honestly, it was not a product that I will probably ever try again, but sometimes you do things that you want customers to just try once and never happen again," said Ng.

Ng explained that as a food and beverage brand, there is a marketing team and a research and development (R&D) team. The R&D team's job is to deliver good drinks whereas the marketing team's job is to deliver marketable drinks and to position the brand. 

"At the time, the brand did not have this tagline of 'Brewing positivity'. The brand was focusing on being very innovative, very breakthrough," said Ng. "It was really important to do things like this, so that you can stand for the right thing for your brand." 

"The fact that some of you still remember this is proof that this kind of initiative does drive extremely high top of mind."

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