This year Collabtive came in as a finalist in the hotly contested Excellence in Social Media Marketing category in the Marketing Excellence Awards. Collabtive was tasked to help ideate a campaign that could continue to create a strong Alpha brand personality and perception.
Collabtive was born out of the vision to allow all brands to have access to quality content without the high cost and also keep the line of communication fuss-free.
In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, managing directors Terence Lee and Gilian Lim share their vision for the future.
This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners and finalists’ interview series for Marketing Excellence Awards 2020. To find out more about the awards, click here.
What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your brand?
Lee: With this pandemic, whether we like it or not, we have been given the gift of time. With lockdowns and most people staying home, many brands with a retail presence have to shift online and because all brands are doing the same, they want better content that can capture attention in the digital space. This increased competition also pushes the creative and social strategy teams to be faster because everyone is crowding online, and sometimes a great idea could be thought of by more than one person which effectively means, the first to get there, wins.
Brands also want content to be more socially appropriate. For example, not showing content that involve gatherings or parties, showing more stay-at-home content or what the brand can provide for the consumer in this pandemic. There is also lesser hard selling, more soft selling. Consumers want brands to be more empathetic, and in using the brand product USPs in relevance to the problems consumers might face. They want the message to be out, that the brands are here for you.
How has your marketing/your clients marketing plans shifted this year?
Lim: They wish for us to come up with content that can drive more “talk” among consumers. This doesn’t necessarily mean direct engagement numbers such as likes or views, but rather, having people talk about the brand because they see the power of the community and how the word-of-mouth method of marketing is still very much a powerful tool and can still influence the masses.
They are also looking at content that are more diversified, more current, especially to the pandemic and importantly, sensitive to the people we are producing it for, the consumers, and making sure that the assets can be used across different regions.
What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?
Lee: Moving forward, I do believe that some of the trends we currently have are going to take on a bigger role in the future of digital advertising. Ecommerce tools on Instagram are surely going to be taking a front seat, Instagram shops in particular, will be riding high on the trend of online shopping. The pandemic happened, lockdowns were implemented, which accelerated the growth of online retailers and the slow demise of brick-and-mortar stores, all these means 2021 could see a shift in the way people spend their money and the content produced to have people spend money on these brands have to deliver that result.
Carousel content is also here to stay and people love brands that tell a story through the different visuals in a post, gone are the days of “a picture paints a thousand words”, now they want to see more in a story, they want a beginning, a middle and an end. TikToks and Instagram Reels are going to be even bigger than before and brands have to learn to embrace them and importantly, use them. That means shorter video content still rules, and people still want content that engages them quickly but post-pandemic of course, highlighted the need for brands to engage their consumers by putting out content that shows less selling of their products but more caring for the community and beyond.
Our creative team understands this and thus, are trying to mix experimenting and using old tools to engage consumers. More story-telling or making it more visually appealing and even using new tools such as AR in the filters we create for Instagram Stories to add that edge and engagement for the consumers.
Our social team also have to complement those content with a well-thought-out strategy that allows for brands to use the various platforms correctly, making sure that the content produced has an audience to cater to, maximizing the ROI and making sure the brands are seen and heard. There is definitely going to be more tools to help our teams and we need to make sure that we keep abreast of those trends and tools, to make sure we stay competitive.
What do you think makes for great marketing these days?
Lim: I think the old rules still apply to great marketing. Things that can capture your attention and make you do nothing but think about it, talk about it, hear about it which will make it superbly successful. Adding relatability to the different content forms also helps in that matter as it helps consumers to feel a sense of belonging to the brand and that the brand understands them. Creating a sense of want is also something that is very important because it helps build brand loyalty. Consumers follow the brand for various reasons nowadays but many start off by wanting to own something by a brand that has the same ideals as them, that relatability we spoke about earlier.
How are you planning for 2021?
Lee: I actually expect next year to be a fairly cautious one, I don’t think brands are necessarily going to be spending less but rather, I think most of them are going to maintain status quo in terms of marketing spend and making sure that they ride on that road to recovery. Next year would be the year that brands take a step back, refresh, reset goals and business development plans and look to what they must do to ensure that if another pandemic comes (fingers crossed), they will be ready for it and not be badly affected by it.
This pandemic was unprecedented but like all the people before us, whether its brands or agencies, they re-composed themselves, upgraded themselves, tweaked their plans and importantly, rose to the occasion and came out, even better. We want to do that for our existing clientele and more importantly, aim for more clients to let us to do the same. We also want to continue supporting our staff and sending them for classes and courses to continue to improve themselves because we always believe in self-upgrading and keeping in tune with the times. We love to nurture and appreciate talents, and give them a platform to shine.