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How to make your brand more successful

We are witnessing changes in the dialogue between brands and consumers reaching another level of connection. At this year’s Marketing Branding 360 conference, we focused on methodologies for solidifying brands’ reputation and safety and the pitfalls that need to be tackled.

Kicking off the event was the opening keynote presented by Jayant Murty, former director of marketing for Asia Pacific and Japan at Intel, who demonstrated brands and companies’ survival depends on transparency.

During the presentation, he said 57% of consumers were concerned with how businesses use their information, while 41% of consumers felt they needed greater transparency in companies to have confidence in their products or services.

The decade ahead will fuel the acceleration of technology-driven changes which can lead to the creation of significant value for consumers, workers and enterprises. To build long-term trust, the industry must carefully protect the privacy and security of consumers’ data and be transparent about how they are utilising it.

“Information technology is continuing to digitise everything on the outside while biotechnology is beginning to provide a window into our inner lives – emotions, thoughts and choices,” he said.

“Infotech and biotech will create unprecedented upheavals in human society, eroding human agency and, possibly, subverting human desires. Under such conditions, liberal democracy and free-market economics might become obsolete.” However, he highlighted some benefits of complete transparency. For example, customers are more willing to switch to a new brand, pay more and be loyal.

Eric Thain, general manager of HK Express, went on to explain the topic of driving brand values through customer engagement using AI and automation.

“AI is increasingly being deployed by marketers to improve and scale personalised customer interactions, making use of the improving technologies around visual perception and natural language processing,” he said.

Also, AI offers predictive analytics that eliminates the need to search. Thain took Netflix as an example – its clustering algorithm continually improves suggestions which allows users to make the most of their
subscriptions.

He said according to KPMG International’s study, increasing data analysis capabilities, new product development and cybersecurity solutions are the top areas of investment over the next three years for CEOs.

In the future, he said a creative agency might need to add a software engineer, data strategist, developer, coder, programmer and technical director to strengthen the capability of delivering products and services. In the first presentation of the afternoon, Suresh Balaji, head of marketing at HSBC, talked about its successful rebranding strategy.

“Over the past few years, our brand (HSBC) has faced two main challenges: decline in brand value across markets and increasing expectations of modern brands,” he said.

“Advances in technology, particularly around mobile, have enabled huge swathes of start-ups to emerge and challenge the traditional role businesses and brands play in the lives of customers. In a changing world, HSBC needs to actively fight for relevance.”

He examined the Chinese meaning of “way foong” – the pronunciation of HSBC in Cantonese. “Way is an accumulation of water flowing into the city, and foong means to harvest the best crops and bring them together. The characters that make up “way foong” depict the idea of a plentiful harvest, or in other words, prosperity,” he explained.

HSBC’s latest global marketing campaign explores how the bank helps people prosper in the 21st century. Underpinned by the phrase “Together we thrive”, the campaign reflects its long-term  commitment to help customers succeed.

“Together we thrive is a promise of partnership and prosperity to all those we serve. If the companies, communities, individuals and employees we serve thrive, then so do we,” he said.

Using KOLs has been common in the digital era. Karen Cheng, head of social at 9GAG, explained the topic, “KOL 2.0 from endorsements to engagement”.

“To generation Z, endorsement is fake as they know it’s sponsored content,” she said.

By partnering with content creator smoothsmith8 to promote Flaregames’ Tap Empire on Instagram, 9GAG has received more than 143 million impressions, more than 20 million video views and more than one million engagements, which refers to comments, likes, shares, saved posts and other reactions.

There has been a perception that big names have greater influences on audiences. However, 9GAG’s strategy is “small wins”, which means brands are better to use micro influencers.

“The name doesn’t matter, as long as you understand the value they make for your business,” she said.

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