How serious are you about personalising your brand?

The future of marketing lies in personalisation, speakers at Marketing magazine’s event, The Futurist Live, said. Watch what happened at the event here.

Commenting on what would make a great brand in the future, Andrew Hipsley, SVP and chief brand officer of McDonald’s for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, said staying relevant to fast-evolving customers was truly one of the biggest challenges for brands today.

“Brand marketers need to put their customers at the forefront of all their decision-making to truly connect with them. The new mantra for brands today should be to go from mass marketing to mass personalisation,” he said.

“Giving customers the power to customise is the future for McDonald’s. Personalised burgers are a game-changer for us. As a brand, the more control we give to our customers, the more that we get back from them.”

The power to customise is also critical when opening up in new markets. Many a times, brands see culture as a barrier when launching in a new territory. However, brand marketers need to rethink of ways to embrace the culture. That’s one of the key challenges for McDonald’s as well.

“The two things I think that are relevant in referring to culture are, first think global and act local. The second is to adapt the brand model to really fit a business model, so that we can make money while building a brand,” he said.

One example he gave of “thinking globally, acting locally” for McDonald’s was in Korea.

Korea is one of the most digitally savvy markets globally with huge engagement rates on social media. Using the Big Mac, which is one of the best-selling global products for McDonald’s globally, a promotion was launched in Korea.

McDonald’s took a tried and tested approach launching the Big Mac chant campaign and asked Korean consumers to come into the restaurants, dress up and recite the Big Mac chant in less than six seconds to get a free Big Mac. This stunt was fairly consistent with what’s been done around the world.

To make it relevant to the market, Korean consumers were asked to video this and upload it on social media. After which, McDonald’s promised to select three or four of those videos to make the television commercials for Koreans.

“The campaign resonated with the Korean audience far more than in any other market. We tried it because we tapped into the local insight – 32,000 individuals or groups came into those restaurants during a three-week period to recite the chant and 5,000 videos were uploaded,” he said.

Continuing the theme of personalisation, Sam Ahmed, group head of marketing for Asia Pacific at MasterCard, talked about how reaching consumers online in a targeted manner and creating unique experiences for them was crucial for brands.

“Relevance and reliability in any market is key in the world of e-commerce,” he said.

“In e-commerce, you can’t use the same website in every country. While western users might prefer a cleaner web page, Chinese consumers might like one which is far busier.”

Also, given the speed at which digital is making personalisation possible, brands getting into e-commerce need to have the right offer at the right time for the right consumer.

“If you are unable to do so, you will be categorised as spam. Today good e-commerce players thrive on making great emotional connections with the audience,” he said.

With all the data present, e-commerce brand marketers need to know how to turn that into great marketing content which will be relevant to their consumers.

“At MasterCard, the key thing we found was that e-commerce is not about advertising. It is about building a business model for your business that works on e-commerce. And that model might not fit what you have today,” Ahmed said.

Hence, adaptability and a nimble approach to business is key.

“E-commerce marketing is about speed. Speed between marketing and agencies and marketing and legal is critical. If you see an opportunity on e-commerce, it lasts about 12 to 14 hours. If you delay any action, you’re two weeks too late.”

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